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Newcastle United 2 Liverpool 0 - Prem (Apr 1 2012)

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Newcastle 2 LIVERPOOL 0

Report by Dave Usher

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Scorer(s) –

Half Time - 1-0

Venue - St James' Park

Date - Sun 1 Apr 2012

Star Man – Jonjo Shelvey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was no doubting who the April Fools were at St James Park on Sunday as the reds produced a joke of a performance that had the Geordies pissing themselves at our expense. It's a new low being taunted by Newcastle fans as they're supposed to be the butt of everyone else's jokes. Not any more it seems, now it's our turn to be mocked. If these players have any sense of fucking pride whatsoever they'll be ashamed of the embarrassment they've heaped on the club and their manager so far in 2012.

 

Newcastle fans don't like Kenny Dalglish and they took great pleasure in mocking him and laughing at him. Carroll, Bellamy and Enrique also had the piss taken out of them but they were in a position to do something about it and failed. Kenny Dalglish being ridiculed by Newcastle fans was just horrible to witness. Of course as the man at the top he takes the responsibility for results and performances and much of the criticism that will come his way is justified. Still, it's infuriating seeing the spineless, half arsed manner the team are surrendering these league games now. Six defeats from seven, with each one seeming to get worse than the last. Where's their professional pride?

 

Once again, this was really painful to watch. As usual we started well, predictably missed a couple of glorious chances, hit the woodwork and also had a couple of good penalty shouts turned down. Even more predictable was how we conceded from the first chance our opponent created and then didn't have the balls to bounce back from it. They shouldn't be this bad, they were playing well in the first part of the season even if results didn't always show it. Now results have finally started to reflect the performances and unfortunately neither are any good.

 

Skrtel and Carroll both had clear chances to give us an early lead but both put their headers over the bar. Carroll's wasn't easy in fairness as he was being punched in the head by Krul and there wasn't much room to get the ball up and down. Still, I'm not really in the mood to be 'fair' to him after the ridiculous incident before that which saw him booked when he should have scored. Contrary to popular opinion, I don't think he dived. It looked to me like the ball got stuck under his feet and as he dragged his foot back to retrieve it his body carried on moving and he just toppled over like a big fucking tree. I almost wish he had dived as that would be less embarrassing.

 

As for the two penalty shouts, one was a blatant shove/hold on Carroll by Williamson from a corner and the other was a clear handball on the line by Simpson. The one on Carroll was a foul but it's the kind of decision you never get as refs always seem to let them go. If they ever start to give them then Stoke will be relegated with a record low points tally and we'll probably have to chop Skrtel's hands off or make him wear boxing gloves.

 

The Simpson one however should not only have been a penalty it should also have been a red card, which would have clearly changed the whole complexion of the game. Unfortunately the ref couldn't see it as there were too many bodies in the way, and the linesman was just fucking useless all day. He couldn't see a fist if it was headed straight for his face, a theory I'd be more than happy to put to the test.

 

There's no question bad officiating played a part in this defeat but I really don't want to use that as an excuse because the players don't deserve any excuses to be made for them. Six defeats out of seven? 11 points behind Newcastle? Below Everton in the table? No, there should be no excuses offered on their behalf and bad decisions or not they got what they deserved from this game. Nothing.

 

The way it unfolded was typical of our season. Newcastle hadn't done much early on and we'd been dominant without making it count. Then out of nothing Ben Arfa creates space for himself and plants a perfect cross onto the head of Cisse who places his header right in the far corner giving Reina no chance. There's no point dissecting the goal and looking to apportion blame. Sometimes teams will produce moments of quality that catch you out. Skrtel's positioning wasn't bad, he was an inch away from getting his head on the ball but the cross was simply too good, as was the finish.

 

I can live with us conceding the odd goal like that as shit happens, but unfortunately our own impotence in front of goal means every time we concede it's probably going to cost us points. If you're a good side you should be able to concede and still win games. This weekend Spurs conceded one to Swansea and won, Chelsea let in two at Villa and also claimed maximum points whilst Man City contrived to let in three at home to Sunderland yet still avoided defeat. Not us though, we concede and we're fucked. We just can't come back, the lack of goals in this team is frightening.

