Quantcast
Liverpool 1 Arsenal 2 - Prem (Mar 3 2012) - 1st team 2011-2012 - The Liverpool Way Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
TLW

Liverpool 1 Arsenal 2 - Prem (Mar 3 2012)

Recommended Posts

LIVERPOOL 1 Arsenal 2

Report by Dave Usher at Anfield

dave.jpg

arsenalreport2.jpg

Scorer(s) – Laurent Koscielny O.G.

Half Time - 1-1

Venue - Anfield

Date - Sat 3 Mar 2012

Star Man – Luis Suarez

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the ecstasy of winning a cup at Wembley to the agony of a stoppage time defeat six days later. That's the rollercoaster ride we sign up for as football fans I guess. Losing a big game right at the end is always hard to stomach, but it's ten times worse when it's a game where you have played well enough to win comfortably. In some ways it's better to see your team get battered, at least you can let off steam by slaughtering them. When you play this well and lose it's difficult to know what to feel. I was just stunned after this one.

 

It's not unreasonable to say we haven't got what we deserved from the vast majority of home games this season, but this one really took the piss. If it wasn't so heartbreaking it would be funny. Considering how well we played I'd have been gutted with a draw, so to come away with nothing was absolutely sickening. I feel sorry for the players but then at the same time I think they only have themselves to blame. Yet again.

 

This hard luck story actually started on the opening day against Sunderland and eight months later the same shit is still happening. Missed chances. Check. Hit woodwork (often more than once). Check. Fail to convert penalty. Check. Opposition keeper plays blinder. Check. Concede goal from rare attack. Check.

 

It's happened so many times, particularly at Anfield, but this was the most glaring example yet. Bad luck played a part, unquestionably, but when it's happening so frequently there comes a point where you have to stop blaming luck, and we passed that point months ago. The harsh truth is that we're just extremely wasteful. Even games we win often tend to be much closer then they should be (last week at Wembley being a case in point).

 

Realistically, we should have been three or four goals better than Arsenal given how superior we were. To say we let them off the hook just doesn't do it justice. Some would say we were robbed, but is it robbery when we effectively opened the door, invited them in for a cup of tea whilst handing them the keys to the safe before finally giving them a hand packing their car with our swag? Arsenal won't have been able to believe their luck.

 

We played excellent football and completely dominated this game. There are times when you take consolation or encouragement in that, but I don't think this is one of those times. On reflection, how we played counts for absolutely nothing. This was a six pointer and a game we badly needed to win to stay in contention for a top four spot. That's all but gone now. Ten points behind the worst Arsenal side I've seen in years, we need to be more concerned about the likes of Norwich and West fucking Brom behind us. That's the shocking reality we are facing now.

 

It shouldn't be that way, we should be much higher in the table based on performances. I wouldn't say we're in a false position as we are where we are, but I would say we're better than anyone outside of the top three. It's all 'coulda woulda shoulda' though isn't it? Bottom line, we've not put the points on the board to prove it. That's mainly down to how terrible we are in front of goal. Off the top of my head I can only think of four games in which we've been second best. Spurs away, Bolton away and away at both manc teams. We didn't deserve to beat Stoke or Swansea at home but aside from that we've been the better side in virtually every game we've played.

 

Far too often however we don't make that superiority count, and this might be the most glaring example of it yet. Chance after chance went begging, and maybe it was just me but even in the first half I got the feeling it was going to be 'one of those days'. I didn't think we'd get kicked in the nuts late on like that, but I'd more or less resigned myself to yet another home draw. Martin Kelly's missed sitter in front of the Kop was the moment I completely gave up any hope of three points, but that vibe was definitely in the air when we hit the woodwork twice and missed a penalty in a dominant first half.

 

It's unfortunate to hit the post two more times (how many is it now this season?), but at the time I felt Suarez should have scored and it was a bad miss. Having seen the replay it wasn't as easy as I initially thought as there were two defenders back there meaning there wasn't much of a gap between them and the post. Kuyt's was really unlucky though, he did everything right and on another day that finds the corner. Maybe we used up all our luck last weekend when Kenny Miller missed that great chance at the end, or when Cardiff missed three penalties. Speaking of missed penalties, just how many are we going to miss this season? Are we on for some sort of record now?

 

If we can't even rely on Kuyt to score from the spot then we're fucked. He's missed two now, so have Suarez and Adam, Carroll has missed one and so has Gerrard (actually he may have missed two, I'm not sure). This was a very un-Dirk like penalty, and to make it worse he also failed to convert the rebound. We'd been well on top and a goal then would have been just rewards for how we'd started. It looked a stonewall pen to me at the time although replays show Suarez played for it. Still a penalty though.

