Reading 0-0 Liverpool – Dominant Reds Left Frustrated

Photo courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

By Jonathan Carroll

Following on in the same theme as the West Ham game, Liverpool faced a team willing to sit back and soak up pressure. Could the Reds beat lowly Reading who had previously lost eight on the bounce. Dominance came in the form of sixty-four percent possession, twenty-six shots and fifteen of those on target. The only thing lacking from Saturdays performance was a cutting edge.

Daniel Sturridge’s goal scoring touch has since deserted him after a hot streak at the start of his Liverpool career. Luis Suarez worked and toiled all afternoon, the striker has been the savior many times already this season but no one else could fill the void left without his goal contribution.

Photo courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Another man of the match performance from an opposition goalkeeper. Something that happens all too often against Brendan Rodgers’ team. Alex McCarthy pulled off a string of fine saves to deny Luis Suarez, Steven Gerrard and Philippe Coutinho. A more ruthless approach is needed when Liverpool face teams they should expect to beat. Two points from West Ham and Reading isn’t exactly inspiring.

Photo courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

The last five games for Liverpool include Chelsea, Newcastle and the Merseyside derby against Everton. The bigger picture will be much clearer following those three games. Does Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool really need Europa League football? Thursday night games with an already light squad. Heavy investment over the summer looks unlikely. Concentrating on league football may instead be just what the club needs to try to progress past its disappointing form of recent years. The only European football that matters these days is the Champions League. TV money is astronomical, adequate rest for teams involved and players want to play for clubs in the top competition. Europa League doesn’t exactly have the same appeal. In truth, its more of a hinderance than a reward.

Photo courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Match Statistics

Reading                                    Liverpool

Possession                        36%                                             64%

Shots                                   7                                                26

Shots on Target                  5                                                 15

Corners                              4                                                  9

Reading

  • 21 McCarthy
  • 02 Gunter
  • 06 Mariappa
  • 15 Morrison
  • 27 Kelly
  • 04 Karacan (Daniel Carrico – 57′ )
  • 11 McAnuff
  • 20 Guthrie Booked
  • 07 Pogrebnyak (Blackman – 73′ Booked )
  • 10 Hunt (Le Fondre – 79′ )
  • 12 McCleary

Substitutes

  • 41 Taylor
  • 05 Pearce
  • 23 Harte
  • 08 Leigertwood
  • 29 Daniel Carrico
  • 09 Le Fondre
  • 30 Blackman

Liverpool

  • 25 Reina
  • 02 Johnson
  • 03 Jose Enrique
  • 05 Agger
  • 23 Carragher
  • 08 Gerrard
  • 10 Phillippe Coutinho
  • 14 Henderson (Downing – 57′ )
  • 21 Lucas Booked
  • 07 Suarez
  • 15 Sturridge

Substitutes

  • 01 Jones
  • 16 Coates
  • 37 Skrtel
  • 19 Downing
  • 33 Shelvey
  • 11 Assaidi
  • 30 Suso
Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Attendance: 24,139

 

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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

10 thoughts on “Reading 0-0 Liverpool – Dominant Reds Left Frustrated

  1. As the article says, another frustrating but not unexpected day on Saturday. As someone pointed out, all of our last seven games are winnable. Well, the first two of those “winnables” have seen us win two points out of a possible six. Not exactly inspiring as Jonathan correctly says, but no big surprise.

    Our season can be summed up in three words really. But which three words? “Not good enough”, or “better than average”, or “frustratingly consistently inconsistent”. No doubt there are other three word combinations that will suit, but I think at least all of those apply. Yes, we can point to the man-of-the-match performance by the goalkeeper, but we had 26 shots. Did he really make 26 match winning saves? No he didn’t, so when the dust settles on this season and we look at the actual results without analysing them into “we would have won that if it wasn’t for their keeper” categories, then Reading will sit alongside the West Ham at home, Stoke home and away, West Brom home and away, Southampton away, Aston Villa at home, Sunderland away etc etc.

    Looking at those results seems to suggest that we fit into the “not good enough” category. It would be difficult to suggest any other alternative. If significant investment in the squad is not made in the summer then next season we will face another season like this one…..and the one last season…..and the one before that….etc…..unless some of the youngsters in the reserves step forward and turn out to be abolute gems. There are some good ones coming through, but we can’t really rely on that can we.

    As far as European football goes then if we don’t get into Europe then our worldwide standing will diminish even more. It’s all very well saying that no Europe will benefit a full assault on the top four for next season but without European money and significant investment in the summer, European football the season after may again be just a pipedream. Frustrating times indeed, let’s hope we don’t just let the season fizzle out and we start next season flat. Because if we do we can almost certainly say “Goodbye” to Luis Suarez, and who could blame him for going.

    As I am writing this on the 15th April, I would just like to finish off by offering my thoughts and prayers for the families and friends of the 96 and of course to the 96 themselves.

