THE League Cup doesn’t matter? Someone forgot to tell Liverpool. When I heard the team read out on Radio City as I drove towards the ground it prompted a scowl, a nod and a clench of the fist. Not just because Liverpool were taking this seriously, but because Liverpool were doing it their way; backing themselves, sticking up an early middle finger to these so called ‘rivals’.
Any manager always has the option to stop, stifle and stymie. Any manager can get wrapped up in worrying about the opposition too much – he’s scored this many, he can do that. He’s capable of this. Only if you let them. Only if you let them. Should Liverpool go more defensive? Four at the back? Should Lazar Markovic be given defensive duties against one of the best players in Europe in Eden Hazard? It was a viable option to change. To tinker. To play safe. And it was an option Brendan Rodgers would be passing on tonight, thank you very much. Yes, even against the league leaders. Even against a team 17 points ahead of us in the league with only two discretions in the lost column. The top scorers in the top flight.
And good. Good because what I want from Liverpool at home in a major match like this is a show of balls. Balls win games. Sometimes balls aren’t enough. But if you slap them on the table and show you mean business no-one can say you didn’t try. And no-one can say Liverpool didn’t try. They did more than try. They dominated.
Let’s rewind a bit. Remember not so long ago, when Liverpool were setting up to avoid defeat? To stay solid? To be boring? Remember when Rodgers was pacing his kitchen in the early hours and berating journalists for not being positive enough in match reports?
Then it seemed like there was no way back. A malaise had enveloped Anfield. Heads had gone down or gone completely. Spirits were low. Players played it safe and so did the manager.
Now think about tonight. It might stick in the craw, but Chelsea are a good side. A very good side. And think what you like about the egomaniac who makes journalists go weak at the knees and Scousers clench a fist, but Jose Mourinho knows how to win and knows how to set up a team.
We saw that tonight. Liverpool started on the front foot in a manner befitting of the ballsy formation but Chelsea’s disciplined shape and commitment to break up and battle was worthy of grudging admiration.
They simultaneously gambled little while gambling enough and while Philippe Coutinho almost threaded Raheem Sterling and Steven Gerrard nearly added a 35-yarder to his goals gallery it wasn’t much to show for all the huff and puff of the opening 17 or so.
Chelsea had conceded both territory and possession early but with Mourinho masterminding it there was the lingering doubt it was a shuffle of the chess pieces as much as a Liverpool onslaught.
And when you’ve got players like Hazard and Diego Costa to lead the charge the other way, a goal is never far away. So it proved. Chelsea were clearly, and predictably, targeting Markovic and Can – and it was down their flank that the move built which ulitimately led to the penalty – Chelsea’s only shot of the first half.
Not too many fingers should be pointed at Can. He’s young, he’s finding his feet and he’s not the first to find himself fooled by a Hazard fleet of foot.
So back to the balls. The desire. The fight. Against Real Madrid, Liverpool lay down, rolled out the red carpet and applauded the Ronaldo show; hardly laying a glove on the Spanish giants once they had taken the lead at Anfield. They should have all got a selfie and an autograph and had done to be brutally honest.
You can talk money, spending, transfers, managers and systems all day – and plenty do – but spirit, commitment and fight are commodities that can’t always be bought or coached. And there was little evidence of that on or off the pitch that night in October.
So here we were again. Roughly the same point in the game. 1-0 down to a good side packed with stars in an important game at a packed Anfield. What this time? Mute acceptance, or biting belligerence?
Thankfully this time it was more of the latter. And alongside being the form team in the league – and boasting a squad increasingly packed with options rather than duds – this is a group that’s found its fists and discovered how to throw a punch or two.
Sterling kept chipping away. Coutinho running and running, twisting and turning; desperate to find a crack in a seemingly impenetrable line – the Chelsea back four drilled to within an inch of their lives, marshalled by Matic and Mikel and aided and abetted by Hazard and Costa who often dropped to do some dirty work.
We did the dirty work too. Can recovered and made some crucial tackles – and some promising drives forward. Moreno saved everyone’s bacon with that last ditch block. Everyone fought, ran and generally looked like they meant it. Sorry about you if you’re desperate for Rodgers to get the boot, but it doesn’t look like his players feel the same way.