 

It says everything about our current predicament that as soon as we fell behind I thought it was game over as I didn't think for a second we had it in us to come back. As a team we are now mentally weak and generally lacking in bottle. You could almost see the confidence visibly drain from them after going behind. Not for the first time this season either. There's an acceptance from too many players that the game is lost and the lack of fight when we are behind is completely unacceptable.

 

The bright start we'd made fizzled out into nothing as soon as we went behind and after that Newcastle were generally very comfortable. The second goal was a joke, it should never have stood as Cisse was several yards offside. I don't care if it hit somebody else on the way through to him, the ball was played in his direction and he was miles off. He wasn't 'passive' as the ball went straight to him and he fucking scored!! I'm not having all this 'second phase of attack' bollocks either. It's not like he was trying to get back onside, nowhere near the ball and not looking to gain an advantage when it was played. The ball was played towards him, it reached him and he scored. It took a slight touch off someone before it got to him as Flanagan challenged Ben Arfa but if that isn't offside we may as well just scrap the law altogether and let players stand wherever they like.

 

It was an unfortunate way to concede but they always looked more likely scorers than us and had previously hit the post through Williamson. As toothless as we are, at 1-0 we always had a chance as even we can occasionally manage one goal. At 2-0 however we were finished. That doesn't excuse how some of them were just strolling around waiting for the final whistle. It doesn't excuse the lack of discipline we witnessed (not just from Reina either). It doesn't excuse Aurelio laughing with Doni on the bench. Did any of you feel like laughing as you watched this? I felt more like crying, but then I haven't been paid thousands of pounds a week to sit on a treatment table for most of the last five years.

 

I get that he probably isn't arsed about us losing to Newcastle and being 8th in the league, he hardly ever plays and probably doesn't feel a part of things. I understand that, really I do. It's not going to ruin his weekend and he's probably not given it a second thought since. So yeah, I accept that he isn't going to hurt as much as we do and don't expect him to, but still, act like a professional and at least put on a pretence of giving a fuck as when the fans are hurting the last thing they want to see is some millionaire footballer sat there laughing whilst their team is losing it's sixth game out of seven.

 

Maybe I'm being a bit of a meathead fan about all this, but I didn't like seeing Carroll and Enrique all smiley and pally with the Newcastle players in the tunnel before the game either. I know they're your mates, but leave that shit out and get your game faces on as this is a serious situation we're in. Do these players realise just how fucking embarrassing it is for us to sit below Newcastle and Everton in the table? I don't think some of them do you know.

 

Reina clearly does, his frustration was there for all to see as he totally over-reacted to a trip by Perch. The red card was inevitable, as is the three match ban that will follow. Perch embarrassed himself as contact was minimal to say the least, but this referee was always going to produce a red card and Reina was incredibly stupid for doing what he did. There was clearly a lot of pent up frustration in his actions, but doing what he did only made a bad situation even worse. Hopefully Doni doesn't make any costly errors and Reina will have an FA Cup final to look forward to when he's served his punishment.

 

Some would suggest it's a pity a few more of them can't be given a three game ban, but then who would you bring in to replace them? The subs bench at St James' didn't exactly inspire confidence. A mate text me midway through the second half furious at the lack of changes. I saw his point, we were doing nothing and were completely devoid of ideas, confidence and effort. Usually I'd be the first to call for substitutions, but this time it wouldn't have bothered me if Kenny had left it as it was for the entire ninety as none of those on the bench were going to come on and change this game around.

 

In fact, Downing, Henderson and Kuyt coming on probably made us even weaker. Shelvey was the first one to get hooked when I'd suggest you can make a strong case that he was our best player up to that point. Bellamy going off didn't bother me, he was poor and his fitness needs to be looked after as he's been out a few weeks. As for Carroll, personally I'd have left him on if only to deprive the Geordies of the opportunity to mock him as he was subbed. He stormed off down the tunnel and wasn't happy. Hopefully his anger was directed at himself for falling over when clean through on goal and not at Dalglish for bringing him off, although I doubt it.

