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Liverpool 2 Manchester City 2 (Oct 3 2021)

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Report by
Dave Usher

 

It seems strange to say after we twice failed to hold onto a lead, but that was definitely a point gained rather than two lost. We were fortunate to still be in the game at half time and that first half showing was really concerning. I’d have snatched your hand off for a point at half time and again when it went to 2-2 late on. By the end I just wanted the whistle to go.

 

That wasn’t how I anticipated this game going at all which is why this was probably more jarring to me than it will have been to others. Before the game most of the lads were predicting a draw. Not me. This was a big game at Anfield, against the team that have been our biggest rivals in recent years. A team with a horrific record at Anfield (last season doesn’t count). I was confident, probably bordering on cocky.

 

So that first half was a chastening experience. It started well enough though. The opening 15 minutes were good and then it just went downhill fast. City started to get on top and we couldn’t redress the balance. The longer the half went the worse we got. It was really unsettling. I don’t remember the last time anyone was able to do that to us. City just strangled the life out of us and we couldn’t do anything about it. Not a nice feeling and not something we're used to these days.

 

It wasn’t just the danger they posed us, it was the way they completely snuffed out any potential threat we might have offered. The main reason I’m always confident when we face City is that despite how good they with the ball, they’re often wide open to counter attacks and that is tailor made for us. Yet I can’t remember even one counter that we had in this game. It’s partly us playing shit, but it also has to be something City are doing to prevent it. 

 

Their full backs barely seemed to cross the halfway line, so that’s part of it. They’ve learned lessons from past defeats and now we’re going to have to come up with another way of hurting them, because all we had here was Mo sticking his Superman cape on. Without him we had nothing.

 

We couldn’t lay a glove on City in that first half, while they carried real menace throughout. Alisson made at least two big saves and City wasted other chances with really wayward finishing (De Bruyne missed a header and Grealish hit the corner flag with one chance). We were all over the place and because of how they were passing through us we just lost all cohesion and confidence when we had the ball.

 

Klopp was screaming “BE BRAVE” at one point and he emphasised this afterwards too. “We forgot to play football” I think his exact words were. Or certainly something to that effect.

 

I was wanting the half time whistle to blow from around 25-30 minutes as I didn’t think we would survive the half without conceding at least once. Somehow we did, and that was a huge victory for us all things considered. 

 

I was really stressed out at half time though. We’d been repeatedly punched in the face and weren’t able to fight back. I didn’t know what the problem was as those kind of deep dive tactical solutions are way above my pay grade, but I knew Milner had to come off. Beyond that the only thing I could think was that something needed to change tactically because we looked inept all over the park.

 

 

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

 

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Top, top invisible Grealish analysis there, Dave. Also poignant to see Sterling’s main contribution to the game being to lie down and make himself as small as possible, like a tribute to his 2014/15 season.

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Sterling seems to have lost a yard of pace to me. Looked like he was carrying a piano when he was played in. It really made me wonder if he'd wagered on the draw!

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Good report Dave. I think Guardiola has eventually learnt he cant go toe to toe with us at Anfield. They've lost every time he tried. Last season was a car crash and Alli gifted them the game.

 

Agree the atmos wasnt as good as it should have been. I had us for a 3-2 win before kick off but maybe the crowd seemed quiet considering the game.

 

I initially thought city's first took a touch off Curtis partly due to the sound the ball made and partly due to his reaction but replays show he was nowhere near it.

 

Overall, yeah, city bossed the second half of the first half but I only remember Alli forced to one save and another shot come cross he palmed away. Their goals were down the other end so didnt have the best view. When they equalised a 2nd time, I did think they may be more likely to snatch a winner as we looked a bit deflated.

 

 

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Think you've written off the Anfield factor a bit too quickly there. Fair play to City, they did well but I wouldnt go as far as to say that they have now nullified that aspect of these games. 

We'll come again (the crowd that is)   

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It’s not a surprise if the atmosphere starts to suffer when we tout all our tickets ourselves on the ‘hospitality’ section of the clubs website.

