A GAME of football broke out. An intriguing one.
I mean it is crap to lose and that. We’ll come back to that in a second.
But it was intriguing. Take all the nonsense out of it — all the canal gear — what we saw was a very good Liverpool side who play what we can call holistic football for the purposes of this discussion come up against a very good Manchester United team who play the game in moments. Moments football. Of course both sides have done bits of the other across the course of the season and will do again, including today. But this underpinned today’s clash.
There’s nothing wrong with playing the game in moments. It’s a perfectly good approach. Rafa Benitez was a brilliant Liverpool manager who played moments football brilliantly. There’s no moral virtue here.
We haven’t come up against this approach at this level very often. Only really Chelsea of our peers also play this way and they are a strange side in a number of ways. Manchester United played for moments and did so remarkably well.
Moments 2 Holistic 1.
That’s your final score and the core of the matter is that they did their thing better than we did ours.
There will be a rush to dissect performances from a Liverpool perspective but it is important to start here — Manchester United played well. And three Manchester United players in particular played well. The first two did so for an hour.
Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku had exceptional games. The latter produced the performance you pay £75million for. He was excellent against Chelsea a few weeks back and that went under the radar.
After that game I had a text conversation with TAW contributor Philippa Smallwood where she said “you wouldn’t swap him for Roberto Firmino though”. And no, no you wouldn’t. But he suits Manchester United, he suits moments. His contribution today was far more telling than that of Firmino. He ends the game on the winning side.
He gave Dejan Lovren a torrid time first half. Lovren has played Lukaku very well in the past. But Lukaku played like a £75million striker. Rashford too played like his press. I’ve been a sceptic but he turned Trent Alexander-Arnold inside and out for an hour, and bags the goals that win the game.
There should be a reluctance to criticise either Liverpool player. Both have performed very well in recent weeks and both improved through the game. There should also be a reluctance to criticise that neither were adequately protected. That’s our way of playing. That’s our approach. Your shape is so important it takes a lot to tweak it.
The third outstanding performer for Man United was Ashley Young. He played Mo Salah as well as anyone has all season, being very physical and looking to win the ball early. He probably should have conceded a penalty but opposition players who stay on their feet aren’t getting penalties at Old Trafford. Salah couldn’t get a path into the game. Man United’s defending was often last ditch. But it got the result it needed to.
Liverpool’s second-half performance was, under the circumstances, very good. I’ve seen Liverpool sides who get spoken of as having great character wilt when behind at Old Trafford at half time. It has all got too much for all your favourite players, all those teams you grew up watching.
From the ’80s onwards, Liverpool teams who had many more trophies in their back pocket have lashed the towel in, in Manchester. This side didn’t. They kept coming and deserved the goal that proved to be their consolation but which perhaps should have been their bridgehead.
But it never properly clicked. Not for the whole 90. Liverpool, playing a holistic game, only really achieved it for 10 or so, and even then the passing and decision making was slightly off.
It’s crap losing. We’ve only done it four times this league season but they’ve all hurt in different ways. It’s worth pointing out though that three of the four have been away to the other sides from first to fourth. That needs looking at.
But none of this is to tear down what has got us to this juncture in this season. Nor should it be from any quarter. This is important. Sometimes you play football and lose. It happens to everyone. What matters, if you want to be the real deal, is what happens next. What you take from the game and how you move along.
And sometimes, when approaches and styles clash, yours loses. That’s ok too. Babies and bathwater must remain as one.
It hurts a lot. But it should hurt. And Liverpool have at least two bigger games than this one to undo this hurt. At least two. The Reds must improve in moments. But they mustn’t compromise their vision.
Make this part of the journey, Liverpool. After all, tons of Liverpool sides that have won the greatest prizes in the game lost at Old Trafford in the same season.
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Bound to get these in the CL now, it’s written in the stars. And I reckon we can do them over 2 legs with their ‘expensive West Brom’ football. Bring it the fuck on.
I think you fail to understand how well he played us. It was more than just long ball. 2 defenders dragged out of position? No midfield cover? That doesn’t just happen.