 

Suarez was fantastic at times in the first half, he just seemed to be megging defenders at will. The move that led to the penalty was class, it was superb play between Suarez and Kuyt and was reminiscent of how well the pair linked up last season. Reminded me of the Man United game actually when they ran riot. Kuyt's not had too many chances to play up front with Suarez this season but the understanding they had is clearly still there.

 

The missed pen was a real downer but thankfully we didn't have time to dwell on it as we scored not long after. It was a sweeping move that began when Spearing's clever pass picked out Downing in space in the centre. He played a first time ball out to Henderson who charged down the right wing and drilled in a low cross towards Suarez that Koscielny diverted into his own net. Just rewards for our play, but a little disconcerting that once again we needed an opponent to put the ball in the net for us. 'Own goal' might even be our top scorer this season now? Definitely up there, that's for sure.

 

It was almost 2-0 a couple of minutes later. Another fine move saw Adam surge away down the left leaving Arteta in his wake. He carried the ball to the edge of the box and picked out Kuyt in the centre who immediately shifted it on to Henderson. His shot was parried well by Szczesny but only into the path of Suarez who sidefooted it against the post. Not the sitter I initially thought it was, but a chance you really have to take in games against the better sides. I hesitate to call Arsenal one of the better sides as honestly I'm not impressed by them at all.

 

They do somehow sit fourth in the table though, which is kind of my point. You can explain why they are where they are in three words. Robin. Van. Persie. Without him I don't even think they'd even be in the top half. No team relies on one man as much as the Gunners rely on him, they've got nothing without him. He's carried them all season and he basically won this game on his own, yet again.

 

He drew Arsenal level when he headed in Sagna's fine cross. Neither Carragher nor Reina covered themselves in glory on this one, and it's galling seeing the opposition score such a simple looking goal when we have to work so hard for anything we get. Carragher was actually marking Van Persie quite tightly but he couldn't get goal-side of him to prevent the header. I thought Reina could have come for the cross but ended up rooted to his line doing nothing. For every ten chances we create we might get a goal if we're lucky. I'm fairly certain that opposing sides must have a ridiculous goals per chance ratio against us. Arsenal scored twice from four chances in this game. Cardiff did similar last week. Does my fucking head in.

 

You know what else does my head in? Players staying down to stop the game and waste time. Arsenal really pushed the boundaries of this, especially in the first half. It was like watching Porto a few years ago. Several times their players stayed down to stop our attacks and take the sting out of the game when it was clear to everyone that there was fuck all wrong with them. Rosicky was the worst, he went down after a great challenge by Spearing and was about to get up when he saw us on the attack, so he sat down again forcing us to put the ball out. Arteta did it too, as did Sagna and Vermailen. Actually hang on, an Arsenal player has just hit the floor again now so I'll have to put the report on hold whilst he gets treatment......

 

*two minutes later*

 

So.... we bounced back well from their goal and Suarez almost conjured up a goal of the season contender when he wriggled his way past several defenders and prodded a shot goalwards only for Szczesny to dive full length and palm it behind for a corner. Skrtel then put a free header over the bar from the corner kick. We looked pretty threatening from corners at times but were unable to convert any of them. Carroll may have helped in that area but given how well Kuyt linked up with Suarez I can't really complain about that selection.

 

I have to admit that when I heard the line up it killed my pre-match buzz completely. I didn't like it at all, but to be fair the likes of Kuyt and Henderson justified their selections I thought. Henderson needed a bounce back game after his no-show at Wembley and he was much improved, I have no complaints about his performance. He was much more effective than he has been in most of his other appearances on the right. Kuyt was arguably our best player (penalty miss aside) and Spearing had a tidy game in the middle of the park too. Whether he'd have started had Gerrard been available who knows, he probably should do though and I hope he keeps his place now as we look more balanced in the middle when he plays.

 

As for Gerrard, I'm seething about that situation. Blame Pearce and England all you like, but Gerrard needs to take a long look at himself over this too. Pearce is a selfish twat for selecting him to start a meaningless friendly three days after he'd played for TWO FUCKING HOURS in a physically and emotionally draining cup final on a strength sapping pitch, but what was stopping Gerrard from pulling out? It was totally irresponsible for him to play in that game as far as I'm concerned.