 

We're a right mess at the moment. We seem to play a different system with different personnel every week and it's not doing anyone any good. The players don't seem to know what they're supposed to be doing and don't have the strength of character to just grind out results when things aren't going their way. At least earlier in the season when we were losing and drawing games we were generally playing well and putting in maximum effort. The arse has fallen out of us in a big way since the turn of the year though.

 

Kenny has to take responsibility as he signed several of these under-performing players. He also trains the squad and sends them out to play to his instructions and tactics. He won't try and shy away from that and he's still defending the players publicly even though many of them don't deserve it. He's coming under mounting criticism, plenty of it justified, but he's not being helped in the slightest by the players. If they try their best and fall short through a lack of quality that's on the manager. If they fall short through a lack of effort it's on them as well. Right now it's both that seems to be the problem, so the blame lies with everybody connected with it.

 

They all need to pull their fingers out and start winning some games. Kenny needs to get a grip of them and let them know that anyone not pulling their weight can forget about playing in the FA Cup and he needs to get his own house in order in terms of the shape of the team and how they are approaching games. Maybe they all think winning the FA Cup will make all this ok, and up to a point they'd be right. What if they lose that semi to Everton though? It's entirely possible, probable even, given how both sides have played since the last derby. The idea of losing to them at Wembley is almost unthinkable, but then so was falling below them in the league and yet here we are.

 

Things are bad right now but they could easily get worse. It's up to everyone at the club to pull together and make sure it doesn't. I made the analogy the other week of us being the boxer with no knockout punch and a glass jaw. Here's another boxing analogy; We're now on the canvas and have two choices. Either get back on our feet and come up swinging or stay down and be counted out. I believe we'll come up swinging, but I wouldn't bet my house on it.

 

 

Team: Reina; Flanagan, Skrtel, Carragher, Enrique; Gerrard, Spearing, Shelvey (Downing); Bellamy (Henderson), Carroll (Kuyt), Suarez:

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You actually made me laugh a few times there and thought that was not possible today, this line He couldn't see a fist if it was headed straight for his face, a theory I'd be more than happy to put to the test. was one such occasion.

 

I forgot to mention the Aurelio and fucking Doni, I literally blew a gasket at that, what fucking shitbags, thankfully one is off and hopefully the other one as well. I am getting angry now even thinking about it, cunts.

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You actually made me laugh a few times there and thought that was not possible today, this line He couldn't see a fist if it was headed straight for his face, a theory I'd be more than happy to put to the test. was one such occasion.

 

I forgot to mention the Aurelio and fucking Doni, I literally blew a gasket at that, what fucking shitbags, thankfully one is off and hopefully the other one as well. I am getting angry now even thinking about it, cunts.

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I didn't see Doni laughing, it seemed to me like it was Aurelio. He was probably commenting on the irony of it all, Doni waiting ages for his chance and when it comes we've used all the subs so he doesn't get on.

 

I just didn't like how it looked and it's not what you want to see in those circumstances.

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Regarding Aurellio, I feel a bit sorry for him. Enrique had stunk for months now, Fabio has presumably been fit for a while, and still can't get a look in. Im probably in a minority here but I'd sell Enrique if someone offered us the chances to make some money. After his early season promise he has gone well off the boil, although you can say that for the whole squad to be fair.

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We're now on the canvas and have two choices. Either get back on our feet and come up swinging or stay down and be counted out. I believe we'll come up swinging, but I wouldn't bet my house on it.

 

- Spot on again Dave neither would I bet on it too.

 

 

So many questions not many answers to all this.

 

There's one thing that's really getting my goat. What, if any, is, or was, the 'plan' with signing Carroll. Where are we ever trying to effectively supply him in a way to get the best out of him??