The question then was how could Liverpool get through – the effort and endeavour was there for all to see but we’d been here before as the Tourettes-like chants of the Chelsea fans reminded us. Again. Again. And again. Last season we knocked on the door and left the back gate open. If you didn’t think the same could happen again here you’re lying.
That second half though. What a second half. Supporting a footie team isn’t a linear journey – there are ups and downs. Peaks and troughs. Times when you doubt you care as much as you once did. Then you get second halves like that.
I started the night with a sore throat. I’ve made it a lot worse, and not just screaming at some inexplicable decisions from Martin Atkinson. A simple collision is a yellow for Lucas? Costa’s handball? The ridiculous John Terry wrestling incident on Sterling? Thibaut Courtois handling outside the box? All sound, apparently. All sound.
Our conversation at half time on the Kop had centred around how Liverpool were going to get through the barrier of blue. Would Brendan have the chess board out? Change tactics? Alter the system? It seemed like the board was binned. Let’s just have balls. Big massive balls.
Liverpool kept going. Kept knocking. And this time the gate was locked. Liverpool deserved more than the one goal that eventually arrived. Look at them all at the end. There was nothing left in the tank – it was all poured out on the pitch, every last bit. The way it should be. Chelsea were knackered, too. We made them work. Left them clinging on. Big time. Last ditch tackles, blocks, saves, the post. They got lucky and we got ballsy. And it was fantastic to watch.
Not so long back – Old Trafford, Manchester – Sterling’s cutting edge was questioned. A burst through the Chelsea defence and a left foot finish later that question was as relevant as songs about Demba Ba. Some goal. How do you get through the barrier? You burn right through the middle with that pace and that control then you apply that finish. See you, lads.
Make no mistake, Chelsea won’t be looking forward to facing Sterling on Tuesday. And what has he got to be scared of? Run at them. Run through them. What have Liverpool got to be scared of? Look how good we are.
Gerrard should have scored when he hit the post, Lallana’s belter brought out a brilliant save from Courtois; Coutinho, Henderson, Sterling….we could and should have won it.
London’s calling and we want the League Cup. We’re taking it seriously. And we’ve found our balls. Get Gerrard to Wembley said the bedsheet banner. You know what, we’re going to give it a good go.
I loved the team’s attitude tonight. Serious man-crush on Coutinho. We gave them a real good run for their money and I’m proud of that. I worry that we’ll regret not being able to find the second goal. Still, what a game. That was fun.
Very good performance tonight. We were generally excellent and the pressing all over the pitch was beautiful to behold. Taking into account the quality of the opposition, that second half was as well as we’ve played all season.
Can was poor for their goal, and I mean the manner in which he allowed Fabregas to pass him near the byline rather than the penalty concession itself. But there are bona fide centre-halves all over Europe whom Hazard and Fabregas have shown up, so there’s no shame there. And he – and the team – recovered well from going behind. There’s been very little wrong with out character this season, however underwhelming some of the performances.
Oh, I’d definitely be going 4 at the back at Stamford Bridge.
That second half was electrifying. A performance like that against the leagues top side will do wonders for the teams collective self belief. The pressing , energy and instinctive attacking play was so impressive. Credit to all involved , manager and players. Wish we were playing again tomorrow.
This team is the team the rest of the league don’t want to see. This team with the fire. This team with the attitude of “Well, we might as well attack, cause that’s just more fun.” This team with the big red balls.
Great report Gareth, last night was all about balls, and what a performance! Make no mistake that was our performance of the season, very few teams will work Courtois as hard as we did in the second half: front foot from back to front. Great to see Rodgers finally grasp the Gerrard nettle too: treat him like a normal player. For about the first time this season I was happy with just about every decision last night, on and off the pitch. We’re not as good as Chelsea, not as disciplined or drilled, but we had them on the back foot for almost the whole of the second half. I’d have liked to see Lambert for Moreno for the last 5-10 but that’s a very minor quibble. Onwards and upwards!
P.S. Imagine that performance with Sturridge leading the line and Coutinho and Sterling buzzing behind him! Sterling will give us so many options when Sturridge is fit, he can play behind or, when teams tire and we need a second striker, move to wing-back.
