Football - Football League Cup - 3rd Round - Liverpool FC v Carlisle United FCWHEN the Reds win we…

Yeah.

Listen, what do you do when you pick a strong-ish side in order to provide confidence and then that happens? Because these lads now have that against them along with 120 minutes in their legs before Saturday and the match at Anfield against Aston Villa.

This isn’t the worst Liverpool side I have ever seen. Really, truly, it isn’t. It is actually a long way from that. If you want a positive to accentuate it is that one. Even ruling out Souness and Hodgson, it isn’t that low. This though is part of the problem. It is a team manifestly worse than the sum of its parts.

If you’ve got Paul Konchesky or Julian Dicks at left back then you are in trouble. You are in trouble before a ball is kicked. This Liverpool side isn’t in trouble before a ball is kicked. This Liverpool side isn’t even really in trouble before a goal is scored at times. Instead this Liverpool side manages to seek out trouble, like a silent movie star desperate to find its most slapstick moment. Liverpool are Buster Keaton, a house always about to fall down around them.

It’s a terrifying thing because how on earth does it stop? Getting in the lead doesn’t stop it. Liverpool were alright until they scored. They were dealing reasonably well with a resolute side and then the best possible thing that can ever happen happens and things get immediately noticeably worse.

Sean Rogers always says that goals are scored because two players do something very good, one player does something amazing or there is a mistake. The opener, not that they mean anything any more, stems from two players doing something very good. Lallana and Ings combining irresistibly against Carlisle’s defence.

But from that point Liverpool were a side that featured one player doing something pretty good only to run up against other players’ shortcomings or conclude they had to double down on pretty good and find amazing.

This led to some spectacularly brainless football from Liverpool. Tons of play between their six-yard box and penalty area in wide areas and no end product worth a carrot. Yet Liverpool had 386,451 shots across the course of the 120 minutes. One in particular is worth highlighting.

Were I Liverpool manager, in that lovely cant filled way you can say things like this where you don’t have to work with players as people, Martin Skrtel would never play for me again. Not for his defending but for his long-range effort before the hour mark.

He’s the most senior footballer on the pitch for Liverpool and he thinks him having a shot from 40 yards is the best option in that scenario? Seriously? Bomb him out. Get rid now.

Football - Football League Cup - 3rd Round - Liverpool FC v Carlisle United FCIt won’t happen. Instead the Reds will toil further. Yardage in their legs, a manager unable to get through to them. He can’t want centre backs shooting from 40 yards. You know that, I know that. Yet it is happening. Dejan Lovren was at it, too.

And so what happens when you play some boys for their confidence and their confidence gets more shot? What happens when you look to stretch their legs and they end up running for 120 minutes? What happens when you limp through one challenge only to be presented by another you’ve failed to overcome in your last four outings?

We are going to find that out.

But Liverpool, for whom Danny Ings, Emre Can and Albie Moreno all impressed, find themselves in the last 16 of a competition despite a collective malaise that doesn’t just demand more of our money but is suddenly taking more of our time.

Rodgers’ Liverpool limp on, limp into penalty areas, limp into striking from distance. Just limp Liverpool. Just limp.

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Pic: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda Photo

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