THEY made us look ordinary.
Since the word “ordinary” has been in my footballing vocabulary it’s been a pejorative. It’s also today something which is done to you. It’s something you don’t want to be but Bramall Lane happens and a muscular performance happens and it squeezes you into its ordinariness. It makes you reach the size of those surroundings. It limits your ambition. “They made us look ordinary,” you’d say. But lots of teams managed to look ordinary and win. We watched ordinary sides win. Ordinary and winning aren’t mutually exclusive. They happen every week. Some teams choose ordinary football. Broadly speaking, ordinary football got Chelsea to third last season, though 12 points from Liverpool and Man City obviously helped. That aside? Mostly ordinary.
Hull City played very well and defended fiercely, but they didn’t force ordinariness onto Liverpool today. Liverpool chose it. Liverpool’s approach was an approach for the tiresomely greybearded and perpetuated a result for the exhausting knife-sharpeners. It was a textbook post-European performance. It was the tightening up. The tightening up. Liverpool were far more solid than against QPR. That wasn’t happening to them. It was clear in both selection and approach for 60 minutes. They were taking no chances. They weren’t losing any battles. They were cocking no snooks. They weren’t gilding any lilies. Liverpool were far better in all departments than against QPR.
The result was worse than against QPR. Far worse.
The case for the defence, for being more solid, is always that it helps you get more wins. That’s the theory. You get solid. You take fewer chances but you allow fewer chances. You plan for the worst and slowly, slowly, mind-numbingly slowly, you become better. Got to tighten up. Got to be more solid.
Liverpool were, bar a rocky patch just before half time, far more solid today than they have been. Both centre backs played well against a side that scored a brace against both City and Arsenal this season. Gerrard did well. Manquillo did well. Moreno did well. Can did well. Only Allen didn’t perform. Balotelli had a decent game. Lambert did well when he came on. When he came on. Loads of lads. Six or seven out of ten. In a shape that was designed to get six or seven out of ten. Solid. Sensible. Solid and sensible things don’t move very fast. They move quite slowly. Liverpool. Solid. Sensible. Slow. Like a driver with low insurance premiums. Doesn’t get itself into much trouble. Doesn’t let you down.
But Coutinho. Coutinho changed it. It took it away from its ordinariness and made it something more. He was the bench, the change. The thing good sides do after a European game to poorer sides that have come to keep it tight. He was the thing everyone else has and he was almost the best possible version of it. Effervescent. Taking two or three players out of the game routinely. He transcended the ordinary which may well have been the plan all along. We’ll have another gear. We’ll start the game in third gear. And we’ll build. Like those football teams. You know the ones.
There will be voices raised here saying “And if Balotelli turns it in, last minute, it works.” Or if Gerrard gets his toe to it first. Or if. Or if. Liverpool created lots of or ifs. But as sometimes happens, in ordinary football, you don’t get the bounce, Hull City are plucky and good and concentrated and hold you out and you walk away ruing the enterprise. Unlucky Reds. In extraordinary football you are out of sight. But in ordinary football, the football so many call for, these things happen.
I’m a prick. It’s important to remember this and feel free to address me as such in any exchange about this piece of writing. It’s important to remember that last season I wrote about Liverpool turning the screw and having that in their locker. Because they did turn the screw. As ordinary as they were for an hour they were much the better side for the last half an hour. As bigger sides at home often are. Remember that I’m a prick throughout and we’ll all get out of this alright.
Because this is what the doubt looks like. This is what your doubt looks like. This is what happens when managers are solving problems in their kitchens in 4am, though presumably Brendan isn’t scrubbing his oven. He has one of those fancy bottles from Home and Bargain. It’s important to make that point as well. One of those fancy bottles so it is easier. Less elbow grease.
The quasi-crisis breeds doubt. Doubt breeds ordinariness. And, here we are, for this Liverpool team’s ordinariness will finally breed actual crisis. Liverpool finally did what the greybearded in the media and our midst wanted. They were like the others. Like all the others. You’ve seen them. But…
…there are other sides in this league far better at ordinary than Liverpool. They’ve been doing it for far longer. Ordinary is a blueprint for a road to nowhere. The cries for greater solidity will morph into some other form of frustration if said solidity occurs.
Ultimately this game reminds me of wins and draws under Benitez and Houllier. Games where we’d look ordinary after European efforts. Games where ordinariness had extraordinary horizons to look towards. Those Liverpool sides made sense as ordinary football teams. They often were and they’d not made scaling the heights their business. They were business-like. They were routine. They knew how to be routine. Routine was their routine. Then they’d gear up and become heroes. Great lads. So many great lads.