For the first time this season after Spurs, I think we can beat anybody! AND, if Chelsea’s performance is anything to judge by, so do they!!!
Rodgers finally got it right, with both selection, setup and subs. Onward and upward!
‘Both’ , of course, is the wrong word.
Boss match,boss report.
All our young players are getting better each game.
Thought Gerrard played well and was subbed at the right time
Defense and even mingolet looked solid
Lucas was good for the 90
Fantastic movement and commitment
Unlucky not to score 3 or 4
“Supporting a footie team isn’t a linear journey – there are ups and downs. Peaks and troughs. Times when you doubt you care as much as you once did. Then you get second halves like that.”
Brilliant, brilliant line there. Perfectly summed up my feelings of late.
Impressive stuff from the Reds. Credit to BRod to switching to 343, he’s found a way to get this group of potential stars and misfits together into a team with belief.
We’re a bit toothless up front, but a fit Sturridge changes everything.
Worry for Lovren and Balo, £36mil worth of player there and I see you place for them in the 11.
Shout out to Mignolet for turning things around.
Trebles still on… (LC, FA, EL).
Clearly meant see no* place
You know these people who’ve said so much that they can’t bring themselves to admit we’re doing ok now, well, I’ve got a few mates like that and they’ve been saying to me – come back when we’ve played well against someone from the top 4 dickhead. I’m no different to them really, so I was absolutely desperate for us to not get outclassed tonight and to at least hold our own. What I didn’t want was that feeling like after the Madrid game when naturally proud men and women, who are proud of their team, could do nothing but laugh about how far ahead of us they were. It was thoroughly humiliating. Apart from getting one up on a few of my mates I was worried that kind of deflation would ruin the momentum we’ve built both as a team and as fans. I wanted to come out of it with our unbeaten run intact as much as get to the final. As it is we can all hold our heads up. I know Chelsea had a plan but we played some really good football and but for the brilliant Courtois would have won.
It wasn’t a great night for me in other ways. Recently, I’ve said Skrtel’s rubbish, the League Cup is just a hindrance – I’ll be glad if we get knocked out and only 20 hours ago I commented on the podcast thread that I’d never criticise a referee again. Some times when watching the game I sit in the pose of Rodin’s The Thinker with my legs out in the aisle and my chin rested on my hand, lifeless. Tonight I was in my other mode, animated. I’ve lost my voice from the amount of times I screamed ‘oh fuck off you ya cunt’ at the ref. It’s actually very therapeutic. Bit like primal scream therapy. Talking of the crowd I surprised how many of the people around me had given up their tickets yet how good the Kop was. One of my favourite moments of the season so far was the Kop chanting the elephant man, the elephant man, Diego Costa, the elephant man. I love spontaneous moments like that. Horrible cunt looked rattled to.
I’m trying to imagine you in that Rodin pose…
I thought I also heard:
“He needs a good bath,
He need a good baaaaaaath,
He needs a good bath”
Did I imagine it? The fucker looks like he does at any rate.
Haha, I think you may have imagined that. Could you hear ‘she took it 5 times’? haha
Haha, I didn’t hear that. Who could they have been talking about it?
The best one (if slightly cruel) is still Killie fans to Andy Goram in his come-back game for Rangers having been out for months being treated for (amongst other things) schizophrenia symptoms.
“Two Andy Gorams
There’s only two Andy Gorams…”
I find all that interesting. Crowds interest me as much as the football. I like the way something you wouldn’t dream of saying to someone is acceptable when you’re in a crowd and becomes a good laugh. It’s all pantomime yet in such a (for want of a better word) politically correct society no one bats an eyelid.
This was an important performance after what happened in the league. This was the night when this young team found its identity. When it realised that it can go toe to toe with the best and match or better them. This was the night when Can, Marko, & Moreno all realised that they are good enough to play for Liverpool in the Premier league.
More important, this was the night when Rodgers affirmed that the way to win games, even when playing against the best, is to try to score at least one more goal than them. Long may it continue.
Awesome performance, I was sitting there thinking, imagine if we were playing Everton instead, we’d be 5 : 0 up surely.
