Liverpool v Tottenham: Don’t lose your nerve

Photo courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Photo courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

By Séamus Leonard

After seven straight Premier League wins in a row, Liverpool now has seven games remaining in a season that could yet be a historic one for England’s most decorated club. Continue reading

Advertisements

Cardiff City v Liverpool: Another step towards an improbable title?

Photo courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Photo courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

By Séamus Leonard

Liverpool faces into its third consecutive away game in the Premier League, but the results and performances from the previous two encounters have the Reds in buoyant mood ahead of the trip to South Wales. Continue reading

Man United 0-3 Liverpool – Rodgers Can Make Reds Reign Again

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

By Jonathan Carroll

Realistic expectations for this current Liverpool squad were a top four finish at the start of the season. Some television pundits thought even that was a bridge too far. There have been many questions arising over the course of the season in relation to how Liverpool would fare. Brendan Rodgers has without question, been learning on the job (see Southampton at home). What is clear however is that he has a philosophy and an adaptability with a squad of players whom he had no hand in purchasing. His coaching ability is there for all to see and this Liverpool team are gaining momentum at just the right time. Continue reading

Southampton v Liverpool: Another critical test for high-flying Reds

Photo courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Photo courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

By Séamus Leonard

After last weekend’s heart-stopping 4-3 Premier League victory over Swansea City, Liverpool now looks forward to a trip to the south coast to face a Southampton side that has proven something of a ‘bogey’ side for Brendan Rodgers ever since he was appointed as manager of the Merseysiders. Continue reading

Liverpool v Fulham: Reds require ‘bouncebackability’

Photo courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Photo courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

By Séamus Leonard

Apart from giving us the most recognizable pair of eyebrows in football, former Northern Ireland international Ian Dowie left his mark on the beautiful game in another fashion by inventing the word “bouncebackability”. Its genius is in its simplicity. Continue reading

Liverpool: 1st Half v 2nd Half

Rodgers rejects fitness issue

By Jonathan Carroll

Liverpool’s second half performances have come under much scrutiny lately. Even though the reds sit in second spot in the Premier League on goal difference behind Arsenal, the second forty-five minutes of each game have been anything but impressive. Brendan Rodgers’ men have played nine games so far this season.  Seven in the league and two in the Carling Cup. With the manager recently rejecting that a lack of fitness has caused the second half slump, a deeper look is needed. As a follow-up to my previous article. “Is Fitness an Issue for Liverpool FC?” I will attempt to breakdown the season so far. Seven games have been played in the league and two in the Carling Cup. The results so far this season are as follows:

2013/14 FIXTURES
Date Home Score Away Competition
Aug 17 Liverpool 1-0 Stoke City Premier League
Aug 24 Aston Villa 0-1 Liverpool Premier League
Aug 27 Liverpool 4-2 Notts County Capital One Cup
Sep 1 Liverpool 1-0 Manchester United Premier League
Sep 16 Swansea City 2-2 Liverpool Premier League
Sep 21 Liverpool 0-1 Southampton Premier League
Sep 25 Manchester United 1-0 Liverpool Capital One Cup
Sep 29 Sunderland 1-3 Liverpool Premier League
Oct 5 Liverpool 3-1 Crystal Palace Premier League
  • Liverpool first half goals scored:  12
  • Liverpool first half goals conceded: 1
  • First half goal difference: +11
  • Liverpool second haf goals scored: 3
  • Liverpool second half goals conceded: 7
  • Second half goal difference: -4
  • Second half goal difference excluding Notts County: -6

The Merseysiders have outscored their opponents 12 to 1 in the first half of 9 games so far this season. The telling statistic that highlights a second half slump is the fact that Liverpool have only scored 3 second half goals this season and conceded 7. That number of goals scored is not a true reflection as 2 of those goals came in extra time against Notts County in a Carling Cup game. Take those two goals away and Liverpool have 1 second half goal in nine games of football this season, eight hundred and ten minutes of football.

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

This is a shocking statistic, and one that has cost Liverpool points. The dour second half performances against Southampton and Swansea  spring to mind. Take into consideration once again that Liverpool are now second in the league on goal difference after nine games. If they had in fact won against Swansea and drawn against Southampton that would currently have Liverpool top by three points. An external factor to consider is that Liverpool have looked more potent since Luis Suarez arrived back in the team. The Uruguayan striker wasn’t available until after the Southampton game. Perhaps a look back on the next nine games will show a clearer picture.

