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PODCAST: WE GO AGAIN

by TheAnfieldWrap // 14 April 2014 // 35 Comments

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#TAWMAG7

NEIL was joined by Peter Marshall, Paul Johnson, Phil Blundell and Craig Rimmer in the aftermath of another stupidly good weekend for Brendan Rodgers’ Tricky Reds

 

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35 Comments

  1. Great show again. At 51:08 the audio skips back and repeats an earlier part of the show, maybe have a look at that?

  2. Thought Skrtel was man of the match, although Sterling was unplayable first half. Bits of Carra organising, Hyypia heading and Henchoz sweeping round last ditch. Never thought Skrtel would be a Rodgers defender over Agger but there you have it.

    Suarez and Sturridge had their collective worst games as a duo and we still beat the other best team in the league. Us becoming good again has happened so quickly.

    • If that handball gets spotted by the ref. City get a pen and it finishes 3-3 would you feel the same? I can’t believe he did that.

      • Johnson had a dodgy game too. Just seemed to be a bit off, not quite sharp enough to things when Citeh stepped it up in the second half, though they were superb. Really unsure about Johnson, needs to step up a bit more. We’re going to need 2 full backs for sure this summer.

        But it says a lot that they couldn’t go on and win when they can play so very well. I wasn’t sure how we could get back ahead and then boom! Coutinho.

        Shots are so much higher probability from inside the area which makes me wonder why he / they try so many from outside the area.
        However, Couts has got a couple of very very important goals for us (Fulham and Citeh now).

        Sturridge seems intent on winning penalties these days rather than shooting or passing to Suarez. that must be because he’s getting a bit too big for his boots and he wasted a key chance yesterday when he was through on goal. He’s not being as good as he thinks he is. Intensive right foot training should be what’s in his daily routine.
        More assists needed from both of them (though Luis is pretty good anyhow). Really looking forward to seeing him as the front man again. He thrives in that role. Get that PL record Luis.

        • Sturridge is struggling for form, that’s all. Too much is made of his not passing, take a look at the corner that leads up to Gerrard’s header. It comes from Sturridge trying to thread a beautiful pass through to Suarez. His link up play was generally good yesterday, he came deep to get involved and spread the play beautifully, he’s a very good passer. It’s just not happening for him in front of goal and he’s getting frustrated. The same happens to Suarez when he doesn’t score. It’s great to have such hungry strikers even if they do piss each other off at times.

          • I’m with JonnyS on this. I said a couple of weeks back that Sturridge’s single-mindedness is flirting with self-indulgence at times and that sort of thing can cost you in a big game. And I don’t want England’s best goalscorer coming deep to link up play…we’ve got four or five others in the team who can do that. I agree with you that some of this is a symptom of a slight loss of form/confidence and – to be clear – he’s still a very, very good player, obviously. I don’t even think it’s a case of not playing with his head up when he fails to pass to better-positioned team-mates; it always appears that he sees what’s developing but too often dwells when he should be moving the ball on.

            During the game I said to my son to watch how many touches Sturridge’s has even on the few occasions when he does play a team-mate in; apart from that back-heel I don’t think I’ve ever seen him play a first-time pass.

            I wonder if this is a case of a player who – having ‘failed to make the grade’ at a couple of big clubs – still thinks he has a point to prove? I think Steve Peters needs to get in his head and let him know that he’s already proved the doubters wrong. He’s established now as a terrific player – now demonstrate you are even better than you’ve shown so far and pass the feckin’ thing from time to time.

  3. When the final whistle blew yesterday I was left feeling a bit disappointed to be honest. Probably more a case of being drained emotionally but Henderson being out could be a massive blow. Ok, it’s one area we can cover but he’s a hugely important cog in the machine (as everyone knows). I was absolutely gutted for him too. He should have been there celebrating with the team. It made me realise that he’s probably my favourite player. Ok, there’s Gerrard and Suarez but for years I’ve been watching him closely due to championing him early and I suppose that natural human reaction of wanting to be proved right over him or more to the point – wanting the nay sayers to be proved wrong. I love everything about him as a player, his reaction to scoring, his reaction to the team scoring, his work rate and his lifestyle and professionalism. It’s everything I want from a Liverpool player and it hit me hard.

    Skrtel is someone I’ve criticised in the past but absolute respect to him. He was immense yesterday and has been for the last few months. Whenever we score a big goal he’s first on the pile on. I like to see that from players. His delight at scoring brought a smile to my face too. Obviously, ability counts too but I to see players who are into the cause. I hate to see players not too bothered about us scoring so my respect for Skrtel has gone right up. In saying that, the whole team feels it at the minute except Moses (who I also blame for Henderson’s red card).

