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Liverpool 2 Sheffield Utd 1 (Oct 24 2020)

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Report by
Dave Usher

 

Nice little win this. It won't be one that we remember when we look back on the season but these are the kind of results that all successful teams need. Another one where we were able to dig in, battle, overcome setbacks and come away with the points. That should be three of those wins in a week as we won the derby too even if the record book says otherwise.

 

This was tough. We didn’t play as well as we can and we know from last season that Sheffield United are difficult opponents. It was either Klopp or Ljinders who described the home win over them as tactically our best performance of the season or something. Can’t remember exactly what they said but Klopp is always praising Wilder and his team and he was complimentary again after this.

 

They did make it a slog for us as they work hard for each other, they’re well organised and they’re direct. It helped that they were given a penalty for fuck all too of course.

 

I’ll start with that so I can get it out of the way. I don’t want to get bogged down with refs and VAR and all that shit again, so I’ll keep this brief. It wasn’t a foul and although it was arguably just close enough to the line to be classed as a penalty, it wasn’t a clear error by Mike Dean so why was that overturned?

 

Have they changed the whole ‘clear and obvious’ thing now and not told us? Or is this about the refs putting us in our place after we dared question what happened in the derby? Again, it really felt like that decision was made on the basis of what the ref wanted to do, because if he hadn't given a penalty would anyone have questioned that?

 

If Dean had pointed to the spot there isn't enough to overturn it and give a free-kick, but the same logic applies the other way, surely? The clear error was awarding a foul in the first place, not where it was adjudged to have taken place.

 

Fabinho got the ball but we’re told that VAR only looked at where the incident took place and not whether he got the ball or not. What the fuck? What's going on here? Can they not look at two things at the same time? It's the same bullshit as last week. 

 

Just tell Mike Dean to take his pointy little face and bald head over to the touchline to have a look for himself. Actually there’s probably no point as he doesn’t seem the type to go “yeah I’ve got that one wrong” does he, and he’d probably spend ten minutes just watching replays of himself blowing the whistle and pointing, the preening little bald Tranmere fuck.

 

 

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My impression is, for the last two games in the absence of VVD, we have dropped our high line 10 yards. Understandable but it does mean we cannot suffocate teams to the same degree and both Ajax and Sheff Utd have been able to find their front players, in space, quite easily.

 

The higher line has me with my heart in my mouth but the current tactic also gives me the jitters when fairly ordinary teams can advance up the park and keep possession so easily. Contrast that with the Chelsea and Arsenal games where they often struggled to get out of their own half.

 

If we continue to play like this we will need 3 dogs in midfield, especially against the better teams

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I’m actually none the wiser as to what the ref/VAR is meant to do in the pen situation though and nobody seems to have addressed it.  If the ref awards a free kick but it’s in the box (it’s debatable whether it was but let’s say it is) but then on review isn’t a foul what does the referee actually do?  They don’t overturn free kicks do they do does he just give a drop ball or something?

 

The clear and obvious thing is a nonsense and always was.  Dean thinks he gets the man first and it’s understandable but on review he clearly gets the ball first and I’m not even sure he touches the man so it’s not a penalty.  It’s not like it’s a judgement call.  It’s just not a foul and just more sheer incompetence.  The reason it’s continuing is because they aren’t admitting the mistakes and trying to address why they happened so they don’t happen again.  It’s just various excuses and trying to justify why it was the right decision.  If the way the VAR rules are set up stop the right decision getting made then they need to be changed until they are right.

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Fabinho got the ball but we’re told that VAR only looked at where the incident took place and not whether he got the ball or not. What the fuck? What's going on here? Can they not look at two things at the same time? It's the same bullshit as last week. 


That’s what they said initially and then they changed it again and said they did review whether it was a foul or not. They just keep changing what they say all the time. It’s mad.

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Great point on the offside situation with Sadio last week,I was thinking at the time if he had just made sure he was onside there wouldn't have been any debate, he had the time to just take that extra half a yard step backwards.

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With the Sadio offside thing, he'd made a burst into the middle just before and the ball never came to him. Normally when we've recycled possession from those situations, we look to switch the play across the pitch and stretch the opposition. That allows our forwards the opportunity to both get back onside and look for space. Thiago sees things very early, so Sadio received a through-ball he wouldn't otherwise expect to get. It's that adjustment our players will learn to make.

 

As for Sheffield United, Wilder uses his back three differently to other managers who play with that system. In Wilder's system, they don't look for the wing backs immediately. Instead, one of the two wide defenders in the 3 will carry the ball into midfield, lay it off to a midfielder and get it back before finding the wing back. While this is happening, the midfielder on that side will drop back to cover the space left so the defender can carry on into midfield. The problem for an opposition player when dealing with it is that they can't track both players who've switched positions. Combine thas aspect with Sheffield United's directness and, if they are on their game, it can make it look like the opposition midfielders are being overrun and/or not tracking runners.

 

They've had a tough start to the season but I actually admire Chris Wilder for trying something tactically different when it would be easy to go all Sam Allardyce and play shit-on-a-stick POMOball with a heavy emphasis on set-pieces.

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Sheffield are a team with some big lads in it. I think we'd have struggled a bit even if Virgil had of played this. Yes, he'd probably have won his fair share but he couldnt be in two places at once.

 

The early pen decision clearly boosted Sheffield's players and Im sure Wilder would have told them without Virgil, Fabinho playing as emergency CB and probably expecting Adrian in goal, to give it a real go as this was probably going to be their best chance in a while to get the 3 points off us.

 

I thought that opening spell was going to see us batter them and what an audacious free kick by Trent! The keeper did well to recover on that one to tip it over the bar.

 

Great to see Alli back but then he gave me a heart tremour on that back pass. Jota's performances must be pushing Divock towards a January exit? I really dont see Taki pushing Bobby in any real sense at the moment. Lots of energy but I dont see an end product. If Bobby's position is going to come under threat, it's Jota who's going to be the one.

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1 hour ago, Trumo said:

 Thiago sees things very early, so Sadio received a through-ball he wouldn't otherwise expect to get.

 

Thiago also played the pass while looking in an entirely different direction so again, Sadio will learn to expect those!

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Desperately need Matip fit for West Ham, they've got a big strong team - centre halves, Soucek, Rice, Antonio. Not looking good at the moment, as he's already been ruled out of tomorrow. 

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3 hours ago, piphomer said:

Thiago also played the pass while looking in an entirely different direction so again, Sadio will learn to expect those!

I noticed Trent doing this satdee. He must have got that from the master

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I thought we were pretty good in the second half. Jota’s header was brillant. Robbo was good again. 
 

Salah was weed a great chance in the first half when he waited too long to shoot. Too bad his goal was disallowed, that was sheer greatness.

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I think we  probably edged the game, but edged it against a team that haven't put anything near a solid performance in all season, and have the worst attack in the league. They were the better team for 50 minutes but they tired, and struggled to score, as they always do. If we give that many chances away to better teams it'll be a different story, thought there was some worrying signs from that game that have been glossed over from the result.

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