Bearing in mind my last post was just before our game with Mansfield its been a rather eventful month.
We looked like we were going to tear The Stags to pieces after Daniel Sturridge scored in the 7th minute. But they held their heads. We rightly brought on Suarez as we seemed to be losing our way again. As usual he had an impact almost instantly, unfortunately it was with his hand. I believe he had enough time to think about it and then tell the ref it hit his hand. He is unlikely to have been booked as it was pretty close to him when it bounced up of the keeper.
Once again his 'street-fighter' traits (Rodgers words not mine when describing Suarez's various lapses) got the better of him. He then launched into his traditional celebration of kissing his wrist. This further enraged the locals who must surely have thought he was rubbing it in, rather than kissing his daughter's name (Delfina - anagram of Anfield) which is tattooed there.
The hope was that this controversial goal wouldn't prove decisive but unfortunately it did. Especially considering the amazing gesture by the Stags Chairman John Radford and his foxy Chief Exec wife, Carolyn Still. How many other clubs would have not only left 96 seats open in Liverpool end and also placed the names of every one of the Hillsborough victims on them? A true act of class. Something Mr Suarez has none of.
The draw kind to us with trip to Oldham. A club in total turmoil. The manager keeps his job but the whole backroom staff gets sacked! Before that debacle trips to the Scum and then Norwich awaited. The first half of the Scum game was largely forgettable, except for RVP's clever piece of movement to created half yard on Agger to score for them.
We took off Lucas at HT and brought on Sturridge to give is more threat going forward. We started much better but unfortunately we had a innocuous free-kick to defend in the 54th minute. Despite there being a reasonable line of defenders on the 18 yard line Reina was already flapping. This panic clearly spread to hi8is defenders. When what was a bog standard cross to the edge of 6-yard box at the far post arrived. Evra and Vidic were completely alone! So 2-0 down AGAIN. Then within 3 minutes Sturridge scores and we are right back in it. We deserved at least a draw from that game. And you knew how worried they were as Sith Lord Fungus was hauranging 4-th officials during injury time.
Norwich was Norwich we always seem to have their number now and 5-0 was just the tonic we needed.
So on to Boundary Park to face Oldham in Round 4 o the F.A. Cup. A team coached by Paul Dickov (so they with be up for it and in your face) who have an average height of 11"5'! So what does Rodgers do?? Yep get the underage hobbits on the pitch!
Did he actually scout Oldham? I don't think he did. If his manner on 'Being Liverpool' is anything to go by its a miracle he can tie his shoes laces and walk upright! Our team was woefully undersized and lob-sided. From only having Suarez upfront or most of the season, he decided to playing all 3 strikers and Sterling. With just Henderson and Allen in the middle of the park. Hobbits among Ents.....That left a smallish back 4 of Wisdom-Skrtel-Coates-Robinson in front of Brad Jones. Not the worst back 4 but lightweight except for Skrtel.
Needless to say it went pear-shaped from the start. Matt Smith scored within 2 minutes and if we are being honest we never recovered. Suarez equalised only for Brad Jones to fluff one and allowed Matt Smith a second in 1st half injury time. This was further compounded when young Jack Robinson got smashed at the far post by a well timed leap from Wabara at start of 2nd half. Drastic action was required and Downing and Gerrard were introduced. A lucky deflected goal from Allen brought us back into it but you ever felt we would push on.
So we ended the game with roughly what we should have started with. Shelvey,Downing and Gerrard for Boroni, Sterling and Wisdom. The fall-out and backlash was immediate. The LFCTV phone-in was full of what is he doing why didn't Carra and Gerrard start. Why is Joe Allen even in a red shirt. Having a football philosophy doesn't win matches, hard work effort preparation and skill do etc.
I couldn't agree with all of it. The Carragher comments were particularly badly thought out. Carra is 35, he has only played in Europa and cup games for most of the last 2 seasons. Why. Simple when faced with physically bigger and stronger opponents he gets mauled and buffeted all over the place. Drogba, Traore from Anzhi and anyone else who is of that type you care to mention have all dominated him.
Brendan Rodgers reaction also left something to be desired. On Monday he indicated that most of the youngsters had let the Club down!
Jack Robinson had only started 2 League Cup and 1 F.A.Cup game this season, so clearly he was sharp and ready for the type of game at Oldham.??????
Seb Coates - Almost exactly the same appearance record as Jack. But slow and lightweight for one so tall.
Borini - just back from injury and asked to play out wide, something he has show isn't good at before.
