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Liverpool 1 QPR 0 - Prem (May 19 2013) - 1st team 2012-2013 - The Liverpool Way Jump to content

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Liverpool 1 QPR 0 - Prem (May 19 2013)

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LIVERPOOL 1 QPR 0

Report by Dave Usher at Anfield

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Scorer(s) – Phillipe Coutinho

Half Time - 1-0

Venue - Anfield

Date - Sun 19 May 2013

Star Man – Jamie Carragher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So that's that then. 737 games, 17 seasons as a first team player and countless clean sheets. Somewhat fitting then that he finished by helping the side pitch another shut out, it's just a pity that he couldn't end his Anfield career the way he started it all those years ago - with a goal at the Kop end. He came mighty close though didn't he?

 

We were within a couple of inches of one of the greatest moments our historic stadium has ever witnessed. If that 30 yard rocket had found the net instead of the post, Carragher would have just walked off the field there and then. What a way to go that would have been, I actually feel more than a little bit cheated that the goalpost robbed us of what would have been such an incredible moment.

 

Much like this entire season, it was a case of so near yet so far. We've been tantalisingly close to being good, but there's still work to be done and that work has become much harder now that we have to replace the irreplaceable. If our scouts are worthy of their lofty reputations then they should be able to replace Jamie Carragher the centre back, but you simply can't replace Jamie Carragher the man, the leader, the legend. That's just one of a number of problems they need to help Brendan Rodgers solve this summer.

 

We played some terrific football again in this game, yet in the end we were a little bit uncomfortable having somehow only managed to score one goal against a truly awful and completely disinterested QPR side. Actually that's a little unfair, I thought their defenders put a real shift in and produced some great last ditch clearances to keep them in the game, but the lack of quality (and interest) ahead of them meant they were somewhat overworked.

 

Rob Green in their goal made a string of saves (none of them too taxing in fairness), whilst we were also perhaps the final Premier League victims of the absence of goal-line technology, as Coutinho was denied an early goal due to the officials not seeing that his header had clearly crossed the line. From next season, that won't be happening, or at least it shouldn't. Thankfully it didn't cost us and nor did it happen in a game of any real meaning.

 

This game was just about getting Carra a win to send him into a well earned retirement, and whilst a win and a clean sheet is a more than satisfactory outcome as far as the man himself is concerned, this really should have been a much more convincing scoreline than 1-0.

 

I was delighted to see Rodgers hand a debut to Jordan Ibe. On a day that was all about paying tribute to an elder statesman playing his final game, seeing a precocious 17 year old handed an opportunity to show what he can do added a nice sense of balance to the occasion. One was at the end of his journey, the other at the beginning. Both acquitted themselves excellently on the day, and if Ibe goes on to do even half of what Carragher has done then I'm sure he too will retire a very happy man. Highly unlikely he'll do it as a Liverpool player though, very few have done that.

 

Further hope for the future was provided in the form of the impish Coutinho, who was terrific again and will hopefully keep us on the edge of our seats for many years to come. He's a special talent, and he's far exceeded everybody's expectations in the short space of time he's been here. I think that's fair to say, I can't imagine even his biggest fan expected him to be THIS good.

 

In terms of both goals and assists, he's made a big, big impact. I generally feel that when you get a player in January, you're playing with house money until May. By that I mean you're giving them a few months to bed in and give themselves a head start in terms of the following season. When other clubs are bedding in new signings, if you've got someone who's had a few months to get used to it you're laughing.

 

Like Suarez before him, this is Coutinho's bedding in period, the time when he learns to adjust to English football to get himself ready for a full season next year. Like I say, we've been playing with house money the last few months, and we've been winning as if this is how he plays when he's adapting to the Premier League, what's he going to be like when he's fully adjusted?

 

He made a great start to this game, he was involved in absolutely everything and could have had a hat-trick before half time. As a team we made a really bright opening to the game, with Johnson operating almost as a right winger at times as we took it to QPR from the first whistle. Coutinho's first chance came when nice play between Henderson and Johnson set him up, only for Onuoha to make a great block to divert the ball behind.

 

From that corner the little Brazilian was left unmarked at the back post and headed goalwards. It was well over the line when the defender hacked it clear, and Martin Atkinson really should have seen that as he wasn't badly placed.

 

Coutinho was dazzling us though, and he almost thread the needle with a trademark through ball to Sturridge that was an inch too far in front of the striker. No matter, Ibe retrieved the ball, Coutinho went and collected it from before skipping past a defender and seeing his shot deflected just wide of the post.

