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Football News: Leicester City v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective

Leicester City v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective
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Leicester City v Liverpool A Liverpool Perspective

 

The first half was, for the most part, a controlled hammering of a Leicester side that seemed to lack any idea of how to play without Jamie Vardy, who was suspended. The choice of Demarai Gray over Kelechi Iheanacho did not work, as Gray was dominated by Joe Gomez, who could match him for pace and outmuscled him. In fact he added to the control by controlling him, forcing him to pull out to wide areas, leaving the Foxes with nobody in the centre to cross to.

An early goal settled nerves and Liverpool dominated, then added a second late in the first half, a well deserved 2-0 lead. However there were warning signs, not that Leicester could offer anything, but that Liverpool could offer them chances on a plate with silly errors. That continued into the second half, except that Leicester upped their game, while Liverpool were happy to sit back and look to counter, so the errors became more worrisome.

A serious of mistakes, culminating in van Dijk playing a back pass he should never have made in the first place, that he made a mess of, put Alisson under pressure and he tried to be too clever, rather than just clearing his lines. It was like the days of Brucie and the problem you have with a keeper who wants to play out from the back, there will be times when he will overdo it. They scored and it got them back into the game, but Liverpool held them at arm's length pretty much from then on.

Another fairly routine win, but again not spectacular, ground out is the phrase being used, but I would say it was a little better than that in the first half and the second was just looking to sit back and draw them out to use the pace in behind. It worked as the result came, though it was not the best performance, it is a place Liverpool normally struggle at. A win is a win is a win, but there is a fair bit that needs work on for when the teams come back from internationals.

 

Klopp - really difficult to say much about his tactics or choices, though I do think it was a mistake to take off Henderson when Wijnaldum had been so poor. I can only assume that was to protect Henderson's fitness or it makes absolutely no sense. Oh and that late sub to bring on the inept Matip really needs to stop. He should not even be on the bench, let alone brought on. It does not help in any way, shape or form to have him on the pitch.

 

Alisson - made the saves when needed and, if it was not for the stupid error he would be getting lauded and would have made it four clean sheets out of four. To be fair to him, it was a backpass that should not have been made and was a bad pass which gave him a fair bit of work to do just to reach it. However, he did reach it and has to do better than that. There was no space for the turn, even if he had got it right, so he should have been looking to clear it quickly, even if it meant booting it into touch. Still that is what you get when you take risks, sometimes they will not pay off. At least he was doing it at 2-0 up rather than 0-0 in the dying seconds!

 

Alexander-Arnold - played well, supported the attacks and got back and defended when needed. I was very surprised he was taken off again in the final minutes. Not sure why, he was dealing well with them and offering an outlet going forward.

 

Gomez - had an excellent game, got caught ball watching on one occasion and the ball dropped in behind him, something he still has to work on, other than that he played really well and looked much more like a partner for van Dijk, rather than just a player next to him on the pitch. Also his long throws could be a useful weapon if used properly. That was certainly a new feature of his game I had never seen before!

 

van Dijk - his worst game in a Liverpool shirt. All over the place positionally and his passing was awful, including that terrible pass to Alisson. Unusually error-strewn performance by the big centre back. Maybe he was just a bit lost without someone proper to mark up against him? I have no idea, just surprised by his performance. He is allowed an off game though.

 

Robertson - decent game, offered some good width at times and did well on the breaks. I really wish he would learn to stop a cross coming in though, against better sides that will cause us problems.

 

Wijnaldum - truly dreadful. His runs were poor, always into the wrong places, always in the way. His workrate was not up to scratch either. Watching him away from home is always a chore, as he does everything he can to avoid getting on the ball anywhere in dangerous areas. He runs into places no one can find him. He tries to hide and is almost a hindrance. Much better when he dropped deeper after Henderson went off, but he should have been the one being hooked as he offered nothing at all.

 

Henderson - played ok, but found his options to pass his way out of trouble limited in the second half. Still feels like he is straining at the leash and wants to charge forward and play with freedom like Milner does.

 

Milner - worked hard, decent game, still playing out of his skin. With the amount of work he has put in the last few weeks, he will probably be glad of a rest instead of playing for England during the international break.

 

Salah - caused havoc, despite not scoring. His touch, pace, strength and skill was a real issue for them and they struggled to cope with it, hence why there is so much space for the others to use. Tracked back well, worked hard, but started to tire and it was little wonder he was taken off.

 

Mane - well taken goal and a good all round performance. Still not back to his devastating best but he was very good. Good movement, worked hard, caused nightmares to the defence and got back to help out when needed. Like night and day from last week's performance.

 

Firmino - scored but the sharpness is still missing from his game. Though he did do some good stuff, worked hard, the issue is that he is just that good that people expect more of him. It is coming though, the performances are getting better, sharper, more Firmino-like by the game.

 

Subs:

Keita - replaced Henderson in the 71st minute. It is not happening for him after such an impressive debut. Struggled to make any impression of the game and was probably not the right choice to come in.

Shaqiri - was part of a double substitution along with Keita, but in place of Salah. Worked hard, got involved but it was mixed. Some of the things he tried did not turn out well, but he did manage to keep Chilwell penned back looking after him.

Matip - strangely came on in the 89th minute in place of Alexander-Arnold, with Gomez moving out right. Never enough time to do any more than cause a bit of confusion over who was playing where and what system the team was going to. (That was my comments last week and it was almost a carbon copy this week, just a little less confused!)

Written by Tris Burke September 02 2018 21:01:31

 

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