Not wishing to appear to be a bad loser, but don’t players who go into the crowd to celebrate a goal get yellow carded these days? Rashford did it twice as we know and made a bad foul for which he was carded….. Yes, I’m a bad loser!!!
When he committed the foul which led to his yellow I assumed he was going to walk. I’d just assumed he picked up a yellow earlier for his celebration. Shite refereeing.
don’t forget how refs don’t want to be roasted on tv for giving pen decisions at Old Trafford. No one cares what happens at St. Mary’s for example, but at OT they get analysed to buggery.
Much easier to not give decisions, and much easier for TV to not slam the refs so just talk about one of the decisions being a pen so as to protect the refs and pretend that he didn’t affect the game meaningfully.
They simply did what they do. What we all knew they were going to do. You can get on top of this Utd side and you can beat them, but you’ve got to be in fourth or fifth gear to do it. We weren’t.
That said, they were genuinely shitting themselves by the end. We completely penned them in but it wasn’t happening. Yes we should have had at least two penalties but who even expects anything from referees or linesmen anymore? Standard’s never been lower mate.
Karius had some good moments out there. I particularly enjoyed him trying to punch Fellaini’s head off and also the sliding tackle 95 yards off his line. Great stuff that. Robertson weren’t bad either. Mane kept showing, kept getting into positions, but it wasn’t there for him.
I hate this loss and I hate this fixture, but I’m not worried about it.
Great bit here Neil. It always hurts a little more to lose this one, and that dump, for whatever reason, seems to he our tripping point whenever we have the reigns. The boys, collectively, had a bad day at the office, a very bad time for this to happen. It’s not the end of this team, or the “peak of their potential” it’s just a tough performance against a well-drilled side.
What bothers me, and to be clear this is not why we lost but it, at times, shifted the winds, just, was Craig Pawson’ s insatiable desire to stop play every time we were on the front foot. We can argue the penalties, we would all have been pissed if any one of those was blown on our side, but we see them called regularly (and maybe this is just me being a red eyed fan) they just never seem to go our way. It’s not a criticism of Pawson alone, it is the general level of officiating in the PL right now, pure rubbish. Not to mention the scheduling, like it or not, Andre Marriner is probably the top official currently. How is it that he’s taking charge of Newcastle v. Southampton today instead of a crunch top of the league match, known to produce temper flares, and in need of a level head?
The red men will march on, I wouldn’t trade a player, a coach, or a single fan for any one of those f***s up the road. We’re the business, and we’re on the rise.
…..and defensively naive.
You can’t win a race of hurdles putting so little thought into the defensive side of the game. One of those hurdles will trip you up.
This moments vs hollistic approach is rubbish.
We have shown over the recent months that we are well capable of being a team that has moments that win a game. A bit cheap to throw that in the managaer’s and players’ faces.
United were good, they werent brilliant. We were too sloppy for a big game.
What!! We were poor. Only created glimmers from corners and got a shocker of an own goal. Not beaten them since 2014 and never looked like it. Passing was shocking. Beat them over two legs? My arse.
10 Mar 2016
Liverpool 2 Man Utd 0
Are you the old geezer who sits in front of me in the middle of the Kop? The one with his head in his hands every time the ball goes into our box? Anyway, your negativity is typical of a certain generation and it’s holding this club back. Thank fuck the manager doesn’t pay any heed to your likes. Get a grip and start believing.
The manager needs to pay heed to someone who understands defending. That was mickey mouse stuff out there.
Klopp must be wondering what we have to do to get a big decision go our way in a big game this season.
Feels like every big game we’ve played this season (where big decsions were needed) the calls have gone against us. City away (Mane red). Everton (peno and holgate). Spurs (2 penos). Today (3 solid penalty shouts and 2 possible red cards for rashford and Valencia). Plus probably numerous others I’ve forgotten.
Next game can’t come quick enough.