One issue, we have 2 strikers on the bench, who’d both scored in the last game, and no “proper” striker on the pitch, with the 20 shots we had maybe Borini would have scored one
At the end of the day, it was a draw in a match we needed to win. And that is disappointing.
Cheer up sunshine.
Robin Crimes said it best- “What I didn’t want was that feeling like after the Madrid game…” and
“I was worried that kind of deflation would ruin the momentum we’ve built both as a team and as fans.”
Apart from clearly winning, this was the best result & performance everyone supporting the club could have hopped for. Enjoy it mate.
Exceptional performance imo. to come back in the first half like we did took real belief, quality and hard graft. Then to up it again second half like we did was nothing short of phenomenal imo. The sterling coutiniho link up second half was electric, if those two boys can sharpen their finishing they can be up there with the best in Europe in a years time. So proud I feel the need to rank them and I make no bones about scoring so highly as I do it within the context of (1) playing arguably the 2nd best team in Europe right now, (2) how completely shorn of confidence we were not so long ago and (3) the fact we did it after having the wind knocked out of us after 20 mins (again against a top side having made good start at home):
Special mention for Brendan, very well done big fella, amazing turnaround given where we/you were 6 weeks ago.
Good stuff. I’d give Can 8. The pen apart, he was exceptional.
I agree, he made one mistake and then was in a rush to make up for it made a bigger one. Other than that, and more so because of that he was great.
Couldn’t believe Carragher said at half time on sky saying Can couldn’t defend. He loves having a go at our back line does Carragher.
He got done by a Fabregas & Hazard combo,
Nothing to be ashamed about,
Can has played a huge part in our recent revival, composed on the ball and generally picks the correct pass and pings it into people’s feet, big physical lad for someone so young which helps our three at the back with the monster look we currently have going on!!
Sakho has also quietly impressed and bar one dodgy pass he was also excellent.
Very two-footed too, which is always nice to see.
Carragher has be SKYed.
Excellent performance if not the result. Sterling and Coutinho with their backs to goal both doing what Suarez was so good at. The feint, the twist of the hips the little touch and there gone leaving the best square of centre backs and defensive mids in a heap.
Can’t wait for next week, reckon we’ll do them, Sturridge off the bench to get the winner would be special. They have to come at us at home don’t they?
We owe Jose for last year, that sickening run up the line beating his puffer jacket without sleeves, face all yellow and twisted, scruffy get spoiled our plans.
To all the Rodgers out brigade
What’s the point?
Everytime we put in a good performance or get a good result you can’t enjoy it as much as the rest of us. Just get over it and get onboard we CAN still play even without Suarez and Sturridge.
Balls out all day long.
I said to my lad at half time that I couldn’t see how we would hurt them but what a great effort from the lads in that second half. But for Courtois it would have been a win, now to keep it going and sneak a win down south.
BTW I can’t help it but every time I watch that shower I think of Revie’s Leeds team.
Robin thanks for clearing up the elephant man chant sat here 10,000 K’s away I was trying to figure out what it was that was making everybody laugh.
Well, good report.Here’s one from the Chelsea perspective. I was ambivalent about this game, simply thought we’d have too much and the old, tight clashes of the Benitez era were gone. And then, just as the teams were announced I felt a bit nervous; something about that LFC line up looked well balanced and productive. And so it proved. Excellent performance from Liverpool, not a player to be criticised, all contributing to the same ethic. harassed and harried and didn’t succumb to fatigue; admirable. Attacked at pace and in the second half had me swearing at Jose for not changing it. He should have subbed Mikel, put Fabregas in the middle and let Costa come on and do some damage.
It’s almost as if Jose said’ you lot are good enough, prove it’, but they didn’t!
Can’t understand why LFC aren’t like this every week, but maybe some momentum is now building.
As for the Elephant man, he may have the last laugh yet…
Haha, fair play mate, nice comments. There was some good banter last night. I love the way Mourinho was waving to us when we insulted him. I can’t bring myself to dislike him. Respect to the Chelsea fan who got his flag out when we sang ‘where’s your famous plastic flags’ too. It could be a good second leg.
Lucas was a colossus.
If he leaves this window, or the next….
If he keeps playing like that he is not going anywhere.
I love Lucas, especially his heart, which is what it is all about at the end of the day. To come back and keep putting your head down and proving yourself after all the crap he has taken down the years is incredible, let alone play with as much passion as he does.