This is the most dispiriting performance, the most dispiriting approach from all of Rodgers’ time at the helm, not any of the Villa games at home or Hull City away or Basel away. This. Not because Liverpool were that bad. They weren’t. They were quite good. They showed they could be at least quite good. They probably deserved the three points on balance. Part of what frustrates so much is that they were quite good. It’s because it feels as though this is a football club collectively backing itself and one another significantly less. I include you in this, reader. I include me. The prick I am. Collectively backing one another far less. Collectively giving in to external pressures which shouldn’t matter a jot. Choosing the grey-bearded path. The path wherein you aren’t heroes every week. The path which so many of these players, great lads, so many great lads, aren’t suited for and aren’t ready for. Rodgers has to be Rodgers. He doesn’t need to be up at 4am worrying about his lads. Use the liquid. The oven will clean itself, Bren. Trust it. Trust them. Trust yourself. Tell solid it can fuck right off and when it has fucked off it can fuck off further. And tell those espousing it to fuck off while you are at it.
Against Real Madrid Liverpool were Liverpool. Against QPR Liverpool were Liverpool. And while on both occasions “the best football team in the land” line may have stuck in throats for different reasons, you could at least go tra-la-la-la-la.
There’ll be none of that today. No tra-la-la-la-la. And if it leaves town for good then I don’t know where it leaves us. Solid. Nice and solid. Third, fourth, fifth, sixth. One of those places. We will probably prove ourselves the best of the ordinary rest. Or we might have loads of ‘or ifs’.
[rpfc_recent_posts_from_category category=”1″ posts=”7″ meta=”true”]
Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda Photo
Ten men. We’re playing with ten men. I’m not being a nasty pasty. And I’m not going to piss down your back and tell you it’s raining like Glasses does. But the reds played ok, but it WAS Hull.
We need a striker. Anyone other than Balotelli. And don’t fall into the #TAW mistake of calling anyone who criticises Balotelli a racist. He’s just not good enough and he’s had massive, massive chances to show us his stuff but that’s it. It’s like turning up to a porn shoot with a small cock after telling all how big it is. It’s ok with the missus but the professionals and fans expect more.
So the game. Like I say they played ok. But it’s Hull. But the reds played better than they did against Madrid.
Coutinho. I love him and he gets better every game. Keep the fecker away from corners and we’ve a player. But on corners. Jesus. He couldn’t hit a 10 lb pussy in a 10lb pussy shop. And his hair? Honestly am I missing something? I’ve not seen that amount of uncontrollable pubes since I watched Orange Is The New Black.
Finally, Rodgers. Trumpet face made the point that a lot of LFC fans haven’t taken to him. Then he needs to STOP TALKING SHIT! ‘I’ve been up all night’. Feckoff! PR bullshit. STOP TALKING SHIT. Walk the walk.
Confidence. It’s all about confidence. Lovren and Skrtel. The poor guys. They needed it. Mignolet. He needed it. The needs of the individual is the need of the team. We needed that clean sheet. We needed that clean sheet more than three points. The league is full of points. You can get them later. But not without confidence.
It wasn’t pretty. Life isn’t always pretty. Sometimes you have to swallow. Sometimes you have to admit your failings. Only big men can admit defeat and build up. Start again. Stop the jet and rebuild. For a while. For a short while. Find the confidence. Cover that left eye that is bleeding all over and makes you an easy target. Which makes all your attacks backfire. Go to your corner and and get that wound sorted out.
Before you can start again.
It might look ugly. It might have looked ugly. But it was needed.
Before you can start again.
An interesting question to ask any one from LFC’s director’s box would be, ‘Are you now, or have you ever been a member of any secret society or masonic lodge?’
This is starting to feel like season 1 under Rodgers until we signed studge and coutinho, people forget we had a striker crisis then, the only reason it wasn’t thought to have been repeated was due to Mario. Maybe Jan fixes that, my worry is the pressure on sturidge was big enough after Luis left, he going to be fking enormous now when he comes back.
First of all. I think people need to calm down, remove emotion and analyze clearly. Just stop blaming Mario Balotelli for all the teams problems. Its bullshit. A hurricane of bullshit. Calm down. Make a hot drink. Breathe. He is part of the problem, not THE problem. There is a difference. A massive difference in fact. I’m not going to defend Balotelli here, because he has been average himself, like most of the team, but he’s not the entire problem, nor is Rickie-fucking-Lambert the answer to them. Thats almost as bad as saying Brad Jones is the answer and he should play instead of Mignolet. Clueless. Short memories.
He may not be good enough. He may be gone sooner rather than later. But lets get real. Its not all his fault. It seems some in this shit storm would have you believe otherwise. If you listened to them for long enough, you might starting believing it. People need a scapegoat.
