Liverpool 1-2 Arsenal – Reds Lack Cutting Edge

By Jonathan Carroll.

Following Liverpool’s Carling Cup win the previous weekend, which also coincided with Arsenals surprise hammering of North London neighbours Tottenham, this clash was eagerly awaited by both teams as a decider for fourth place. Liverpool supporters are all too familiar with the pattern that emerged in this game as in the many previous home games before it. Plenty of possession, chances and fight but sadly lacking a cutting edge. A goalscorer is needed, plain and simple.

In what has become a pantomime at times, Liverpool’s penalty taking responsibilities fell to Dirk Kuyt after Luis Suarez was clipped by Szczesny. Amazingly Charlie Adam  volunteered while his Wembley penalty was still in orbit. It could be acknowledged that he had the guts to volunteer himself, however had he missed he may have needed a police escort out of Anfield. After it was all said and done, Kuyt’s penalty was also saved and the Dutchman mishit the rebound.

Suarez, Kuyt and Jay Spearing impressed for large parts of Saturdays game. Both the aforementioned Kuyt and Suarez hit the post on the day. In the end it was Arsenal defender Lorient Koscielny who opened the scoring as he sliced Jordan Henderson’s cross past his own keeper. Instead of burying Arsenal, they were instead allowed back into the game soon after. Robin Van Persie lost Jamie Carragher and headed Bacary Sagna’s cross past Pepe Reina at the Kop end.

The second half saw Kenny Dalglish’s men once again see plenty of the ball. Suarez worked tirelessly upfront but one cant help think that the Uruguayan would be better served playing off a main central striker. At Ajax Suarez played on the right of three strikers and also as a right midfielder at times. Creative he is, clinical he is not. How a Robbie Fowler type player would relish playing with Suarez causing havoc against opposing teams. Liverpool do not possess a natural goalscorer. The goals scored column can attest to that. The blame does not solely lie with Suarez as the input from others, notably Charlie Adam, Henderson and Stewart Downing has been minimal in the goals for category. Charlie Adam has failed to impress large portions of Liverpool supporters and Saturdays inability to deliver a good cross or corner will not do him any favors.

Martin Kelly missed a gilt-edged opportunity to put Liverpool 2-1 up after he mishit Dirk Kuyts pin point cross with just over ten minutes left. Arsenal punished the home team with ultimate ruthlessness as Van Persie spun Carragher and left him trailing to find enough space to volley past Reina and send the traveling fans into jubilation. It took a great ball from Alex Song to find the Dutchman. With Daniel Agger missing due to injury, veteran Jamie Carragher stepped in and was questionable for both Arsenal’s goals. Both Andy Carroll and Craig Bellamy were introduced too late for either to have an impact and why their introduction took so long is puzzling at best.

A smash and grab from Arsenal at Anfield. Jubilation to misery in less than a week for Reds supporters. The reality is that John Henry will not be best pleased if Liverpool miss out on fourth place. Champions League means massive income for those who qualify and an added attractiveness to top players looking to play at the elite level. In this day and age of instant gratification, many younger Reds will be quite upset at their teams lack of ability to dispose of an average Arsenal team. The reality is that this Liverpool team are simply not ready to challenge for fourth place. The league table never lies and if somehow Liverpool do manage to go on and grab fourth place, it will be a huge achievement that could help propel Liverpool back to the heights of the Rafa Benitez era. If not, then another year of rebuilding ensues and the dreaded Thursday night game. The FA Cup and Carling Cup are nice to win but at the end of the day no one wants to play in the Europa League. Liverpool belong in the Champions League, but do they deserve to be there? The league table never lies.

Match Statistics

                                Liverpool                              Arsenal

Possession                  54%                                    46%

Shots on Target            4                                           7

Corners                        12                                          0

Fouls                            11                                          9

Liverpool

  • 25 Reina – 6
  • 03 Jose Enrique – 6
  • 23 Carragher – 5
  • 34 Kelly – 6
  • 37 Skrtel – 6
  • 14 Henderson – 6
  • 19 Downing – 6 (Bellamy – 88′ )
  • 20 Spearing – 7 (Carroll – 90′ )
  • 26 Adam – 5
  • 07 Suarez – 8
  • 18 Kuyt – 7

Substitutes

  • 32 Doni
  • 16 Coates
  • 38 Flanagan
  • 11 Maxi
  • 33 Shelvey
  • 09 Carroll
  • 39 Bellamy

Arsenal

  • 13 Szczesny
  • 03 Sagna
  • 05 Vermaelen Booked
  • 06 Koscielny
  • 28 Gibbs
  • 07 Rosicky
  • 08 Arteta (Diaby – 53′ )
  • 14 Walcott
  • 17 Song
  • 30 Benayoun (Gervinho – 74′ )
  • 10 Van Persie

Substitutes

  • 21 Fabianski
  • 25 Jenkinson
  • 49 Miquel
  • 02 Diaby (Oxlade-Chamberlain – 80′ )
  • 15 Oxlade-Chamberlain
  • 27 Gervinho
  • 29 Chamakh
Referee:  Mark Halsey
Attendance: 44,922
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This entry was posted in Match Review, Premier League and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , by Jonathan Carroll. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jonathan Carroll

I’m a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Born and bred in Ireland I played Gaelic football and soccer while growing up and attended the prestigious Colaiste Ide in Dublin to prepare for a soccer scholarship to the USA. I played soccer at Thomas University in Georgia and was made team captain in my junior and senior years. I was honored to become an All-American in those same years. I graduated in 2007 and coached high school and collegiate level soccer programs incorporating year round strength and conditioning techniques with great success. I moved to Boston in 2011 and went on to work at Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning. I am currently the head strength and conditioning coach for the Boston Wolfe Tones Gaelic football team. Qualifications: Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA) USA Weightlifting Sports Performance Coach FMS Certified United States Soccer Federation “D” License Football Association of Ireland Certified

2 thoughts on “Liverpool 1-2 Arsenal – Reds Lack Cutting Edge

  1. Pingback: Jamie Carragher: they say legends never die — they never told me they can still get old. | The Red Letter

  2. Pingback: To Liverpool and Back: A Slightly Epic Journey | The Red Letter

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