 

Given how long he's been out injured, how he's picked up a few little niggles since he's been back and how he has been unable to play three games in a week (last time he did it he had to be rested away at Wolves), just what the fuck is he doing agreeing to start a game for England coming off the back of a cup final that went to extra time, and knowing we had such a massively important game against Arsenal three days later? Seriously Steven, have a fucking word with yourself as that's not on. Even if it had been a qualifier I'd have been upset about it, but a fucking friendly under a caretaker manager? Like I say, irresponsible. I love the guy, but he's paid a shitload of money to play for LFC and this was a game that we really needed him.

 

Anyway, moving on.... We had another great chance to regain the lead when Adam did very well to get to the byline and drill a great ball across to a sliding Kuyt who's shot rolled across goal. It seemed to be headed for the net until it struck the far post and was hacked to safety. I was up celebrating that one, couldn't believe it didn't go in. I think that's when that sinking feeling really started to kick in for me. Sometimes you just know it's not going to go your way, you still have some hope that you're wrong as there's plenty of time left, but with each missed chance after that the feeling grows.

 

The moment that finally convinced me we weren't winning this game was when Kelly missed an absolute sitter after a great cross from Kuyt. Chances like that usually come back to haunt you, and it did. You have to score that, I don't care if you're a striker, a defender or even a goalkeeper, four yards out with an empty net, you have to score.

 

There were other chances we should have made more of too, the best of which fell to Downing who got in behind Sagna and just needed to roll it square to Suarez for a tap in. He put it too close to the keeper and the chance was gone. Really sloppy that was, but it's typical of this team in the final third. Things like that have plagued us this season, it's not just the missed chances, it's the failure to make the most of great situations through a bad final pass or just awful decision making.

 

The problem Kenny had was that we were playing really well and were so much on top that it must have been tempting to just leave things as they were and hope the goal would eventually come. You want to get Bellamy on, and maybe Carroll too, but who do you take off? Downing was the first to make way, a little unfortunate for him as he did alright without ever really giving Sagna too many problems. I'd have probably took Adam off and moved Henderson inside, as Adam didn't wasn't having a good second half (thought he did well in the first half though).

 

Bellamy coming on didn't really improve us, perhaps not surprising given how late he came on and how little time he had to make an impact. He never really got into the game and we actually looked better when Downing was out there. Kuyt continued to look lively and had one fantastic run into the box but his cut back didn't find a red shirt and Arsenal cleared. Just really frustrating, and the game looked to be petering out into our ninth home draw of the season. The board went up to signal eight minutes stoppage time (Arteta was stretchered off after a long delay), but we were never going to score now regardless of how long was added on.

 

Arsenal never looked likely to either, they'd only had one chance in the entire half (when Gibbs got in behind a sleeping Kelly and Walcott forced Reina to save with his feet). Out of nothing though Song lofted a ball over Carragher and Van Persie drilled a volley past Reina's near post. Again, both centre back and keeper should have done better, and Kelly isn't blameless either as RVP had pulled onto him before running in behind Carragher, but against the vast majority of other strikers we'd have gotten away with it.

 

Look at last week, a similar thing happened where Miller got in behind one of our defenders (Skrtel I think?) but put his shot over the bar so no harm done. Van Persie isn't Kenny Miller though, and he made us pay. Carragher and Skrtel kept him very quiet on the whole yet he's still come away with two goals. He's just everything we aren't, he's a lethal cold blooded ruthless killer in front of goal. He's almost scored as many goals on his own as our whole fucking team has.

 

This result is really hard to take, especially when you look at the league table. We're only four points ahead of Roy Hodgson now. That's not good enough, obviously, and our results in the league have been really disappointing. Maybe I'm kidding myself, but for me we're fucking miles better than the league table suggests. I don't think there's too much wrong with us, it needs tweaking a little rather than overhauling.

 

Performances are for the most part pretty good, but we aren't scoring enough goals and it's killing us. It's been killing us all season and it's still killing us now. I don't know what the answer is, certainly a lethal striker would help but it isn't just down to the forwards is it? Kelly missed an absolute fucking sitter in this game, I don't care if he is a defender that's a chance you have to bury. Other players have been just as guilty in previous games.

 

Henderson and Downing have one league goal between them this season whilst Spearing and Lucas don't have any. You have to wonder where the goals are going to come from? Performances suggest we're not far away, it's rare that anyone outplays us but if you can't score you're going to find it very difficult to win consistently.

