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Football News: Liverpool Quick Match Reviews

Liverpool Quick Match Reviews
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Manchester United v Liverpool A Liverpool Perspective

 

I am going to totally ignore the refereeing (which was abysmal - Fabinho was yellow carded for less contact than was made on Origi, yet Young's ankle breaker was not even worthy of a talking to?) and just talk about the game itself. Which was as abysmal as the refereeing. It is difficult to know if there was some complacency in the Liverpool team or not, there certainly was amongst the fans, but Liverpool never turned up at all. I have seen so much criticism of certain players, but not one player can honestly say they had a good game.

It would be easy to rip into certain players, like the usual suspects who have, as usual, come out of the woodwork to jump on this chance to rip into Henderson, like it was all his fault. However, more of the problem was who was missing than who was there. For all the blinkered people who complain Salah is playing poorly this season, perhaps now you see how much he brings to the team even when he is not scoring. He draws two or three players to him, creating space for the rest to operate. Without that, Liverpool struggled to get going in the early stages.

What also helped United is that Liverpool's full-backs were constantly being dragged out to deal with the wing-backs, leaving a gap in behind them that no one was covering. They should have held the line and let the wing-backs come to them, as neither are particularly accomplished on the ball, the danger is the ball in behind. Added to that, both full-backs were struggling badly with their delivery, which is a huge part of Liverpool's game. They had plenty of chances to deliver good quality, but their ball in let them down time and time again.

That is why, in my opinion, the result was more down to Liverpool performing poorly than United playing above their level of the rest of the season. Though United were better than they have been, the chances were there time and time again to deliver the ball into the box, but those chances were wasted for most of the game. It was not like United shut down the Liverpool full-backs at all, they just failed to provide their usual quality. Adding that to missing Salah's ability to draw defenders to him and Origi struggling to get into the game, it has to go down as a missed opportunity for Liverpool.

 



KRC Genk v Liverpool

 

A 4-1 scoreline would suggest it was a walk in the park and, to be perfectly honest, that is not far off the mark. However there a number of times when the defence was badly exposed by a quick ball over the top, something which is becoming a familiar theme this season. There are many times when, before the advent of VAR, those moves would have been immediately pulled up for being offside. Now we no longer get the quick flag, unless they are clearly well offside, we only find out if they were actually offside if a goal is scored. That means we have no idea if we are being caught out because players are offside or if there is a problem defensively. The TV is not showing replays either, so we can only assume that the club itself must be looking into it and that a large number are actually offside, or something would change.

Going the other way, it was a fairly routine cruise, Genk were unable to cope with the quality they faced. Oxlade-Chamberlain looked like he was back to his best, Keita caused them problems, and their keeper needed to have a good game to keep the score down. The midfield showed much more of a goal threat with those two in there, but they did leave gaps behind them that a better opponent might have been able to capitalise on.

It was a capable performance that showed there are options in the midfield Klopp can call on if needed, options that can take the game to the opponent and create chances. A great sign for a long season ahead.

 



Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur

 

This was not a good game to watch, Spurs took an early lead, courtesy of a bit of good fortune for them, and then just sat back to time waste, kick, dive and defend until the 90 minutes was up. I fail to understand why the referee failed to act on their constant obstructions of free kicks, not retreating was always an automatic booking in the past, but the referee let them do it time and time again before even warning them.

I was really disappointed in Spurs to be honest, I get they are out of form, but they played like Allardyce or Pulis was in charge, just trying to kick and bully their way through the game. Harry Kane has turned into the biggest ****house in the game with his playacting and diving, going down holding his face to win a booking that was never a booking. If he was anything other than an English player, we would never hear the end of what a cheat he is. When it is anyone who is not English going down under a challenge it is cheating. But when it is Harry Kane, Shearer shows what a bigot he is by calling if clever play. It is about time he got called out for being a cheat, as he has become more of a diver than Zaha on a day trip to the local swimming baths.

Apart from that, the game just revolved around whether or not Spurs could hold on to their lead, or perhaps extend it by hitting it into the channel behind Alexander-Arnold and looking to isolate Lovren against Kane and Son. I have to say I was disappointed in Virgil in this match, people are complaining about Lovren, but Virgil was the spare man and did nothing to help him. On the Spurs goal he was just stood around watching, when he should have been preparing to get back on the line when the keeper was drawn out towards his near post and there was no chance of an offside. Instead he was just stood watching while it went past and to Kane. That was not the only time in the game he was guilty of being a spectator. I know he does enough in the rest of matches, and over the course of a game, to make up for his errors, but it does not mean Lovren should be castigated for them. Nor does it mean they should not be pointed out so he can improve on them.

What this game did show was Liverpool's patience, there was no panic, nor did it feel like the team lost belief. They just relentlessly ground Tottenham down, despite Gazzaniga's saves, until Henderson got in to make up for giving the ball away for Spurs' first half goal. Even at 1-1 they just carried on forcing the issue until the penalty came and Salah converted it. It was only then that the foot came off the pedal a bit and the team settled for the result and played out time.

My worry is that they are better on the front foot, taking the game to the opposition and sitting back just allowed Spurs to turn it back into a match, rather than a practice session of attack against defence. I am not a fan of just trying to run down time by keeping possession, it should still have been about moving the opposition around by passing it around to draw them out, looking to kill them off.

While Liverpool were clearly the better side, the result could have been very different and they need to be better from the kick off. This repetitive kick-off tactic of playing the ball back to the left sided centre half to put into the opposite corner needs to be mixed up. I really do not understand why that is done every game. I also fail to understand why Son was able to get in so easily time and time again. Lovren could not be expected to deal with both him and Kane each time, but that is what was being asked of him.

Written by Tris Burke October 30 2019 10:05:18

 

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