WELL we got there in the end. History is written by the winners and stories are changed reflecting results. With five minutes to go in normal time I was wondering how such a talented squad performing so well couldn’t manage a goal in 175 minutes against a Championship side. Ten minutes later we were singing about Wembley. Football.
Football reality is viewed differently by different people and at different times. A neutral watching will probably have seen a superior team piling on the pressure, leading to an inevitable late breakthrough. The Liverpool fans around me had decided we’d never score. Now you look back and remember the woodwork banged more times than John Wayne’s gun. At the time it felt the final ball was lacking. The sharpness not quite there. But Liverpool win and, instead of cursing attitude, selections and substitutions, well, maybe we weren’t so bad after all.
Each Liverpool fan I spoke to had a different idea of how many we should rest and who they should be. The modern football fan has become an expert in tactics, finance and now sports science. The fella paid to make the decisions went for two changes in central midfield. Neither of those he brought in played well, but I don’t feel this is where the game was nearly lost or eventually won. They didn’t appear to have the front line to trouble us, the midfield to control a game nor the backline to keep us out. Feeney looked the most lively, yet his teammates clearly hate his guts. Their centre halves looked capable of heading it away all day, but surely could be got at with pace. They simply, injuries taken into account, didn’t have anyone who looked any good at the football. Yet approaching 60 it was still 0-0, before a soft penalty which can be avoided means we are somehow losing to a team we never should be.
Rotation is often seen as a balance between talent and burnout but often not considered is the mentality of the stars you pick. Markovic, Moreno, Sterling and Coutinho would get in anyone’s best 11 at the moment, and were picked based on their quality to ensure a greater chance of progression, yet they all seemed to a varying degree to be playing within themselves, conscious perhaps of fixtures to come. Coutinho plays in these games a bit like he can’t work out what all the fuss is about, but will have a go anyway. Sterling a bit like he can’t quite work out how good these lads he’s playing are. Overestimating them one minute, underestimating them the next. Would we have been better with a few more lads with a bit to prove? Maybe, maybe not.
A winning manager is always right anyway. Although my theory in this may have been tested on 65 minutes when Fabio Borini was brought on ahead of Daniel Sturridge when we needed a goal. It may have been slightly earlier than he planned on bringing Sturridge on, but I can’t see how five minutes makes a massive difference in his legs, when there is a risk of an extra 30 anyway. It seemed a bizarre decision favouring pre-game logic over present time actuality. But a winning manager is always right.
He won because a gorgeous man played a gorgeous pass and Sterling finished smartly. Emre Can had pushed into midfield once Bolton had been reduced to 10, following the most ridiculous ‘on a yellow’ challenge I’ve ever seen, and played with promising levels of authority and composure. He won because Liverpool showed a steely determination to get it done in 90 once the equaliser had been found. He won because Philippe Coutinho, despite not altogether knowing what the hell is going on, has pure magic in his boots.
The narrative is written based on the result. But despite this I guess it’s my duty to reflect concerns. Sturridge’s touch was off when he was on, suggesting he might need a little bit longer than we wished to get back to full flow. Lallana went off injured after again failing to impose himself. And there might be some tough decisions ahead on the captain if he continues to look like he’s playing a different game to everyone else. But we’ll leave all that until Saturday. A day where talking about tactics is for wools.
A winning manager is always right. And when the Reds win, we all win.
Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda
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Thankfully we got that out of the way in the 90. It could have been different despite us being miles better than them. Might seem a bit churlish to criticise sterling’s finishing given the great goal he ultimately got but the chance he wasted on about 52 minutes was a perfect illustration of why we need a pacy and established goalscorer other than sturridge in the squad.
I agree that borini coming on ahead of sturridge was a strange decision. I think the formation changed about three times within about ten minutes and at least one of those formations could have been skipped had brendan opted to go for sturridge directly.
On a more positive note, what a player emre can is starting look. Love his calmness and authority on the ball
sometimes you just need to get the job done anyway you can. The two goals were both delicious, the penalty a travesty so all in all we got what we deserved, now onwards up the league. When the Reds win we all win
Excellent John. Nailed it!
Them scoring a pen prompted me to look when we last conceded from something other than a pen. I was disappointed with the answer so I thought I’d adjust the question. The last time we conceded a goal that wasn’t a pen in the 90 mins of a match was 11 hours of football ago. Imagine that from Liverpool’s defence. I, unfairly, put it down to Sakho but Can has been brilliant too. I’ve seen him be strong, shoot from range and power through the middle of the pitch, as well as defend well but when he was moved tonight it hit home to me for the first time what a good player he is.
I love winning like that! It felt like we had a divine right to win and we were just biding our time.
You could have just amended it to ‘in open play’ Robin!
Well, it goes a bit far saying ‘in open play’ as a lot of goals come from corners and free kicks. Yet, we haven’t conceded any (except the extra time header from a free kick). So, without the extra time goal (tired legs, tired minds) we haven’t conceded at all for 11 hours (except the odd pen). If you’d told me that was going to happen 2 months ago I’d have called the police and asked them to section you.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s open play or not. If the ball crosses the line, you’re a goal down. A penalty or freekick outside the box is the result of a player infringing the rules and giving the opposition an advantage. There is fuck all difference between being carved open by a masterful move, or a clutz player letting someone “buy” one. Fuck me, how many times has Gerrard “won” penalties, or Suarez play the ball to a hand to get the penalty? They all count the same.