    JFT96
    YNWA

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  2. Always enjoy your comments Frank. Is the Europa League worth it though? Weight the positives against the negatives. Do we make that much from our involvement? If we have a light squad is it worth asking them to play Thursday night and Sunday afternoon, which has shown that most of the time the league games suffer as a result of Europa involvement via lack of rest compared to opposition. It is really a two edged sword which must be approached in the right manner. if Liverpool were to manage five or six quality signings this summer then there would be no argument but am I wrong in thinking that we will continue to buy one or two players and try to improve over a long period of time, that seems to be the plan from the owners so far.

    JFT96

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    • Thanks Jonathan. Always enjoy reading your insightful reports. Before we discuss anything football related, let me say that my thoughts and prayers are with the victims, friends and families of all those who have suffered in the shocking events in Boston.

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  3. Good points all round. Personally speaking, a season without European football isn’t something we should be contemplating. Liverpool Football Club is all about playing in Europe, even if it is the so called competition no one (i.e. the entire Chelsea Squad) wants to play in. My view is that any player who disparages the Europa League has evidently never played in a EL or UEFA Cup final. Having been to a few as a fan I can attest to the fact that winning one is a pretty good feeling so I imagine it must have felt pretty good to the players involved as well. It also provides an opportunity to play emerging talent in the early rounds and group games as we saw this season. I don’t think our league form was that much worse when we were still playing the cup competitions than it now is it? Two points from two absolutely winnable games is nowhere near good enough.

    My feeling is that we are not capable of changing a game when things aren’t going well. Is that because there is a lack of talent / depth on the bench or because the coaching staff don’t have a so called “plan B”? Perhaps a bit of both, but the utterly predictable substitution of Henderson for Downing after (yes obviously) 57 mins was never going to make a game changing difference.

    Clearly we need game changers in the side. Will someone please see if Xab’s will come back in the Summer?

    The next few weeks will be interesting; will the season fizzle out as it looks like it may or will there be a rally? Great to see the owners at the Memorial Service yesterday; hopefully they can take some time out this week to speak to Brendan about next season and transfer targets.

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    • I can see why there are debates both for and against Europa League action next season. My own view is to agree with Stephen and welcome Europa League next season. If only to blood some of the youngsters. That is not to say that winning it is not a priority but even if some of these youngsters just made the squad for an away trip for example and were involved in any capacity, then this experience could prove to be invaluable.

      Although winning it will never compare with winning the European Cup, there is still great achievement in winning the Europa League. While some players from certain clubs may not fancy it, the fans certainly do (Alaves final in 2001 in Dortmund was a great couple of days out. One of my lasting memories of that day was before the game seeing Erik Meijer bopping up and down with the fans in the square where the bands played. Classic).

      We do obviously need a “Plan B”. I can’t remember when we last won a game late on in a match. All of our best results games this season have seen us scoring early on. And quite often, the substitutions are predictable in that we swap “like for like”. For instance, before Joe Allen was injured he would make way for Jordan Henderson or vice versa. Although it didn’t ultimately work but very nearly did, Rafa swapped a midfielder for Torres on Sunday to play alongside Demba Ba. It certainly gave Chavski much more to think about.

      Much as it grieves me to say it but Ferguson at Man United more often than not gets his substitutions right in terms of timing and the right mix. But yes, you need a huge squad to be able to make the right changes. This is where Jonathan is right in that if there are 5 or 6 quality signings in the summer then there would be more flexibility, a Plan B and maybe a Plan C.

      But that would take major investment. It would be great if we could get players like Alderweireld, Alonso, Ben Arfa, Eriksen and maybe get Andy Carroll back into the fold, although I would prefer someone like Lukaku if we were to consider a big striker as a Plan B, as he is more mobile and pacy than Andy Carroll. It would seem more likely though, again as Jonathan says, that maybe just one or two of those type of quality signing will happen.

      If the season is to fizzle out, and we all hope it doesn’t, then it is even more important that more of the youngsters feature in the last few games if any chance of Europe has either disappeared or seems to be unlikely. As has been said before, a big summer lies ahead and Brendan Rodgers has already stated that he wants to get his targets in early. If we don’t then it may be safe to say that another season of toil is on the horizon.

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  4. Stephen and Frank. I definitely want to see Liverpool in Europe, my only reason for questioning whether or not we need to be there is based on our league performances over the last couple of seasons. When Rafa had money and we were in the Champions league we were able to rotate cos we had such a big squad. The other side of the equation is if we dont make Europe there will be less investment possibly and Rodgers will have no excuses for poor performances if there are no midweek games. Lets wait and see how much the owners invest this summer. Hopefully I’m wrong and they bring in four of five players. Going by Ayre’s latest interview it seems they’re waiting for the FFP rules to kick in to level the financial playing field.

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  5. Jonathan and Frank, same here. I do feel that someone needs to vet the Summer signings very carefully this year and also give some consideration to bolstering the backroom staff in terms of coaching and tactical know-how. Apart from Rogers, does anyone on the coaching side fill you with confidence?

    Can’t wait to see what you guys think of the latest Luis bites yer arm controversy. Dare I say let’s take the £45 million for him and move on?

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