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A few thoughts from the Cardiff game - by Paul Natton

1. 4-1, three points, top of the league. Get in!!!


2. It was frustrating as to watch though. Cardiff were the worst team I’ve seen at Anfield in a long time; Maribor bad, at least. However we made very heavy weather of beating them and the match was certainly nowhere near as entertaining as the score suggests. 


3. Cardiff came expecting to lose, merely hoping to be within a single goal of Liverpool going into the last fifteen minutes, and incredibly that’s exactly what transpired until a brace of late strikes from us. That’s not a slight on them though. They’re perfectly entitled to play however they want and we should be good enough to deal with it. Ultimately we were of course, but it was agonising for much of this game. 


4. In my view, playing a parked bus side - especially one with very little pace or talent - should simply be a case of pushing the full backs right up the pitch, getting every outfield player into their half and then switching the play from side to side at a high tempo in order to pull their packed defence around until a space opens in the middle for a forward to strike. City do this with their eyes shut. And to be fair, we’ve certainly got everything we need to do the same (pace and technique in virtually every single outfield player) but that’s not what we saw. 


Instead we had tippy-tappy, slow and circumspect football that really did nothing but play into Cardiff’s hands. There was just no urgency and this was compounded by the sloppy rubbish being served up by Bobby and Mané. 


5. The latter in particular has done my head in this season. This is a player with pace and skill beyond measure and yet he can contrive to slow down an attack or misplace a pass with the worst of ‘em. Bizarre then that he grabbed a brace of cracking strikes to guarantee us the points. It seems that when he thinks, he struggles; certainly he’s at his best when playing on instinct and that was what delivered his first as he turned and laced it in the blink of an eye to leave Cardiff’s keeper bewildered. His second was a boss finish too.


Why then his propensity to dawdle on the ball rather then rip past a markedly slower opponent? Ultimately, who cares I suppose, but I can’t deny it annoys me because it really does. 


6. The starting line up seemed to bemuse almost everyone I spoke to before the game. However, if we’re going to win the league we need to:

a. rotate

b. acclimatise new players

c. take opportunities to do so when facing weaker opponents. 

So I didn’t have a major issue with the starting line up, even if I felt Shaqiri deserved to start. 


Certainly, we needed Lallana to play his way back to fitness and Fabinho to continue building some familiarity with our style. And if you can’t rest Robbo against Cardiff, when can you? Look, I’m about as far from being an Albert The Moron fan as it’s possible to be, but if he can’t play against these there is literally no point in having him. So in that context, sound. Shaq, though! 


7. There’s a great big Ox shaped hole in our team this season and Shaqiri is the only player with even a glimmer of a hope of replicating what his injured teammate offers. He has pace, power, a great range of passing and an eye for goal, all of which would’ve been exceptionally helpful from the off today. 


As I've suggested above, I can live with that if it helps us over the course of the season - but it’s no coincidence that everything changed from the moment he entered the game. He’s just busy, isn’t he? And that’s what we were crying out for. 


I see Crouchy succumbed to club politics and grudgingly acceded to the “didn’t track back at Stoke” narrative today in his column. However, I could not give a shiny shite what he did prior to joining us because what we’re seeing now is exactly what Klopp wants. 


Put it this way, I'm now so convinced by what I’ve seen thus far that I’d jib this 4231 thing off and play him in a midfield three with Gini and Big Games James against The Arse next week. They will not handle our 433 with him breaking from midfield and picking passes. I suspect Klopp will go with his grafters midfield, but I think we’ll need Shaq’s guile. 


8. Mo was boss. That was his fourth goal in three games, with a pair of assists to boot today. I know some shite gets thrown around as received wisdom on the football internet these days, but the poor start to the season thing is embarrassing isn’t it? That record of 50 goals in 65 games is just mind-bogglingly good. Look at the players whose records he smashed: literally every great forward we’ve ever had! He’s sensational. So let’s stop over-thinking things and just luxuriate in that fact. He is world class. 


9. Let’s see how City deal with a serious opponent on Monday night in the context of our result. We know for a fact - because he said so on their Amazon thing - that Guardiola has a thing about us. We also know that we have their number of the pitch and that they crumbled last season when we were the obstacle in their path to the European Cup. All we can do is do what we did today: bag our points, score our goals and see how they react. I’m not convinced they’ll handle it well. 


10. Either way, come on you Reds!!!


Paul Natton

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One thought from the Cardiff game:


1. Never let Albert Moreno play for Liverpool ever again.  With his limiting passing arc of 45 degrees because he hasn't got the confidence to even stab at a ball with his right foot, he compromises the whole team.  He limits possibilities.  He may as well not put a boot on the bottom of his right leg.  Play Clyne at LB.  That is all.

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I think some of that is overly harsh but I think that’s probably because I was sat watching it in the warmth of my house, while you were there in the cold.


the atmosphere sounded shit all game, and I’ve been to loads where a cold day, coupled with a shit atmosphere and a game that isn’t end to end and frantic just feels like a very long day.


To be too critical of how we played vs how city would’ve is a bit much for me, especially with that starting XI. We’re not city and are nowhere near being them, they have a top class player in reserve for every single position, while we don’t.


Bringing in Moreno, Lallana, Lovren will impact on us more than City bringing in some of their reserves, but still we dominated in terms of possession, shots and score line.


It wasn’t a glistening performance for the ages, and the sloppy goals we conceded (which I don’t understand why nobody is mentioning was a yard offside) was frustrating, but at no stage in the game did it feel like we’d emerge with anything other than 3 points, which definitely hasn’t always been the case against park-the-bus-shite at home.

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'Sloppy Rubbish?' Can't agree with this at all. It was nowhere near perfect but how many times in the past have we dropped points against these types of teams? We dominated for all but about 10 minutes when they sneaked a very lucky goal but the Shaq came on and we finished them off in the way we should have earlier.

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1 hour ago, ZonkoVille77 said:

As long as this keeps up, all is right with the world.




I knew our defence was bad at the start of last season but not quite THAT bad.

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