Football - FA Cup - Semi-Final - Aston Villa FC v Liverpool FC

WE lost didn’t we. I’m not sure how else to start but that.

Sean Rogers spoke very eloquently in the week about getting buy in from players. About having a plan they could all believe in. He said a manager risks putting it all on his own head if you change a winning formation back to a losing one. I don’t mind having a brave manager. But if you lose…

3-5-2 doesn’t work for us today. We don’t see any of the ball. They pass it around and we chase shadows. A change happens at some point. Most likely during a break for injury. We score straight after.

Football - FA Cup - Semi-Final - Aston Villa FC v Liverpool FC

After that we look easy. Suddenly passing it around and looking comfortable. Until…

Formation changes are rarely all positive. Benefits in some areas are countered by issues in others. We’d been 2nd best first half an hour, but they hadn’t created a chance either. With four at the back they equalise with their first attack.

The negative to the formation switch is Can. He might have a great career at Liverpool but it won’t be at right back. All their joy comes down the left and Can is frequently out of position. Never sure where he should be off the ball. Unable to contribute anything going forward. For all our numerous issues elsewhere, with a proper right back we might have won the game.

Half time sees a substitution which seems unnecessary and ultimately kills us as an attacking force. Balotelli did little wrong. In fact, knowledge of the offside rule aside, he played pretty well. But if our plan in the biggest game of the season is to play with a target man up front on his own then we might as well sell Coutinho now. We don’t create a chance from open play in the whole second half.

I think this is what annoyed me most about today. The manager is obviously dealt a bad hand with Lucas, before we even get to, Sturridge and Sakho. But he has to get the most out of the attacking players we have. The team should be built around getting Sterling and Coutinho on the ball as much as possible, and at no stage did you feel it was. Each formation change pushing one aside or another.


The formation changes are interesting. In theory its nice to have a manager who is adaptable. Who can play different ways. But today you’d have loved to have seen a team with clear ideas and purpose. Swapping and changing, albeit often forced by necessity, has led to uncertainty and confusion when it mattered most.

So what now? We’ll save that for another day. Right now I just want to go home for a sulk. But there are big decisions ahead.


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Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda-Photo

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