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A Few Thoughts from the Match: City 5 Liverpool 0


1. The most significant take-away from the match was that for 37 minutes of two teams playing with a full complement of players Liverpool looked the better side. Even at 1-0 down the feeling was that it was just a matter of time before the attacking superiority would pay dividends and the deficit would be scrubbed out. Just as with last season, this Liverpool team can forcefully impose itself upon their direct rivals in big games. 

2. The reason that matters is because the events after the sending off do not scrub that from the minds of the players. The idea that this was a humiliation that will be a blow to the team and a boon to other teams just doesn’t wash with me. The next big game these lads play they will be thinking about that first 37 minutes and still be buying into this approach as one that few teams can live with. 
 
3. The sending off is a sending off. If Mane pulls his boot away at the last minute and doesn’t end up studding a lad in the face and ending his game with a stretcher ride then we can have a debate about if it was a yellow or not. He doesn’t; so all of the possible wriggle room that he isn’t endangering an opponent sort of goes out of the window. That said, it’s also fractions of a second away from a red card for Ederson if it’s toed past him. These are the fine margins of top level sport. 
 
4. The game is done as a contest at 2-0. Liverpool are very poorly equipped for what remains of the fixture. Changing the two wider midfielders and the forward made complete sense as they were now going to be doing shuttles all day and there are games coming up that were still winnable. That’s not to say the lads on the pitch couldn’t have made a better fist of things, particularly… 
 
5. The Centre-backs. They all seemed to be reacting to things instead of reading them and being swept about by events rather than managing them. I’m of the opinion that Joel Matip was a pretty shrewd bit of business. I’m also coming to the opinion that he is very much the grey man of the defence, and that his performance levels seem to quite closely mirror his centre-back partner. He will play well in a defence playing well, he will play poorly in one playing poorly, he will almost never stand out as over-performing in a poor display or under-performing in a good one. 
 
6. So, if this is true, and is going to continue, can we have Virgil Van Dijk in January please? 
 
7. Not only are City a terrible team to try and get the ball off with one less man but they also love a cross. They’ve brought in Walker to get to the byline and Mendy to ping in crosses from all angles. I’d have swapped you for two of Pulis’ boys at half time if offered. Dawson and Evans fare better in that second half than our lads. More geared up for it. More used to it. Getting in better positions earlier. 
 
8. With better, more clinical, decision making and execution from Salah in the first half the post-match analysis almost certainly tears Mendy apart for leaving Otamendi so isolated so often. Sweeping narratives and glowing MOTD analysis segments come out of those fine margins we talked about. 
 
9. Alexander-Arnold showed he still has a lot of work to do, and may have given some supporters a bit of a reminder as to the benefits of having Clyne doing the boring, mundane defensive work in these big clashes. Progress is not linear, there will be ups and downs and Trent is an undoubtedly talented prospect, but news of the death of Nathaniel Clyne may well have been greatly exaggerated in some quarters. 
 
10. In two big moments of the match the game intelligence and game management of The Reds let them down. As sky blue shirts swamp the referee for the sending off there are no Liverpool players arriving on the scene. That’s not acceptable and these things turn games. Shortly after that Mo Salah is running at Otamendi on a booking; he absolutely has to force him into a challenge. That’s an opportunity to turn a very long afternoon into a football match again and he has to do everything he can to force the issue. He doesn’t. It is indeed a rather lengthy afternoon of doing doggies from that point onwards.
 


Stu Montagu

@SimianJustice


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18 Comments

Point 10.

Something I personally have shouted about for ages with these players.

I just don't understand why they are so timid and seem to lack the snideness or nous that top teams have.

Klopp isn't timid - he is the opposite in fact and you would think he would have rubbed off on these players by now/would be buying players who have bollocks and importantly the nous/snideness needed.

We are just too nice as a team and it infuriates me.
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During the sending off, Henderson was on the sideline talking to Klopp instead of in the ref's face, which was disappointing.

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Point10.
If our players would've hounded the ref, he might have changed his mind? He'd already made his mind up,no amount of verbals would have changed that, absolutely none.
How can you force somebody from the opposition into a challenge? Yeah, you can run at him and try to get past him but you can't force him into making a challenge. Telepathy?
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Point 10 is spot on. I remember last season when Milner was waiting to take a pen and the opposition were all in his face trying to put him off and we just let them. Bunch of fannies. Carragher wouldn't have put up with it, nor the likes of Viera, Keane etc
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Point10.
If our players would've hounded the ref, he might have changed his mind? He'd already made his mind up,no amount of verbals would have changed that, absolutely none.
How can you force somebody from the opposition into a challenge? Yeah, you can run at him and try to get past him but you can't force him into making a challenge. Telepathy?

