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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Liverpool are still not the real deal

Liverpool were disappointing today and the game looked far too easy for Man Utd at times. It was sad to see Liverpool resorting to playing long balls particularly when Crouch wasn't even on the field for the first 70 mins. As much as Liverpool fans will hate to admit it, Liverpool are still not the real deal and it showed today. I don't think the problem lies with the lack of quality players in the squad, I think it has more to do with Liverpool's lack of adventure, especially at home when they really ought to be more offensive. Man Utd were extremely tough to break down but I cannot recall Van der Sar having to make a single save in the entire game.

Back to back defeats in the league but a great win against Marseille is just so typical of Liverpool. Rafa would have been slaughtered if he had rung the changes today and lost but to be honest, even with playing the same eleven that destroyed Marseille, Liverpool put in a very ordinary performance.

Rafa believes that by buying new players Liverpool will become a better side. In theory he is right but I cannot help thinking that its how Liverpool play that needs to change rather than the personnel.

The 1-0 defeats for Liverpool and Chelsea today effectively mean that the title will be a two horse race between Man Utd and Arsenal. Despite what people said about these "grand slam" games not being particularly relevant in the title race, I disagree and firmly believe that Utd and Arsenal have taken a huge stride in effectively making the fight a two-horse race. I hope I am wrong.

11 Comments:

Anonymous shah said...

I hope you are wrong as well, but no one can dispute with your theory at the moment, there is still a long way to go and we all have to hope things start to change. You think it is the way we play that is the problem and your right in a sense, but we also need replacements and better players. Riise doesn't seem like a effective player anymore, Kuyt plays like a defender instead of a striker, Hyppia is also not the great player he used to be, Sissoko is keen on hurting the opposition players, and a lot of other players need time to grow or settle down. We want the title, so we need to invest in our squad a little more.

12/16/2007 11:08 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rubbish analysis obviously a man u fan. The lack of adventure was not from Liverpool it was from man u and reminded me of a G Houllier LFC display where they gound out a 1-0 Got the goal slowed the game free kick walls 8 yards spoiling tactics. See the stats son.
Liverpool Manchester United
Shots on Target
4 2
Shots off Target
15 2
Possession
57.4 42.6
However Man U played it right as they got the win and that's why they will be challenging for the title but do us a favour and get your analysis accurate instead of stating dribble that is repeated from radio phone ins by frustrated fans on the way home.

12/16/2007 11:11 pm

 
Blogger RedsMan said...

I agree with Anon (11.11PM) in that Utd were reduced to two chances, one from which Liverpool were suckered and the other went wide. The goal was somewhat fortuitous, so many in the box yet it reached Tevez. In fairness, despite the first half chances of attack on their goal, we showed little else, as if we were 70% up for this game. No Stevie G charging forward, Kewell was off his game, Kuyt ading nothing to Torres atacking, we were low today. Tesults count and Utd got the three points.

We are nine behind them, ten behind Arsenal and asking for these two to drop points is not impossible, and what is possible is anything in football. When I saw Man City beat Bolton to push us out I felt we would not win today because that would mean still fourth place and pushing out an in-form side.

But Liverpool have picked up their game after Xmas, it could be a case of waiting for form to drop and sneaking in. Noticed that the last time Chelsea played without Carvalho and Terry was at Anfield when they lost 2-0. When I saw Terry coming off it was the same I felt would happen again. But Arsenal's goal came courtesy of an error by the keeper and nonetheless the result counted. It's Man Utd and Arsenal out of the grand slam, we'll see later on in the season.


RedsMan.

12/17/2007 1:32 am

 
Blogger Skipper said...

I know people complain about the quality of the matches between the top four sides. I disagree, these matches are quite compelling to watch. There is so much at stake and all teams show great respect for each other.

There have been times when United have come to Anfield and got away with sneaking victories when they should have lost. I have to say, this was not the case yesterday. For me, the first goal was always going to be crucial in this game, because both teams possess an excellent defence. I would say the United defence has the more strength and aggression. Rio was outstanding yesterday, he showed great leadership at the back and snuffed out anything Liverpool threw at them.

Liverpool looked quite tired to me yesterday, more so when they where chasing the game.

On to the second game, this provided the more flowing football. Arsenal had all their stars back, which helped.

