Date: 29th November 2014 at 1:47pm
Written by:

In my final year of uni we had a problem with mould on the kitchen wall.

I told the landlord and as usual he promised to sort it out immediately but instead did nothing about it for months.

When our time at the house was coming to a close and my landlord was about to put the house on the market he sent in a team of decorators who painted the offending white wall brown and the problem was covered up.

There are two reasons why I tell you this.

First, if you’re lucky enough to live with your parents then appreciate every second of it and stay for as long as you can.

Second, if the Reds had managed to hold out and beat Ludogorets on Wednesday then we would have been merely painting over the mould of yet another lacklustre performance.

The late equaliser from our Bulgarian opponents actually changed very little, whether we won or drew we were going to have to beat Basel next month.

The reason their late equaliser was so disheartening was because it was totally expected.

If we are going to turn this season around then we desperately need to improve at the back and keep clean sheets.

In goal Simon Mignolet is still struggling.

He seems to try to collect crosses completely at random with little regard for whether he can actually get near the ball or not.

This erratic goalkeeping is certainly not going to help a clearly nervous defence and after Mignolet’s howler for the opener there have been calls for him to be dropped.

With only Brad Jones as back up that seems unlikely, but we may well see stronger competition arrive in January.

Despite our poor showing against Ludogorets there were some positives to take from the game. Namely, we looked to have a more solid defensive shape.

Since arriving from Southampton Dejan Lovren hasn’t taken his opportunities to impress so Brendan was right to bring in Kolo Touré.

The Ivorian didn’t have a particularly good game and we know all too well that he is capable of making costly errors, but he has bags of experience and right now is a safer bet than Lovren.

In midfield Lucas Leiva was brought in to protect the back four.

Last season Gerrard was an absolute revelation in the holding midfield role, contributing 13 goals and providing more assists than anyone in the country, but this season his lack of defensive discipline has been one of the reasons for our slump in form.

There are two different types of holding midfielders, the first is a deep lying playmaker like Xabi Alonso and Andrea Pirlo, this is the role Gerrard executed perfectly last season.

The second type is a purely defensive midfielder there solely to break up opposition attacks which Claude Makélélé made famous, clearly this is the category Lucas fits into.

While it’s great to have a deep lying playmaker when you’re constantly on the front foot, if you’re on a poor run with your backs to the wall you need a more disciplined player to help the defence.

I admit that Lucas and Touré are by no means world beaters but right now they are the best we’ve got to tighten up a leaky defence.

The reason they haven’t featured much is that Brendan is trying to recreate the cavalier style of play we enjoyed last season.

While it is understandable he would want a repeat of last season’s heroics, it is just not going to happen with the players we have at our disposal.

The best teams play to their strengths so when we constantly see Balotelli play up front by himself and a midfield that offers little protection to a struggling defence, it is safe to say we aren’t doing this.

We all love to see fluid, attacking football, but above all results are key and the best way to do that is to be more solid at the back.

While it wouldn’t be popular with everybody, sacrificing an attacking player to bring in a shield for the back four could also improve our attacking play as we would be able to retain possession more effectively.

A midfield of Lucas and Henderson behind Coutinho and Sterling providing pace on the break seems to have all bases covered.

On Wednesday Gerrard showed that he can still be effective further forward but at 34 his days of being the first name on the team sheet should be long gone, and he should be fighting for his place just like everyone else.

Brendan has been reluctant to change the system and we are neither performing nor getting results.

Despite the pathetic performances we’ve had to put up with we’re still only five points off the top four, a change of strategy now could see us make a real fist of trying to qualify for the Champions League.

Anything else would just be yet another attempt to paint over the mould.