Sterling reliance a worry – Souness


Published: Monday 27th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Liverpool and England are too reliant on Raheem Sterling, according to former Reds captain Graeme Souness.

The 19-year-old has been the best player at Anfield this season and he has become an increasingly effective player for the national team.

Against Real Madrid in the Champions League last week Liverpool’s game plan appeared to consist of just getting the ball to the teenager at any opportunity and he even played the second half as a striker after misfiring Mario Balotelli was substituted.

But while Sterling’s talent is not in question, Souness believes he is being asked to do too much when there are more experienced players around him who should be shouldering the burden.

“It is true (Liverpool) are placing a lot of responsibility on him but the same can be said of England and if they are relying on a 19-year-old kid then I think it does not reflect well on England’s group,” he told Press Association Sport.

“The same can be said for Liverpool: if you are relying on a 19-year-old to deliver in big games for you it is not how it should be.”

Souness also criticised Liverpool’s defensive organisation and believes they have to get back to basics before they can get through their current malaise of conceding sloppy goals.

“They are conceding bad goals now and if you are doing that it drains confidence and they must be at that point now,” said the Scot, who was speaking on behalf of Capital One, the credit card company which sponsors the League Cup.

“It is not about what type of football you are trying to play; you can play the football you want but if you are conceding poor goals it drains confidence.

“Liverpool have to get back to stop giving away daft goals – especially at set-pieces – and then start again and rebuild confidence.

“From where they were last year to where they are now they are a team playing without great confidence.

“It is not just about back four and goalkeeper; if your midfield is working hard to stop quality balls being played into your back four the defence has a far better chance to deal with the crosses.

“But they are not putting the ball under pressure and the guy is able to cross it.”

Captain Steven Gerrard, so effective in a deep-lying midfield role last season has struggled to impose himself on games in the current campaign but Souness believes it is too early to write him off.

“I think Steven Gerrard can play in that position for at least another season after this one with the proviso he has the right player around him; Henderson plus one other,” he said.

“He still has the range of passes and he is still passing it better than anyone else at the club but he needs people either side of him as they are a little bit light in there.”

Liverpool host Swansea in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday and Souness believes it is a competition they should take seriously despite the glamour of the Champions League.

“It’s a great opportunity for Liverpool to win a trophy,” he added.

“You can never play in enough cup finals or win enough medals. Winning is a habit. When you’ve been to a final and won a cup you want it again and again and it gives you that inner belief you can do it again.”

:: Graeme Souness was speaking on behalf of Capital One, credit card company and sponsor of the League Cup.

Published: Monday 27th October 2014 by The News Editor

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