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Liverpool 6 Brighton 1 - FA Cup 5th round (Feb 19 2012) - 1st team 2011-2012 - The Liverpool Way Jump to content
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Liverpool 6 Brighton 1 - FA Cup 5th round (Feb 19 2012)

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LIVERPOOL 6 Brighton 1

Report by Dave Usher at Anfield

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Scorer(s) – Martin Skrtel, 3 OG's, Andy Carroll, Luis Suarez

Half Time - 2-1

Venue - Anfield

Date - Sun 19 Feb 2012

Star Man – Martin Skrtel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The magic of the FA Cup eh? 13 goals in three home games so far. That's actually just one less than we've managed in a dozen Premier League games in L4. Of course it helps when the opposition are rattling them in for you, and it's fair to say we had more breaks in this game than we've had in those 12 league games combined. We could even afford the luxury of yet another missed pen, at least this time the game wasn't in the balance when we failed from the spot.

 

This was the ideal preparation for next weekend's League Cup Final. Brighton made it easy for us by being so wide open at the back and by sticking to their footballing principles throughout. Cardiff will present a much sterner test but we go into that game with Suarez and Carroll amongst the goals and finally in tandem with Steven Gerrard. Apparently this was the first time all three had started together. That means that we've never seen those three and Bellamy at the same time, as the Welshman was absent from this game with a slight knock. Just shows what we've been missing.

 

Carroll's form has taken a significant upturn since Gerrard returned to the line up (not saying that's the reason for it, but it hasn't hurt him that's for sure) and he's now looking like the player we thought we were getting when we broke the bank to get him from Newcastle. He scored one and then made one for Suarez, and once again he showed a great hunger and desire for the game. He's getting there, and it's great to see. I'd all but written him off a few weeks ago but he's completely turned things around recently.

 

I thought the finish for his goal was brilliant, that wasn't an easy chance to take and I half expected the ball to end up in the back row of the Kop when he swung his left boot at it. He showed great technique to keep the ball down and steer it into the corner, and the towering header back across goal to tee up Suarez was terrific to see as well. I'm really enjoying watching Carroll play these last few weeks, long may it continue. Well in big man, keep it going.

 

The most important thing for him now is to develop a partnership with Suarez. That's proved to be difficult so far for a number of reasons. The first being Carroll's mostly poor form. In addition to that though both players have missed a fair amount of games for differing reasons, and that's drastically reduced the amount of playing time they've had together in the 12 months they've both been at the club. Another issue has been the system. Kenny has sometimes found it difficult to accommodate both of them as it generally means playing 442, and often when we've done that it hasn't worked as we've been outnumbered in midfield. Bringing in the extra midfielder means one of the forwards has to either sit on the bench or play out wide.

 

In the previous game Carroll was on the bench, this time Suarez started the game on the right of a front three. It didn't really work and we ended up moving Henderson out to the right flank and going 442. It's a problem for Kenny, no question about it. Against Brighton it didn't really matter, Gerrard and Adam bossed the middle of the park and didn't need an extra body in there with them. That allowed Suarez to play off Carroll and the end result was an avalanche of goals.

 

The first of which came with only a few minutes gone, Skrtel heading in a left wing corner by the skipper. Skrtel's been immense this season and the fact he's added goals to his armoury now is a much welcome bonus too. We didn't build on it though, we seemed to get complacent and were lacking in urgency. It took a Brighton equaliser to snap us out of it. Good goal it was too, although from our point of view it was one that should have been avoided. The strike from Lua-Lua was excellent, but our wall was pretty shoddy.

 

Suarez had struggled in the early stages, his touch wasn't as assured as we've come to expect and he was spending most of his time on the right hand side. As the half wore on he started to find his feet and he was extremely unlucky not to score when he dribbled his way into the box and beat the keeper only to see the right back get round on the cover to clear the danger.

 

More magic from Suarez led to the second goal. The keeper flapped at a corner and as the ball dropped down Suarez showed terrific technique to pull it down and send a shot goalwards. The keeper saved with his feet, Johnson headed it back towards goal and a Brighton defender lashed it against his own player (Bridcutt) who could only watch as the ball rebounded into the net. Exactly what we needed before half time, and there were shades of the Oldham game about this first half, the only major difference being Oldham scored first. Just like the Oldham game, the floodgates opened after the break.

 

Poor old Brighton had no answer to the movement of the likes of Suarez, Gerrard and Downing. Yes, Downing. He was very good and bounced back well from his non-show at Old Trafford. Not that a good display against a Championship side makes up for what went before, but he did play well and finally managed an assist when he picked out Carroll for his goal. He did well against Oldham too, but given that he's an experienced international player you'd expect him to be able to produce this level of performance against better opposition too.

 

Another Bridcutt own goal saw us go 4-1 up. Henderson broke out of defence and burst forward. He lofted a pass in the direction of Gerrard but it looked like it would be dealt with by Navarro. The bouncing ball made it difficult for the former reds' reserve who grew up in the shadow of the Kop, and Gerrard was able to outmuscle him and get a shot away. The keeper saved, Gerrard latched onto the rebound and from a tight angle he hit the ball against Bridcutt who could do nothing to prevent it bouncing into the net.