He should be club captain. He’s risen above personal abuse; serious injury; managerial neglect; and weekly speculation about not if he’s going but which team wants him. And he hurls himself into a delirious group of supporters because we scored against a lowly-ranked team, after he had apparently resigned himself to being sold. You truly can’t buy that sort of commitment and you shouldn’t devalue it.
Agreed. Although Hendo is fast stepping up into the captaincy role I would love to see Lucas made captain for a few years before he takes over.
A spirited performance by Liverpool that had Chelsea on the ropes for much of the game (second half at least). 0 shots on target for Chelsea (bar the pen) to our 6 and 0 corners says it all. Alas, we needed a striker to capitalise on the attacking threat and skill of Coutinho and Sterling. We won’t be without strikers forever though and we have an exciting young side. Have to mention Lucas who was brilliant for the 90. Always in the right place at the right time.
What about the crowd? The League Cup games – for a supposedly mickey mouse competition- have had the best atmosphere this season. Last night was the best yet and I’ve enjoyed these games much more because of this. Great being surrounded by locals and passionate fans rather than ‘tourists’ who generally add zilch to the atmosphere these days. No doubt this is down to the low key status of the competition itself and the cheaper tickets, making it more affordable for local people.
Time to ditch some of those season ticket holders me thinks or at least a bit of rotation every now and again would help.
Really enjoyed watching us play last night. As a 90 minutes it might be the best performance of the season over the spurs and Swansea games considering it was against the best team in the country. Become a cliche this season but here goes again: if Sturridge plays we turn that domination into goals. As is slaughtering shit refs but I’m not letting these dickheads spoil my enjoyment of games like that (seriously, Webb’s fucked off and they’ve all stepped up their game to be as insufferable as he was). Thought coutinho and sterling were frighteningly good again. Crazy technique and a nice understanding (more how I imagine Beardsley and Barnes played together than the Gerrard/Torres partnership I actually got to witness). Coutinho was always going to have the beating of Mikel but sterling actually faired well in the air against Cahill(!) just by backing in and forcing the foul. His finish was a bit suarezy where they show him onto his left thinking they’re safe and he just slots regardless. He’s improved exponentially as a centre forward since old Trafford. Thought this 343 was a stop gap for Rodgers to get us out the mire but it looks like it’s got legs as the long term shape based on that display. Shame we didn’t get the win we deserved to go into the 2nd leg with (gerrard’s chance would have been a lovely moment for him and us – his goal record against Chelsea has been poor for him considering we’ve played them a million times in the last decade) and a greater shame this Liverpool won’t get to mix it up in the champions league knockout stages.
What do we change for the second leg? I disagree with some of the commenters re Can and am inclined to side with Carragher, whilst acknowledging that being exposed by Fabregas and Hazard hardly puts Can in a club of one. It’s not ragging on him to make this point given the opposition and the fact that centre-half is not his position, but exposed he was. It’s clear Mourinho targeted our right-hand side and given their limited opportunity to exploit what they see as a weakness (only 38% possession) you’d have to say they enjoyed at least partial success. Mourinho will do the same next leg if we set up the same way and if you flip those possession stats around for the second leg (which is entirely realistic given Chelsea’s home form) I see a long night ahead for both Can and Liverpool.
Unless we do something exceptional at Stamford Bridge, it’s likely we’ll be looking for swift counter-attacks and spending long spells out of possession. I think going to a back four with bona fide defenders in each position will make us more solid without taking anything away from our ability to counter at pace.
Interesting to see what Chelsea do selection wise for the second leg given it’s 4 days before they face Man City in a potential league-deciding encounter. It’s not inconceivable that one of Matic, Hazard or Costa starts on the bench.
He only had a ropey 10 seconds – not bad for a only just 21yo lad out of position getting targeted by the top of the leagues best two attackers (it took a 3rd world class player to overload him as well; it was actually fabregas who dragged him out to byline for the initial mistake). His head didn’t seem to go at all after their goal either. Just got on with playing himself back into the game so credit to the lads mental strength too. Carragher saying he’s slow on the evidence of losing one foot race with hazard was really harsh as well. Agree with you that they flooded their left/our right though. Markovic sometimes had three around him when he picked it up.
