John Carver has told his employers at Newcastle United that the club’s recruitment policy needs to be changed to take more account of players’ character.
Currently Newcastle, under the instruction of their owner, Mike Ashley, look to sign bargains from abroad who have resale value. The players are scouted by Graham Carr and then handed over to whoever is head coach of the first team – until the end of the season, Carver.
For the first time in their history, the Magpies have lost five successive derbies to fierce rivals Sunderland and Carver, who must somehow lift those players against Liverpool at Anfield tonight, has admitted that key elements of character have sometimes been overlooked when potential signings are under consideration.
“If you’re dealing in the French market or the German market or the Spanish market, then it’s very difficult to find out a little bit about [players’] personality, about how they are around the place,” he said.
“It’s dead easy if you’re dealing with a British club. I could, say, pick up the phone to Steve Clarke at Reading and say, ‘What’s X, Y, or Z like?’ because you’ve got your own contacts.
“With the amount of foreign players coming in now, it’s a tougher situation, but you have to try and find out as much as you can about the player.
Liverpool's best XI of the season so far
Liverpool's best XI of the season so far
1/11 Simon Mignolet - 6.75
Has vastly improved since a dreadful start to the season. Brendan Rodgers doesn't have much competition for the Belgian, with Brad Jones way below the standard required.
2/11 Emre Can - 7.18
The German has been a revelation in Rodgers' back three system. The youngster is a stern defender and brilliant at carrying the ball out from the back. Has a big future at the club.
3/11 Martin Skrtel - 7.35
Skrtel has grown to become the club's most dependable and solid defender. His three game ban will hit Liverpool hard, with £20m Dejan Lovren really struggling in his first season at Anfield.
4/11 Mamadou Sakho - 7.12
The French defender isn't always the most pleasing on the eye - he's average on the ball - but he is a committed and strong defender.
5/11 Jordon Ibe - 6.88
It's a real shame for Liverpool fans that the teenager picked up an injury just as he was beginning to make the position his own. No one else has been able to act so effectively down the right, especially Raheem Sterling.
6/11 Jordan Henderson - 7.23
The Liverpool vice-captain has really stepped up to fill the shoes of declining captain Steven Gerrard. The England midfielder can now claim to be the Reds' most important player and first name on the team sheet.
7/11 Lucas Leiva - 7.22
The defensive midfielder has only seen limited action due to injuries and being out of favour, but he has far outperformed Steven Gerrard. The former England captain only scores 6.87 according to WhoScored's rating.
8/11 Lazar Markovic - 6.76
Bought as a winger the Serbian has been excellent when playing in either wing-back role, although his season has also been stunted by injury. Alberto Moreno has improved and owns a rating equal to Markovic.
9/11 Raheem Sterling - 7.36
Raheem Sterling has to play in the front three. According to who scored his best marks come, surprisingly, when he plays on the left (7.90) or as a central striker (7.50). Sterling has struggled in a wing back role and the stats bare that out, with his rating dropping to just 6.47 when he plays in the role.
10/11 Philippe Coutinho - 7.32
Another player who has really come on in recent weeks, the Brazilian is outperforming big money summer signing Adam Lallana (7.00). The England man has been better after a slow start but Coutinho is one of Liverpool's best attacking threats.
11/11 Daniel Sturridge - 7.07
Daniel Sturridge only has four Premier League goals in this injury-hit season and that he is Liverpool's best rated striker shows the paucity of options. Liverpool's three other strikers - Mario Balotelli (6.58), Rickie Lambert (6.31) and Fabio Borini (6.25) - all rank in the bottom five of Liverpool's whole scored, and have just four Premier League goals between them all season.
“There’s something in the make-up of this group – and I say within their DNA – that when it comes to a derby game, there’s something not right. No matter how hard you try and no matter what you try and do, it’s an issue.
“What I will say is that I’ve been delighted with their response [to] the disappointment. They’re hurting – and they should be hurting, as I am, as we all are. I’ve seen that, but actions speak louder than words.”
Stagnant since the turn of the year, when Carver took over from Alan Pardew, Newcastle have lost their last four games and won only two of their last 13.
Meanwhile, striker Daniel Sturridge believes that Liverpool can challenge for the title again next season despite failing this time around to build on last year’s runners-up spot.
Liverpool’s top-four hopes took a nosedive with defeats to Manchester United and Arsenal and, despite having an FA Cup semi-final to look forward to against Aston VIlla on Sunday, they seem likely to miss out on their main aim of Champions League football.
“We have not played as well as we have done in the last season but things change,” Sturridge said. “Of course, we aim to play well until the end of the season and next season we will, hopefully, be able to win the Premier League, not just get into the top four. We just need to start the season better than we did this season.
“Top four is still feasible. We have seven games left and anything is possible. Every game is important now. If we advance in the Cup we will have nine games and every one will be a cup final.”Reuse content