99.9% of the focus has been on Balotelli, this focus has papered over the defence, there are teams down the leagues that can defend more efficiently than this. Inexcusable. Clean sheets against Hull City at home today though. “We’re back”
The focus on Balotelli has papered over Gerrard’s power and influence within the club, seemingly picking himself now, it is what it is. “No other alternative.” Doesn’t matter. He’s 34, needs regular rests. A young manager seemingly afraid to pull the 34 year old captain out for needed rests. Club legend or not. He leaves it up to the captain to decide. Here’s to another three 90’s in a week. We’re supposed to be prolonging him. Every other player in the “group” decisions are made for. But not this one. Above the group? Probably. Henderson can’t be unleashed. Too busy covering 2 or 3 other players. Gerrard, Johnson, himself, others. Looks tired now. Jordan Henderson looks tired. Jordan Henderson looks tired. JORDAN HENDERSON LOOKS TIRED.
Is that even possible?
How dare he be tired! How dare he!
Its also papered over the other new signings poor performances. Papered over the poor transfer biz in general. Done the committee a favour has Balotelli. Only cost them £16mill. £16mill they paid for that favour.
Supporters have allowed themselves to be taken by the wave. They fell into the fashion and started pointing the finger at Balotelli. Thats exactly what the media wanted. A target. Someone to blame. Thats exactly what a lot of you gave them. Well done.
Fact of the matter is this. We’re not getting goals like we did last season, obvious, we don’t look like getting goals like we did last season. Forget about Suarez. This team was still capable of getting goals, with or without Suarez. Our style remained regardless. Or at least it did. What happened to the “way of work”?
Our defence is not better, it needed to be with the money invested again. It isn’t. It seems we have no men at the back. No men. None. Better at fullback. Can’t fault the two young Spaniards. But we’re much the same down the centre. Keeper included. Not good enough. Skrtel over 5 years he’s been here now. You’d think he knows whats required by now. What he needs to do after last season. What the manager wants. Not good enough this season. Lovren. Not good enough so far. Mignolet. Poor. Hardly any protection in front of the defence either. Come at us, have a go. See what you get. You never know…..suck it and see, you may get joy.
Rodgers said defending was easy when it worked against us. Rodgers needs to shut up.
Rodgers has singled Mario out from the rest of the “group” on more than one occasion in the press. Rodgers needs to shut up.
Rodgers said we needed to protect Sterling or face burning him out.
Rodgers said we were “excellent” and “outstanding” today. Rodgers needs to shut up.
Coutinho was our brightest spark against Real Madrid. Probably the only player (bar perhaps Sterling) for us on the pitch who looked like he could play for Real Madrid. We hooked him off early in that game, presumably to keep him fresh for Hull City. Why didn’t he start? Why?
Don’t get it.
He was our most creative spark against Real Madrid and again here today from the bench. Should’ve started. Didn’t.
After 20mins we wasn’t even competitive against Madrid. We didn’t look like we belonged at that sort of level, “well thats Madrid, they’re the best, we’re not meant to” fine. But we didn’t look like we belonged against Basel either and we struggled at home to Ludogorets. Lets be real shall we? It is what it is. We deserve to be in the CL due to last season, but we’re not at that level yet. We seem inexperienced at that level. We’re supposed to be with so many young players. Soft at that level? I think thats the problem. We’ve struggled to compete. We should be doing that. We’re really good when we want to be. We don’t impose ourselves though. You need to earn the right to play first. Otherwise the game is just a mess like QPR away or Crystal Palace last season away. A tossup. We make shit teams look good. Average players look brilliant. We have a nasty filthy dirty fucking habit of doing that for players.
Oh hello Gabriel Obertan!
We were bossed in midfield against Madrid. A midfield that consisted of Kroos, Modric and Isco up against Gerrard, Allen and Henderson. Lets be honest. They may have all been technically better than our 3. Cuter on the ball than our 3. But we were man mountains compared to them in midfield. We’re playing at home. They’re good players them lot, but we could and should have been more physical. We wasn’t. We didn’t foul when we should have, Madrid had no problem doing that.
Is that down to our inexperience? I doubt that. Physicality is physicality. Any team can try it.
I’d argue, if its Rafa with those same players against Real Madrid. We compete more. Whether we get a result or not is irrelevant. We compete.
I don’t want Rodgers out. Quite the opposite. He is also learning, like we are learning. He’s new to that level also. But competing should be minimum requirement even if we can’t get the victories. We shouldn’t be scared of anyone. Not Madrid. Not Barca. Not Bayern Munich. Not anyone. They scored one goal and we rolled over. Heads down. Twas a great goal. Shouldn’t have destroyed us mentally like it did though.
A Liverpool supporter told me today after a midweek CL game that, that result today was “acceptable”
If you think that result is acceptable, I suggest you support Burnley instead. Thats good enough for them, not us.
Momentum. Confidence. We don’t have it. 0-0 to Hull City at home. Builds neither.
Winning breeds confidence, creates momentum.
Take nothing away from Hull City, they did what they had to do.
Not looking forward to Newcastle. They’re “fighting for their lives” don’t you know?
Hello Gabriel Obertan.
