Red’s Back on Track: Liverpool 2-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Suarez wheels away after scoring Liverpool’s second.

By Jonathan Carroll

There were a few nervy moments for Liverpool supporters to endure towards the end of Liverpool’s 2-1, win over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield on Saturday. Charlie Adam opened the scoring via a Roger Johnson deflection and Luis Suarez put Liverpool two goals up by half time. Steven Fletcher pulled one back early in the second half for Wolves, making the rest of the match interesting. Liverpool supporters will have left Anfield not overly concerned by the performance, but glad to got back on track with three points.

This was a mixed performance, positive glimpses of possibilities between Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll up top, mediocrity from Jordan Henderson who for long periods went unnoticed until substituted and the Premier League return of Steven Gerrard — greeted with a huge roar from the Kop. Jamie Carragher and Martin Skrtel were paired together in central defense and Jose Enrique returned at left back while Martin Kelly continued at right back. Lucas Leiva and Charlie Adam started in central midfield while Stewart Downing and Henderson assumed the wider roles in midfield.

The Skrtel/Carragher partnership was jittery to say the least, but the reason why Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish didn’t elect to drop either will go down to good man management. Why drop a stalwart like Carragher and ruin Skrtel’s already low confidence? The same can be said of Henderson, who is not a wide player, but will not see much playing time now with Lucas, Adam and Gerrard to contend with for starting roles in the center.

Dalglish will reflect on a job done. Three points in the bag and players who are good players having a little confidence restored after an unconvincing start to the season. Andy Carroll combined well with Suarez all afternoon, hit the woodwork and sometimes made the easy look difficult, but Carroll is progressing and patience is needed. Suarez is a world-class player and the deal Damien Comolli negotiated to buy him from Ajax for in and around £22.7 million looks like a snip. The mentality of Suarez is to play every game, give everything for 90 minutes – this is what every supporter wants to see, that desire to contribute to the cause. So headstrong, Suarez probably threw a hissy fit when his mother told him not to play in the backyard because his tea was almost ready, so I wouldn’t read too much into him kicking a water bottle after being substituted. He just wants to play, plain and simple. While that is admirable, in many ways he must also be protected for Liverpool’s long-term hopes. From the amateur to professional level athletes need rest. Seeing as Suarez hasn’t had a prolonged rest for some time having played in the Copa America, half a league season for Liverpool and Ajax last season and before that the World Cup in South Africa. Liverpool’s fitness staff will want to make sure Suarez doesn’t tear a hamstring by November and will have a plan in place as to how much playing time they think is manageable without burnout. His second goal, twisting and turning two Wolves defenders inside out and beating Wayne Hennessy at his near post was a joy.

The question remains however, where does Jordan Henderson fit in? Henderson is not comfortable on the right and that’s obvious from his performances there. I do believe however that Henderson can grow into a great central midfielder, but time is needed.

Jose Enrique looks like the buy of the season and it’s great seeing the left back spot as a worry free area. Downing was found wanting in the buildup to Fletcher’s goal, having left Enrique two against one while Stephen Hunt pulled back to Fletcher to lash into the roof of the net as Kelly and Lucas watched. This is something Steve Clarke will address midweek I’m sure.

Next up for Liverpool in the league is Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday, October 1. I fully expect to see Carragher and Skrtel paired together again. Is that the right decision? We’ll find out. What you don’t do is throw Sebastian Coates into a baptism of fire in the Merseyside derby. This area needs improving, though, as its vulnerability at times spreads to Pepe Reina on Saturday with some moments of indecision.

While its easy to get caught up in the modern-day football supporter mode of wanting instant success, patience is needed. Liverpool supporters have a reputation for knowing their football, being connoisseurs of it and acknowledging that a player tries even though he may not be playing well. Liverpool supporters are a different breed and are creative with their songs — not the same old same old passed around from club to club — and don’t get caught up concerned with whats going on at other clubs  or get being preoccupied with a former player. It’s important Liverpool supporters stick together and, most of all, get behind the team. Everyone is open to constructive criticism, but it’s only been six games so far this season.

In other news, apparently someone was sent off at Stamford Bridge this weekend.

Liverpool

  • 25 Reina
  • 03 Jose Enrique
  • 23 Carragher
  • 34 Kelly (yellow card)
  • 37 Skrtel
  • 14 Henderson (Kuyt 71)
  • 19 Downing
  • 21 Lucas (yellow card)
  • 26 Adam
  • 07 Suarez (Gerrard 81)
  • 09 Carroll (yellow card)

Substitutes

  • 32 Doni,
  • 16 Coates,
  • 38 Flanagan,
  • 08 Gerrard,
  • 20 Spearing,
  • 18 Kuyt,
  • 39 Bellamy

Wolverhampton

  • 01 Hennessey
  • 05 Stearman (Doherty 46)
  • 11 Ward (yellow card)
  • 14 Johnson
  • 16 Berra
  • 04 Edwards (Fletcher 46)
  • 08 Henry (yellow card)
  • 12 Hunt yellow card (Guedioura 81)
  • 17 Jarvis
  • 24 O’Hara (yellow card)
  • 29 Doyle

Substitutes

  • 31 De Vries,
  • 03 Elokobi,
  • 30 Doherty,
  • 19 Hammill,
  • 20 Milijas,
  • 34 Guedioura,
  • 10 Fletcher
Referee: Friend
Attendance: 44,922

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One thought on “Red’s Back on Track: Liverpool 2-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers

  1. Pingback: Liverpool, Everton meet for 213th Merseyside derby | The Red Letter

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