When we signed Downing in the summer I thought we were at least trying to address the right area even if Downing isn't the type of high quality hoped for. I still hoped for the best and hoped that he could at least get some crosses in from the left side for Carroll to attack (even if that's perhaps never gonna be as devastating as Barnes/ Nicol and Aldo in the past!).

Instead the situation now is that we don't have any obvious width in the team, on either flank, and when Carroll plays Downing is either substitute or plays on the right side instead!

Where on earth is the team effort to supply Carroll when he's selected?

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Funny how it's the players' fault these days if they can't be arsed. Wonder where that kind of thinking was when Carra, Torres, Gerrard & co couldn't be bothered turning up under Rafa... Seem to remember cold shoulders and lack of man-management and its like being reasons for the players not giving their all... For the record, I think it's a joint effort as well, just wonder why you never afforded Rafa that (the buck stops with the manager being one of your most used lines back then)

 

We need a complete overhaul, and whoever is in charge next season should strip Stevie Me of the armband and put him on the right side of midfield. He should be told to give 100 % every game, or be dropped. The rot starts with our captain, simple as. I'm not taking away all those great moments he has given us, but right now he's a luxury player, and we can't afford to have any of those, nevermind our captain being it.

 

Sorry for criticising, I agree wholeheartedly with most of what you say, and your match reports are always funny and a good read. I just wish you and others could have been a bit more patient back then when we had a world class manager working under impossible conditions. Kenny may be a great figurehead and was the right short-term choice after Hodgson, but the more I see of our side the more worried I get. Where's the pressing, the organisation of our defence, the movement? We just seem to have no shape. Bar the inclusion of Carra I agreed with our lineup this time, so like you I didn't see the point in making subs. The way those players played and performed meant a lot of questions popped up though. How can a CB pairing of Perch and Williamson be largely untroubled by our midfield and attack for 90 minutes?

 

Don't even know where to begin with that performance, but for me two things need to happen:

 

1. We need to play a higher line. That means dropping Carra (and until Agger comes back), get Coates in. Not that he's much faster than Carra, but he doesn't automatically drop 10 yards every time the opposition have the ball. Enrique and Skrtel (along with Reina's sweeping) will take care of most of the through balls. Right now we only get the ball when we're in our own half, meaning we never get the easy chances/goals that winning the ball in the oppositions half gives you. For that to happen we need to...

 

2. Press better/higher up the pitch - at least in periods. I'm not envisaging us to become Barca all of a sudden, but I think the "high profile" games this year has shown that we're capable of stressing the opposition and reaping rewards from it. Problem is, we don't do it in most of our games. Whether that's because the management doesn't dare to, or the players not being arsed enough/fit enough to do it remains unanswered for now. This means Carroll not playing again, and a case could be made for leaving Gerrard out too. Problem is, our best ball players are terrible at it. I've pined for Shelvey's inclusion for some time (ahead of Henderson), but as the 1st goal on Sunday showed, this isn't his biggest strength either. Our best presser of the ball is probably Kuyt, and his inclusion doesn't exactly inspire confidence either. I think we should go with him though, and line up something like this:

 

 

Kelly - Skrtel - Coates - Enrique

 

---------Spearing---Shelvey------

 

Kuyt---- ----Gerrard----------Bellamy

 

--------------Suarez--------------

 

with Lucas to come in for Shelvey (or Spearing) when the new season starts. I know people are desperate to get rid of Kuyt, and while I agree he's got more flaws than attributes atm, we desperately need his running off the ball/pressing, not to mention his attitude. If I had been the manager of our club I would have stripped the armband of Gerrard and given it to Skrtel or Kuyt, to signal that sulking and lack of effort is not tolerated at this club of ours. The Liverpool sides of old always had hard work as a foundation, we should get back to that, then add the spice/quality once the foundations are there. We're an embarrasment at the moment, and most of it is down to attitude imo, same as in the latter part of Rafa's reign. We (meaning you) backed the players over the manager then, will we (you) do the same now?

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I didn't see Doni laughing, it seemed to me like it was Aurelio. He was probably commenting on the irony of it all, Doni waiting ages for his chance and when it comes we've used all the subs so he doesn't get on.