Thought saving Coutinho for the last 30 when they were tired of their pressing worked very well. He often gets marked out of games and by the time it has opened up he has lost his edge. Taking Coutinho and Henderson off when the game was lost on Wednesday (and it was incredibly lost at 0-3 on 60) is just smart rotation. If they were the best people to rest then there was no point playing them any longer trying to get a consolation goal. Also, don’t get your point about Henderson being tired, that it is Gerrard’s fault? Could it not be that Henderson runs around like a maniac and has played almost every game?
If you can’t see what Rickie Lambert brought to that football match then you need to go back and rewatch it. I have been saying a lot recently in defense of Lambert’s signing that he was bought for the last 20 min of PL games and I thought he really changed the game today, on par with Coutinho. I reckon Mario could learn a lot from him. On Mario, thought he was much better today, still has a long (long) way to go but it was promising. He is desperately out of form at the one thing we all know he is good at but you have to think that if he keeps getting the chances he got yesterday they will eventually start going in.
All in all, thought it was a well managed game, given that it was after CL, they were coming into it with their tails up and we don’t have an in-form striker. Ignoring what the “prick” said in the piece;) If Mario makes a decent connection at the end or with his diving header or we get the penalty (thought it was a penalty, his arm was square into Mario’s back and it put him off his stride) we win that game and you can’t fault the performance.
Complete and utter bollocks. We needed that clean sheet today, Mignolet did, Skrtel did and Lovren did. There are loads of if onlys but I thought we played well. If Sturridge was fit we win that game by 3 or 4. Just need a striker that can find the night when he’s not around.
Really good stuff Neil, spot on.
As an Arsenal fan, Wenger can never escape the damn pigeons. Every time he tries to make, do and mend in the market, he gets burnt. Refusing to pay for proven quality is a good principle, until it isn’t. Apparently Rogers wants rid of Balo in January and Berahino in. WBA are reported to be wanting £25m. If you can get £8m for Balo, you’d snap their hand off, at this rate. £25m + £8m haircut = the £30-odd million striker LFC should have been looking for in the summer. Diego Costa was £32m.
Don’t know how chelsea managed to get costa from athletico for only 32 mil (although chelsea seem to have teams, especially benefica, with which they have certain understandings). I’m sure if we could have got him for 32 mil, probably even 40-45 mil, we would have as we were in for him the summer before for around 30 mil when he was a less proven talent. Probably wenger would have too.
As has often been discussed here just looking at transfer fees doesn’t account for many key factors in transfers such as player power and mutual back scratching between clubs (maybe the courtois loan deal for example)
Bit of mutual back scratching also Mourinho and Costa sharing the same agent has to have something to do with it.
Crazybob you are fucking dull now. Get a new shtick.
Neil Atkinson writes football reviews. He writes the shit out of them.
And just to show how much football he knows, he doesn’t even have to write about the football being played. He leaves that to lesser folk. The type of folk who watch football as if it was a game.
No. What he watches transcends sport. Transcends all that you or I know about football.
And just to show how much he knows about it. He writes a sentence and then repeats a few words from that sentence in the next one. In the next one.
And just to emphasise a point, he uses one word sentences. Brilliantly.
That’s how to write a post match football review. Lads. Words. Reviewed.
Neil is not a pundit. Not a tactical analyst. He’s just a fan, and he writes about his emotions on what he sees in a football match. You need a tactical and statistical analysis, this is not a match review for you, you can read those very factual quality reviews on Anfieldindex, etc. But Neil writes what he feels. Which also happens to be what I feel, and what a few others feel. Is that fair enough? He has his audience.
I’ve read the book on the last season, Make Us Dream. It was full of excitement and dreams about the next season. This season. And what do we see this season? No Tricky Reds no more. No We are Liverpool Tra la la la la no more. No Magisterial Madness. No Captivating Chaos that was so beautiful to watch, no feeling that we can beat anyone, be it Madrid or Barca, or Bayern. Instead, we now fear Hulls and WestBroms. And Newcastles, and Swanseas. We have Lost our way. We have lost our best ever player, and the other one is constantly injured. But it shouldn’t have been enough for us to completely lose our way, our identity. That’s what Neil is on about. I think.
I think that losing your two dynamic interchanging strikers and not getting anyone else in who can stretch the defence with their pace is a perfectly acceptable excuse for “changing” your way, at least temporarily. Whether we should have found some better replacements/back-up is another question (we should have found some better replacements/back-up but hey-ho the transfer market is a difficult game these days from where we a sitting).
Neil is very attached to last season. I can understand because it was a very good season. A very very mind-blowing good season. But to be calling for us to play the same we played last season with Sturridge and Suarez this season with an out of sorts Balotelli just isn’t very smart in my opinion.