I know,a bit rich given some of the roastings Jamie suffered in his career. Can wasn’t dumped on his arse!
Much as I love everything that Carra has done for the club he doesn’t need to be slaughtering a 20 year old played (out of position, probably) against a world class player. Remember Thierry Henry, Jamie?! And when that Can bloke gets motoring…. he motors.
Excuse me while I go off on a bit of a tangent about Carragher’s comments on sky but they have been troubling me for a while.
While more understandable but still a bit shit, was his (fairly vicious) attack early doors on Lovren this season for heading the ball down to Moreno against City (after singing his praises with Gary Neville last year when he was at Southampton), and again on Mingolet for not stopping the equalizer from Jagielka.
Could be coincidence (and a long bow) but I thought both of their forms deteriorated quite sharply after those roastings. I realise he is probably just fuming that we lost/drew those games but I reckon his words would have a lot of impact on new recruits who are trying to establish themselves in pressure positions.
Not quite sure whether it might have been the injury Lovren had last year cost him a yard of pace and that is why he always late to tackles, but I reckon if you are really nervous then you could also lose a yard of pace with you legs feeling like they weigh 100kg. Not so sure about this line of thought as he has looked pretty damn awful at times, but there has to be some reason why he can be deemed to be worth 15-20 mil (and I didn’t hear many people complaining at the time) and look worse than a pub defender when he plays at the moment.
It’s tricky with young defenders isn’t it? I still remember Agger being bullied by Drogba then dominating him the next time we played. Can may have been targeted, but one clumsy tackle aside, can you honestly say he was targeted successfully? I thought he dealt with most things Chelsea were able to throw at him, though I take your point. Will be interesting to see how Rodgers sets up in the return leg, I thought he got pretty much everything right last night (and its a relief to type these words, though I doubt he’ll be losing any sleep about my opinion!) but it might be a different game at the Bridge. I fancy us on the counter, but we might need to be a bit more direct.
I think we’ll score at the Bridge but I think Chelsea will, too. And I agree Carragher was a bit hard on Can – he certainly wasn’t given the runaround for 90mins. He did as well as most centre-halves have against Hazard this season. But they did target us there and they will again. My natural inclination is to play the away leg with 4 defenders as part of 4-5-1/4-2-3-1 when out of possession (which we will be most of the time). I just feel it would make us more solid without hindering our ability to counter at pace. That may mean Can is left out, but this is just pure pragmatism rather than a commentary on his performances.
And ref Can’s (lack of) pace, he seems to me to be your archetypal big guy who takes a few strides to get going, but once he is at full tilt he is far from slow.
At full pace he is definitely quick, and doesn’t lose much of it when he carries the ball either.
The fact that Chelsea barely had a shot on target all game tells you how well Markovic and Can played given that Chelsea were targeting their side. Was the key battle all game and I think Mourinho would have been surprised by how well they stood up. Really good to see Rodgers’ faith in his two young star signings, and great to think that they will probably only get better.
Chelsea have averaged 16-18 shots a game this season with their lowest total being 5. On Tuesday they had 2. Tells you all you need to know about how our defense played.
I hate to be the one to put a downer on things, the defence did well. This was a 2 legged tie though and Jose knows how to play them. As he said himself, this was a 2 leg tie but now it’s 1 leg and at Stamford Bridge. I think he was happy not to play at Anfield. They didn’t have to score as long as they stopped us from. So, yeah, I’m made up our defence is starting to look good and you’re absolutely right to be positive about it but can we really compare league games to a 2 leg tie?
Thing I liked about Can’s performance was that he learned from the pen. After it he made sure he wasn’t left running back against Hazard (imagine him in our team by the way). He got tight at every opportunity and showed real leadership qualities in the 2nd half. I think Carra was very harsh but haven’t we all said “he’s shite” straight after a mistake in frustration? Truth is Can can make up for a lack of pace on the turn if he absorbs things and adapts as quickly as he did last night. He’s 20 years of age!
No No NO NO.
Can is by far our best option in that position and will continue to improve because he has (a) the ability & (b) the brain to play there. He offers far more going forward and he make Skrtle more composed too. Be brave here, don’t be thinking negatively, even if we loose it’s better in the long run that we play positively.