    I said on here 2 months ago that Palace is the game I fear and it still is. I’m writing Newcastle and Norwich off as easy wins. I think we’ll beat Chelsea but Palace is gonna be tough. In saying that, we’ve got a minibus going with 15 ticketless fans as we feel that’s where we’ll win the league. We’re confident we’ll get in the Palace end. Even if we win there and only need to beat Newcastle then that’s as good as winning it and we’ll celebrate like we’ve won it. I am nervous about that game though.

    • Hendo does excellent work with his athleticism however I think Rodgers will fill that role ok. His system makes changing the “water carrier” types much easier so long as they have a very good work rate or are very intelligent – or a combination of the two.

      Also I don’t think we’ll suffer too much because I don’t see Hendo as an intelligent player. It’s not unusual for him to be a bit brain dead, stray passes or headers into a danger area, running without purpose, laying it off and then not making himself available. Often his passes are not incisive either however important his work rate is. It’s noticeable when he tries to copy Gerrard but his mindset is to get rid (often sideways, back or wide) rather than create something. He needs others to do the incisive stuff which is a bit of cop out.

      He’s not great at putting his foot on the ball because he often panics when he has it and wants to get rid of it as soon as he can so HE’S not the one who might lose possession. Even his shots are snatched and he lacks the belief to create a yard of space and place a shot. It’s all a lack of courage and composure, despite his work rate. If he couldn’t run, he’d be rubbish.

      Even when he got his red, he touched the ball straight towards the attacker because he’s a bit “straight line” in his game. OK he didn’t think he was going to have a heavy touch but even so, the intelligent thing in controlling it is to touch it forwards but forwards and a little to the side away from the direction of the defending player (Nasri in this case). But no, he touched it straight towards Nasri and then lost control, QED. Self inflicted problems due to a lack of football intelligence.

      Will never understand why people like him so much when he’s only a water carrier / makes up for Gerrard’s legs, with serious limitations to his game. (mental mostly – I said when he arrived forget about him until he’s 25 when he could be a lot more influential. Right now he’s very replaceable and I hope we get some excellent threatening MFs this summer. They will replace him / Allen).

      • Have to go with Robin on this, I was also more worried about Hendo being sent off than us winning, the victory felt strangely pyrrhic because of that. Regardless of Hendo’s talents and shortcomings (MUCH more of the former than the latter), he’s been a talisman for the club, and I hate change when it’s forced upon us. Rest him yes, but Hendo was created for Palace away.

        Watching Chelsea away on MOTD was a strange feeling last night, they look so laboured compared to City . They are so regimented, no flow, just a script that they have learned by rote and keep repeating over and over. It was like I’d fallen asleep during motd and woken up during the football league show.

        Have to say too, watching City pummel us for so long…..that’s what playing us must feel like for everyone else, so when you’re feeling a bit nervous in the next few weeks, just remember that.

        (what a class guy that Pellegrini is, waiting to shake Gerrard’s hand, and the fans’ Hillsborough tribute banner was such a genuinely charming gesture, I love City fans.)

        Anyway, Norwich next so another hat trick for Luis.

        So, no letup, unless Everton do us a big favour by beating City which might allow us a draw with Chelsea to finish top. We are doing this the hardest way possible, with not one but two mega rich clubs breathing down our necks.

        Wouldn’t have it any other way, there has been a hint of the ghost of Istanbul about this season for a long time….

        ferd

        • Yes, there’s a lot of you Hendo fans out there. Bet you’ve all got 6 toes too ;-)

          He fits Rodgers system very well because of the pressing we need to happen in the middle of the pitch and he really gets around. But he uses that rather than be a bit smarter – Gerrard had to tell him to stop running around like a headless chicken. Hold his position a lot more.

          He just needs to add a couple of things to his game and for me that’s based around attitude and courage. We need to see him stop snatching his shots, and to understand that there is a place for incisive higher risk passing which he really shys away from from a fear of giving away possession.

          If he gets his mind around it then he would quickly become a serious threat which he just isn’t for other teams right now.

          Fear of success, fear of failure – it’s a really key attribute(s) of performance, and he has a bucket load of it unfortunately.

          As an illustration, take Zlatan.

          He does absurdly brilliant things because he screams out at the top of his lungs that he’s the best player in the universe every time he goes on the pitch and every time he gets a mic in front of him. A lot of people think he’s an arrogant douche but tell you what, give Hendo 5% of his arrogance and he’d be a massively better player.