We did play the same way as the last season against Spurs. And before Balotelli joined us, we’d played Sturridge up top alone, with largely the same effect as Balotelli alone up top. I.e. We need to play 2 strikers, but the manager hesitates to do so, even though we do have fit, uninjured, young, mobile striker in the fringes.
We briefly played something like a diamond against Hull in the 2nd half, when he brought on Phil and Lambert. And we immediately looked a lot better, but couldn’t capitalise on that because Hendo when he came on indeed looked a bit jaded, and the rest who’d played the whole game, were already a bit tired and couldn’t press as intensely. Besides, as it was pointed out in MOTD, we are failing to open up spaces for the strikers to get the ball & shoot. Our off the ball movement and positioning does not allow it, being too narrow and easy to defend against. This is a tactical/coaching error, a repeated one. Of course, Suarez and Sturridge could do it for each other intuitively, because they are top class.. but Sterling and Lallana perhaps need to be pointed that out at a training.
In other words, there are many issues all over the pitch that need to be addressed and sorted, but are somehow neglected by the manager… unless he has become a bit complacent on the back of the last season and lost the ability to get his brilliant super-sophisticated philosophy across the players, many of whom we have bought for quite a large amount of money.
But against spurs we still had sturridge and his dynamic movement across the front line. I expect Rodgers is hoping that he can get balotelli to do this eventually, as he also likes to drift wide (but unfortunately he doesn’t drift back atm) especially when sturridge comes back. Although ultimately it is pretty clear he is waiting for origi to come next season though as his movement is meant to be very good (I haven’t seen much of him though tbh). Maybe then you will see something that more closely approximates the tricky reds of last season but I still think it won’t be the quite same without the crazy Uruguayan (might be more “pragmatic” though).
Putting lambert up with balotelli seemed to work well for the last 30 on sat, but it wasn’t working a la last season but in a more “ordinary” way that Neil was despairing about. Will be interested to see if he lines up this way against Newcastle or keeps using lambert in the last 20-30 min of games as he has done so far.
Spot on Tom. Neil, get your head out of your ass and wake up to reality. No Suarez and Sturridge, no Tricky Reds. To imply that it was better against QPR and Madrid because somehow we were truer to our tricky souls is idiotic. Yesterday was an obvious improvement, second half especially when we had two strikers on the pitch again and Coutinho’s quality (which as we know is inconsistent – if he can find some consistency we’ll have a world class player, a big IF.).
Stick with the 2 strikers Brendan, even if for now they are as imperfect as Mario and Rickie. They’re not bad players, they’ll score a few goals – despite the hysterical reaction from some people who can’t believe they’re not Luis.
In the absence of the breathtaking attacking threat that was Suarez, Sturridge, and Sterling, there is no hiding the weakness in midfield and defense. Teams press us because the can do so with minimal risk. We are a team with a very soft spine–and a midfield that is nowhere near providing enough goal threat and creativity going forward, nor stability in defense. And we all knew we would need more from midfield, from every player. That midfield three for the first 60 gave us nothing in attack and was unconvincing defensively. At home, against Hull. That won’t do.
Neil is writing from the heart so credit him for his humour and self awareness! I am sure he doesn’t really believe that we can play in the same vein as last season without the SSS triumvirate. It is simply not possible…. His main gripe is that we have lost our rather impressive USP from last season. We had almost become the neutrals team all over Europe and now the team is unrecognisable; it just doesn’t feel right.
As Red Chica clearly states, this is not a dry tactical debate. It is more about style and our own emotions. Last season we had not felt so good since 2008-9. We want ‘glory’ and no number of clean sheets or 1-0 scrapes will replace that sheer feeling of ecstasy from last season.
For 60 minutes it was like watching paint dry.
Hard working Hull, came for a point and were not letting it go.
Liverpool, yet again, didn’t have the nous to break down a mass, well organised defence.
Coutinho came on for 30 and was arguably MoTM.
Balotelli showed little glimpses that maybe, possibly, hopefully the message has finally got through regarding what’s expected of him.
You could argue he was maybe fortunate not to receive two yellows but that was balanced out by getting pushed in the back 6yds out and not getting a pen.
If we start to accept last night’s display after each European night, then we should just hand over points to Chelsea whom we play 3 days after Real Madrid. Tell Chelsea we don’t need to play at all since we need to rest, just walk into stadium, shake hands and give them the 3 points. We will not concede any goals then, which will boost the confidence of our defenders. Afterwards, we could blame Balotelli for not scoring any goals and chastise him for not giving putting in a shift. FFS.
On a serious note (really), if playing Lallana and Allen in a team with Sturridge up front produces the same dire results, shift them out in January.
And since Coutinho (our best player currently) is so capable of changing a game, find another player like him. We then would not need to pull him out on a European night. How would we find a player like Countinho? Ask the Manager and his team of scouts, that is what they are paid to do. If you don’t have the skills to convince players to come to us and live in the city, then you need another job. I would actually be surprised if Rodgers failed to convince any foreign player come play for us. When he could so easily, with his eloquency, sit in a press conference with the Prime Minister on video call and bring immediate peace to the middle east and put the blame on Obama’s pet dog for all the world troubles.