Altough I agree wih you Barry, Pawson, imo was terrible today, but when you clearly make school boy errors, at this level, you get punished. When the chips are down and we are up against it, even a tiny amount of pressure and we crumble – we’ve seen it countless times before Klopp, and now with Klopp. Its the mentality. We have no leaders in that team. Maybe V VD… but you look at that side today and the game was won in midfiled! None of our 3 actually made a run in behind or even made a bloody tackle of note! In big big games, this is what we do! Can’t play differently, can’t mix it and grind a result out! Yes, the front three weren’t firing, but by god they didn’t get any sort of help by those 3! We have no winners in there! Workers yes, but quality??? Substandard imo. United are basic, they defend the spaces, eveyone knows that – we are predictable, totally! Great at times this season, been fantastic and I do feel we are progressing, but when you go to OT, make school boy errors like we did, with a midfield three of Milner, Can and the Ox and expet us to get a result then you are beyond arrogant! These players are good players, but they are squad players…at best. I was speaking to a friend tonight and the debate was, “it doesn’t matter where in the top 4 we finish, as ling as we finish there” My argument is…that’s exaclty the problem…we seem
To accept that top4 is now acceptable. The title doesn’t seem that important, as long as we get top 4 the club can keep churning a profit! But, this game was fucking huge, not only because it is a derby, or 2nf v 3rd, its about intent and sending a message to others that we are ready, we are a team
That needs to be feared – todays displays was basically the ‘same old story’ something that we need to change, rapidly! What hurts the most today is that we were petrified, we succumbed to OT, it was too big for some of our players! We did wilt under the spot light! You can say we had 60% possession, 10’corners more runs, covered more ground, had more touches in be box etc, but ultimatley De Gea never broke a sweat, and Itd are laughing at 9our inabilty to defend or beat a team that allowed us to have the ball!
well, the midfield will be rebuilt this summer – the club saw that coming last summer once the coutinho situation arose. Let’s see how much that helps as 2 MFs must come in.
But the problem is we have no clue defensively. full backs, midfielders, lovren they don’t know what to do and are being given the wrong instructions or no instructions at all. I struggle to see Klopp winning anything.
Undone by ‘Crazy Gang’ football (ask yer Da’, kids) and like Neil says, there’s not a lot of that around these days. But, in theory at least, it *should* be easy enough to deal with – try to win the first ball when it’s lumped up and if you don’t, make sure you win the bits and pieces.
That’s why I won’t criticise Lovren too harshly for getting done by Lukaku twice – because that’s about all it was all game (sure, they didn’t need to play much more after that, but the fact is, little they tried stuck up top after the second goal). In both cases, it’s not like when he had his absolute mad-one against Spurs and was jumping over his own midfielders to try and show Harry Kane how he was gonna boss him (whoops!) – both times today, Lukaku found space, De Gea hits him so Dejan goes to try to win it – with the first goal, the back four should shuttle over to the right so Trent isn’t isolated (but okay, they don’t count on Trent getting turned by Rashford and the finish is decent), the second is terrible from the Jekyll & Hyde again Emre Can once the ball is on the deck, and for my money Oxo-Chambo (who has been mighty decent of late) is lazy and jogs back, all the while Rashford is in his vision and ten yards ahead of him – a sprint, and he shepherds him to the byline.
It’s annoying one because like the game at the Etihad, if this had stayed 0-0 for the thirty, the way we were playing generally versus their general game, I still think we muller them.
But… moments. Fine margins. Grr. And fucking referees, but hey-ho.
If it happens we get these in Europe again, we do ’em. Happy days.
After all the pre match talk about whether Jose would get his team to park the bus at home he again showed why he is the master tactician by ruthlessly targeting Trent Alexander Arnold and knocking the ball up to Lukaku to unsettle us. I thought our approach was like as if it was a European away game and our passing was too slow and sloppy. With hindsight Gomez and Winaldum would have been better starting.
Master tactician, please. Call it effective if you will but there was absolutely nothing sophisticated about it. It was a classic Stoke away (when Stoke were Stoke), nothing more, nothing less. Only made possible by a complicit referee.