          • We’re you out of the country in December/early Jan? Those Hendo performances (notably in the absence of Gerrard) were not the work of a mere ‘water-carrier’. I think his play in that period dispelled any notions there isn’t more to his game than what we see when Gerrard is anchoring Rodgers’ diamond.

            I told my blue-nose mate that Henderson will captain England for years once Gerrard hangs up his boots, and I’m more confident in that prediction with every passing week.

    • I feel really bad for Henderson. He’s been immense this season. That was all about desire: it was Gazza in Italia 90. Such a shame as he’s the heartbeat of the team and he’s such an honest pro. We have to win it for him and the skipper now because he’ll be gutted if they lose because he got himself suspended. Let’s hope he gets to spend some time with the good Doctor in the next few weeks.

  4. Hi Jonny, mate. I often agree with a lot of your points on here but I feel compelled to say in this instance I almost agree with nothing you’ve said. That argument about Henderson going sideways and backwards is an old argument as is him lacking confidence. Not an intelligent player? Panics on the ball? He’s certainly more than just a water carrier. I think you may start to appreciate what he does more now he’s out. He’s almost the complete player for me. The obvious weakness he has is he’s so technical that he doesn’t understand putting your laces through the ball in front of goal, rather than trying to curl it in. I’d love to find a video of Henderson’s assists this season. His vision and intelligence are sublime. I’m almost offended by your phrase ‘panics on the ball’, haha. I still like the phrase used on the TAW podcast 18 months ago that he’s a recycler. How many times does he pick the ball up in a tight space and get us moving again. I don’t think there’s many players who can do that to such a degree he does whilst under pressure or with a split second to think. Regarding his confidence, again I feel it’s an old argument. He’s changed this season. He’s the only player I’ve seen bollock Suarez. He’s always in the refs ear, in fact he’s central to everything we do. That’s not the behaviour of someone lacking confidence.
    If i’m looking for an analogy I’d say, you’ve got a lovely girlfriend, does everything for you but you meet a girl in the pub and one thing leads to another and you end up getting sucked off. Next minute you’re girlfriend finds out and leaves you then you find out the girl in the pub is a tranny. What are you left with? You had everything but you couldn’t see it and lost it by not appreciating the simple things.

    • Post of the decade. I wish I’d wrote that.

      • well, you would defend him as a favourite player of yours.

        I didn’t say he doesn’t do much, he does a lot of work, but if a shooting opportunity arises you don’t want it to fall to Henderson (or Allen for that matter) because he snatches so many of his shots. You certainly can’t deny that.

        If you want an incisive ball it’s Coutinho or Gerrard who will give it to you, Hendo rarely tries them because he doesn’t want to lose possession.

        Without his athleticism which is way above normal he would seriously struggle except that he might develop his weaknesses better not being able to rely on that athleticism.

        The important thing is it’s others who must provide the creativity and incisiveness because it isn’t his game, and that’s a from a lack of courage and lack of composure. He’s hopeless in tight situations and sometimes will pass to a player surrounded by opponents if he can’t run away with the ball.

        If you haven’t seen him run backwards or pass backwards you’re refusing to see it. It might keep possession but again it’s about passing responsibility to someone else to do the clever stuff. He’s even run into the corner flag and run the ball out of play because he can be that clueless.

        Hopefully he matures more and discovers bravery. When he arrived I said to forget about him until he’s 25 because there was so much that needed to be developed and that looks like how it’s panning out.

        He’s good for Rodgers’ system because pressing is key to it and if it involves legs he’s your man. But if it’s visionary play, or a goal threat which you should get from a box to box midfielder, then he is lacking an awful lot. Even when you want an intelligent penetrating pass you might get it if he’s got loads of time and space but you’re more likely to get a lay off for someone else to do it.

        When teams dominate us in midfield whether it’s Sunderland or Citeh, Henderson isn’t the guy who is going to make it difficult for them and wrestle control back. We’ve seen that.

        When Rodgers buys this summer I can guarantee he’ll buy players with a goal threat or with a more adventurous nature than Hendo because there’s little point in getting another midfielder that isn’t a threat.

        • “He’s good for Rodgers’ system because pressing is key to it and if it involves legs he’s your man. But if it’s visionary play, or a goal threat which you should get from a box to box midfielder, then he is lacking an awful lot. Even when you want an intelligent penetrating pass you might get it if he’s got loads of time and space but you’re more likely to get a lay off for someone else to do it.”

          Even if this were true, no successful midfield was ever comprised of exclusively “visionary” players, artists and creative geniuses. Do you remember Jimmy Case?

          This is the reverse argument that some neanderthal England fans used to deploy against Glen Hoddle and John Barnes – can’t tackle, can’t defend, can’t dog it out – focusing only on the things a player (supposedly) cannot do whilst ignoring all of the attributes they bring to a game.