You’re not a prick Neil but you are being ‘knee jerky’!
I’ll start shitting myself if we’re still playing like this 5 games after Sturridge comes back.
Sturridge changes everything. We were the making of him and (as much as fans like to give all credit to Suarez) he was the making of us for it all started in March, April & May of 2013.
No need to throw out your razor and join the grey bearded masses yet.
Sturridge. Changes. Everything.
Ps great piece as usual
Completely agree on Sturridge coming back, Rob. He brings some of last season’s madness that Neil so craves with him. Not all of it; we’ll never have all of it back post-Suarez. Coutinho playing as well as he has done this past seven days and he’s been our MoM in all three matches by a mile and that’s with coming on as sub in two and getting subbed off in the other, will be creating more chances with Sturridge’s movement than we know what to do with.
I’m not interested in swapped shirts or perceived ‘laziness’ because it’s been lazy in and of itself, but I am concerned with Balotelli missing sitters when I remember him being a finisher at City. We were a mad attacking outfit in the league under Kenny but Suarez missed chances for fun and then everyone went “we need to stop conceding soft goals”, “we need to control games like Benitez” or funnily enough during that season, like Rodger’s Swansea. Much like ’11/’12, I’m thinking about Balotelli’s chances yesterday and in the derby thinking ‘we were good and should be 4 points better off’. Your center forward putting the ball in the back of the net when he should changes everything regardless of set up. The great start we had last season with the Houllieresque 1-0s sans Sturridge would have all been frustrating 0-0s an seen as negative and Hodgsonesque.
If we lose the next games playing like yesterday I’ll look stupid but I’ve got to disagree with Neil. I think Rodgers made the right decision to keep us as sane a football team as possible to grind a result and this could be the way to go for a month before Sturridge is back and then we can get back to the free-flowing craziness. That said, when Lambert came on it reminded me of another 0-0 against a Steve Bruce side when Rafa had Dirk and Voronin upfront against Birmingham (Torres must have been injured much like Sturridge. Watched a bit of Origi against Everton the other night and my review of him is that he’s definitely better than N’gog) and we could still be playing that game now and not have scored. I don’t even know how I remember that game as it was so blindingly forgettable but the point is a lack of pace and pulling defenders out of position hurts us probably even more so in 2014 than it did already back in 2007.
Can anyone explain the economic mystery that rewards young Mario with Ferraris and a mansion in the contryside?
So we’ve spent all our money and are still relying on one player coming back!? One player will right everything. If that’s true then we are in one god awful state of affairs
Andrew’s pont about Sturridge is absolutely spot on. You’d think he was Kenny, Rushie, Torres and Luis rolled into one player. He is a very good forward and will certainly add movement to our attack. He will give Coutinho scope to play clever passes that he is always looking to play but rarely finds a man moving to receive them. What he won’t do is make Mingolet a top keeper, or turn bewildered cente backs into Lawrenson and Hansen. Will he be able to ‘rest’ Gerrard so that at least a balanced midfield can be put together out of the resources we have? I doubt if he can stop Rodgers from execising his personal agenda and get Lucas a game or Borini a run. He certainly won’t get Agger or Pepe back. I doubt he will have much influence on the transfer committee’s inability to spend money wisely and plan for eventualities e.g Suarez leaving or Sturridge getting injured.
What is guaranteed is the he will be ‘outstanding’ alongside all the other ‘outstanding’ players putting in ‘outstanding’ performances.
These are not my words but I love them:
Listen, for me, people need to start accepting that this is going to to be a very difficult year. It was obvious as fuck to me all Summer how hard a year this would be, but judging by the fallout in post match threads on here, some people really thought we’d challenge for the league again.
I don’t think it helps when you’ve got the likes of the Anfield Wrap laughably asking people all Summer if they’d take 84 points again and when the transfer forum is polluted by people that abuse other posters the moment they give a real assessment on the quality of potential signings.
It hurts and it stings as fuck to see how awful we are in attack now, considering what a joy last season was in terms of entertainment. People need to accept it’s not going to be like last season any time soon, certainly not in the next 6 months anyways.
I don’t think people fully understood that last season was a one off. Call it delusion, wishful thinking, the total inability or lack of football intelligence to understand how crucial Luis Suarez was to us etc… Some people thought that it was going to be like that all the time from now on. Well, it’s not.
Last season was unique, probably the most unique season in our history. How many attacking records did we break? It was football from heaven, as good as anything in our history. We’re a club that’s won the title 18 times and were the benchmark for European football for so long. Yet last season’s team buried a huge number of those title winning teams in terms of goals and other records.
