Craig Bellamy: Liverpool’s issues are with personnel, not Jurgen Klopp

The former Reds and Toon striker dives in with both feet on the issues facing both clubs…

The problem with Liverpool is they just look like conceding every time they go out at the moment. That’s no secret, they have done that for a long time now.

You just feel that any time the opposition team is on the attack The Reds are going to going to gift them a chance to score. Going forward, Liverpool are brilliant, anyone can see that.

Defensively though, I don’t believe you have to work hard enough to get an opportunity from Jurgen Klopp’s men. They just present them to you.

These mistakes seem to be happening more-and-more than what they have been before and that will, of course, be an area of concern to Jurgen.

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I’m sure Klopp has felt he’s got to do something with Liverpool’s back five for a while because you can’t legislate for mistakes and most of goals they’ve conceded have been individual errors.

We can talk about The Reds being more defensively minded or their tactical awareness, but a lot of these mistakes are coming from things you can’t coach.

There’s nothing really structurally wrong with Liverpool’s game plan, but these errors really could have been avoided on the players’ side.

It’s more of a personnel issue at Anfield, than a managerial one for me.

Rafa route to success

Newcastle were desperate for players in the summer and Rafa Benitez didn’t quite get in the ones he’d have hoped for.

I may have been unsure about the character of some of their squad and how they would deal with the crowd up there before the start of the season, but to their credit they’ve got on with the job.

People talk about them not scoring, but I’ve found Rafa’s best work was always defensively.

He was always super organised at the back and then played in patterns up the pitch because he wants his forwards to make certain runs.

Tactically though, he’s very, very good about the opposition and their threats. He’d point them out to you clearly and 99 times out of a 100 he’d be spot on with what they were going to do to hurt you.

To be honest, there might have been fears about Newcastle being involved in a relegation scrap, but with Benitez at the helm I certainly don’t see that happening. Rafa would settle for that, even if he is used to being at the other end of the table competing for trophies.

It’s important for The Magpies just to stay up this year, establish themselves again in the Premier League and then they can kick on from there. It doesn’t matter who you are or how big of a club it is, remaining in the league the after season you go up is massively important.

The St James Park Coliseum

I was lucky enough to play for Newcastle at St James’ Park and when you’re doing well it’s a great place to play football. However, if it’s not going your way it’s a tough place for the home team.

The first goal was key there. As an away player if you could get the opener and quieten the Geordies down, it was massively important and it would decide how you could approach the game then.

But, if Newcastle’s tails were up with the fans behind them – especially in the second half heading towards the Gallowgate End – it’s a very difficult place for an opposition team to go and play.

Liverpool need wins now and I thought they were very unlucky not to get one in Moscow.

I watched them last week against Leicester though and it looked like the same old problems were there.

If the Magpies can sit in with nearly everyone behind the ball, defend for their lives and withstand the barrage, then you do feel Liverpool will give them the opportunities to score.

If they can prevent The Reds from scoring, and Klopp’s men can create chances on even their worse days, then Newcastle have a tremendous chance of getting something out of the game. Rafa’s outfit will get one or two clear cut chances to score given to them by Liverpool, the question is can they keep them out at the other end.

Rest in peace Freddy Shepherd

Freddy Shepherd signed me when I moved to Newcastle and it was hard not to like him as a man. He could frustrate you and he would let you know what he felt at times, but there was just something about him.

You couldn’t help being fond of Freddy and he always left you with that feeling. He genuinely wanted Newcastle to do great, but he was a good businessman as well. He proved that with everything he did in his life, especially with the club.

Freddy had that North-East feel about him, which all the fans had too.

He also tried to please the supporters as much as he could, just so they could recognise how much he wanted the club to do well on the park.

Freddy was one of them and he was more of a fan than a chairman.

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