Football News: Liverpool v Sevilla Match Review - A Liverpool Perspective

 

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Liverpool v Sevilla Match Review - A Liverpool Perspective
Image from: watchingamerica.com

Liverpool v Sevilla

Where do I start with that? I mean it is clear I must have watched a different game for most because I thought I saw a draw but the reaction on the Liverpool site suggests Liverpool must have got battered and completely outplayed for 90 minutes. Talk about knee jerk reactions! The result was not ideal, but certainly not as bad as people make out against seasoned European operators in LFC's first Champions League game in 3 years. In this group stage, the only thing that matters is to make progress, individual results are not do or die. When you have a group like that, the key is not to lose to the best of the opponents and beat the weaker two. A bit of perspective is clearly needed.

This was a difficult game, on the back of the weekend's result, with confidence clearly low because of it. It showed in a slow start with the midfield, in particular, looking really lacking, poor passing, weak pressing, positionally all over the place and just generally unsure. Mane and Salah causing a few problems, but the rest of the team were too busy causing problems for each other early on. Then Sevilla scored. Lovren's error was embarrassing and yes, Moreno should have been in position to clear it, but the problems started way before Lovren moved his foot out of the way of the ball.

The midfield were giving away the ball, Can bottled out of a tackle, Matip decided to leave Gomez to deal with two players while he stood in no man's land just far enough away to have no effect on the play but close enough he could pretend he was there to help. That made sure they could double up on Gomez and get a ball in for Lovren to miss. Klopp is right, this is a team game, so the rest of the team need to look in the mirror and realise they all were as much at fault as Lovren. That ball should never have come in to begin with for him to miss. Having said all that, what on earth was he doing? Ugh. Just take control of the ball, there is no one near you.

That goal seemed to galvanise the team who picked up their performance levels, particularly the forward players, though Matip was able to run through their entire team a couple of times. They were unable to cope with Salah and Mane, who cut them apart time and time again. The main surprise was that Liverpool only scored twice in that first half, it could, and should, have been so many more. There were issues, particularly in the midfield, who were truly awful yesterday, they were all making the same runs and the press was that of three players who had never played together before.



Half time at 2-1 seemed to live up to all the 'it's a dangerous score' comments, as the players came out and did not know whether to try and add one more or sit back. That led to the game becoming very bitty and lacking quality, as players dallied on the ball, trying to decide whether to play the through ball or just play it safe. It must be said Sevilla were not at the same level as they have been in the past and they were not looking threatening at all until they scored the equaliser. The stat I saw this morning on my rewatch said LFC had hit 22 shots and Sevilla 3 at that point, yet the score was 2-2!

It does make you wonder how many weak shots can players try from outside the box before they realise that is not working. After the equaliser, Sevilla looked a lot more dangerous, while Liverpool seemed to lose their shape and the confidence drained out, taking all the ideas with it. The rest of the game was a bit of a mess, with just one break from Luis Muriel really threatening either goal.


Klopp - he made the right choice to bring back Karius, for whatever reason, Karius needs to stay in goal now. Overall his mistakes, for me, were not ensuring the team were more decisive in the second half. Not an easy thing for a manager to do and we see it time and time again how players get themselves in a mess because they struggle mentally to cope with a tight lead. However, even though it is a common issue, the manager still needs to accept the blame when it happens, they are his players after all.

The other mistake was Coutinho. The lad is clearly nowhere near ready to play and should not have been anywhere near the bench, let alone brought on to try and win the game. Actually I thought of one more, corner taking, he should have seen outswingers were being easily dealt with and tried something different ie inswingers.



Karius - not at fault for the goals and just seems more confident and commanding than Mignolet. Deserves a run of games to see what he can do.


Gomez - had a decent game but made a few basic errors he should hopefully learn from. Has to stop pulling opponents back, that will only lead to more cards in future. Other than that, he dealt well with Sevilla's best player on the night, despite often having to cover for Matip as well. He plays as a full back rather than a wing back, which I personally like. If Moreno gets forward he holds back to provide cover. However getting sent off was a disappointment and ruined all his good work.


Matip - he is really annoying me now. How can a player move so fast going forward but so slow chasing back? Why does he have so little in the way of positional sense? Why is it is so easy for a man to just pull slightly wide of him to find space? On the first goal he was hopeless and left Gomez covering two players. What kind of seasoned pro does that to a young team mate? Surely he should want to look after the youngster and help him through games? Going forward, bringing the ball out of defence he is like a Bentley, smoothly flying along at an effortless pace. However, as soon as there is defending to do he turns into an old man with arthritic knees who can barely move, let alone run. When he is 'racing' back into position, he moves with all the pace and poise of that slightly drunk uncle at a family wedding who has a full tray of drinks that he is determined not to spill, even if it takes all night for him to cross the room with them. Personally I would rather he was utterly useless at taking the ball out of defence and made an effort to actually do the job of defending instead.


Lovren - made a terrible error and never recovered. His passing was terrible all night. A stinker of a game.


Moreno - it is the same old story with Moreno, great going forward but terrible defensively. Could (maybe even should) have been sent off for a couple of rash challenges, but got an assist on our first goal due to his forward play. At one point he actually stopped himself from lunging in recklessly and I wondered if the message was finally getting through. Overall he had a good game, but those needless challenges need to stop, he needs to learn to stay on his feet and just get goal side. He also still lacks a lot positionally, as was shown on the first Sevilla goal, when he was caught expecting Lovren to deal with it. He thinks like a forward rather than a defender. Mind that has never stopped Marcelo being highly rated, so there is hope for him.



Henderson - his passing was poor, though his through ball for Moreno was good, he did win a few challenges but he does not seem to have an understanding with his team mates in the midfield area. They all charge forward at once, they all drop back at once, they all move around the field in the same area of the pitch constantly. There is not one dropping when one goes forward happening at all. It feels like they are all too similar and the return of Coutinho should help a lot, as it will then leave just two to sort out who goes and who stays between them, rather than three saying to themselves one of the others will stay.


Wijnaldum - another poor game, though he was the best of the trio in there, he was just the best of a bad bunch sadly.


Can - terrible performance. He was lucky he did not get the hook for bottling out of a challenge. That was embarrassing.


Mane - gave them real trouble all night. Should have had a penalty early on after the defender blatantly checked his run right on the edge of the box. It was on the line, but the line counts as part of the penalty box. Their right back just fouled him constantly as he could not cope with him at all. That was when he could even get at him to foul him.



Salah - was excellent but should have put the score beyond doubt. His sheer pace is devastating and his workrate is excellent. He just needs to score more.


Firmino - ran himself into the ground. Always involved, scored a goal but missed a pen. However, you simply cannot fault his effort.


Subs:

Coutinho - was brought on in the 76th minute in place of Can but was clearly nowhere near ready. His touch was terrible and he constantly gave the ball away, plus he could barely run when needed to track back.

Sturridge - replaced Mane in the 84th minute but struggled badly to get into the game. Just did not have enough time, plus the team was all over the place at this point so he barely got the ball.

Oxlade-Chamberlain - never really got much of a chance to do anything coming on in the 89th minute in place of Salah, but he tried to make something happen.

Written by Tris Burke



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