Saturday, April 21, 2007

Rafa Comes To Momo's Rescue

Maybe Rafa have seen my match report on Thursday. Or perhaps he went round the fan's forum for a quick glance across the board. Because today, the manager has came out and shielded Momo Sissoko.

The reason being his recent performance, especially the one against Middlesbrough 2 days back.

The Malian international nearly went to the wrong side of town (you know what I mean) before Rafa rescued him and as cliche and like the previous 385 times, he was supposed to be the next 'Patrick Vieira'.

Judging by the number of mis-passes, which is now noted as 'his usual self', it's not difficult to see why the manager has come out to advocate for the midfielder. He even shared the blame by saying it was his mistake by placing him ahead of Mascherano, alongside Gerrard.

"The other day I tried to change things. I was using Mascherano behind Gerrard and Momo. But because the other team was playing really deep, compact and narrow, it was really difficult for him."
Judging by the quote, Rafa seemed to be experimenting with his squad and a brand new 4-1-4-1 formation which is seldom seen as his personal preference is 4-2-3-1 and also due to the influence of the English game 4-4-2 was implemented on many occasions as well.

It's hard to believe Sissoko used to play as a striker because he seemed to have no basic foundation in technique and those attributes required to be an attacking player is sadly lacking.

Against Boro, when Lee Cattermole and George Boateng doing the destructive work in midfield, Sissoko was not allowed any space or time on the ball. Adding to the fact that he lacks the technique and also the composure, he looked lost seemed confuse.

Soon after he was withdrawn, Gerrard was pushed back to central midfield just ahead of Mascherano and Kuyt ahead. That was when the formation started to work and got the result ultimately.

It's fine for Rafa to experiment and test out various systems and players as he continues to learn along the way and gather experiences. This experiment could've gone absolutely wrong if 'Boro scored and Liverpool losing the game but at least now, Rafa will understand the players, the strength and their weaknesses.

In my humble opinion, Gerrard should always start in the middle with either Alonso or Mascherano. But with the Argentinian 'monster' picking up form and now a mainstay in the team, Rafa has an extra worry and I don't know he'll hate that at all.

With Gerrard ahead of the destroyer, Mascherano, and the deep lying playmaker, Alonso, Liverpool have one of the most potent central midfield anywhere. Sissoko should be saved for games where Liverpool is expected to defend a lead or when the 'under siege' alarm lights up.

He's only 22 and still has a lot to learn but under the new ownership, if Momo continues to struggle with form and fails to do the simplest thing with effectiveness, I foresee him leaving the Spanish armada.

I have sympathy for him as he has been through two major injuries in two seasons and I understand that it'll take sometime for him to regain his 'imperious' form last season but that's reality and if you're deemed a surplus, you're out.

Come on, Momo. Show us what you're capable of! We don't call you 'Boss' for no reason!


psychohare said...

i like Momo, and yea it's tough coz players do suffer from dips in form once in a while. Hopefully it's that way for Momo. well if Sheva has problems, surely he can have a bit of it too.
Momo is important for many reasons, and yea it's true that his passing is horrendous. He has alot to work on this summer. But he is one of those irritating huge flies that keeps pestering u for a piece of that pizza that you're trying to enjoy.
Mash-potato's doing a fantastic job right now. No doubt he should be in the first team. but we need good rotation players, Momo would be perfect for that role.
I'm not worried, coz his time will come. Mash-potato is gonna be world class one day, as we all know too well from what hes done during the world cup and now at Liverpool. I'm just glad that other than Alonso, we got another world class defensive mid. Momo will be their understudy.

TLR said...

This is a drum I've been beating for months now Drog.

Momo is just simply not up to it. Injury comeback or not, just should not be selected in the first team for the foreseeable future.

Now that Mascherano is plying his trade very well, he is surplus to requirements.

J said...

i can't comment on momo because sometimes he's effective at breaking up play....and then other times, it would be better if he didn't play. i guess it's all about when to use him against what teams.

but form wise, i think at the moment, the 'deserving' CM players are Alonso, Mascherano and Gerrard.

i ratehr liked taht match where Alonso/Mascherano where in hte middle deep, with Gerrard sitting up front. i thought that's a good line up...

but is mascherano on loan? or is he actually belonging to liverpool?

i think if pennant can hurry up and improve more/we get a good right winger, then gerrard won't need to be deployed out to hte rite. it is kinda sad that a CM can play better in the right wing spot than a right winger...

and then ~ we can have stevie G back in the middle.

i think but atm, sometimes it is necessary to move him to hte right because we have an adequate CM but not a right winger. and you have to admit that stevie is sublime with his crosses.


Rafa has created a problem for himself and I think it's up to him to 'solve' it but just like he always says 'possibilities', I believe Momo actually has something to do with an alternate possibility offered to Rafa and that's why he brought Momo in.

We've seen his performance against Barca and I think it's this sort of game that he'll shine. But in England, he still needs to learn to adapt with the fast pace and quick closing down by opponents because he dally on the ball far too often and gets caught out.