£390 for a match ticket with a cup of tea in a tent thrown in and a ‘complimentary match programme.’ That’s a disgrace and it’s bound to be felt in the stadium if genuine fans can’t afford to get it, but rich tourists can. Still, as long as we maximise those revenue streams, we can market the Anfield atmosphere in glossy brochures whilst simultaneously killing it.

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6 minutes ago, Mark M said:

Good report Dave. 
Bobby is a big concern for us imo his form is shocking

He has 3 goals this season in only 1 start. We should be encouraged, if anything, but people have been "concerned" about him for like 3 years. They'll be concerned forever, it seems. 

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Gods report Dave. I agree with you on everything but the concerns you raise at the end. Bayern, PSG, Ajax all lost this weekend.

 

I believe it was a bad day at the office and City was very good, especially Silva who was outstanding. Fortunately, Kdb was poor, he messed up many good opportunities for them.

 

With injuries, the squad looks thin. Clearly, Klopp does not rate Origi, Keita or Minamino for these big games.

 

We need something different from the bench up front if we want to compete. The competition is going to be very hard with City and Chelsea.

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They had six midfielders against our three and it definitely showed. 

 

We were unlucky not to win, and lucky to not to get beat. Weird game. For all their chances they salvaged a draw with a massive deflection. 

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1 hour ago, 3 Stacks said:

He has 3 goals this season in only 1 start. We should be encouraged, if anything, but people have been "concerned" about him for like 3 years. They'll be concerned forever, it seems. 

He's the new Lucas it seems. We love ourselves a scapegoat, even if the performances aren't actually supporting it. Have to say I'm a bit puzzled by this one though, unless you equate forward play exclusively with goals. I think Bobby nullified one of the main problems in the 1st half (them playing easily into feet between the lines), by harassing Rodri and/or Silva much more than Jota did. Trouble was, by the end Fabinho and Henderson were completely out on their feet, so his increased pressure didn't tell as much as it should have. Him being blamed for Salah not controlling a 5 yard pass also seems a bit odd (Sakho to Gerrard anyone?).

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We were a big bag of crap in the second part of the first half, but the first 15-20 minutes, we were good. The narrative that we were shocking in the first half is unfair. The last 20-25 minutes, fair enough. 

 

I thought subbing BGJ at half time - particularly carrying a yellow - was a no-brainer, but at the same time, it was difficult to see what he could have done better. What's the difference between them and us? Serious strength in every position and almost-as-good backup for most, if not all, on the bench. It was good to see Curtis looking very composed on the ball in such a big game. 

 

Stressy? Not many. Two hours after the final whistle I was still terrified we might lose. 

 

Nice to read many headlines this morning fixated on some supporter of ours, who apparently spat at their bench. Yeah, that's the main talking-point of the match alright. 

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Jermaine Jenas calling for a red card for Milner. Not so controversial you might think.  But wait , our hero wanted him sent off for the possible free kick / penalty on Foden in the first half !!!

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I still believe Henderson did foul Silva just before Milner got there. Henderson definitely makes contact with him, which is why Silva is stumbling a bit before Milner trips him. Ref got it right if he did give the freekick for Henderson's foul.

 

Even if not, I'm not having it as a nailed on 2nd yellow for Milner. We've heard that the refs are supposed to applying a "lighter touch" this season. Heck, we even saw how Burnley came to Anfield and got away with worse challenges without getting a yellow. Also, I saw Pogba literally body slam an Everton player on Saturday and get no yellow.

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We can't even get allez allez allez going properly. That would always be the one where the stadium starts rocking but it's just pathetic 

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You know who’s usually boss in these situations? Big Game Gini.

 

I couldn't agree more with that and said it during the game. He was made for a game like that, one where he could put his foot on the ball and calm things down. We missed his experience, and i think we will for all the big games this year in the league and Champions League.