          I know it’s all opinions and that, but like I say above, you could do worse than look at the games Hendo played in Dec/Jan when we were making do without Gerrard. I don’t recognise *that* Hendo from the description you give above.

          • In one of his first games as England manager Ron Greenwood decided to replicate Liverpool’s success on the international stage. He picked 3 of Liverpool’s 4 midfielders. It didn’t work. When asked about it later Bob Paisley said ‘well what ddl you expect? He didn’t pick Jimmy Case. He does all their running for them.’

            I (like most of us, I’m sure) have watched Jordan Henderson closely all season. High risk passing is the last thing he needs, he follows the Paisley dictum to the letter: ‘it’s not a about the short pass or the long pass, but the right pass.’ He maintains possession, and we need someone to do that with Coutinho and Suarez in the side, manages the tempo of our game and plays the right pass. Every time. Remember the pass with the outside of his foot against spurs? He constantly takes players out of the game with his passing and movement. His only weakness is his shooting. That will improve. He’s unrecognisable from the player too frightened to take a risk or shout at his team mates. Shows you what year with Brendan and Dr Peters can do. Next up Joe Allen’s shooting!

          • Completely agree. As for some complaining about Henderson’s profligacy in shooting, just what the heck do you expect in a player? I expect Iniesta and Xavi could both improve massively in that area…and Messi could do with winning more balls going backwards come to think of it.

            This is why I stopped playing Fantasy Football a few years ago. Xabi Alonso was one of the top 3 players in the league at the time, but when I picked him he never got me any points. He didn’t score, he wasn’t a defender, he didn’t get a whole lot of assists, but by Christ that lad made us tick like a clock. He started everything we did, he intercepted possession and restarted us, he kept the ball, he recycled it, he even tackled! And people got sent off when they tangled with him.

            He wasn’t glamorous, he wasn’t showy, he was the lad who drove on the night out. But take him out of the team and all of a sudden we looked wrong. Hendo is not Xabi, but like Xabi to Fantasy football, he is almost invisible to some.

            And this is not a shout out for all DM’s, far from it. This is a shout out for the invisible dude, the one who is making a bad pass into a successful one by getting to it first and then finding a colleague, keeping the rhythm and possession going… the guy who passes to the maestros, then returns to duty, the guy shutting down the angles and making the opposition turn and try another tack, only to find the SAS nipping their heels. He’s more than an engine.

            He encapsulates this side.

            My mate is a mad united fan…the day we signed Hendo, he said “For Fuck’s sake..I thought we were tracking him…”

            ferd

        • I think that if we buy in the summer, we’ll be buying defenders. it’ll be 100 goals before this season’s out. That’s good enough for me.

    • Jordan Henderson is a fantastic player. He does the work of two players in midfield. His range of passing has improved throughout the season, he knows when to play the ambitious pass and when to keep it simple. His flicks, feints and shimmies consistently take people out of the game. His only weakness is composure in front of goal and I’m sure that will come, he’s improved in all other areas. He’s started every game this season hasn’t he? That tells you how good he is, Brendan doesn’t put his faith in average players. You need to be technically excellent to keep your place in this Liverpool midfield.

    • No-one panics on the ball in this fantastic Liverpool midfield.

  5. The Moses thing was I believe a response to Citeh’s changes which took control of the game. Milner took the right channel, Silva the left and between the two they attacked us very well and got 2 goals because we couldn’t deal with it. Rodgers didn’t seem to respond to it either for a while.

    Moses I think was to deal with one of those channels being a wide player naturally whereas noone else on the bench fits that kind of profile. Just a guess though.

    • I think you’re right. He came on immediately following Coutnho’s concession a dangerous free kick in the right back area. It didn’t work though, he was shocking! :-)

  6. Great show lads. A scream was reported in Finland yesterday as a middle-aged Scouser leapt into the air, lost control of his senses and yelled obscenities in a little bar, in a little town near the Russian border. Thank you redmen.

    As for the match and the season in general, I’ve just a couple of points to add:

    Making Steven Gerrard play week in week out with suspension hovering is yet another mark of Brendan Rodgers’ genius He is saying to Steven, stay on your feet, learn when to commit and when not to commit, that’s what you need to do in this position. We need you, you are our captain and our leader, so learn to play without picking up bookings by committing yourself to rash tackles: genius. And the skipper has responded marvellously, lets hope he keeps it up.

