Where, oh where, will the goals come from?

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With three points at home in the bag, CaughtOffside’s Slakr looks at the Liverpool “performance” and where the team is going:

1 man up, with 10 minutes to go in the first half. Champions of Europe. Playing against a team that is (honestly) competing for absolutely nothing this year. At home, in what may be the biggest home-court advantage in football. What is unquestionable is that Liverpool achieved the primary objective, which was to bag 3 points and move up the table (albeit leapfrogging just the hapless Newcastle). What is also unquestionable is the complete lack of confidence inspired by the Liverpool team in their ability to actually win games against quality opposition. So what are the takeaways from this game?

Well, for a Liverpool fan, its not as bad as all that. Cisse had a number of opportunities in front of goal. Morientes had three clear chances in 20 minutes on the field. At some point, there’s hope that one of them is going to start actually taking the opportunities that they’re given, given that they’ve both shown tremendous quality in the past. Morientes in particular seemed to already show that he’s got his positioning right, now it may just be a question of shaking off a lot of rust. Peter Crouch again seemed a little out of his depth. Undoubtedly he can show flashes of skill running at defenders, but the one clear chance he had went nowhere near goal.

What’s more worrying is the lack of any threat from the midfield in the absence of Steven Gerrard. Sissoko looks hot and cold, but never a threat. Alonso hasn’t seemed anywhere near the passing machine he looked like he may be last year. Zenden was a big disappointment, showing occasional flair down the right but not enough of it, or the quality of final ball you would expect. Garcia and Riise have had quiet starts to the season, and were only substitutes this time around. Riise didn’t contribute much, and Garcia was his usual frustrating self, giving away the ball seemingly at will. Last season he made up for that with a number of goals. This season it hasn’t clicked.

So where does that leave Liverpool? The answer is nowhere good. Bottom half of the table already, there’s no doubt that a proven goalscorer will be needed in the transfer window. Michael Owen would now seem like a bargain, given the potential for lost revenue if we cannot make it far in the Champion’s League or requalify. But if January is to mean anything, Morientes or Cisse must click, and click soon. One of the midfielders, whether it be Riise, Garcia or Alonso must start getting in the goals to support Gerrard. Otherwise, we may be in a situation in January where the FA and Carling Cups are all we’re playing for. If we’re lucky.