It is a wider issue though...when teams get in refs ears/faces it inevitably influences the refs thinking in future decisions....if it creates just a bit of doubt that helps in a 50/50 another time it is worth it...doing nothing like we do and just being timid is IMO shite.

You can't tell me all Fergsuon and Man Utd's antics down the years didn't help them - and of course there are loads of other examples.

Also purely from a what I want to see in terms of fight and caring for the shirt point of view i just want to see some horribleness and more balls from our players as well as more nous.
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If Mané hadn't have gone for that ball, he'd have been fucked from a height...and rightly so.
Two players making a legimate attempt for the ball, with one getting there a fraction of a second before the other. Never a red.

The collapse after that was as disappointing as it was inevitable. Should've kept Salah on to run at them.

Write the whole fucking thing off and go again midweek.
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Token pandering article. There's an overall lack of ability in the squad, not fight. This is the first time in years we've seen this team truly getting beat up and quit. We're not Arsenal.

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Token pandering article. There's an overall lack of ability in the squad, not fight. This is the first time in years we've seen this team truly getting beat up and quit. We're not Arsenal.


This.
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Decent analysis Stu, thank you.

I agree with point one as the standout point. There was nothing between the teams before Mane's sending off. Even as we were a goal down we had chances, and we've shown plenty of times that we can come back from a goal down, and we were looking likely to do that.

Mane's red was justified. It was dangerous play. His foot was five feet off the ground and his studs went into the side of the goalie's face. Of course it's dangerous. A yellow would have been preferred as a Liverpool fan, but let's not kid ourselves - it would have been lenient.

We can't overdo the introspection. Heads dropped a bit and we got spanked by a very good City team. But we were well in with a shout until Mane left the pitch.

Time to dig deep and bounce back.

However... the game also showed us how much we are missing Van Dijk and Keita. The right targets, but not here now to help us!

Maybe Gomez might get a chance to stake a claim in the middle?
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3 Words that don’t fit together:

 

Klavan: Speed

Aguero: Slow

High defensive line with Klavan against Aguero: Smart

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3 Words that don’t fit together:

Klavan: Speed
Aguero: Slow
High defensive line with Klavan against Aguero: Smart


Speed is important. Especially when as you say we want to defend high.

Even more important is defending as a unit, and getting the positioning right. Klavan played Aguero onside which was the main error on the first goal. The second fault was allowing the pass from midfield to be played so easily, against that kind of players you can't do that.
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With number 10 you are ignoring the fact that our only trophy this season may be the Fair Play one.

 

All joking apart , I was amazed that Salah never went down when Otamendi clipped him, particularly him coming from Serie A.

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I found it very hard to get upset at the result, under the circumstances.

 

I've been fuming about wins before, when we've not scored more, or we gifted easy chances, but to go down to 11, and it being SUCH a key player to our tactics against City away, and with him being such a driving force in terms of his personality and pressing, it killed us.

 

On another occassion, with other players, we could have taken the blow and moved forward in the game.  Had Van Dijk been in defence for example, he might have pushed forward a bit and more plugged a gap in the midfield (say we subbed Gini for AOC)  to allow us to retain 3 up front.  But we didn't have any flexibility.

 

City disappointed me in some ways.  

 

 

I was also disappointed that Klopp gave Chambo his debut under these circumstances, it wasn't nice.

 

Trent was disappointing.

 

Our midfield was disappointing in general.

 

I was disappointed not to see Woodburn get a slot on the bench, he deserved that and we needed him.  His age should be put to one side, the cat is out of the bag now.

 

Our centre backs looked shit and we had 2 centre backs on the bench, and neither of them get on.  Not sure how to view that.

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I suspect we have changed our pressing game this season. It maybe the lack of Lallana or just a view we burnt out too early last season but we are not pressing as we did this time last season.

 

Not sure how much it would have helped on satdee but an observation over all our competitive games so far.

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What a boss weekend.
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I reckon the game had turned before the sending off. Mignolet had had to make two good blocks to keep it at 1-0 and the lack of concentration and determination from the likes of Wijnaldum was becoming obvious.

Would Mane have gone in for that challenge if we weren't a goal down? It was a do or die challenge; a goal or a red card. No need for it with only 37 minutes on the clock.

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The decision to take off Salah instead of Wijnaldum was fucking clueless in the extreme
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