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PSG 2 Liverpool 1 (Nov 28 2018)

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Dave Usher

 

Really hard to sit through this. As if our own performance wasn’t infuriating enough, we had to endure the full shithouse repertoire of Neymar & co. It was a horrible game of football.

 

The Champions League brought so much joy for us last season but it’s been mostly miserable this year, away from home anyway. We’ve been good at Anfield so that give us hope of still progressing to the knockouts, but there’s major cause for concern now as we’ve had three defeats on our travels and not one of them was undeserved. Not good enough, simple as that.

 

I don’t know why we’ve been so shit, but it isn’t bad luck. We’ve just not been good enough. This loss in isolation is fine as there’s no shame in being beaten by PSG in Paris. The real damage was done in Belgrade, and to a slightly lesser extent in Naples, but because of that we needed a better effort in this game and we didn’t get it. It was fucking tame. 

 

We didn’t start well and PSG had more intensity about them. They did to us what we were doing to everyone in last year’s run to the final. Intense pressing, snapping into tackles and breaking with pace. We used to be like that. Now we’re just plodding and pedestrian and really easy to play against. Where's the spark? The energy? The speed?

 

I mentioned in the Watford report that there seems to have been a deliberate shift in our play. Basically we’ve slowed down. We’re more methodical and patient and it’s paid off in the sense that we don’t let goals in anymore (at least not domestically), but now I’m worried that we might not be able to just flick the switch and go back to the other style when we need it. 

 

We’re no longer in those mental end to end basketball type games but we’ve lost something because of that. When we needed to step it up in this game and play like we did last year, we couldn’t do it. It was plodding, pass pass pass, sideways and backwards. 

 

How many chances did we create? I don’t remember Buffon having to make a save of any note. It was depressing to see and let’s not sugarcoat it just because we love them, the front three are a problem right now. Bobby was fucking woeful, Mo wasn’t much better and Sadio wasn’t great either, although he was easily the pick of the three. It’s happened too many times this season.

 

A lot of us have been focussing on the 4-2-3-1 as possibly being part of the problem. Clearly it isn't, as this was the 4-3-3 set up that has served us so well, and it still didn't look right. Mo was back on the right and he was garbage. Bobby was back up top and was even worse than he's been when playing as the ten.

 

As ineffective as the forwards were (bit harsh on Mané perhaps), the midfield was the bigger issue. Gini got booked early on (some classic Neymar playacting) and he never really recovered. He couldn’t play with the aggression we needed and there was too much time and space for their creative players. 

 

Milner had plenty of aggression and was tackling as though his life depended on it. Di Maria and Neymar were on the receiving end of some typically hefty ‘hard but fair’ Milner challenges, but he was fighting a lone battle as PSG were just slicing through our midfield with one touch passing.

 

Henderson was like a training cone in the first half. They were just passing around him with ease. It’s hard when Neymar and Mbappe are playing one touch and turning the corner, but there was too much space for them and Hendo was really exposed time and again.

 

This is just a teaser, click here to view the full article

 

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I still maintain that the midfield set-up is the biggest hindrance to our performances in Europe. The trio of Henderson, Milner and Wijnaldum have occasionally proved effective but right now, away from home, there isn't enough invention and control of midfield from them, nor is there the nous to protect the defence from being got at. Napoli, Red Star and PSG have all managed to completely dominate us in midfield. Our forwards have become isolate and end up seeking space very wide (Mane in particular, and Salah occasionally) or dropping very deep (Firmino). It leaves our forwards too far apart and with nobody making dangerous runs beyond them, they become isolated and/or try to do too much on their own.

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The big worry for me is that we are going to hit a shitty run of results that mirror the way we are playing, I just can't see it continuing at home that we keep on picking up wins and points with only playing well in little patches I mean when was the last time we genuinely played great? ......Spurs away??

Sooner or later we are going to start letting the first goal in (amazingly it's only happened once in the league) and being honest we don't look like a side that can overturn it when it happens .

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1 hour ago, Trumo said:

I still maintain that the midfield set-up is the biggest hindrance to our performances in Europe. The trio of Henderson, Milner and Wijnaldum have occasionally proved effective but right now, away from home, there isn't enough invention and control of midfield from them, nor is there the nous to protect the defence from being got at. Napoli, Red Star and PSG have all managed to completely dominate us in midfield. Our forwards have become isolate and end up seeking space very wide (Mane in particular, and Salah occasionally) or dropping very deep (Firmino). It leaves our forwards too far apart and with nobody making dangerous runs beyond them, they become isolated and/or try to do too much on their own.

Milner and Wijnaldum don't help out the forwards enough, but another problem is that we can't play out from the back or construct attacks against high pressing sides with Henderson and Lovren.

 

We've seen it in Europe where teams are more liable to be aggressive and then also Huddersfield who decided to press us. There is just so little chance that you can build a constructive move when you go from Alisson to Lovren to Henderson. As soon as the opponent pressures those two, it will break down. 