 

He wouldn't be denied for long though, drilling in a powerful low shot from 30 yards that skipped off the turf on it's way into the bottom corner of Rob Green's net. Nice play by Jordan Ibe to get the ball to him as well, that'll go down as his first career assist. It won't be his last, that kid can play a bit as well.

 

At this stage you'd have got long odds indeed on there being no more goals scored, we were running all over QPR and they looked as though they would be swept away by wave after wave of Red attacks. Even Carragher was threatening their goal, first with an attempted 'hand of God' that would have earned him a booking on any other day, whilst he then had a shot blocked by a hand/arm of a defender from a well worked free kick, but Atkinson - probably rightly - was having none of the vociferous penalty appeals.

 

For all the pressure we were exerting the second goal didn't come and I felt like we lost some momentum in the 15 minutes or so leading up to half time. We allowed the tempo to drop and it began to look like what it was, an end of season between two sides with little to play for other than pride.

 

After the break we stepped it up again, Enrique stung the palms of Green with a shot from distance, Ibe curled a shot about a foot wide and Downing hit a shot inches past the post after a direct, surging run past two defenders.

 

Then came THAT moment. QPR cleared a corner, Lucas headed it back to Carragher who found himself in space 35 yards out. "SHOOT!!!!" yelled 40,000 Reds. And shoot he did, probably the sweetest hit he's produced in 17 years. If that had gone in the roof would have come off the place. It almost did anyway, it was an incredible moment. I honestly don't know what I'd have done if it had gone in.

 

This was a good spell for us and we went close again immediately after when Ibe and Coutinho exchanged passes and the Brazilian raced into the box and tried to pick out Sturridge. Traore got back to make a fantastic clearance to deny Sturridge a certain goal, and the incoming Henderson couldn't adjust his body shape quickly enough to volley in the rebound.

 

Ibe was replaced shortly after, but the youngster had made a good impression on the crowd with a lively display full of promise. For all his attacking ability, his best moment of the game came in a defensive capacity when he chased down Granero as the Spaniard led a dangerous counter attack following a Liverpool corner.

 

It was a great piece of play that, no-one else was going to make up that ground but the jet heeled Ibe just ate up the turf and blew by Granero before he even knew what was going on. That earned him a standing ovation, which was repeated when he made way for Borini.

 

Enrique spent most of the second half camped in the QPR half and it needed a fine save from Green to keep out his thunderous drive after Borini had laid the ball back to him. Johnson had a deflected shot saved by Green, and Sturridge then wriggled free in the box and drilled the ball across the goal-line looking for Coutinho who would have had a tap in, but again you have to give credit to the QPR defender who got enough of a touch on it to divert the danger.

 

I almost forgot about a terrific little piece of action that happened when Carra ended up in a sprint with Remy and had to run half the length of the field to try and retrieve the ball without conceding a corner. He did it, holding off the Frenchman and getting the ball back to Pepe, but he was completely goosed for a minute or two afterwards. We won a corner almost immediately, and he wanted no part of going forward for it but was railroaded into it by his team-mates, who were all desperate for him to score.

 

It was funny though, as rather than make a run into the box to try and attack the ball, he just stood on the edge of the box, doubled over trying to get his breath back! I can't remember at what stage of the game that happened, the second half was a bit of a blur to be honest and this wasn't shown in the highlights I've watched. It could have been at the beginning, middle or end of the half for all I know. It was funny though.

 

Suso replaced Coutinho with 15 minutes left and got a rare outing in what many of us believe is his best position, the number 10 role. He settled into the game very quickly and had a shot saved by Green when he maybe could have done a little better. He also produced some wonderful footwork in a tight space to almost create a goal for Downing, and whilst Coutinho is clearly in a class of his own, in Suso, Sterling and Ibe we've got some very talented youngsters capable of filling the 'three' positions when we play 4231.

 

With five minutes left Rodgers called time on Carra's magnificent career when he brought him off to a rapturous and emotional reception from all four corners of the ground. Even the QPR fans stood to applaud him. Clearly it was a pre-planned substitution, but I've got to be honest I wasn't too happy about it as we were only 1-0 up at the time!

 

Carra's departure co-incided with QPR suddenly having a little bit of a spell. I don't want to overstate it as it's not like Reina was overworked, but they did force a corner or two and suddenly we looked a lot less secure than we had been. That's the big worry, we've looked far better all season when Carragher has been in there. It's the leadership and talking aspect, it's a huge part of a successful defence and Carra is the only one we have who naturally has that.