Maybe. My point was simply that pens aside we’re defending well now. Wish I’d never mentioned it! :)
Don’t. You’re right. We are. This is the first time we’ve had a balanced team under Rodgers: this is evolution.
Ha ha – if it’s any consolation I understood your point and agreed!
“Markovic, Moreno, Sterling and Coutinho would get in anyone’s best 11 at the moment, ”
I would argue that if Sturridge is deemed recovered enough to start, our best 11 pretty much picks itself at the moment – the 11 who started against West Ham with Sturridge in for Lallana. That is no bad thing – we were in a similar situation at a slightly later stage last season, although with a smaller squad to choose from.
4 different players in the two 11s, with three new signings plus a revitalized Lucas – goes some way to proving the adage that around 50% of new signings will be a success.
Will be interesting to see if BR agrees for the derby, however..
“Markovic, Moreno, Sterling and Coutinho would get in anyone’s best 11 at the moment” – really? In place of who at Chelsea & City?
Hiya. I meant anyones best Liverpool 11. Its pretty clear in the article
I told you Couthino mustn’t stop taking long-range, speculative pops at goal ;-)
Also of note was Sakho who wasted not a single pass. From a defender. They cant score if we have the ball. Take a bow that man.
If anyone can, Emre Can. He could even do the can can. He is some player. At the rate he’s progressing he could be a star for years to come; he’s got it all: good technical skills, composure, a cracking shot, tactical nous and he’s genuinely two-footed. In some ways he reminds of a young Souness (without the psychotic streak). He needs to be managed carefully at this stage of his career, versatility can be a curse as well as a blessing, but I think we’ve got some player on our hands. Suggests the Bundesliga is a good market right now.
Agree with all of the above , Kevin nailed it on pod – ‘Statesmanlike’, he had one foray earlier dribbled with such ease along edge of crowded pen box as tackles flew in. All credit to scouting team to exploit loophole in contract surprised no other teams were linked with him really did homework on that deal, done quickly too.
All the dickhead forum posters (not found on here thankfully) can eat there words and while there at it wipe the egg off their faces, for judging players who have only played a handfull of games for the club.
Refs were terrible in both games, should not of even been a 2nd game anyway, no protection for our skillfull players (and nearly all our players are skillfull:)) Lallana injured again?, needs to see SNC – strength and conditioning coach, seems too frail.
Before Danns, Dervite should have gone, clipped Raheem when clean thru and less than a min later goes right thru on Countinho, upending him nothing for either! East needs to stay away from North West.
Is that really Simon Mignolet with that swagger? thank you Dr Peters (just speculating) he seems to have got that other indecisive, cant kick, can’t punch, can’t come off line, can’t kick? Chimp locked in his cage.
Quite right. We’re all quick to criticise the TC/Manager/Scouts but Can looks like a great piece of business, the type of business we used to do. Let’s hope we’re saying the same about Markovic next season!
Who voted for Borini & Henderson as MOTM? On the game I thought Can was magnificent- if anyone currently at the club is to replace Gerrard then it’s 100% Can. Another clean sheet would’ve been in the bag but for yet another stupid decision from Skrtel. I think the penalty is debatable but the lunge gives the ref a decision to make.
My thoughts exactly. Though it would be a mistake to obsess about replacing Gerrard, as so many of us do: he is/was a one-off. Better to think about replacing his quality within a structured and well-balanced team environment.
He is a one off Paul but it saddened me to see a player stroll by him last night and then realise it was Gudjohnson!!!!
It may be the Derby but I reckon he should be on the bench.
Emre Can. His hair is fucking mint. His hair. Fucking hell.
Every now and again Liverpool sign a certain type of player and I know in an instant that I am going to love them unconditionally despite what anyone else thinks or says. I don’t even care if they are successful half the time. Lucas, Henderson, Sakho are all on this particular list for me and Emre Can is the latest to join them. Its not an easy thing to describe but I know there will be others that ‘know what I mean’… As a footballer he has just got what I look for. Last night when Bolton were hammering crosses in and people flying all around for Can it was a simple case of chest, touch and clear, calm yourself lads, Emre’s here now.
The game yesterday reminded me of that gut feeling I had a number of times last season. Whatever the situation it just felt like we would get the job done, and we did.
Also, who else loves a Markovic lateral run across the pitch. It doesn’t really go anywhere, but its fun to watch him just open his legs and go.
statesmanlike, Souey without the psychotic streak, great hair!!!!
Ashamed to say I wasn’t sold on him early doors mainly due to how slow he seemed on the turn but he is undroppable at the mo,
Would have been dreading the Derby a few weeks ago but now it can’t come quick enough,
We score first and I reckon the Evs heads could drop.
Imagine Emre and coutinio in the centre that be great.
The late winner after so many strikes of the woodwork exorcised some awful, crushing, Reading-Away-2013-shaped demons for me.
“He won because a gorgeous man played a gorgeous pass”.
He is gorgeous, isn’t he?
Two brilliant goals but wasn’t Sakho magnificent all night?