I don’t like Mourinho anymore than any other Liverpool supporter but for us to progress back to the top we have to acknowledge our opponents strengths as well as being aware of weaknesses. Mourinho hasn’t achieved all his success by just luck or benefiting by biased referring decisions. His strength is a calculating strategy and his in game tactical management and substitutions, I guess you won’t like me for saying it but Jurgen lacks a bit of this and sending the team out every game to do ‘our thing’ is not sufficient against the top teams and this is evidenced by just one point gained in both our games against Man U and Spurs. For Jurgen to become a Liverpool manager that wins something he has to be quicker and more pro active in making tactical changes to help the team in response to opponents, yesterday from the outset you could see the pressure being put on Trent and the tactic of a long ball played up quickly to Lukaku was no surprise to anyone, once they went two up this allowed Mourinho to get his team to drop off and later make the substitutions to disrupt the game -so annoying but it worked . We are all enjoying this team but astute management off the pitch is essential at the top level.
you really don’t see how well he disrupted our game. And you don’t seem to question how isolated trent was or how ineffective our other players eg the MFs were for the goals.
Mou made them ineffective and Klopp is very poor at coaching defensive movements other than pressing. It’s why he won’t win anything.
I enjoyed the game to be honest. Yes we lost, and I am disappointed with the result, but seeing how it was their hoof ball tactics that, we decided to compliment them with two chances, they took it. So what?
If Mata had scored instead of trying to be fancy then we would’ve seen a really meltdown. But he missed and we started to move in gear.
Moments for me:
– Karius doing an impression of Franco Baresi tackling outside his area
– Karius doing an impression of Muhammad Ali on the Wig
– Lovren not looking like a donkey for kicking the Wig
– Lovren looking like a donkey and incurring the wrath of Klopp for the follow up tackle
– Solanke’s studs into Smallings’ smalls
– Bailly showing off, only for Firmino to quietly take the ball off him or was it the Ox?
– Klopp’s subs
– Mourinho’s scribbling notes
Holistic moments for me:
– Klopp yelling at Lovren (though it might’ve been at the Ref); Lovren has been influenced by Stevie G and the past Reds whom he played with so can’t really fault him for losing it and having a go at the Wig
– Ref and linesmen at their best again
– the whole 2nd half
Watched this classic match up between Klopp’s BVB Holistics vs Mourinho’s Real Moments this past week. Not sure why, but I did.
Impressive but it was pity BVB did not have the mentality to beat Bayern in the final.
The Reds are nowhere near the quality of Reus, Lewa, Gotze, Hummels, Gundogan, etc, but considering the progress the current team has made as whole, I think the team can give it a real go.
Have almost forgotten today’s match against United now. If we run into United in the CL they might come in overconfident like Real.
For now, let’s hope Klopp gets the team to pick themselves up and prepped for the next match. I suggest you and we do too.
Come on your Reds!
The one positive I take is that we weren’t at our best but still United were still afraid to go on the front foot and had to hang in there for much of the match which to be fair they did very effectively, cynically and shamelessly. It’s a sign that we are seen as a real threat again. Second is still possible and lessons will be learnt. As Neil says, let’s not send out the lynch mob. Move on.plenty to play for it just wouldn’t run for us today. Seeing how limited United were today does make think Seville have a decent chance on Tuesday which would really knock the shine of their victory.
or, mou used this game as a practice run for his CL campaign. It gets wins.
Seville don’t have a prayer.
yes I look stupid now !
Not so long ago we used to regularly get results against our neighbors in the Big Four but be inconsistent against the other 16 teams in the league. Now it’s almost the reverse. Only 18 points up for grabs in the former group, versus 96 points in the latter, so for table position alone I guess that’s progress. However it hurts to be so lame against the Scum and their panto villain manager. Boooo
Too many times after these games my feelings have been either devastation (Defeat) or anger (Ref’s decisions) and by rights I should be feeling both those emotions tonight, but I have to be honest after today the overwhelming emotion was optimism!!! We may have lost this particular battle but are well on our way to winning the war.
Yeah, it was a strange feeling. I think both sets of players walked off the pitch in no doubt who is the better team. Next time it will be different.
with that defending? I think that’s delusional.
Not counting Bailly’s attempts to outdo our very own Djimi Traore we now haven’t scored in open play against Mourinho’s united in the last four meetings. That’s simply not good enough and let’s be honest, we haven’t really looked like scoring either. We’ve taken moral victories from these matches, but as seems to be his entire career path, mourinho is the one to the break the streak of draws and come out with an actual victory. That hurts.
