It goes without saying that in order to win games you have to score goals, more than the opposition at least, and it’s in this key area Liverpool have so clearly failed over the past few seasons. Even with Suarez and Carroll on board last season the “goals for” statistics was borderline awful and none of us want to hear the word “woodwork” too many times again next season.
I’ve had a look at the goals-scored and goals-against statistics over the last five seasons to see what the trend looks like and what it show is clearly disturbing. The graph clearly illustrates Liverpool’s scoring potency has been in serious decline not just last year but year-over-year culminating in a mere 43 goals last season condemning us to a rather harsh, but maybe justified, 8th place in the league. As you can see, it’s no accident that in the 2008/09 season, when Liverpool scored 66 goals and only conceded 26, they almost won the league finishing a close second to that lot 40 miles away along the East Lancs Road. Even though the goals against have been increasing they have stabilized over the last two seasons so I don’t see this as Liverpool’s main problem next season as defensively they look pretty solid, as long as you forget the QPR games last season! I realize it’s hardly CSI level analysis but it’s this slide in Liverpool’s goal-scoring ability that illustrates that putting the ball in the net more often and on a consistent basis next season has to be one of, it not the, main priority for Brendan Rodgers.
The question is can the current squad turn this goal-scoring decline around? Is Suarez and our new 21 year-old Italian signing, Borini, good enough to get the job done or does Rodgers still need to find another clinical finisher? It looks like you have to factor out Carroll from the equation as it seems he’s almost certainly on his way out of Anfield, especially as he’s just been omitted from of the squad traveling to face Gomel in the Europa League game on Thursday. I’m fully confident that Suarez given the right support from the midfield and all of last years troubles now behind him will have a great season. Suarez is such a talented, creative, player that we’ve yet to see the best of him and with another deadly striker alongside him the omens look really good. As for Fabio Borini, to date in his senior career he’s only made 46 appearances including Chelsea, Swansea, Parma and Roma scoring a total of 16 goals. Not a bad conversion rate but it’s safe to say he’s still an unproven striker and only time will tell if he can become a lethal striker and that he and Suarez can create a new scoring partnership we so badly need. Don’t forget we bought Kuyt as a striker from Feyenoord and for all his work rate he was never able to fulfill that role to its full potential.
It’s not like Liverpool didn’t create the chances to score and win games last season, they did, but now it’s down to taking those chances and putting the games beyond reach. The question remains as to how wise is the decision to let a striker of Carroll’s talent go given his improved form and the amount of investment that will be lost? Can we really afford to let him leave? It’s a question only Roger’s himself can answer.