 

Given our impotency in front of goal, it's virtually impossible to see us getting 4th place now. I have no doubt Arsenal will continue to drop points, and I knew Chelsea would lose at West Brom this weekend as they've got big problems. Newcastle will drop points as well, but it won't matter because we won't score enough goals to be able to make a run. It's incredibly frustrating as Arsenal and Chelsea haven't been this vulnerable in years, yet we haven't taken advantage.

 

We just have to hope we can score enough goals in the FA Cup to hopefully win a second trophy. If we were to do that, missing out on the top four wouldn't feel half as bad. The league table doesn't paint a pretty picture and our home record is shocking. The eye test tells a different story for me though. I'm frustrated at the results, but not overly disheartened by the performances and overall I still think we're heading in the right direction (just not as quickly as we should be).

 

Put it this way, if Robin Van Persie and his 25 league goals were in this Liverpool side, where about in the table do you think we'd be? We wouldn't be looking up at Chelsea, Arsenal and Newcastle that's for sure. That's the challenge facing Dalglish and Comolli this summer, they need to find us a 'Van Persie', someone who doesn't need ten chances before he can score a goal. Easier said than done of course, as every club out there is looking for goalscorers and barring an amazing turn of events it doesn't look like we'll be able to tempt anyone with Champions League Football.

 

Star man is Suarez with honourable mentions to Kuyt, Enrique and Skrtel once again.

 

 

Team: Reina; Kelly, Carragher, Skrtel, Enrique; Henderson, Spearing (Carroll), Adam, Downing (Bellamy): Suarez, Kuyt:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agree with you totally about Gerrard and England Dave. You know if it had been Scholes he would have been pulled from that squad. I would have thought Gerrard would have wisened up by now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest LFD

I think it is 22 times we have hit the post this season.

 

Re: Gerrard. I can see why he wanted to play, as he wanted to be England captain. Then when it went to Parker, he probably thought he'd look like twat for refusing to play just because he didn't get the captaincy. I am annoyed at Pearce for not making him captain and for playing him after playing 120 minutes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Disagree about Suarez as he pissed me right off for the first time. The run into the box was good but there was little else and what fucked me right off was his naivety with offside. Constantly getting blown up for it and ruining the impetus of moves by languishing in offside positions and not trying hard enough to get back onside. It really became infuriating because if it was fatigue I could understand but he was chasing lost causes all day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest San Don
Disagree about Suarez as he pissed me right off for the first time. The run into the box was good but there was little else and what fucked me right off was his naivety with offside. Constantly getting blown up for it and ruining the impetus of moves by languishing in offside positions and not trying hard enough to get back onside. It really became infuriating because if it was fatigue I could understand but he was chasing lost causes all day.

 

Kinell, I actually agree. Thought Suarez was caught offside far too often then doing the clasped hands frustration thing instead of getting onwith the game. I still had money of Kuty scoring the pen rebound, the keeper was on the other side of the goal but still got up and got across to parry a tame effort.

 

I thought henderson looked like he lacked confidence until he made the og when he clearly looked more confident. Before that he had an excellent breakaway with Downing I think but passed the ball back to him because he didnt want the responsibility of a miss.

 

I didnt have a clear view of their first goal as Im down the other end but enrique left a massive gap for sanga to get the cross in.

 

I dont understand why the King didnt play Carroll. He shouldnt be fucked after the cup final. We put some good crosses in against arse then there was no carroll there for them. WTF is that about?

 

That said, I agree with Dave and think we played well. Its just so fucking frustrating knowing before kick off we'll struggle for goals.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wasn't just Suarez getting caught offside, happened to Kuyt a fair few times as well.

 

Yep, there were two in particular down near the Paddock in the last 10 minutes or so that irritated the fuck out of me.

 

On one occasion, Henderson had the ball on the right wing and was making his way towards the penalty area, and Kuyt made a run from the edge of the penalty box out wide, mainly to open up the inside for Henderson. Kuyt knew he was then in an offside position, and Henderson knew it too, yet Henderson still passed to him. Offside given. A complete waste but what irritated me was that we do stupid stuff like that in every game at home.

 

The other was Henderson receiving the ball on the touchline, clearly onside, and playing it 10 yards infield to Kuyt, also clearly onside. The linesman flagged for offside and Kuyt went mental at him. That kind of thing also happens too often when we are drawing or chasing a result.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have the same feeling that we dont need a massive change of squad but just some small changes, and btw we dont need a RVP, fucking Norwich have scored more goals than us. I dont know if we are missing a quality striker or if there is some collective problem that the managing stuff hasnt managed to solve.

