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Sunderland 0 Liverpool 1 (Dec 30 2015)

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I suppose the thing to take from this is that we’re learning to win the difficult games against sides who primarily want to defend against us. This wasn’t pretty and in some ways it was infuriating, but it was a deserved win and the only thing that matters at the moment it picking up points however we can get them. Having dropped eight points out of nine from games we should expect to win, we were in danger or ruining the good start made by Klopp. Having taken six from six over Christmas we’re back on the fringes of where we need to be.
 
The performance was largely disappointing but there were some encouraging things to take from it. The defence was good, the work rate of the team was impressive and they seem to be so much more well organised now than they were under Rodgers. What that means is that even when the forwards are not delivering (which let’s face it is more often than not) we’ve still got a shot at winning. Two 1-0 wins on the bounce is quite satisfying really. You need to be able to grind out wins, especially when the fixtures begin to pile up, and so far we’ve taken maximum points in the Christmas period when most of those around us haven’t. I’m not confident about beating West Ham on Saturday but maybe that’s a good thing. We’ve seen how this team plays when they get too full of themselves.
 
I was actually sat in with the Sunderland fans for this one, as we coincided a visit to my wife’s sister’s in Sunderland with the game. My brother in law has a season ticket and because the game was on TV and Sunderland didn’t think they’d sell out, they were letting season ticket holders buy another ticket for a tenner, so that was a nice little result for me. The last time it cost me a tenner to watch the Reds was probably back when Souness was manager.
 
It was interesting being sat in amongst all the home fans though. The feeling I got was that all the fight has been sucked out of them, they’re just turning up expecting to see their team lose and are resigned to going down. The last time I went to Sunderland was probably back in ’02 and it was like being at Goodison, with their fans all foaming at the mouth and appealing for every decision, no matter how ridiculous. Whether it’s just a sign of the times or it’s due to their constantly poor results, they didn’t get particularly worked out about anything and the only singing came from the away section. Even when Klopp and Allardyce got into it late on there was barely any reaction from those around me, it was just weird.
 
It was funny too listening to one fella sat behind who spent the whole game telling everyone around him how “that Sakho is shite man”. He went on and on about it, and every time the ball went in Sakho’s direction he’d say “just look at his first touch man. SHITE”. I just sat there chuckling to myself. Appearances can be deceptive and a lot of us took some time to realise that although Sakho doesn’t always look particularly orthodox, he’s not the reincarnation of Djimi Traore some seem to think he is. The idea of someone who watches Wes Brown, John O’Shea and Younes Kaboul on a weekly basis ripping on Sakho is incomprehensible to me.
  

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Yup good summary Dave. Frustration was how I felt all night, even when we went ahead as we should have won this comfortably instead of being one rebounded shot away from spilling points. 

Firmino's lack of finish and his giving the ball away in and around our own box was another source of that frustration. Lallana really is a luxury too far and Coutinho, well he ain't the world class player we keep being told that he is. 

Henderson's injury though could be the biggest cause of frustration, he really is the one who can lift the midfield and read the game. 

Having said all that I have been to every game at Sunderland for the last 10 years and every one has been crap. We seem to always descend to their level rather than just impose any quality.

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As ever good report. Agree with everything, Benteke is the only goal threat we have. Lanlana, Firminho and Counthino all need carried in games. 1- fair enough but 3 we can't cope with. Ings was a massive lose as he was prepared to get behind a defence, make space and could score.

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Think you've nailed the lack of goals problem in the 3rd to last paragraph Dave, we have 3 of the same players all trying to do the same thing and it's clear to me too that another forward would be much better. Obviously when we have 2 fully fit ones available! Failing that I can't see why we couldn't try Ibe there, get him playing closer to goal and I think he could be good there.

 

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Totaly agree with you on benteke Dave. I realy felt for him at the end as you'd if thought he'd just scored an own goal to give Sunderland the 3 points. He was gutted about that miss. Then there's about 100 million quids worth of attacking players behind him who are realy letting him down. Lallana loves giving it loads in the sky sports interviews after the games dosent he. When he was being interviewed at the end me and my mate turned to each other and said was he on the pitch at the end. We genuinely thought he'd been subbed in the second half he was that invisible. People on the boards are debating wether he could be our worst signing of all time and even tho it might seem ridiculous I don't think it's a bad shout given the money that was spent on him and what he's given back in return. He can't even usually last a full game.

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Really pleased with the result but really irritated with several recurring features of our play.

 

- Lallana trying to get into the skillz section on Soccer AM every time he touches the ball instead of just moving it on quickly on most occasions. Very early in the game the ball rebounded to him just inside the box but instead of rifling in a shot he tried some ridiculous faked drag back of the ball from left foot to right foot & just ran into a load of defenders.

 

- Moreno inventing more and more ridiculous ways of avoiding kicking the ball with his right foot, and trying to tackle from the wrong side of opposition players thus giving dangerous free kicks away constantly.

 

- Can trying dangerous & usually overhit passes back towards his defenders ( usually Moreno ) putting them under unnecessary pressure

 

- Sakho ( and Lovren & Skrtel on occasions ) diving in through attackers when they can't see the ball , usually giving away free kicks in bad areas.

 

The whole team trying to play too much tippy-tappy stuff within 30 yards of our goal , one-two's on the edge of the box etc.

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What? Is coutinho to become the new whipping boy? Sure he's not world class yet, he still only 23. Saw plenty of comments in match threads saying he should pass instead of shot. Well if there's no one in front of him and even if there is and its benteke, id fucking shoot as well instead of passing.

 

As ive said, we need to be capable of grinding out win if we want to become perenial challengers for the top 4 never mind win a title. I just dont buy this every game must be great attacking football with a win.

 

looks like Klopp is holding sturridge back to build his fitness. Reading between the lines, is he doing that as a last chance for sturridge to prove his long term fitness and worth to the club?

 

Im more confident of a win at west ham than I should be. I think itll be a tough physical game with lots of high balls into the box to test mignolet and the rest so Ill go with a draw.

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Brought back loads of memories of sitting amongst opposition fans. It's a fantastic experience.  Listening to them bad mouthing their own players, and having irrational hatred of particular Liverpool players is a real eye-opener.

 

Passionate football fans are funny.

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Good read that,the hard work they all put in second half was good to see,nice to see Sakho just keeping it simple,although he looks awkward striking the ball he is an excellent passer,we need that work rate from the start against West Ham

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