Sunderland 1-0 Liverpool – The Slide Continues

By Jonathan Carroll

Liverpool lay in 7th place in the Barclay’s Premier League table. Ten points behind fourth and fifth place Arsenal and Chelsea with eleven games to play. It will take a colossal collapse from both clubs and a flawless run in from the Redmen to achieve Champions League football next season. Of course anything is possible but it’s not very likely.

Sadly Kenny Dalglish’s summer signings of Stewart Downing, Charlie Adam and Jordan Henderson continue to earn a regular starting spot. Only Dalglish knows what Adam has done to stay in the starting eleven. Henderson, in his defense has been played wide right a lot and when given the chance in a more central position has influenced games. Downing has not impressed many Liverpool supporters with his “invisible man” routine during games.Let’s not confuse club loyalty with constructive criticism, both are allowed, and yes from the same person. Many supporters get worked up over other supporters criticizing player performances, this is allowed, personal attacks are a different story.

Nicklas Bendtner volleyed home the winner at the Stadium of Light as Frazier Campbell’s shot hit first the post and then Pepe Reina’s back. In a dire first half, few clear-cut chances were created and even in the second half only a tame effort from substitute Steven Gerrard and a missed header by Dirk Kuyt gave any sort of hope to the large section of frustrated away supporters in the stadium.

A few facts of note since the turn of the year:

  • Liverpool have won just one game in eight in the league
  • Conceded 11 goals in those eight games
  • Scored only six goals in eight league games
  • The only win coming away to lowly Wolves

It is worth bearing in mind that during this run of poor form sub par performances from Downing, Adam and Henderson have been rewarded with places in the starting eleven in the following games. Hardly the tough message that needs to be sent to the players in question that they need to buck up their ideas as it were. Many questions come from their inclusion game after game. Are they simply there because Kenny himself wanted to buy these players? Why are players like Maxi Rodriguez, Jonjo Shelvey and for the most part Dirk Kuyt constantly overlooked? They were part of the old regime and it seems a stubborness to try something different exists when the current playing staff simply are not getting it done and this has led to a staleness in the team. The club is now closer to the bottom (18 points above) than the top of the league (28 points below).

Some tough decisions remain for Kenny Dalglish and Steve Clarke and the players who were brought in for big money with the exception of Suarez have under performed for the most part. Jose Enrique and Craig Bellamy have been the better of the summer recruits and their total cost amounting to six million sterling, just over one sixth of what the club spent on Andy Carroll who now takes up a permanent place on the substitutes bench. By no means do I advocate a ludicrous reaction such as “Sack Dalglish” but I would implore the manager to examine the success of the current players that he has placed so much faith in and perhaps blood some youth like Shelvey or even Raheem Sterling (video below) from the reserves. I doubt Sterling would do worse than Downing or Henderson in a wide role, who knows, he could be a revelation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_g8tV8rvKTc

The bottom line for Liverpool supporters is this, the chances of Champions League football next season are 99% gone. Why not try something different and see if the club and the younger players can build towards next season? Blood some younger players with some more experienced ones. There has got to be consequences for under performing, Downing, Adam and Henderson have rarely paid a price for not doing their job. I wonder if you and I would get off so lightly if we were not performing at our jobs to the satisfaction of both the owners and customers?

Thankfully form goes out the window on Tuesday when Liverpool host Everton in the Merseyside derby with Paddy Power quoting the Blues at 4/1 to win and Liverpool 8/11 with the draw at 13/5.

Sunderland

  • 22 Mignolet
  • 02 Bardsley
  • 03 Bridge
  • 04 Turner
  • 16 O’Shea
  • 07 Larsson
  • 08 Gardner
  • 14 Colback
  • 23 McClean Booked
  • 09 Campbell (Vaughan – 75′ )
  • 52 Bendtner (Wickham – 83′ )

Substitutes

  • 01 Gordon
  • 12 Kilgallon
  • 25 Kyrgiakos
  • 15 Vaughan
  • 18 Meyler
  • 27 Elmohamady
  • 10 Wickham

Liverpool

  • 25 Reina – 5
  • 03 Jose Enrique – 6
  • 16 Coates – 5
  • 34 Kelly – 7
  • 37 Skrtel – 6 (Booked)
  • 14 Henderson – 5 (Downing – 79′ )
  • 20 Spearing – 6
  • 26 Adam – 4 (Carroll – 69′ ) 6
  • 07 Suarez – 6
  • 18 Kuyt – 6
  • 39 Bellamy – 6 (Gerrard – 69′ ) 6

Substitutes

  • 32 Doni
  • 23 Carragher
  • 38 Flanagan
  • 08 Gerrard
  • 11 Maxi
  • 19 Downing
  • 09 Carroll

Match Statistics

Sunderland                         Liverpool

Possession                   44%                                   56%

Shots on Target              1                                        5

Corners                           3                                        2

Fouls                               13                                      15

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3 thoughts on “Sunderland 1-0 Liverpool – The Slide Continues

  1. I was saying something similar regarding the youngsters on Twitter just before the Sunderland game. This is probably the season to start giving some of them a run out. Sterling and Morgan are the two that instantly come to mind.

    One minor comment about Downing though, and I know stats are not the be all and end all, but he has actually got fairly similar stats this season as he had last season. His delivery into the box has been fairly similar to last season, and his accuracy with those has been on a par too. So somewhere along the lines he is doing what he was bought for (deliver those balls into the box). He (along with Carroll) were just starting to get into their groove, yet now they find themselves back on the bench?

    That aside, our conversion rate indicates that we need a clinical finisher, and I think Morgan has shown that. Sure it’s only at under 18s, and the EPL is a bit more physical, but that ability to crop up where needed, to follow shots in is what resulted in Sunderland’s goal, and something we haven’t truly had since Fowler left.

    Sterling brings with him an aspect of the game that Downing not many of our current first 11 really have. That ability to run at people. He might be small, and won’t perhaps win too many physical battles but he doesn’t need to, he has plenty of pace and skill to take on most defenders and will, in my opinion, be able to do what Bellamy has been doing this season.

    With that loss, it is highly unlikely we’re going to make fourth. With that in mind, it makes sense to start giving youngsters a game, just like Flano and Robinson had chances at the end of last year. It gives them that bit of EPL experience in a season where it probably makes little difference if they don’t achieve stardom right away.

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  2. I do agree in relation to your Carroll and Downing point. Carroll was building up a head of steam and then he’s back on the bench. Liverpool don’t seem to play to our strengths going forward and Suarez is having to create his own chances so by the time he gets a shot on goal he’s exhausted.Zero creativity unless Gerrard in the side.

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  3. Pingback: Reds hope Merseyside Derby can halt poor form | The Red Letter

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