Thoughts on the Liverpool game.
Formation and tactics
Controversy sees Jake Livermore trend on Twitter.
Before kick-off I've got to say I found myself pleasantly amused that as a collective we still fret and tick with bundles of nerves. Questioning the coach and his selection, worrying he's got it wrong. Completely disregarding the fact we've not lost for 12 games. In the end, we did lose, but the players selected for the most part (aside from the two kamikaze moments) did enough to win the game. In fact, in the second half, we bossed it. It looked like Liverpool we're playing as well as they could whilst we just decided to take ownership of tempo and steam-roll them. As per the usual twist, when a team under the cosh get back into it, they sometimes find themselves in the ascendency whilst the other team lose it and deflate. Role reversal.
There was no 3rd goal when we needed a third goal. Our undoing sadly. You can complain about Defoe perhaps not taking chances or releasing the ball early. One one occasion he could have received the ball early for what might have been a certain goal. The usual complaints. Fact is, we perform based on the players we have available.
Today there was no Lennon. We missed him, for his offensive and defensive ethic and the balance he brings to the side with both him and Bale being able to float into wide positions and swap flanks. Parker in the middle, in the early moments of the game, appeared to allow ample Liverpool pressure to be applied. The hosts pressing us whilst we struggled to hold onto the ball. Not having a replacement winger (or rather having one that is scoring for QPR) also frustrates.
We got a better grip on the game as it progressed and Dembele moved inside from wide to influence more. We adapted well. We we're still punished for our slow start - can't take anything away from their opener. Brilliant goal aided by not so brilliant defending. Thankfully, 1-1 at the break. A beautiful cross from Bale headed in by Vertonghen.
Second half came and perhaps one criticism was not seeing a change earlier in the game. Then again, considering the errors and the manner in which Liverpool got back into it after Verts stuck us 2-1 up, it's hard to gauge just how critical a mistake this was, if at all. The popular demand was Holtby. Mainly Lewis starting in place of Jake. Hindsight, right? Might have worked having someone hold onto the ball and distribute it with a more refined touch in the middle rather than having two 'defensive workhorses' in there instead.
The side selected was still more then competent to win the game without playing at its best. Clown pie to face for how it all ended.
The Three Liverpool Goals
No argument about the first. Quality play by the team in red. Deserved as they started with far more energy when seeking to damage in the final third.
Their second goal is one the haters will lap up. Kyle is not having a good season, not in terms of consistency. We keep coming back to this. Is he tired? Complacent? No competition for the right-back position? Is he struggling with the pressure of expectation? Is he struggling with the instructions he's given? I don't know, maybe he loves a day dream. The kid has raw talent. He's obviously far better going forward than he is defending which is going to be a problem if he doesn't improve, but again - patience is required. If we can bestow that privilege on a fair few (Bale, AVB as examples) then we can do so with Walker.
It's frustrating, no doubt, that he makes avoidable mistakes. Next season we'll know for sure if this is just a second season syndrome or something far more permanent. Villas-Boas either sees something or just doesn't have another option. Shame Kaboul has been missing for so long. He could have helped out in that position.
Nothing Lloris could do. Okay, so he could have taken a better touch but no chance can you lay blame on the keeper for that. Yes, maybe you can but considering how many times Hugo has swept up for us, there's going to be a moment where he doesn't quite connect. Cheap cheap goal. Shame. That changed the game.
Their third was just ridiculous. A pass back from Defoe to Benny that then saw the left-back give away a penalty with Suarez doing the honours with the tumble and Gerrard stepping up to win the game. Really can't see any necessary analysis on this passage of play. It was ****.
Operation Anfield Exercise
This plays out on the tannoy system. Liverpool score. Then it plays out again with the added message that it's 'all clear'. CONSPIRACY. Blatantly some ilk of subliminal brainwashing going on in Anfield, making Suarez invisible to our defenders momentarily so he can steal in for the goal. CONSPIRACY.
A passing side that hoof. A home crowd that sing 'cheat' at Gareth Bale. What is this paradox I see before me?
Suarez. Great footballer, s**t human being. Nice little kick-out aimed at Dembele and then some handbags after the final whistle. Before the game I asked on Twitter how we would have handled him at Spurs - coaching and in the stands. He had form before he joined Liverpool. They didn't handle the racism too well. Would we have put up with him? Would he have adapted because or our reluctance to accept his behaviour? All this based on the alleged transfer move which Harry Redknapp rejected. I guess I should be glad that this questions don't need to be answered.
Gerrard. 'Aggressive header' said some Sky Sports mouthpiece as he smashed into Bale. Was he looking at the ball? Hardly. Did he get booked? Nope. Liverpool's legend lucky to be on the pitch thanks to this and another incident where the card should have been waved in his face.
Sturridge. With a dive in the box that we'll probably never hear about again even though it was so comical it deserved more attention from Michael Oliver (who didn't have the best of games officiating).
Stay classy Liverpool. And ugly.
The authentic Anfield noise
Is this the sound of supporters creating one of the best atmospheres in England via the pre-recorded soundtrack played out on the tannoy system after every goal is scored? Probably best to replace it with something longer than just a ten minute soundfile.
The Sex. Love a defender who can get forward and has a sublime touch. Corker of a finish for the 2-1. Little room and less time and yet fires in the shop perfectly.
Let me know if there's anything else worth discussing.