Also I know you can’t really argue with a formula that’s seen him basically become the POTS, but could we not have done something a little earlier to help salah out? Or help Trent out? Change something up a bit? Our entire right side was tactically outmanoeuvred in that first half and we didn’t do squat about it.
No attempts on target in the 2nd half Neil. Explain to me again how this is a good thing.
Hate to say it, but ultimately lfc’s lack of “street smarts” will prevent us from winning trophies. Salah should fall when impeded in penalty area. TAA should fall in heap when guy on yellow lunges at your feet. Unless you give a referee a decision to make, he will not rule in your favour. You need to make sure you get these decisions so that you can get the gritty wins/draws.
I’ve said this in another post but it wouldn’t have made the slightest bit of difference. Pawson wasn’t going to give us a big decision no matter what they did.
Sadio Mané played like tepid dog’s mess in the part of the match I watched (personal obligations meant I had to stop watching just after Lallana came on). Every time he got the ball, he turned it over or shot poorly. He was able to get a lot more freedom as the Utd defence was far more into starving Mo Salah, but he wasted nearly all his opportunities. He was not the reason why we lost but he was probably the only way we were going to win today excluding a centre back scoring from set piece, and he badly fluffed his lines, so much so that I was mystified why he wasn’t the first to be subbed.
The cavalier nature of Liverpool’s attack just kept on washing up against the rocky shore of the ManU penalty box and this type of game really doesn’t suit us these days. Bobby loves his deft little touches and tricks but nothing doing today. When it comes off, he looks fantastic, but on occasions like this game his style can seem a little frivolous.
Many players seemed like they were pulled out of shape, Bobby was getting deeper and deeper, Milner was on the wing while Robbo surged forward. Was that ManU’s doing, or Liverpool’s? Was it part of the plan? It didn’t work in our favour.
Frankly, and it hurts to say it, we deserved to lose. There is little more to say or do except wipe out mouths and get back on our feet and have a rethink.
Klopps reluctance to try something different and attack flanks against Utd really pisses me off time after time.Its how we scored and how Mo nearly scored but for youngs clearance.Its neither rocket science or risky when your trailing to your rivals to weaken your midfield in exchange for width and that crucial goal.
A word about the kit. That black and white kit is like a bad luck charm at top six grounds this season. Don’t think we’ve won at any top six ground wearing it this season. At Wembley, 1:4 ,at Etihad 0:5, at Emirates 3:3. On the other hand our orange kit saw us score 7 twice and 5 once in the CL. Why weren’t we wearing it, we should have known we would need all the help we could get at Old Trafford.
We wore the red kit at wembley and etihad and the orange kit at emirates….
Actually agree with Gibbo’s dad for once. I’m not sure what all these ‘great performance’ remarks are based on. I thought our defending was abysmal. After conceding recently I may have got it wrong over Can I’m now convinced that if we want to take the next step then him leaving is not a bad thing. Where was our great organiser? It didn’t look organised to me. The warning signs were there early but we ignored them.
When we did have the ball we were poor. We didn’t use it well at all. We came up against a well organised side and lacked ideas. We lacked creativity. Scoring came as a shock to me. We hadn’t looked close. It did cross my mind if there was a motive behind all this positively. I can understand not losing heads. We’re in a good place. It’s been another season of progress. But, I can’t accept we were good yesterday. Same old weaknesses were exposed.
I went for a meal Friday night with a bloke I’ve not met before. Arsenal fan from the south. I told him to back Liverpool next season as we’re 75% of a very good team and we’ll buy the other 25% in the summer. I stand by that. What yesterday did was highlight where that 25% is. I think we have to ask ourselves about Clyne. He’s had a season out. Do we gamble and hope he can suddenly return without a set back because a set back there could cost us another season. Is he good enough to gamble on? The fact I’d prefer his defending with Trents forward play tells me the answer. Buy better.