 

We need to play Wijnaldum as the holding mid in the 4-3-3 and partner VvD with Gomez. Or else, it's just too difficult to consistently build attacks from deep. 

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Joe Gomez basically played right back and right wing on his own, and all the while he had Neymar to keep his eye on. No wonder both goals came down that side. 

 

It looked like we were playing with one less player to them. 

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3 minutes ago, johnsusername said:

Joe Gomez basically played right back and right wing on his own, and all the while he had Neymar to keep his eye on. No wonder both goals came down that side. 

 

It looked like we were playing with one less player to them. 

 

We were. Lovern and Gomez were both going for the same ball, same man a lot of the time. It was farcical at times.

We missed TAA's delivery too. A very frustrating game to watch especially when the problems were plain to see.

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I remember watching our first game of the season when we tore West Ham to shreds and thinking that we now have the perfect balance between constructing the play through the defence and midfield and unleashing our forward power on the opposition. One of the goals in that game made me purr like a cat, we were being pressed high by West Ham but we kept our composure and moved the ball around until Trent threaded a clever pass to Naby who had found space in the centre, he ran with the ball at their back-peddling defence before releasing the ideal short pass to the overlapping Mane to coolly finish.

 

Whatever has changed since then, it certainly wasn't a new system that we had worked on all close season because this was fast, accurate, high-tempo, destructive football of the type we were used to seeing last season but have failed to deliver much more this term. We were still rock-solid at the back in that opening match but the interplay all over the pitch was a joy to watch compared to the laboured approach now where game-after-game we see players isolated and losing possession as soon as we are in the final third of play.

 

Like everyone else says, it seems ridiculous to pick faults in our play given the outstanding set of results in our unbeaten start but I just question if we should go back to the balance of that West Ham line-up with Gomez permanently next to VVD, Trent at rightback, Gini in a withdrawn No 8 and Naby providing the forward drive, with Milner all energy offering the link between midfield and up front. Firmino to stay central but swapping regularly with Mo and keeping close to his part of the field. A couple of the midfield options can be varied but those roles should stay the same.

 

Maybe clutching at straws here because I'm sure Klopp is also searching for the right mix, but it just isn't happening...yet

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Good stuff, Dave. Although, I disagree that they played well. They played well for 20 minutes and then just sat off. They were lucky we did absolutely fuck all to punish them.

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and after all the diving playacting and cheating by that prick neymar,to see alisson giving him a big  hug and smile at the end of the game really pissed me off, i know they're international teammates but i'd preferred it if he'd told him to eff off or even better chinned him

 

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If we were at Anfield and an away side was on top of us as much as we were on them in the second half I’d have been very worried. Ultimately we lacked the guile to breakthrough and Silva plus Marquisnhos put in a masterclass .. but physically we were well on top of them from the defence forward ..

 

we just need that guile in midfield we’ve been waiting for; it’ll start to force a lot of teams into errors against us too.

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15 hours ago, RedHeadedRed said:

How have we gone from what we were last season to what we are now just what the fuck is going on.

Erm... we struggled in the group stage last season. Also we’re undefeated in the league and two points off city. 

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Ever since that second half against Roma -

we let in 2 against them,

4 in Rome,

3 in the final, 

2 PSG at home

1 against napoli

2 against red star away

2 against psg at home.

 

Not good. 

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6 minutes ago, SasaS said:

This is the most depressing poem I read in a while.

Doesn't even rhyme, but at least it's got the obligatory Kirby Rome mention.

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Ever since that second half against Rome -

we let in 2 against them at home,

In Rome it was 4

and in the final 3 more. 

 

Then at home it was 2 against PSG

And 1more away at Napoli

2 were conceded against Belgrade's Red Star  

2 from cunts funded by Qatar.

Last one watched by a star from Hollywood.  

 

Not good. 

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1 hour ago, SasaS said:

This is the most depressing poem I read in a while.

 

If qualifying for a champions league final is depressing then fuck knows how you made it through the Rodgers years.

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6 hours ago, johnsusername said:

 

4 in Rome,

3 in the final, 

2 PSG at home

and Ritchie Partridge on a free

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Grinch said:

 

If qualifying for a champions league final is depressing then fuck knows how you made it through the Rodgers years.


Luckily I don't read all that much poetry.

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I enjoyed that Dave put a smile on my face.

 

We have been spoilt in the past by having some real quality in our midfield (Alonso, Gerrard, Mascherano) who can not only neutralize a threat that PSG have but can also put a performance in to come out on top.  The problem I think is simply we have no real quality in the squad where it is needed.  While I am not blaming Henderson because the whole team didn't turn up it was quite obvious he didn't have a clue and kept passing the ball backwards to Alison all game.  Its alright doing this once in a while but if its the only thing you can do with a ball then its not going to end well is it.

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