Raheem Sterling - now paying for being used so extensively earlier in season. He has been largely ineffective when starting in the last few months and was asked to play in midfield rather than wide????
Andre Wisdom - A decent right back still learning his trade, didnt really do anythig wrong before being subbed.
Joe Allen - as always when its a proper game he is a luxury. His 'amazing' pass completion ratio is meaningless as these are mostly in his own half and to centre-halfs and full-backs. Like Gareth Barry but worse!
I am sorry who picked the team, you Mr Rodgers! Therefore you are responsible for the teams preparation ad selection. Clearly YOU didn't do that properly ad have decided to blame others ad chose those least able to defend themselves, the youngsters! Shame on you.
So Rodgers gives in to swathes of criticism and restores Carra to the starting 11 for the Arsenal game. We tear them apart for the 1st 30 minutes but crucially only score one. The latter stages o 1st half and majority of the 2d half are all about us absorbing pressure and hitting on the break. Jordan Henderson scored a 2nd involved loads of ricochets but you think at that point we are home and hosed. No within 7 minutes its all square!
So imagine my surprise when Alan Smith in a game full of flowing attacking football awards Carragher the ma of the match! We conceded 2 goals i 7 minutes ad but from some profligate finishing from Walcott,Podolski and Giroud we could have conceded 10! Surely Wiltshire,Walcott,Sturridge or Henderson were more deserving of the accolade?
On to Man City where just like the game at Afield at the start of the season we are 2-1 up and looking comfortable before a moment of defensive madness causes us to concede. What Pepe Reina was thinking is beyond me. Aguero wasn't even half a yard ahead of Skrtel when he came charging out for the ball. Sure Aguero's skill to score sublime but clearly had more to do with luck.
There is talk the Reina wants to go back to Spain with Valdes looking to leave Barca. I would tell him to start packing now. His has cost us too many points i the last 2 seasons with his butter fingers, hot-headedess and general flat-footedess. He gets beaten at his near post far too often and easily. Time to move him on. Harsh, but you only have to hear Mancini yesterday says Joe Hart has made 3 or 4 costly mistakes and its too many... So Reina has made 5 times as many!
So are we making progress? The short answer is no. We took 4 points from the same 4 league fixtures 1st round. A 1 point improvement is not progress.
We have not beaten a team in the top half of the table.
We have not beaten a team above us in the league.
We are now 31 points behind ManUre. - 10 points lost in 4 League games
We are now 12 points off 4th - 5 points lost i 4 league games.
We have conceded 6 goals in the 3 games against team above us in the last month.
That last stat is particularly damning. 26 League games and 32 conceded. In all competitions taht takes us to 40 goals in 50 games. Yes we have played 50 games already this season.
That a ratio of 1.25 per game out worst since the 98/99 season (1.27) That season we finished 7th, lost in the 2nd tie in both domestic cups and only played 3 UEFA ties... Sound familiar
We still concede too many goals from breakaways. We look most vulnerable when we have a corner. that was happening in August it still is.....
need to show more defensive discipline and nous. We have wingers for
width. they should only go beyond their winger when it makes sense and
even the only 1 should go.
The tippy-tappy philosophy fall down when the other teams are pressing you high up the pitch. The Premier League isn't Spain, we certainly aren't Barcelona and Joe Allen isn't Xavi or Iniesta!
Hopefully Brendan Rodger will realise this and become a proper manager i.e. adapt to his squad and opposition. he need to start picking his best team and not the best 11. Not the best 11 who fit your slavish adherence to 4-3-3
For me that is easy now he has some people back from injury and has added Sturridge.
It has to be 4-4-2 or a loose 4-2-3-1
Reina - until we buy Begovic or Mignolet in the summer.
Suarez-Sturridge - With Suarez in the hole and Sturridge running the channels.
Do we have things to be positive about. Yes!
Sturridge & Suarez blossoming partnership.
The tempo of our play is better.
Jordan Henderson is starting to look like he might be of some use.
Joe Allen is on the bench these days!
We only have West Brom and Swansea in the League this month. Madness when you consider the fixture over Xmas and New Year.
- I have been a Red since I was about 6 or 7. My boyhood hero was Kenny Dalglish and I have an autograph from him while he was still at Celtic. Thanks Gran! As such I gravitated towards the team he played for. So I have been Scottish-South African- Scoucer for about 30 years now! I am extremely passionate about our club, and have felt the need to start this blog in the face of the abject nature of our performaces under Benitez and the Hicks/Gillett ownership.