Gallas was immense for the gunners. I think Wenger did a great piece of business by singing him in the deal which took Cole in the other direction. I love the little speech Gallas does when awarding the champagne bottles to his team mates. He is the best leader in the premiership.

12/17/2007 10:05 am

 
Anonymous shah said...

I am really angry about todays loss to ManU! We lost just like we always do against them, by a single goal from a set piece, ManU only had one other clear chance with Rooney during the match which went wide. We had most of the possession and yet we couldn't do anything with it. The team had no confidence in them, Torres, Gerrard and sometimes Kewell were the only players running at the ManU defence also babel when he was finally brought on. Kuyt was not playing good at all for me, we had two strikers today on the field and unfortunately one of them looked like a striker, Kuyt the other "striker" didn't attack the ManU defence once, everytime he got the ball he looked for other players to pass to and would turn his back towards the goal, he did carry out a few flick on's but that lead to nothing, why does he play like a defender/midfielder most of the time? Sir Alex said they were "the better team" after the game. Well as much as I disagreed when I first heard him say that, I realised that he was right, they defended really well and dealt with everything we threw at them(which wasn't much anyway)and then they took their chance, Rooney should have put away his only chance but thank god he didn't. Next up is Chelsea, I think we should put out a decent team and win at Stamford Bridge, we are so close of winning a trophy this season, we should take it seriously. As far as the title challenge goes for Liverpool they must take three points away from ManU, Arsenal and Chelsea, all of them away from home, obviously we need to to match their results throughout the season as well. But im not confident about us beating the big three away from home, I really do hope that we do, but do we have enough special players in the squad to get the right results? I don't know. Does anyone have any transfer sugesstions for January?

12/16/2007 10:37 PM

12/17/2007 10:20 am

 
Blogger T said...

From mt perspective SKG is on the right lines when he talks about Benitez needing to look at the overall team strategy of his team in the Premier League.

I wrote about this after the match between Liverpool v Arsenal here: http://elitefootballtalk.blogspot.com/2007/10/wenger-football-is-class-above-benitez.html

Man Utd have an indian sign over Liverpool it seems - but I think there are things to think about for Benitez.

A policy of playing longs balls and crosses was too easy for defenders of the high quality of Ferdinand and Vidic to deal with.

Gerrard's performance was similar to the one against Croatia - a lot of frantic play when more composure was needed. When I see this my value of Alonso goes up - he brings good composure to the Liverpool game in these high-level matches.

And what is Benitez turning Kuyt into? I'm sure he didn't play as a hybrid defender-striker when scoring loads of goals at PSV.

On the one hand Liverpool did limit Man Utd in their attacking play. But as the home side Liverpool needed more as an attacking force and to be frank they never looked like having the creativity and composure to score aside from a set-piece. This is where I think SKG is on the right lines with his analysis.

12/17/2007 10:25 am

 
Blogger RedsMan said...

I concur with T. It sums up yesterday but not the season thus far. A setback, an important one but I feel the spirit in the team can come back from it. It is yet another test of character. We've done it before in the CL final, the FA Cup, recent CL group stages but we have struggled to overturn it when we go behind first.

So either we get into gear from the kick-off and strike first and plenty, or we get some resolve into getting an equaliser immediately like the other top sides do. OK, Chelsea struggled to do so yesterday but they do have a knack of getting equalisers. It's that determination we need more for the current squad.


RedsMan.

12/17/2007 11:37 am

 
Anonymous Alex Butterfield said...

First of all it's outrageous to say that it's a two horse race at this stage.

Should Liverpool win their game in hand they are 7 points off the top spot, that is not anywhere near unassailable.

I'm not confident we will catch up at all, but it's far from impossible, and all it takes is a couple of games where Arsenal and Man U drop points and we don't. We could be top by January.

We should take 6 points from Portsmouth and Derby (I hope Benitez doesn't start resting Torres too much over Xmas).

And then when we put a stop to Man City's rediculous 100% home record (They've beaten Derby, Man U, Villa, Birmingham, Sunderland, all 1-0, plus Newcastle, Boro, Reading and Bolton. Not to downplay City's improvement this season, it's thousands of percent up from last year under Psycho, they can score for a start. But they must have played pretty much the bottom half of the table at home - so don't get carried away city fans. Only the Man U result was much of an achievement, and that was more luck, should have been double figures for Utd.)

