Sampdoria Club Focus: Master Falls to the Apprentice
It was a case of the apprentice outfoxing the master. Liverani played under Rossi when the current Sampdoria coach was at Lazio. Rossi has used the 3-5-2 since arriving in December last year but in the Genoa derby, the Blucerchiati looked slow and devoid of ideas.
Liverani switched from the 4-3-3 to the 3-5-2 formation and it paid off dividends. Genoa had new signings such as Luca Antonini, Emanuele Calaio and Francesco Lodi scoring goals on Sunday night.
Usually the Grifoni play a physical game in the derby, but Liverani was tactically smarter than Rossi and Genoa were better in possession. It was arguably the cleanest performance in a Genoa derby from the Grifoni for some time.
If Liverani was able to make his system work and mould his new signings into the team, what does that say about Rossi and his coaching? If the Juventus clash didn’t expose Samp’s lack of a midfield general or the fact Eder isn’t a good enough support striker for Serie A, one would hope Rossi takes the hint.
The Derby della Lanterna was only one match and Rossi had a major role in Doria’s survival last season but the derby showed that not much progress has been made on the pitch, more so than in the first two rounds.
Losing to Juve was a gallant defeat and Doria could have won in Bologna but losing to Genoa had nothing gallant about it. When Genoa slowed down and Rossi made substitutions, Samp played better but the damage was done once Calaio scored.
Roberto Soriano is loathed by Sampdoria fans but he had a very good game when he came on. He barely wasted a pass and dribbled when he had the chance. Soriano’s shooting needs to improve because took three long-range shots which went over the bar.
Gianluca Sansone came on too and there was more movement and creativity in Samp’s attack when he was on. He was also the only Doria player to force a save out of Genoa goalkeeper Mattia Perin.
Rossi might have got his starting line-up wrong and there are players who should get more time. How about the new signings though? Some of them haven’t played yet and the others who have played haven’t made a great impact.
Wszolek and Salamon still got called-up for Poland during the international break. Despite the Poles not having one of the strongest teams in Europe, their coach must see some value in the Samp duo to merit selection.
Bjarneson was a questionable signing and his passing was simplistic and unimaginative. Players like Salamon, Angelo Palombo and Mirko Eramo could play in the same role he did. The Icelandic midfielder showed that he isn’t the player to solve Sampdoria’s creativity issues.
Eramo and Vasco Regini returned from spells in Serie B but they haven’t made a great impact either. After a tough debut against Juve on the opening day, Eramo hasn’t played in the midfield since. Rossi needs to try him out against weaker opposition and in a match with less pressure just to get some confidence into the midfielder.
Regini played in the 2-2 draw with Bologna in Week Two and in the Derby della Lanterna. Regini’s defending could have been better for Genoa’s second goal but he is playing in a role that’s new to him. Instead of using him as a left wing-back, he could be used as one of the centre-backs in the three-man defence.
Manolo Gabbiadini was quiet but he didn’t have much space. Without man-marking the striker, Genoa left little space between the defence and midfield. Having Sansone and then Nicola Pozzi in attack helped ease some pressure off the 21-year-old forward but not much. He battled in the air better against Juve and had more space against Bologna.
If the performance in the derby wasn’t enough to prompt changes, Eder’s absence should. According to Sampdoria’s official website, the Brazilian forward has a knee injury and he will be out for 10-15 days.
Cagliari are next for Samp and Eder’s injury could be a blessing in disguise. Sansone might finally start a match in attack or Rossi could be prompted into another change in personnel. If Soriano can improve on his second half performance, maybe he could finally cement a spot in central midfield.
A lack of creativity has been a problem for Samp in the early stages of this season but it was plain to see the derby. Sunday night’s match should force Rossi to assess his tactics and perhaps even look at players who haven’t had enough match time.
Follow Vito Doria on Twitter: @VitoCDoria