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Football News: Roma v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective

Roma v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective
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Roma v Liverpool



Liverpool never do anything the easy way do they? Any other team with a 5-2 lead from the first leg that scored first would have had a nice comfortable evening. Not Liverpool though, that would be dull. Where would the fun have been in that?

I suppose I have to deal with James Pallotta's incessant whining about decisions, which have got so boring over the time he has taken over at AS Roma that I no longer even mention them in the daily news round up I do on football-news-views. It is almost every day that he is whining like the spoilt brat he is about something not going his way, though at least moaning about yesterday's refereeing decisions is a break from whining about not having been given his way on the stadium, yet.

Pallotta does have a point, the refereeing was appalling, but it had little overall effect on the end result. There was the clear push on Mane in the box, with all officials having a nice clear view of it there was no reason whatsoever for the decision not to have been a penalty. The defender then has to spend the rest of the match with a booking in his head. That was a lift to them, as they felt like it was going their way due to it, which meant that the own goal by Milner just added to that feeling that luck was on their side.

Then there was the yellow for Florenzi, with a tackle that is normally a red without hesitation. That would have killed the game off right then. Roma down to ten would have lost what little hope they had. They were unlucky with the Dzeko offside call, when the decision should have been a penalty to them for Karius's lunge at Dzeko's feet. Possibly the TAA decision could have been different, but there were a lot of potential handballs in favour of both sides that could have easily been given, and one soft one against Milner that probably should not have been given.

I could go on, as there were loads of decisions that were inconsistent and wrong by the officials but I think I have made the point that it was not the decisions that led to Roma crashing out. Over two legs Liverpool were the better team. It really was that simple. If anything the margin of victory flatters Roma.


Klopp - first half was spot on, but the second half I feel he got wrong by shifting it around a little to go to what, in essence, was a 4-4-2, with Wijnaldum to the right and Mane to the left. I know there was a big lead to hold onto, but the players in the team are just not set up to defend, they are best when allowed to take the game to the opposition. Should have been brave and killed the game off completely, in my opinion. However, no one can really argue that the decision was wrong when the result is the right one. The only thing that mattered was going through after all.

That being said, I really hate to see the change to a back 3 that Klopp chooses to make every game Liverpool have their noses in front in. It does not work. It just invites pressure and confuses everyone. Please drop it as a ploy Jurgen!


Karius - he was looking a bit more decisive, trying to stay on the front foot and take crosses when he could. That bit he did a decent job on. However there was the needless racing out of goal to take out Dzeko that could have been far worse if the offside flag had not gone up. Also he made that mistake modern day keepers all seem to do regularly - he chose to keep the ball in play when making a save. Old school keepers would have put it out for a corner and looked to deal with that, rather than just pushing it back into danger. That was a poor error, no idea why modern keepers are so afraid to give away corners nowadays.


Alexander-Arnold - he was dreadful defensively once more. I made a point of watching him closely and noticed something, he never looks around him to see what is going on. If you look at Firmino, you will see his head is constantly turning this way and that when he does not have the ball. Non-stop, no matter which team has the ball. It is like he has some kind of twitch as he is constantly checking to see where everyone is around him. It is why he can produce the no-look passes, why he can be in the right position to steal the ball, he always knows what is happening and looks to use that information.

Then you look at someone like Henderson, who also looks around him a fair bit, but can get caught ball watching when Liverpool have possession. He glances around him much less, as he gets caught up in trying to watch where the ball is going, which is why he is solid positionally but can often turn into trouble with the ball. Most of the rest take the odd glance around them, but little more than that, except Trent. I never once saw him look round. That is why he is constantly caught under the ball and not aware there is somebody running off the back of him. He is simply not looking. That needs to change.


Lovren - if anyone has a case to bemoan bad luck it is Dejan Lovren. He really should borrow Mario Balotelli's 'Why Always Me?' t-shirt I think! I am beginning to think he must have run over a black cat and into the back of a truck carrying mirrors and all his horseshoes are upside down.


van Dijk - in the main he had a good game, but he is just far too casual for my liking. When he receives the ball, he gives time for the opposition to close him down, when there is a ball played in behind him he does not sprint to it to give himself time to look around once he gets it etc. He wants to do as little as possible and stroll through games, which you just cannot do at the top level if you want to win trophies.


Robertson - he was a bit subdued and panicky when under pressure, but going forward he was a real threat. Unfortunately he did not get forward enough, something I never thought I would say! His side of the pitch was wide open but not enough was made of it as he tended to hold back. When he did get forward he had the beating of them.


Milner - for someone so experienced, he does not use that experience when it counts. When you need him to run down the clock by taking the ball into the corner or just retaining possession by turning back and playing a safe pass, Milner decides to give it away by playing a cross that was never on. It is a problem throughout the team, the lack of intelligent thought at key times. I also worry about his tendency to drop off in the latter stages of a match Liverpool are leading. He is losing positional discipline and getting in the way of defenders. Shame as most of the game he played well again.


Henderson - for me he did not do enough in this game. In the first leg he stepped up and made everyone else step up too. In this game he was more tentative. The lack of trophy winning experience showed, throughout the whole team, in the second half and he was not able to deal with it. Did make some good passes, including a lovely ball wide to Robertson to get at them for the corner Wijnaldum scored from. I would have liked to see him take control of possession in the second half and slow the game down.


Wijnaldum - scored away from home. I never thought I would see the day that would happen! Other than that he did not really impress though.


Salah - even when he does not score he creates so much space and time as defences concentrate on him. Has to be pointed out that it was him chasing back 40 yards that led to the initial pass back to Nainggolan leading to the first goal. His hard work was key.


Mane - superb, despite the ridiculous foul on him by Florenzi. He destroyed the right back time and time again and anyone else that came over to help out. If only the midfield had given him a bit more help and support the game could have been a cricket score as he was ripping through their backline and was outstanding, as well as opening the scoring. Hard to believe he did not get an early penalty too.


Firmino - Bobby is just Bobby, always on the move, creating problems, harrying, hassling, winning the ball back, creating chances for himself and others, and generally being a pain in the backside to the opposition. Firmino has been consistently excellent this season.


Subs:

Klavan - replaced Mane in the 83rd minute as Klopp did his usual of switching to a back three when the team is leading. As usual it did not work!

Solanke - brought on to give some fresh legs up top to press in the 87th minute instead of Firmino. Put himself about but achieved little.

Clyne - in the 90th+3 minute he was brought on in place of Alexander-Arnold. Little more than a time wasting exercise as he barely had time to get on the pitch before it was all over.

Written by Tris Burke May 03 2018 15:28:09