The midfield is still where I have issues. All of this is based on how Liverpool become the very best (which I believe they can). If it was based on getting top 4 then our squad is completely good enough. I worry about all our midfield. Why are every one of our current lot, bar none, so up and down? Some top class games then some below par. Ox, Can, Gini, Henderson, Milner. I’m worried about Lallana too. 6 months ago I was saying he’s our most important player. Now I wonder what he offers apart from a few silky touches. The article gives a lot of praise to our mentality yet I question our midfields mentality. When I look at last years champions and this years then I see midfield as an area where we’re severely lacking. This side still needs 5 very good signings to take us to the next level. I’m 80% confident it will happen in the summer. Until then we’re about playing at our level. 2nd and QF of the CL. Huge progress but so huge I think we’re ready to take the next step. I pray we do it in the summer.
we won’t win anything with our / Klopp’s lack of defensive thought.
We need defensive movements not just pressing.
Look at our midfielders for that first goal , where they are and where they end up. If they sprint back, VVD can go across and help Trent. Didn’t even occur to them even with 2 red shirts to cover.
We will win things. It just goes largely unnoticed how poor our midfield is in relation to other top sides.
With Can, Gini, Milner and Oxlade Chamberlain you don’t know what you’re gonna get. All have quality at times but it’s simply not consistent enough. Henderson can often play superb but again, he can be frustrating. He’s now beginning to seem quite injury prone. He needs to play every game to keep his rhythm. Lallana is beginning to seem like a luxury player to me. The bottom line for me is they’re all very good players but none are consistent league winners material. I think Keita could be from the little I’ve seen. Let’s say we got Jorgino and then someone similar to Coutinho (don’t know enough about other players to suggest someone suitable). The balance would be far far better. We’d have someone who can break up play but play a pass forward (I watched two of Jorgino’s full matches this week). We have a player who can break play up and drive forward and we’d have a player who can create and score. It’s a million miles from Milner / Can / Ox or Henderson / Gini /Lallana or any other variation you choose. We’ll buy in the summer and you’ll see a difference in the number of goals we concede and how we control games. We’ll also break down teams easier which is also a result of our poor midfield.
oh I agree with you on the midfield, once the coutinho situation arose post Neymar, it was clear to the club that they would have to rebuild the midfield given they would likely only get a year out of Couts and Can wasn’t signing.
And yes, it is absolutely what is needed and I am very much looking forward to it.
But it doesn’t take away the fact that everyone was switched off defensively when De Gea launched that goal kick (we didn’t even close him down either). There appeared to be zero defensive thought until Rashford was alone in the box.
From a coaching perspective the impression is that we only think about pressing & transition. It’s naive and may not change with personnel switches.
VVD telling Can to mark Lukaku with Lovren for the first goal….Can didn’t listen
refs are wankers , total wankers. Scared of being the highlight at Old Trafford, worrying about their careers if they make a wrong call. VAR gives all 3 of those pen calls.
But our play for those “moments” was god damn awful, especially the first one.
Trent can diffuse it by not being asleep, but the midfielders are just watching 2 reds players 3 yards away, run away from them at 40 yards out (actually they’re watching the ball & the Lukaku/Lovren battle) rather running back to cover, if they cover the 2 reds then at least VVD has the option of moving to assist Trent.
We are terrible defensively, always thinking about attacking, never about where the danger is and covering for the defenders. The midfielders were once again in a position to do something but they just ball watch and think someone else will do it.
That has to be about coaching.
Winning things, including a champions league place, is about jumping hurdles. A whole sequence of them. Klopp isn’t concerned enough with defending – nor the quality of his defenders, to win things. It’s depresssing but I’m concerned that it is a truth.
We shall see if it changes when he rebuilds the midfield this summer as Can particularly is appalling when it comes to ball watching in a defensive situation, but I fear it won’t because the coaching doesn’t demand it.
As for the article describing mourinho’s moments, did it occur to anyone else that this is how he intends to go for the CL (starting with seville) ? play the moments, flick ons to get something out of Lukaku and runners for the 2nd ball, and spend the rest of the game defending and let the other team frustrate themselves. Looked like a practice run to me. It’s why he’s won things.