It’s not something we can do year on year. It’s something to aspire to, something that usually happens at the tail end of a manager’s “project”, where everything clicks after years of planning, improvements and smart transfer decisions (Rafa’s 08/09 title tilt was his 5th season as LFC manager, and he took over a team that was in the Champions League).
Last season was Rodgers’ second season, after taking over a team that finished 8th and he gave us a season from heaven.
We’re all distraught at how mind numbingly boring it is to watch us play now and we all know the reasons why we’re playing like this. It’s impossible to play how we did last term with static forwards in attack. It flies in the face of everything Rodgers has been about since day 1. Playing with Balotelli and Lambert up front for Brendan Rodgers is akin to Gerard Houllier making a risk taking liability of a defender like David Luiz the cornerstone of his defence. It defies everything he stands for.
The most important thing for everyone to realise is that however boring and frustrating it is for you to watch this Liverpool side try to “attack” at the moment, it is 10 times more frustrating and boring for our manager. We have a man in charge who we all know loves scintillating attacking football and is as desperate as we are to watch our side tear into teams again. This is a man who last season was angry after we beat Palace 3-1 as to how we stopped attacking in the 2nd half.
A couple of weeks ago, after Basel, that same manager came out and said how poorly we were playing in the final third. I absolutely loved that. You know other managers we’ve had in recent times would have said we’ve been unlucky, we’ve been controlling games etc… Not Brendan. He’s fed up of this awful football as much as we are and he can’t wait to put it right again.
And put it right he will. Do not worry a bit about that. He will get rid of our static forwards and bring us forwards with movement which will allow our wonderfully creative players like Sterling, Coutinho and Lallana to ACTUALLY HAVE SOMEONE RUNNING AT GOAL FOR THEM TO PASS TO!!
Meanwhile, we’ll have to dog it out. It’s not going to get better than this as long as our only options in attack are Balotelli and Lambert. It’s impossible. This is as good as it gets with them as our forwards options.
Accept that, realize that it’s not going to be any better until Sturridge comes back and we buy another striker with more movement than an oil tanker, and try to be as patient as you can.
I think with the extra TV money we’re also seeing a level of parity that’s not been seen in the Premier League era . The gap between the mid table and top 6 has diminished. Every team ( maybe not Burnley) have players capable of punishing mistakes and barring Chelsea no one has looked a nailed on 3 Pts week in week out so far. The Reds have been frustrating for sure but it’s shaping up to be an interesting season none the less.
Chelsea bring schurrle on after 89 minutes. Good god the gulf is huge.
You’d have to think that the gulf will start to close as all the money they invested before FFP kicked in starts to depreciate (assuming FFP doesn’t get derailed at some point).
Spent the day running that last minute Balotelli miss through my head over and over. Wishing we could replay it and have a different outcome. It didn’t go in though and we didn’t win. That’s the reality and speculating on what might have been is futile. I’m finding it hard not to think about it though. Imagine how the crisis would have looked. Clean sheet. Balotelli winner. 3 on the bounce. In a brilliant place in the league. Spirit, resilience and fight showing through after last second winners 2 weeks running. Winning unbelievably ugly yet again. (which apparently is a brilliant thing to do). Twitter and the TAW comments would have gone into meltdown. The fact that Balotelli showed what a lot of us have been saying for weeks – that he’s not lazy and uninterested, he’s just not that good or more accurately, can’t play the role and gets frustrated. I’m not gonna mention fine lines again because in some ways it doesn’t apply to yesterday. We were poor. But then in other ways it does. We were so close. So close to this being a huge weekend for us. Massive in fact, a renewed optimism. Instead, the place we’re in is shit. Gonna have to stop there. Apart from it being an irrelevant comment I can’t stand the torture of thinking about it any more. It didn’t happen. But it could have and should of. Things should be so much rosier today. Aaargh. When I play it over in my head I have this fantasy that just for that split second I replace Balotelli and show him how it’s done but then immediately after I’ve scored it becomes Balotelli again and we see how he celebrates the winner. I think he’d have run the 5 yards to the Kop and then stopped and given us all a menacing stare. The Kop would have belted out Mario fantastico like never before. It would have great. Pure theatre. Right, stop it now. This isn’t helping anyone.
I left the ground to be home just in time for the BBC football round up and I was angered in his post match interview on BBC when Rogers said we were “excellent” and “outstanding” today. He’s taking the piss out of the fans who know when they have seen a poor, dull and in the last seconds of the match wasteful display. He’s got some neck saying that and if he carries on with these kind of comments he better watch himself and the fans support for him. Think on next time.
Neil you prick, spot on with this article
My feelings at the of the game were not “sack Ridgers” , not we were shite, not we could have scored
No. Just Disappointment!