I think our defence is one of the best but Im a bit worried that we are bit thin without Agger and Skrtel both fit, Carragher seems to be way past his prime, maybe Coates should be given more games. I definetly want him to start every Europa League next season.

Just like we have a Clarke in defence maybe we need a good assistant coach that can solve our attacking difficulties.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Suarez should have scored and it was a bad miss. Having seen the replay it wasn't as easy as I initially thought as there were two defenders back there meaning there wasn't much of a gap between them and the post.

 

But Van Persie found the same gap.

In a way, that "gap" is the story of 2011/12 for us.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

we're in amongst teams we've drawn with or lost to so not really surprising to find ourselves where we are.

 

have to think 4th is gone now but I think we need to at least improve on last years 7th so sixth would do but I'd really like us to push on now and overtake chelsea and newcastle for 5th.

 

Think we've missed 8 penalties this season. That's just fucking unprofessional for a bunch of people who get paid to do nothing but play football all day. we've also hit the woodwork 21 times and missed an untold amount of chances particularly at home. I'm just hoping this season has been about finding the level the new players (apart from suarez) need to be playing at and next season we'll be a much better side in terms of goals scored and points won but we still desperately need a striker who's gonna hit as many goals as van persie or rooney or aguero or even fucking demba ba.

 

defensively we're not all we should be either. You mention in your report how we seem to concede from just a few chances the oppo creates - this is no longer bad luck, we are getting punished for individual errors constantly. again hopefully it's just bedding in but there seems to be something fundamentally wrong because almost any team can convert 1 out of 2 chances against us.

 

finally (and I don't want to keep banging the "suarez is a victim" drum but) the penalty was clearly a penalty. even their super close up "expose the cheat" camera shows suarez calf shudder when contact is made between his ankle and the keepers ankle. I understand it is in skys best interests to show this because eventually they will be employed to supply the footage for video refs but what's in it for the BBC? I doubt very much if there'll be video refs outside the biggest leagues in football so they won't be employed during Leeds V Doncaster in the championship. So even when they use skys footage and "expose the cheat" cam, how can hansen and shearer say that was not a penalty? seriously?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good report of the match Dave and I agree with pretty much all of it. I thought at the start of the season it would only be a matter of time before we started putting the chances away but it just hasn't happened and all the missed chances seem to have created an anxiety in every squad player in front of goal to the extent that I never really feel confident it will be tucked away whoever a good chance falls to. The penalty misses are getting beyond a joke now. The most annoying thing is they're being missed by players who never seem to have had any problems scoring them in the past. Has kuyt ever missed a penalty for us before this season? Adam was reliable from the spot for Blackpool last season. Even with Suarez I'm not sure he's ever been a regular penalty taker for his clubs in the past but I saw him take one in a shootout for Uruguay in the Copa America where he calmly put it in right in the top corner with an ease that suggesterd he could do exactly the same thing 99 times out of 100 - compare that with the 2 awful penalties he's had for us.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice one Dave you big fanny.

 

A few other thoughts:

 

That fucking linesman. In the second half particularly, he was totally fucking appalling. It wasn't just the Kuyt offside that wasn't in a million years, there was other shit as well. I was really fucked off with him.

 

What is it with us and defending? There are the two ways teams consistently score goals against us. Firstly, when they attack through the middle, we seem to let them wander towards our penalty box at will. Whereas at each wing, there's always a player - and often two - straight on the attacker, in the middle it's all-too-often "here you go, have these twenty yards on the house. Want a shot? No problem. Here. Shoot here. I'm not going to put a decent challenge in". Secondly, when an opposition attacker does get past the defender from either wing, a ball over the top will almost invariably find an unmarked attacker at or beyond the far post. I'd love to see stats for goals conceded to the unmarked far-post attacker. Frightening.

 

Consistent wastefulness in dead-ball situations. Fuck off Charley Adam. If you can't clear the first man, fuck off. Same with you Downing. Christ, I thought at least one of those two might improve our general threat from corners and attacking free kicks, but like fuck have they.

 

And whilst I'm on a roll, Charley, you're not Stevie and you're definitely definitely not Xabi. Or if you are, you're putting on a good show of pretending not to be. Hollywood passes. Fuck off with them. Three passes that make it to a team-mate are worth far more than one out of every ten Hollywood balls that actually make it to their target.

 

Can we please play Dirky and Luis together for a bit? Please? As a racey mate of mine rightly points out, they seem to have an understanding when they're playing up front together.

 

Finally, are things going to be considerably better when Lucas returns? Any news on him?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

×