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AR - Liverpool better off without Shelvey, and he has himself to blame

Jonjo Shelvey's lack of application ultimately put paid to his dreams of making at Liverpool, not his talent.

Since his departure Liverpool fans have debated whether indeed Shelvey had the required ability to play for the five time European Cup winners to begin with.

The performances of Luis Alberto and Phillipe Coutinho in the attacking midfield role that Shelvey occupied on occasions for Liverpool last season have made his transfer to tonight's opponents Swansea appear no great loss.

Although blessed with tenacity and an aggressiveness which Brendan Rodgers desires in his charges, the former Charlton academy prospect did not demonstrate the capacity to adopt self-control. 

The sending off against Manchester United at Anfield last year would prove indicative of a player that, for all his talent, appeared more concerned with 'fighting', almost literally, rather than 'playing' for the Reds’ cause.

In the end Shelvey was deemed expendable and in return Liverpool effectively replaced him with the even more talented Alberto from Sevilla and latterly, Barcelona B.

This was no accident but rather part of careful planning to increase ‘goals’ in the Liverpool side that Rodgers sought as necessary to sustain a top-four challenge.

In other words while Shelvey did offer goals, there was always a potential cost involved, namely being a or booking or two away from suspension.

Alberto was watched by Liverpool scouts for the large of part of 2013-14 as his game came on tremendously at La Masia.

The Spain U-21 international would go on to score 11 and create 17 goals in 38 appearances and these telling statistics ultimately forced Liverpool’s hand to part with the pricely sum of £6.8 million.

Crucially what these numbers tell us is that Alberto is able to apply his talents and ‘affect the team’ as Rodgers insists the fowards must do.

In contrast Shelvey’s shot-to-goal conversion rate (2.9%) was very poor last season. So, while he may have frequently got himself into the right positions, it counted for little when the ball would balloon into the crowd and in fact only served to frustrate fans.

On the, albeit little, evidence so far the 20-year-old looks much more composed and mature than Shelvey and isn’t likely to get caught up in the heat of the battle as much.

While Shelvey’s ‘blood and thunder’ nature drew comparisons with a young Steven Gerrard, he didn’t show real signs of ever stepping into the Captain’s shoes.

I've always tried to emulate him as a player. He has always been my favourite player but I suppose there comes a time in your life when you can't copy him. You have got to be your own player,” said Shelvey.

The problem is Shelvey didn’t become the right player for Liverpool. Perhaps he will for Swansea.









image: © kong niffe

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