    Sakho v Agger: Sakho panicked yesterday and could have cost us the game. I’d much rather Agger play in the big games, we need a calm head, someone who can distribute under pressure. Sakho started giving the ball away yesterday. It’s understandable, he’s still a young man in a new league. Agger isn’t quite the player he was but you can usually rely on him in the big games.

    Raheem Sterling: what a player he’s becoming. He could be superstar. A few weeks ago I said that his future may well lie in central midfield, every week it looks more and more likely. A midfield three of Henderson, Sterling and Coutinho with the skipper sitting behind will scare the wits out of any opposition: they are so fluid and Sterling’s game intelligence is sensational. Coutinho’s is improving too. What a shift he put in. The future’s bright, the future’s red.

  7. I don’t get the Sakho comment. City overran us in midfield in the second-half (I wanted Allen or Lucas on after 55min) and I thought the centre of defence was magnificent against (other than us) the most potent attacking force in the EPL. And Sakho’s pass completion was over 88% (46 of 52), more than 2 percentage points better than his defensive partner: Skrtel – 86% (31 of 36). I’m struggling to remember a single occasion where he obviously ‘panicked’ (and I’ve watched the game 5 times so far :-)).

    • Haha, I’ve watched that huddle and Gerrard’s rallying cry about 30 times. Sterlings face immediately after Gerrard finished is one of my favourite moments of the season so far. I hope you don’t take offense at this Brownie mate, but it was something that struck me today and your stats reminded me. Up until this run I was reading 30 articles a day from Twitter that spoke about what percentage of possession we’d had, how many shots on or off target, pass completion rate etc etc etc. It was almost like we were desperate for any angle to make us look good. Now, we’re so good that people just right about how many goals we’ve scored or how many records we’ve broken this week. Either that or I’m overlooking those statistical articles now as I don’t need the comfort they bring anymore. Agree with your point though. Sakho is the future and the present, for me.

    • I might have been transferring my anxiety on to Sakho but I bet you’ll find those misplaced passes all happened in a 10 minute period. He does have a tendency to lose his head during key periods; he usually recovers, but he’s got a panic in him. I’d feel a lot more comfortable with the old heads for the run in, still, I appreciate and understand those who think otherwise.

      • This might sound crazy, but I wonder whether this view of Sakho is connected to his physical appearance? He certainly looks ungainly, fidgety and not forgetting psychotic. There’s a sense of awkwardness in possession and this doesn’t promote confidence in the observer, but if you assess the output the results belie that. I’m not claiming he’s the new Hansen, but he’s more than just a good-in-the-air brute of a centre-half. I think.

        • I’d go along with that to a degree. His body shape is odd and he looks very ungainly when passing, but his distribution is usually sound – as long as he doesn’t try anything too ambtious! He’s not as comfortable on the ball as Agger, but very few defenders are; he brings us something else. I’m not yes as convinced as others yet, but he’s young and Brendan will improve him. Illori looks like he might be something special and don’t be surprised if Stevie drops back next season or the season after.

        • Let’s hope Illori’s the new Hansen. He was part of a Granada backline that kept a clean sheet against Barcelona at the weekend! (Illori, Bob Greaves, Bob Smithies and Tony Wilson).

  8. Raheem needs a Song- ‘Daydream Believer’ by the Monkees

    We’ve got Little Raheem
    And oh what can it mean
    To a Liverpool supporter
    Who is, daring to Dream
    We’ve got Little Raheem
    And oh what can it mean
    To a Liverpool supporter
    We’ve got a winning team

    Oh I fly down the wings
    Of the Liverbird as She sings
    Defenders heads left in a spin
    Here the crowd as I rise
    The goal infront of my eyes
    My right foot strikes and it’s in

  9. When Sturridge is off form for a game or 2 it doesnt take long for the stereotypical bollocks to get spewed. Too big for his boots, self indulgent etc. God, what nonsense. Funny I dont hear any of that when he chips the keeper and it goes in or after goals like against Newcastle or Aston Villa. When it comes off its great. When it doesn’t its a character issue.

    Similar to when Sterling lost form. Attitude problem apparently as he’d just been given a new contract. Lost his focus apparently. Nothing to do with the fact he’s 18 yrs old and losses of form is generally what you get with teenage players.

    What nonsense.

    • Agreed. He’s been sensational and he can only get better. I accept Brownie’s point with regard to his releasing the ball quickly, he’ll improve. And, it must be stressed, we have enough players releasing the ball quickly: its good to have a balance between those who hold up and recycle and those who look for the instant throughball which can either come off brilliantly or sacrfiice possession.

  10. And it was a yellow for Suarez, we can’t complain about that given how we all (rightly) demanded a card for Et’o at Chelsea. Can’t have it both ways.

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