Disappointment with the lack of belief , courage and wherewithal to get the job done
Disappointment with the reality that we just wanted to get out of the fixture unscathed – dispiriting was a great description
Can I also say, away from the football, its very odd to see people copying Neil’s style of writing as if it’s their own. Very odd!
I think this article misses what made us extraordinary last season. At times we flew like butterflies, stung like bees but not always. Early last season we were cagey, we were like that because without Suarez that’s what it took to win. I think right now it’s ill advised too go out swinging, but once Sturridge comes back by all means lets see this team throw down.
Too. Many. Full. Stops. Disrupt. The. Flow. Cannot. Read. In. One. Go. Please. Take. On. Board.
Is it just me who thinks the “Sturridge back changes everything” mantra is just making a frickin huge rod for his back and will just mean the 50lb bag of spuds that Balloteli is carrying in terms of expectation and pressure will simply be passed to Daniel ?
No it’s not just you, it’s starting to sound a bit ‘please let everything be ok once Daniel is back’ yet no one is asking questions of the top staff at LFC regards Sturridge and his injury issues and why they thought that a striker with a large injury history would go the season uninjured. Madness – but again nobody wants to ask the question and if you do somehow its only because you want the manager to fail to prove yourself right? That’s just beyond.
Exactly. Been saying it for weeks now.
Just as I said from the start of the season we were bang in trouble trying to finish top 4. Unsurprisingly the pricks accusing me of being a Utd supporter etc have shut the fuck up after they’ve seen what has since transpired. Sadly it didn’t take a genius to see our problems coming (Although I am a genius. And a prick, just like Neil) but a lot of our fans didn’t want to hear it. Would rather stick their heads in the sand. Some are still doing it why claiming that when Dan comes back in everything will be good again.
Every passing week more and more pressure is added to his return. When he was out injured initially he was one of the best strikers in England. Now that he’s been out over a month and our strikers (all 3 bought by Brendan Rodgers) have shown themselves abysmal, Sturridge is now one of the best strikers in the world apparently.
The idea that we’ll be grand when he comes back is farcical. We’ll score a few more but does that sort out the mess of a defence? Does it sort out who is accountable for the signings? Does it sort out the manager’s inability to even rest Gerrard, let alone drop him? And if this period has shown opponents anything its that Sturridge is our only quality striker so he’ll be paid closer attention. This might give Balotelli more space to show us a bit more, but what if Brendan only goes with Daniel up front on his own?
Teams know two things about LFC and they cannot be fixed for the next 3 months. These are:
(a) if you want to attack us, even if only from set pieces, we’ll concede
(b) if you want to set up a bank of and a bank of 5, even if your limited and even at Anfield, we won’t score
That is not a good combination.
We are playing every game with 10 men at the minute, and no, I’m not talking about Balotelli.
Stevie is a complete passenger and has been all season. Has he played well once? No. At least there’s been games here and there where the likes of Hendo or Moreno or Lallana (awful on Saturday btw) have had a good performance. But not Gerrard. It’s painful to see.
Have a look at these stats to see just how far he has fallen and how little he offers the first team in 2014/15:
Bet you he’s delighted that Balo is at the club to act as the lightening rod for all the criticism thrown our way. The media know they get more sales from headlines and online click-bait when Balotelli’s name is mentioned. Meanwhile fickle fans are either unable or unwilling to see the real issues and pin it on the big Italian. Take all that shit about swapping shirts at half time. Lazy journos/presenters/analysts seen a opportunity for a controversy involving a scapegoat and kicking a man when he is down and fans with questionable intellect lap it up.
And Gerrard won’t be the only one satisfied Mario is taking all the flack. The manager is probably relieved too, otherwise both of them would be under a lot more pressure than they have been.
The whole “we don’t do draws at home anymore” is gone. Long gone. We’re back to lots of days like Saturday. The difference being when we had it under Rafa, (a) you could trust the defence and (b) in the big games you know we had a steel and the tactical acuman that meant we would at the very least compete.
At the minute we are Arsenal Light. We have been/will be swept aside by the top teams at home and abroad easily (City/Madrid/Chelsea etc) but unlike them will struggle to win at places like Sunderland and Villa. And at our best (and we’re 2 years off it) I think Brendan will have us the way Arsenal have been for the last 10 years. That is set up to take 6 points off teams 13th – 20th, 4 points off teams 6th to 12th and very very little points off teams 1st to 5th, with the odd hammering here or there.
This should mean Champions League football most years but few trophies, unless the money we get is invested wisely – sadly none of us can have any confidence this will be the case. Add in to the fact we are in a bit of trouble with FFP and the future isn’t terribly rosey.
Would be over the fucking moon with 4th but it’s not happening. Im saying things are great At Arsenal or Utd but it’s easy for any objective observer to see that those two teams will sort themselves out a long time before we will.
Im *NOT saying things are great At Arsenal or Utd but it’s easy for any objective observer to see that those two teams will sort themselves out a long time before we will.