 

I sort of understood why the club took the stance they did, but i'm still not on board with it. We're a fraction into the season and we're already missing him because an adequate replacement wasn't brought in. Thiago will always miss games with injury. Same with Keita and Chamberlain, and even then there's a case they're not up to it. That's 3 with questions marks over their availability and reliability. Yes we have Curtis (and Elliott) who are top talents - but do you want them starting in huge games like this just yet?

 

Against the bottom half of the league you can throw in anyone of them alongside 2 of Henderson/Fab/Thiago but i think we'll struggle against the top teams. Gini's nous and knowhow will be sorely missed. 

 

Although it didn't help Trent was injured as maybe Milner could have been in the midfield 

 

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Klopp made a few big mistakes that could have cost us but he certainly earned redemption with his tactical switch and by getting into the heads of the players at half time.

 

I could understand why he wanted to play his best side against Porto midweek because we have really struggled over the last 2 or 3 years to escape the group with poor away performances and the big win justified his selection. But knowing it was City next and how crucial this game was always going to be, it's inexplicable to pick the same team for 3 games in 8 days, particularly the midfield who were always going to be working a long shift covering space against the Man City possession game. 

 

We badly missed Trent & Thiago who have strengths that could put City off their game - Trent with his switches of play and energy on the wings to give them something to deal with and Thiago with his composure on the ball - and yes, his tackling! Our midfield were a tackle-free zone, taking it in turns to allow an opponent to waltz past them without once putting a foot in. Henderson was easily the worst culprit, but Fabinho, Jones, Jota, Sadio even Robbo missing tackles aplenty before Joe came on with a cameo of missed one-on-ones himself. 

 

Milner was a gamble that didn't work; it was one too many games for the midfield three (especially Fabinho who looked to have a problem in the 1st half and was in a right state with 10-15 minutes left and could barely stand at the end, let alone chase back again). Keita should have started midweek or at the very least should have been a sub on Sunday with orders to patrol the centre and put a foot in, something he is more than capable of doing with fresh legs.

 

Final observation - for some reason we have thrown away our title-winning game-management book and opened a new one harking back to our crazy gang, entertaining, caution-to-the-wind approach to the 2017-19 seasons. Why on earth were we throwing players forward trying to score a 3rd goal (and a 4th last week v Brentford) when we were in the lead with 10 minutes to play? Drop back into a compact, organised shape to keep them at bay and go for the counter-attack. Instead, we were all over the place for both their goals. 

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15 hours ago, Supremolad said:

I still believe Henderson did foul Silva just before Milner got there. Henderson definitely makes contact with him, which is why Silva is stumbling a bit before Milner trips him. Ref got it right if he did give the freekick for Henderson's foul.

 

Even if not, I'm not having it as a nailed on 2nd yellow for Milner. We've heard that the refs are supposed to applying a "lighter touch" this season. Heck, we even saw how Burnley came to Anfield and got away with worse challenges without getting a yellow. Also, I saw Pogba literally body slam an Everton player on Saturday and get no yellow.

Watch any two PL games, observe the situations which result in yellow cards and try to deduce what the rules say governing such situations. You'll disappear up your own backside. Then go and read those rules, and you'll find they're, inevitably, highly subjective. So, as it's always been, the issuing of yellow cards is random, subjective and erratic. How many times have you heard a comentator say?'That's an automatic yellow card', only for none to be shown?

Watch ANY game from the peak-Fernandinho era and try to figure out why he didn't get a 2nd yellow card, despite clearly deserving one.I don't remember anyone getting their knickers in a twist the way that whiny hypocritical baldy cunt did at the weekend.

And don't get me started on THAT Kompany challenge at the Eitihad when our 2-1 loss was the difference between the two teams that season.

 

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6 minutes ago, Shooter in the Motor said:

The moment @dave u says we'll win the League, that's the moment I panic and think of all the shit players we once had.

 

That was my Alan Hansen "you never win anything with kids" moment. I was right though, we didn't have any shit players when I said it, they just started playing shit after I said it.

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