 

Rodgers apparently spoke to Skrtel about it earlier in the season, apparently he asked him to be more of an organiser and a vocal presence, but Skrtel pointed out that he has never done that and it's not who he is. To be fair you can't force that kind of responsibility on someone, they either have those leadership qualities or they don't, and Skrtel doesn't. It's not a criticism, it's just a fact. There are far more players like Skrtel than Carragher in this regard, being able to organise those around and provide leadership is something of a dying art.

 

We need to fill that void that has now been left with Carragher's retirement, and if there's anything to the rumours about Reina being off then we're in even more trouble as Pepe is another talker and dressing room leader. There was nothing in any of his actions after the game that suggested he knows he's leaving, it was certainly not like it was with Alonso for example.

 

The same with Suarez for that matter, he looked happy enough as he walked around the pitch at full time and he seemed pretty relaxed at Carra's party that night. I might be clutching at straws, but the fact he showed up to Carra's party has to be a good sign, doesn't it? I'm probably reading too much into it, I'm just desperate for him to stay as I love the guy. Imagine losing Carra AND Suarez in the same summer? Actually don't, it's too depressing.

 

You never know what can happen though and this is going to be a really big summer for us, not just in terms of who we bring in, but whether we can keep the players we want to keep.

 

That's for another day though, this day was all about Jamie Carragher, and aside from that shot not being a couple more inches to the right, the day couldn't have really gone any better for him. He's handled the whole thing brilliantly from the moment he decided he was calling it quits, he said there'd be no tears as he doesn't get emotional, he even scoffed at Big Sami's tears at his farewell game and said there'd certainly be no repeat of that, and he was true to his word. A short and sweet speech, a well deserved lap of honour with his two lovely kids in tow, and then he was off down the tunnel for the last time.

 

Star man? I think you already know the answer to that one as it was going to take something pretty incredible for me to give it to anyone else on this day. I'll end by simply quoting the front cover of the latest issue of the fanzine. 26 years, 737 games, 1 European Cup, 1 UEFA Cup, 2 FA Cups, 3 League Cups….. Ta La.

 

 

Team: Reina; Johnson, Skrtel, Carragher (Coates), Enrique; Lucas, Henderson; Downing, Coutinho (Suso), Ibe (Borini); Sturridge:

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Whilst Carragher quite rightly received all the plaudits, the season ended with lots of hope for Liverpool supporters. One other small yet important aspect of supporting Liverpool, particularly through this website, has been the fantastic reports by Dave Usher. Along with Jamie, take a bow - Dave! Top class football and top class reporting. Both very enjoyable. Don't you leave us Dave! We couldn't survive on just the general media.

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Guest davelfc
Whilst Carragher quite rightly received all the plaudits, the season ended with lots of hope for Liverpool supporters. One other small yet important aspect of supporting Liverpool, particularly through this website, has been the fantastic reports by Dave Usher. Along with Jamie, take a bow - Dave! Top class football and top class reporting. Both very enjoyable. Don't you leave us Dave! We couldn't survive on just the general media.

 

I want some of what you're smoking. It's been a dismal season, no wonder the club make the most of Carra going(he more than deserved it of course). Had it not been for him leaving then I would not have stayed to applaud the lap of, I don't quite know what it would have been a lap of. A trudge of shame, a walk of failure, a meander of mediocrity, a parade of millionaires.

 

I've never not stayed, Carra is a hero in my eyes. He's epitomised Liverpool to me since he first took to the pitch. He's worked his bollocks off to earn his place every single game he's played. That's a lot more than I can say of most of those overpaid prima donnas. He's an honest man with integrity and that's rare these days. I hope one day he's our manager and I'm privileged to have been a fan during his entire career as a player.

 

For me it's not a time for lots of hope, that might come when we see who leaves, who we sign and how that all fits together. We're still a mid table team riddled with inconsistency, I only hope Rodgers can make to step up, I hope we buy well in the summer, I hope we don't lose too many of our good players and I hope the likes of Sturridge and Coutinho push on from their decent start with us to get even better. Now that's a lot of hope. Now I'm starting to sound like Morgan Freeman in Shawshank.

 

Great report as ever Dave.

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Ibe was replaced shortly after, but the youngster had made a good impression on the crowd with a lively display full of promise. For all his attacking ability, his best moment of the game came in a defensive capacity when he chased down Granero as the Spaniard led a dangerous counter attack following a Liverpool corner.

 

It was a great piece of play that, no-one else was going to make up that ground but the jet heeled Ibe just ate up the turf and blew by Granero before he even knew what was going on. That earned him a standing ovation, which was repeated when he made way for Borini.

 

I loved this. It reminded me of Mascherano, though I'm sure Ibe is a completely different type of player.

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