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

If Brendan Rodgers can get his team to reproduce the first half form from here on out it would see the reds take first place by all accounts. However, this would require a very high level of performance from a thin squad and therefore not something that could be maintained over the course of a season. For a team that has not fired on all cylinders, the current league position is impressive after all. There is still work to do for Rodgers and his strength and conditioning team as the statistics show but the signs are positive right now. After all, before the season started how many Liverpool supporters would have predicted the current league position after seven games? Few, if any.

Man United 1-0 Liverpool – Red’s Found Lacking Again

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

By Jonathan Carroll

Brendan Rodgers switched his formation around for the League Cup match with Manchester United at Old Trafford on Wednesday night. The 3-4-1-2 was deployed and for long periods, especially in the first half, Liverpool dominated the game. There is a tendency to expect perfect games from the team you support and every football supporter is guilty of this. The high standard that has been set at Liverpool has not been matched since Rafael Benitez was in charge. A lot of improvement is needed if Liverpool expect to make the top four after the last two games.

 

This Liverpool squad will find it difficult to finish in fourth spot this season. The reason being the squad and team has players well below the accepted standard of a “Liverpool” player and also players who are prone to switch off and make individual mistakes. Refer to our left back, Jose Enrique. The Spaniard lost Javier Hernandez last night and then tried to blame Steven Gerrard. Even if Liverpool were incorporating a zonal system, there’s no way you can expect a player on the front post to know whats behind him. At that point there needs to be a decision made to follow the attacking player as it’s too late to pass him off to someone else.

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

The first half started with United threatening but as that subsided Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Victor Moses looked to make an impact on the game. There was a lot of good buildup play but Rodgers men seem to always lack the final pass at the moment. Suarez failed to tee up Gerrard when the skipper was well placed at the top of the eighteen. Buttner glanced an Enrique cross away from the awaiting Sturridge at the back post.

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Make no mistake. Manchester United were there for the taking. The sad part is Liverpool looked lost in the final third. Suarez in his first game back following his biting ban looked as if he was lacking match fitness. Some chances fell his way that the Suarez of last season would probably have dispatched.  A Suarez free-kick did hit the bar after glancing off the United wall and later Jordan Henderson side footed wide from a promising position. Ryan Giggs should have seen red when he handled and then proceeded to kick the ball away after already seeing yellow but the referee lacked the necessary decision-making skills to follow procedure correctly.

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

On a positive note, Mamadou Sakho put the nightmare of Southampton to bed and put in a good shift in the centre of defense. Jose Enrique failed to impress on the left and Kolo Toure worked tirelessly on the right with Henderson. The elephant in the room remains with the Lucas Leiva/Steven Gerrard midfield. It simply isn’t working. Gerrard lays too deep, Lucas is a defensive midfielder. We have no support for the front players when we do have the ball and our transition at times is like watching the titanic turning.

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

When fit, Glen Johnson should start at left back, Kolo or Martin Kelly at right back and Sakho and Agger in the centre. Philippe Coutinho will likely replace Victor Moses as I doubt Brendan Rodgers would replace Gerrard although it bears serious thought or more him further up the pitch.

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

So knocked out of the League Cup early on and now only the FA Cup remains. The argument for and against cup competitions can go on and on but the fact remains that until Liverpool qualify for the Champions League again, the club will fail to compete for and sign top quality players. A tricky trip to Sunderland on Sunday awaits Rodgers and co as they face a team eager to impress after the sacking of Paolo Di Canio.

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Manchester United

  • 01 De Gea – 6
  • 02 Rafael – 5
  • 06 Evans – 6
  • 12 Smalling – 6
  • 28 Buttner – 7
  • 04 Jones – 6 (Booked)
  • 10 Rooney – 8
  • 11 Giggs – 6 (Booked)
  • 17 Nani – 6 (Welbeck – 90′ )
  • 26 Kagawa – 7 (Januzaj – 73′ )
  • 14 Hernandez – 7 (Carrick – 74′ )

Substitutes

  • 40 Amos
  • 22 Fabio
  • 08 Anderson
  • 16 Carrick
  • 29 Zaha
  • 44 Januzaj
  • 19 Welbeck

Liverpool

  • 22 Mignolet – 7
  • 04 Toure – 6 (Booked)
  • 17 Sakho – 8
  • 37 Skrtel – 6
  • 03 Jose Enrique – 4
  • 08 Gerrard – 5
  • 12 Moses – 6 (Sterling – 82′ )
  • 14 Henderson – 6 (Booked)
  • 21 Lucas – 6 (Booked) (Kelly – 67′ )
  • 07 Suarez – 6
  • 15 Sturridge – 5

Substitutes

  • 01 Jones
  • 34 Kelly
  • 47 Wisdom
  • 06 Alberto
  • 31 Sterling
  • 33 Ibe
  • 09 Aspas