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Liverpool 2 Sheffield United 0 (Jan 2 2020)

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Report by
Dave Usher

 

Whatever happened to those roller coaster games when we couldn’t hold onto a lead? We’d play the likes of Palace or West Ham or Norwich and it’d be 4-3 or 5-4 or something wild, because we couldn’t control games. 

 

The way the team has evolved was never more in evidence than here. We completely strangled Sheffield United and amassed the most passes in a league game since records began. To think that a lot of fans were worried about this game.

 

I wouldn’t say I was worried as such, but I can’t say I was fully confident either. I thought we’d win but I expected a tough game, probably similar to the Wolves game three days earlier. Turns out it was quite easy. Or at least that’s how the lads made it look. No doubt a lot of hard work went into it but to the untrained eye it looks like we rarely had to get out of second gear. I’m sure that’s not the case, and the distance covered stats for the players would attest to that (Milner especially).

 

It helps when you score inside four minutes of course. Lovely goal it was too. Ok, the defender fell down and that helps, but I’m not sure he would have been able to cut out that pass from Virg anyway. 

 

Robbo collected the ball, got his head up and picked out Salah’s run. Mo did the rest. Lovely goal and I wish I’d celebrated it properly. I didn’t though. Why? Firstly because from where I was sat it looked like the ball might have brushed off Robbo’s hand as he controlled it, and secondly because there was no way of knowing whether Salah was onside or not.

 

As it turns out the ball was nowhere near Robbo’s hand and Mo was well onside. I didn’t know that though from the opposite end of the stadium. I didn’t celebrate the second either because I thought it was probably offside. I hate this, but what can you do?

 

That opening goal is another example of how the team has developed. Those long balls played from the defenders are killing opponents. We can hurt teams in so many ways that we’ve become almost impossible to stop. Sit back against us and we can play around and through. Push up and we’ll hit the ball over the top. If we don’t get you in other of those ways, then there’s always counter attacks or set-pieces.

 

 

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

 

Please note that Match Reports are only available to website subscribers. Subscriptions cost just £2 a month (you need to register first) and can be purchased here. 

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I agree that we're pacing our way through games and trying to just do enough.In some games we seem to go through waves of really going for it then taking ten minute breaks while we pass it around and let them chase the ball.

 

I believe a few sides have covered more miles than we have this season whereas we used to out-distance everybody. And after the Leicester game, Jurgen was smiling when he said he couldn't believe we were still sprinting when the game was won but I reckon he gave them a bit of a bollocking for that.  

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57 minutes ago, Jimmy Hills Chin said:

Dave liked Sheffield Utd that much he decided to give them a goal in the title.

I just assumed I'd missed a late goal when I left early to beat the traffic. 

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S24SU.com forum match report extract. I’ve left off their SU player ratings.

 

Quote
 
Deadbat

Deadbat

Well-Known Member
Did not go last night. Watched in a rather subdued bar. I am not going to do a full report as most people saw it I am sure and not going to detail the match. I will just do a summary of us, Liverpool and the player ratings -



Liverpool – Start with Liverpool. They clearly took us very seriously as they played the strongest team they have and all the big guns played. This was the same as City. Teams are not resting people against us and we are not being seen as a good side. That is the respect Klopp gave us. They started really well and helped by a slip scored a really good goal from their point of view. We had a few half chances but after this they dominated and had the most passes a Premier League team has ever had in a game. That summed up the level of control. They completely controlled things and I was pleased to go in just 1-0 down. After the break I thought they were even better. They looked fitter, hungrier and of course are more skilled in every position. They went for the 2nd and got it. After that they could have had more but never really needed too up it and just eased to the 2-0 win. I think if they had wanted to, they could have got 5 or 6 like they did against Leicester. They tactically got it right in terms of pushing our wing backs high up the field, then pressing whenever Norwood had it. You realise that if these three play poorly we struggle as they are the source of so many of our attacks.



Technically they showed the little moves/passes and touches you would expect and at times the football was quick and measured. They also go long quite a lot but then so do we and the diagonal or ball over the top is used to good effect. However, for me the biggest thing they did so well was compete and win every loose ball. They never lost a ball all night in any area and they won first and second balls. Wilder summed it up. They tackled, fought and ran more than us. They had such appetite for the game when you thought after having such bigger games on paper recently, they may have a drop off but looked so determined to put us away and the attitude was spot on. They look deserved champions and not sure they will lose a game for a long time if Klopp has them mentally and physically at it; like they are at the moment. They have quality but the work ethic from front to back is something else. Even players that are not that tall/big are physically strong. Add that to the touch, skill and pace and they are just so much better than anyone else. They were night and day from City a few days earlier and that shows how far they have moved the bar up.



Opponent Man of the Match – Not sure you can pick one out. The full backs superb. Van Dijk was immense and never gave our forwards a kick all night and the midfield ran all over us. Henderson gets a lot of criticism but is a superb player. Decent on the ball, mobile but works so hard for the team. The front three are so tough to handle. The skills and touch are one thing, but the movement and ability to press and close down is top drawer. I think Mane is the best player and the one that worries me the most and it showed last night as when he had it, we just backed off and backed off. Salah does amazing things in bursts but Mane is the most consistent of the front three.