 

Those two oggies had been unfortunate for Brighton, the poor lad could do nothing about either of them, but now he was on a hat-trick (even though DJ George had announced Johnson and Gerrard as the scorers. Gotta love George, if an opposing player were to ping one past his own keeper from 30 yards, George would just credit whichever LFC player was nearest to him). Amazingly our next goal was also courtesy of a Brighton defender, although thankfully Bridcutt was spared the hat-trick.

 

This one wasn't unlucky either, it was just hilarious. A left wing cross didn't find Carroll and Dunk had time and space to do whatever he liked. He could have headed it away, he could have chested back to the keeper or he could have brought it down and then leathered it upfield. He chose to take it on the chest, then try and juggle it on his knee and ended up carrying it over his own goal line. I didn't catch it but I believe George credited Fernando Torres with the goal as the poor bastard needs all the help he can get.

 

The only thing missing now was a goal for Suarez. It's what everyone wanted, especially Kenny. When the three subs were all preparing to come on, I was just hoping that the front two would stay on as this was a great chance for them to fill their boots and work on their partnership. I was made up when Kenny left them on, I thought that was great management.

 

The same with the penalty. Adam and Kuyt were having a discussion over who would take it, and you could see Carroll was more than a little interested too. Suarez was hanging around the penalty spot looking hopeful, and then he spotted Kenny on the touchline holding up seven fingers. Suarez quickly directed Kuyt and Adam's attentions towards Kenny and then grabbed the ball. His penalty was awful and it was an easy save for the keeper, but that's not really important. The big picture here was Kenny making a statement.

 

Any rumours that may have been flying around about a possible rift between Dalglish and Suarez after the handshake debacle were quoshed in that moment. In terms of man-management, what a great move by Kenny. We were 5-1 up so it didn't matter whether he scored or not, the important thing here was the statement of support for his player.

 

Everyone wanted Suarez to score, and credit to his strike partner for teeing him up a few minutes later when he could easily have gone himself. Enrique stood a ball up at the back post for Carroll just as he had against the mancs in the last round. That time Carroll went for goal himself and hit the woodwork. This time he only had eyes for Suarez, nodding the ball back across to give his partner a tap in. I loved seeing that, it was nice for Suarez to get his goal but I was fucking made up with Carroll's part in it.

 

We need Andy Carroll to be the player we thought we were getting when we signed him. We desperately need it, and if he'd been that player we'd be much higher up the table. He's starting to show signs that he's becoming that player, and if he and Suarez can get something going together then we're in business. There's a lot of football left to be played this season and the big lad is coming into form at just the right time.

 

The key is whether we can find a way to shoehorn all of our best attacking players into the side at once in a system that will be effective. Carroll, Suarez, Gerrard and Bellamy will give anybody problems, but how do you accommodate all four without being caught short in the middle of the park against the better sides? That's what Kenny and Steve Clarke need to figure out, if they can then those four could wreak some havoc.

 

Overall this was a really enjoyable cup tie. Loads of goals, played in a good spirit, some good banter between the fans and even the streaker at the end was funny. I usually hate that crap, but at least this fella waited until stoppage time when the game was all but over. It was pretty funny, especially as he left his shoes and socks on. The funniest part was seeing how uncomfortable Carra looked having to hug him as he made his way off the field. Wonder what the streaker was saying to him? My guess would be "I've lost my cat, you haven't seen one running around here have you?"

 

Carroll got the man of the match award from ESPN. I'm pleased for him and it's nice for his confidence to be getting recognition for how he's playing. He wasn't my star man though, for me it was a toss up between Gerrard and Skrtel. Could have been either, but I have to pick one so I'll go for Skrtel.

 

 

Team: Reina; Johnson, Carragher, Skrtel, Enrique; Henderson (Kuyt), Gerrard, Adam (Shelvey): Suarez, Carroll, Downing (Maxi):

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Brilliant as usual, cheers. One point about the selection dilemma, it's against the lesser sides we should be playing our most attacking line up, as they're the ones more likely to shut up shop and cost us points. We can worry about dropping Carroll for extra bodies in midfield in just a handful of games.

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Brilliant as usual, cheers. One point about the selection dilemma, it's against the lesser sides we should be playing our most attacking line up, as they're the ones more likely to shut up shop and cost us points. We can worry about dropping Carroll for extra bodies in midfield in just a handful of games.

 

Agree up to a point. Where it falls down is when you look at what Bolton did to us when we went 442 against them.

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Best report of LFCs games going - every game. You are getting a top reputation Dave - well deserved. You write what we think but wr haven't got the ability and skill to put it into words. Ta Lar!

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Another great post Dave. Agree that the decision by Kenny to let Suarez take the penalty was inspired. He may have missed but it was a clear signal of solidarity in the face of all the shite we've had to endure over the past few weeks. Credit to Suarez that he persevered and didn't let his head drop after missing the pen.

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