Neil, Andy, Rob and Gibbo talk about the title run in, a point made made, dynamic debuts, Aspasian angst and central midfield quandries.
Direct link to PODCAST: LIBPOOL, TOP OF THE LEAGUE
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That was better than the brilliant banter between Carragher and Neville last night. Playing devils advocate, I agree with Andy that we judge too soon and definitely that we always need a scapegoat, i do it myself. On the other hand, you can’t get away from the fact that you get a feeling for a player pretty early on and it’s usually right. For example, you can say what you want about Borini in the hope it’ll come true – great positioning, soon as he gets used to the pace etc – but he can’t hit the target ever!! or even hit a shot cleanly. I was worried from day 1. Same with Aspas. Like everyone, I pray I’m wrong but I’ll be very surprised if he turns out to be good.
Sorry, just had another thought. We’re all fuckin mental!! Think we had 2 points after 5 games last season. We should have been livid but most of us accepted it. This season we’ve got 10 from 4 and we’re angry. Not making reference to the podcast there but I’ve had mates messaging me all day criticising. I tried to act reasonable and say it was a good point but deep down I felt about angry about something (think it was the final 30 mins of all 4 games – it feels resilient and clever when the game finishes 1-0 but last night it felt naive). I was angry the minute they scored. Even when Sturridge equalised I was thinking ‘we’ve still conceded though’ as if we were gonna go through the season winning every game without conceding. I used to make a point a lot early last season that we should just enjoy the ride. We’re certainly enjoying it now but maybe a lot of us are too emotionally involved to ever truly enjoy it – to ever be truly rational. Last night on Twitter and FB showed that feeling utter disappointment manifests itself into bitterness. Then we look for 1 or 2 scapegoats to blame. By the next morning it’s escalated to the whole systems wrong. God knows what we’ll be saying if we don’t take 15 points from the next 5 games. We’ll be ok by Thursday. It’ll all be about Southampton.
Great podcast – interesting thoughtful and enjoyable. Much easier to listen to with fewer contributors. Gives each one space to make their points.
I try to be a half full person and not write anyone off too soon (Hodgson excepted)
You guys were wrong about Skrtel being MoM, he was culpable for BOTH goals, even though they were compound errors on top of mistakes by Hendo, Gerrard for first goal and Sakho for 2nd goal.
Shelvey had moved wide well out of the frame of the goal so any shot was very low percentage when Skrtel slid in, and took himself out of the game which led to the goal. He should have stayed on his feet to block as even if the shot got through and wasn’t blocked, it was unlikely to be dangerous / Mig had it covered. Bad decision by Skrtel.
For the 2nd goal, when Sakho steps up, as CBs will from time to time, Skrtel should have pretty quickly moved across to cover [ultimately cover shelvey’s run] realising they were then a 3 man back line at that point. Wisdom would then move across aswell so both Shelvey and Michu are covered.
Skrtel dithers and moves too late so Wisdom moves too late and neither Shelvey nor Michu are challenged for anything and it’s a goal. Again Skrtel was too slow in making a decision which should be natural for a CB. If your partner CB moves out, the remaining CB must organise the back as a 3 man line and cover the space. Even though Sakho didn’t need to stay out on this one, a CB will from time to time step forwards. Situation is the same.
This is the problem with Skrtel, he’s not a thinking CB, more of a direct man on man blocker.
Hence it’s ridiculous to call Skrtel MoM, when he’s a real liability.
Also, no discussion on how to play without Coutinho? The elephant in the room???? Did you guys not realise the significance of that?
Why not talk about that rather than let Andy rabbit on about nothing in particular?
Beltin’ podcast; a ton of interesting points made, particularly the Gerrard stuff. Whenever you see Stevie in interview talk about his career he seems to be such a smart fella – he must have the self-awareness to know the seasons he has made his legend are 05/06 and 08/09 not in centre mid, surely?
That said, I disagree with you Neil on moving Gerrard up the pitch late on in games when tiring. That’s just one less body in midfield when we’re under the cosh. Moyes did that when Fellaini was cramping up at Wembley and handed us the game. This is when another DM option to bring on would come in handy (i.e. De Jong coming on for an attacking player allowing Yaya Toure to go on one and drive City to a league title). Maybe Kolo could have fulfilled this the other night if Wisdom wasn’t on a booking?
Bad timing to make this point now that Coutinho’s out for six weeks but the ‘Gerrard as 10’ argument/criticism of Rodgers held up a lot better at the start of last season (17 and 18 year olds up with Suarez, Allen coming in and hitting the ground running, Sahin there whose position is the deep, midfield passer) than it did from January onwards. Andy mentioned the brilliant Alonso-to-Gerrard-to-Torres/passer-creator-scorer link in this pod and we’ve kind of had that with Gerrard finding Philly Coutinho from deep with him knitting well like Maxi for Sturridge/Suarez.
I am intrigued by the overall fading of the team in the second half of most games already. The club’s former fitness guru Darren Burgess is now in Australia, coaching an Australian Rules team which has been notable for its fitness and stamina in the current season just ending, rolling over just about every opponent in the last 30 minutes of every game. This ability has been attributed to Burgess, who joined the club when he returned to Australia a year or so ago: so why have we lost it?
Henderson, another one who Anfield had written off within a couple of games, who is going from strength-to-strength recently. Plus probably a few more would have made it without the added pressure, as it takes some serious character to make it with 45,000 people on your back. Honestly, give Aspas, Borini and Alberto time to work out where their skills fit into Premier league football as it is a very different beast to what they are used to (Borini possibly excepted). Nothing screws up your game more as an attacker than trying too hard (see Borini’s finishes for the Italian u21s compared to us), and lumping unnecessary pressure on new players when we are top of the league is mental.
As a half-cut Steve Graves said a few weeks ago after the Man U game, Sturridge very rarely looks for the pass. We can forgive him this when he scores every game but it does make life very difficult for his fellow attackers, especially when they become desperate to score. I expect Aspas to come into his own against teams who camp out in their 18 yard box, where subtle trickery and good movement are required, especially with Suarez back in the team doing his dance on the byline.
Re right back to provide link up play in the middle third how about Ilori? Might be a big ask but I reckon he is up to it. I watched the u21s game against Sunderland on LFCTV last night and he was simply beautiful to watch. It is always hard to judge from watching a reserve team game but his technique looked better than Alberto’s and he moves like a cat. His passing was intelligent (admittedly not under all that much pressure), and he surprised me by hitting some inch-perfect 40-50 yard passes.
He has played as a striker and midfielder as a junior so you expect he would be at least okay going forward, you would also think he would be handy on the overlap considering that he beat Ronaldo’s Sporting Lisbon sprint record. Not sure if it would be the best thing for his development, as you wouldn’t want to mess up his feel for the centre back position, but as a stop gap until Johnson gets back I reckon it is worth a go as the lad looks pure class.
Henderson still lacks game sense as his brain dead header for the first goal showed.
He makes up for not readily knowing what to do by rushing around. It helps us because Gerrard can’t do it and it suits Rodgers style.
Most swans players are better than he is.