Opponent Weak link – Do not think they had one at all. No one played poorly. They were all 8/10 performances. Even Milner was steady and never gave it away all night. Maybe at times Gomez switched off a few times but that is nit picking.



United – Seen a lot of mixed opinions on us from the game. Many just saying Liverpool were that good and no shame in getting well beaten by them. Some saying we never played and the worst we have been this season. The reality is somewhere in between but much like we have made teams have an off day, so did Liverpool to us today. At the start of the season, I feared many games like last night would happen on a regular basis. It has not. Not until well over half the season have, we been soundly beaten. Last night we were. They out passed us, outworked us and were just far superior. They are technically better but then they worked harder too. That is the big caveat when discussing the game. I do feel and Wilder agrees, that despite them being far superior we could have done much better. Individually and collectively we were miles off the Man City game or even Liverpool at home earlier in the season. I would say other teams such as Brighton and Watford (and Wolves) have given them a decent game at Anfield recently. We barely laid a glove on them as Wilder said. That is disappointing. Maybe it was down to them simply being miles better but we have to control what we can do and look at ourselves. I felt we looked a bit overawed and frightened right from the off. The early goal was a hammer blow of course but then we never even tried to keep the ball and it was all a bit hot potato. We had that spell of 2 or 3 half chances but this aside it was one-way traffic and they just kept coming at us. We were so deep and I know if we came out, they could get in behind, but the way we set up just invited pressure.



It felt to me a bit like Warnock and how we played the last time we were up there away from home and almost damage limitation from the off. That is not how this current team plays. Wilder always says he wants us to go out the front door. Last night we went out the back door and most of the players seemed to be staring at the clock and almost wanting it to end. I feel it was a big opportunity missed in the sense that we never even gave them a game. As I say, maybe we simply were not able to live with them but we never made a tackle all night, never kept it. The wing backs never went forward, the front two did not press or work hard enough and the midfield were non existent on and off the ball. Sounds harsh but that is what happened no matter who we played against; I have to judge our players. The only ones who came out of it with much credit were Basham, Henderson and to a lesser extent O’Connell and Egan.



The rest it looked like a game too far and maybe the exertions of recent weeks caught up with a few. As I say I could cope with us losing the ball or not passing it very well but we did not even try and get amongst them. Perhaps we could not as they were too quick but a number of times, they had it in the final third and we just sat off. A few times they walked into our box and we looked almost embarrassed to tackle them. It’s done now and we move on. Wilder called it exactly how I saw it and the way he walked down the tunnel – I believe he will have strong words. It reminded me of when we played Man Utd in the Cup under Bassett in 1990 and I think it was then when he said if we want to play teams like that, we have to show we believe we belong. He said we did not have that belief. I think that was the case tonight. As I say, we played them earlier in the season and really got amongst them and others such as Watford and Brighton did the same quite recently. Tonight, it was men against boys really.



We have a big game next Friday and hopefully the players will rest up and recharge for a massive game as we have to get back to what we are good at. We knew we would probably not be getting anything from these two games although the manner of the two performances were quite different (glad I went to City and not Liverpool in terms of picking my games). West Ham have a new manager and will be fired up so we really need to be at it from the start.

 

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Brilliant professional performance. Thought the ref was excellent for a change, no var shite either. A really good night all round. 

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Well done to everyone who spotted the deliberate mistake. I like to throw a few of these in every season just to make sure you're paying attention.

 

That Sheff Utd report is what I'd expect from them based on how their fans acted. Feels like so far everyone else have been dickheads apart from them.

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Watched it on BT and they said that Mané is the 14th player to score for the club on every day of the week. We will give them a pass for making us play on a Thursday for that alone 

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That Sheff Utd perspective made me remember Strachan being asked why his team had lost a game at Anfield  with Coventry , and looking contemptuously at his interrogator and saying ' If they have better players than you and they work harder than you it isn't going to go well very often is it ? '

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3 hours ago, sir roger said:

That Sheff Utd perspective made me remember Strachan being asked why his team had lost a game at Anfield  with Coventry , and looking contemptuously at his interrogator and saying ' If they have better players than you and they work harder than you it isn't going to go well very often is it ? '

I used to love his interviews!

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6 hours ago, dave u said:

Well done to everyone who spotted the deliberate mistake. I like to throw a few of these in every season just to make sure you're paying attention.

 

 

I thought there was a new rule for a moment and that teams now have a goal start against us as we are so good Dave. 

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8 hours ago, sir roger said:

That Sheff Utd perspective made me remember Strachan being asked why his team had lost a game at Anfield  with Coventry , and looking contemptuously at his interrogator and saying ' If they have better players than you and they work harder than you it isn't going to go well very often is it ? '

My favourite one from Strachan is being asked by an interviewer post-match if he could have a quick word and saying “Velocity” as he continued walking away.

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10 hours ago, dockers_strike said:

When did Sheffield score?!

 

Tony Currie got one once from memory.

 

 

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12 hours ago, dave u said:

Well done to everyone who spotted the deliberate mistake. I like to throw a few of these in every season just to make sure you're paying attention.

 

 

Just glad you didn’t change it and give it the old ‘what are yiz all talking about?’.

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