My point is, by the middle of January, we will probably have taken 15 out of 15 points.

Man U have a couple of tricky games, Everton could take a point at least, and Keano's Sunderland away might be more of a handful for Man U than the other teams would find it.

Arsenal on the other hand have a very difficult holiday period. Spurs, Portsmouth away, Everton away, with a couple of London derby's to follow. (If Arsenal take their next 15 points then I'll concede we are out of the race. But not in December!)

I'd be surprised if by the middle of Jan we haven't closed that gap.

12/18/2007 12:57 am

 
Anonymous alex butterfield said...

While we dominated the Man U game yesterday, we certainly didn't outplay Utd.

They worked a training ground corner, designed to nullify our Zonal Marking strategy. Rooney didn't make the most of it, but through a combination of luck and Benayoun falling asleep, Tevez found himself onside 3 yards out - and though he did his best to put the ball over the bar, even he was too close to miss that sitter.

Had Benayoun stepped up when they saw the corner go flat to Rooney, or even if Reina had stepped up one yard further, Tevez was offside.

Utd came and played for a draw, with the idea of hitting us with set pieces for 2 bonus points. It paid off, as it does season after season. I'd rather see them awarded a penalty (what with Reina's record) than a corner (what with our record), corner's terrify me.

The fact of the matter was that we didn't play well because Utd were so good defensively. Ferdinand and Vidic had Torres in their pocket, they know he's our main threat and they kept him so quiet he was anonymous. This was perhaps the best I've ever seen Rio.

Evra and Brown worked tirelessly too.

Combine this with an off day from Gerrard, Benayoun (admittedly his off days are as common as his on days) and Kewell who I'm sure Benitez expected better things from, and for good reason, he's been excellent since breaking into the side again. And then with Kuyt upfront, well... what can you say about Kuyt, he's so likeable, reminds me of Dean Windass, but without any skill or vision, and he should be playing at the same level.

I don't doubt Benitez for one minute. I trust that his zonal marking is as effective as man marking, even though that's a difficult thing to prove, I'll trust his judgement. And I agree with him when he says we need more players. We do certainly need another goalscorer.

People point to signings like Babel for 13m and Torres for 25m but that's all in a days work for Man U or Arsenal or Chelsea, but Benitez asks for some time to build a team and some money to do it with, and people go mental.

We need another 13m winger, another 25m striker, and another 10m centre-back.

Look at the value of Man U's team and it is far more than Liverpool's.

It's a sad thing to say money can buy success, but it can, and it must. You can't fight against simple mathematics to beat sides assembled with money and patience like Man Utd.

We need reinforcements to be in a position where we are not chasing. That said, I think we are close and can give the other top sides a good chase this season.


From memory, since I have 5 minutes to kill:

Man Utd's team yesterday cost about 140m

Liverpool's cost about 85m (not including Mascherano)

[correct me if I'm way out]

but given that 50m or so difference, we could make the signings I was mentioning earlier, then we could really take it to Man U, it'd be a lot harder to mark Torres and Villa out of the game.

12/18/2007 7:56 am

 
Blogger Abdul said...

Some really good analysis of Sunday's game. What I feel Liverpool need is a link between midfield and attack. They simply have not got a player who can play effectively in "the hole" a la Rooney or RVP. What Liverpool don't need is another super out and out striker alongside Torres, but they could desperately do with a Ibrahimovic, Aguero or even a Gudjohnsen.

12/18/2007 10:06 am

 
Anonymous Alex Butterfield said...

"What Liverpool don't need is another super out and out striker alongside Torres, but they could desperately do with a Ibrahimovic, Aguero or even a Gudjohnsen."

To tell the truth I don't think it matters.

Another super out and out striker, Van Nistelrooy for example would be great. Torres is our point man but his hold up play is amazing, and alongside a real goal poacher he would be brilliant too. Just as he plays with Villa for Spain.

At the same time, if we had a player in the hole, like Ibrahimovich then it could be a great partnership too.

Simply put, we need another world class striker.

January is going to be interesting.

Sadly I doubt Aguero or Ibrahimovich are available.

12/20/2007 4:58 am

 

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