Agreed. We only know one way to play.
Like all i think it was probably best performance so far
On Monday ye guys discussed that it would be a good thing for Can to get a run at cb before moving to centre field in future.
Considering the complete lack of quality centre backs in England and Europe ( lovern 20 m ) maybe at 10m he is a potential steal and the future of our defence?
I have championed Lucas ever since Rafa was forced to defend him as a “fantastic player”. His performance last night was nothing short of epic. Put that alongside the way he’s been treated by Rodgers and it’s remarkable. Frozen out when it was obvious to everybody but Rodgers and Pascoe that he was essential to the team but asked to come out of the freezer to play against Real Madrid in a desperate attempt to save the face of the team. Then to perform magnificently and be rewarded with being dropped completely – not even in the squad. Most players would have become disheartened, even bitter, but not Lucas as he is a true Red one of the few leaders we have left from Rafa’s era. His return has been the best thing to happen in this very frustrating season as he has been ‘fantastic’ – Rafa was right.
If he’s allowed to leave then Rodgers must have some replacement lined up.
Nonsense. Rodgers deserves all the credit here for rescuing Lucas’ Liverpool career here. It took him a long time to get that fitness back and Brendan seems to have coached those stupid fouls out of his game. Under Brendan it look like Lucas could finally become the player that he should have been all along.
Can’t think of a replacement; Lucas has something irreplaceable – passion. Must have been growing inside him during all these hard years. If we’re doing confessional, ar lar Robin Crimes, :-), I must admit that during his first couple of seasons I couldn’t see any point to Lucas; didn’t boo him – why would I? – but couldn’t see any point to his wearing the shirt. Gradually he grew on me. Now I’d put him alongside Molby and Hyppia as one of the true continental greats who have embraced the club and the city properly. Continuing confessions, I voted Hendo for vice-captain. Now the reality is here and he may be captain – I still want him to be vice-captain. I want Lucas as captain. Hung out to dry against Real Madrid in the Champions League? Churned out against Bournemouth and Middlesbrough in the Whatever Cup? He held it all together, constantly talking, constantly encouraging, wanting to win. Evading stewards and dive-bombing fans at Villa with a face out of The Beano? Give the fecker a plaque now. And don’t even think of selling him. And make him captain. Despite the odd booking and misplaced pass. Goes with the territory.
Haha, I’m trying to teach ‘the missing’ off here that you can be wrong in your views on LFC and still support the team. Being wrong now and again doesn’t mean you have to go into hiding.
Let’s have it right though, apart from one good season prior to about 10 games ago Lucas’s career has been terrible. He clearly wasn’t the box to box midfielder we thought we were getting. He was awful when Benitez played him on the right and when we finally found a position for him he cost us in some big games with his challenges. Even recently, when he’s played alongside Gerrard it never worked. Look at the first half of last season. I think everyone’s made up he’s re-found the form of that good season before his injury but it annoys me when people are saying how they’ve always rated him. He was shit.
I disagree Robin, he definitely hasn’t been shit over the distance (maybe right at the start when he was coming to grips with things), he just wasn’t Alonso and so had some pretty big boots to fill that didn’t really suit him. The only times I can remember him not having a good game in the last few years is when he has been paired with Gerrard (and he isn’t alone in struggling to deal with how to compliment Gerrard’s free roaming role) and straight after coming back from injury.
He gives away a cheap free kick in dangerous areas too often but that aside he has been the player that Rafa was talking about in my eyes. He even made a two-man midfield work with Charlie Adam FFS!
Maybe ‘terrible’ was a poor choice of word but I definitely stand by what I said. 1 good season for me. Saying that, I don’t want to dwell on the past. He’s looking excellent now and that’s all that counts.
I think Brendan has worked hard on his game. he looks like a much better player lately.
I can’t stand how some people insist on undermining the effort Lucas is putting in and want yap on about how “Its not the fact that we are playing Lucas thats helped our performances,its just because we’re playing a DM”,just read that and tell me how that is not insulting towards Lucas. I get that people feel we can “do better” or want a “bigger,more popular name” at the club so they can brag to their mates cause lets face it,even at his greatest it was only really Liverpool fans who noticed him (its coming to the fore now that some never liked him at all). But even you genuine reasons for why you feel that an upgrade is necessary,that is no reason to ever disrespect the effort and performances (and good performance at that i might add) that a player produces
Re the return leg I agree with Kevin and others that we keep the same back 3. Mouriniho, I his post match interview on sky, made a point of saying, twice, how much space there was for his attackers in behind us because we were playing with a 3. Now I know there was space but there always is some space when playing exclusively on the counter attack as they were, and as we all agree we dealt with it well (zero shots ffs). I actually think Jose is trying to bluff Brendan into changing to a 4 because he recognises how well suited we are to the 343. It is not as though we looked any better in a 4 or even close to being as solid as we are now. As for Can, Skertel, Sakho, I would only change it possibly if Johnson was fit and arguably he could come in for Can to give a little more defensive know how whilst not altering the shape nor ball playing ability, so as not to affect Skertel’s confidence. One other thing i’d consider for Tuesday is manquillo for marko. Not only for defensive solidity but also because In fact marko didn’t actually do much in an attacking sense at Anfield. But a marginal call imo.
Quick question for you all. I live in london with no ties to Liverpool apart from lifelong support of LFC. Everytime LFC play in london I agonise over whether to spend £150+ on one of the ticket reseller sites to get an away end ticket, and never do. I have no problem getting tickets in the home end at reasonable prices thru mates who are season ticket holders at various london clubs but I have absolutely no interest of watching us not in the away end. So, a long shot it may be, but I am going to ask anyway… Do any of you happen to know anyone selling a ticket (at a reasonable price) for Tuesday?? or for that matter, for any other London games in the future. Otherwise I think this one, I am going to have to fork out the £188.27 which is the cheapest ticket I can see. Here’s hoping!
Gold dust Tom but good luck with that.
As it happens I’m working in London Tuesday/Weds so also looking but I won’t go in the home end.
Did that once at the Emirates, got 3 season tickets from a friend, me, my brother and his mate.
RVP scored and we didn’t celebrate, then Robbie Keane scored and we did! It might have been his first goal for liverpool, can’t quite remember, it was in December 2008.
The arsenal fans all turned on us, some being ‘held back’ by others, (made me laugh that) I put my hardest face on, which to be honest isn’t much, but all I had, us being surrounded an all.
The stewards intervened and we were ejected at half time.
I had a sweaty 3 days whilst AFC were deciding whether to confiscate the arsenal season tickets from the owner.
Her husband was dying of cancer and in hospital, the 2 sons use to go to the game and tell him about it in hospital afterwards.
I emailed and phoned the club and made a decent donation to their charity of choice that year.
The club emailed back and I could see her email below pleading for them back….
Thankfully arsenal did return the tickets for the next game but Jesus I felt awful
Just thought I’d share that ditti ….
Interesting story Tony, glad for your mate they got them back.
Was thinking of turning up at the ground to see if I can get lucky with someone selling but that is probably an even bigger long shot so £180 it might have to be. I think we’ll win though so IT will be worth it!!
Other than that I am stuck for watching LFC away tickets in London and so I am seriously considering getting a season ticket with a few mates to Selhurst Park. None of us are Eagles fans but they don’t half make some noise, and with that atmosphere it’s no wonder they came back against us last season after they got their first with that lot behind them… Still painful though thinking about it.
Hi Tom – thanks
Well if it’s anything like Anfield, it’ll be home tickets only on sale around the ground. I’d be careful looking for the away end tickets around Stamford Bridge, especially an evening game.
Normally I don’t think Chelsea would fill the ground for the Carling Cup, but as it’s Liverpool and as it was so close this week I think there’ll be a lot of interest.
I’ll find a London pub and watch it there, could be interesting.
I was in a London pub the afternoon we played Arsenal last season, they had a big screen and a ‘comedy commentator’ as the act, he was making jokes about Liverpool, the fans and the team, mostly the ‘Arrogant’ Sturridge. …. It was sweet, oh so sweet as goal after goal went in during the first half.
The place went quieter and quieter
This is no lie, I saw an Arsenal fan, about 24ish, literally in tears, leaving the pub.