 

I just didn't like how it looked and it's not what you want to see in those circumstances.

 

Yep, that's how I saw it as well. Thing is, they are footballers, and stuff like that is what they talk about when they are on the bench, at least when there's no chance of taking part in the game.

 

There was a huge amount of irony too, and even I thought it was a bit funny, even if I was seething with our performance. Therefore, I can't really say I have a problem with it tbh. The lack of effort from those 14 chosen to play are a much bigger issue than two fringe players sharing a humourus moment on the bench. Unlucky for them, the xenophobics on here will focus on that moment instead of the complete lack of effort and leadership of our Scouse captain, who is in his head still basking in the glory of his derby hattrick, and is no doubt solely focused on the semi-final against the same team. Judging by his body language and efforts on Sunday, he cared just as little as the two dirty foreigners on the bench:telloff:

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Very unfair to aurelio - he's not the problem.

The problem is the half-assed effort levels of the majority on the pitch.

At least carroll put in a top shift in terms of effort - he deserves no criticsm for yesterday.

If I was Aurelio I'd be laughing if I was consistently left on the bench when underperforming players most of whom have stopped trying are continuously selected to play.

What about the lack of leadership on the pitch from the all-time greats who apparently understand what this club is all about.

No point in scoring a hat-trick and then going missing for the rest of the season.

My finalk point is this.

At no stage of the season has either Jordan Hnederson or Steward Downing put in a performance where their attitude or work-rate stank. Criticise the quality all you like but they have been one of the brightest in terms of consistent attitude and effort.

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Regarding Aurellio, I feel a bit sorry for him. Enrique had stunk for months now, Fabio has presumably been fit for a while, and still can't get a look in. Im probably in a minority here but I'd sell Enrique if someone offered us the chances to make some money. After his early season promise he has gone well off the boil, although you can say that for the whole squad to be fair.

 

Funnily enough, Enrique's loss of form has coincided with our vice-captains return to the team. In fact, one could make the same point with Skrtel, faultless for much of the season, now he's suddenly playing a lot deeper and being involved in some of the opposition goals... We're missing Agger as much as we're missing Lucas unfortunately.

 

I really like Aurelio, and wouldn't mind seeing him in the side. I just don't think Enrique is solely responsible for his troubles atm. With Agger at his side (or even Coates) and a left winger and DM/CM who knows what he's supposed to do in his area, he'll look much better again. He's great one-on-one, and his pace should help us defend through balls, it did earlier in the year at least. Overplayed perhaps, but definitely not someone we should be looking to sell imo!

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I went to St James not expecting anything and that was exactly what I got. Yes we should have had a penalty but from Carroll's incident (hideous whatever it was) onwards we were crap. Their first was excellent work and heads just dropped and we were never in it from that point on.

The full backs stank, the midfield was a joke, outmuscled and outgunned and Suarez was little better than Carroll. I saw nothing from Gerrard to lead his team let alone try to play himself. Have we just given up?

For me, Reina will be off this summer, he needs a fresh start as he just looks fed up. Unfortunately Johnson is turning into the new Aurelio and is injured more than he plays. Flanagan has struggled this year, lack of game time can't help (the reserve system is crap). Enrique has gone to pot but can come back. Carra I thought was our best player yesterday but time is running out fast. Bellamy was poor, terrible decision making when Suarez was wide open in the first half. Jay, sadly, was shown to be ordinary. Shelvey, I just don't see him making it. Carroll, disgrace. Where do we put this right? I have no idea frankly.

I hardly slept last night worrying about my club, how many players would have had such torment?

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I agree about the subs as well yesterday. My mate was going mad over no changes, but I didn't see the point as there was nobody on the bench who could come on and do anything.

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Funny how it's the players' fault these days if they can't be arsed. Wonder where that kind of thinking was when Carra, Torres, Gerrard & co couldn't be bothered turning up under Rafa... Seem to remember cold shoulders and lack of man-management and its like being reasons for the players not giving their all...

 

We (meaning you) backed the players over the manager then, will we (you) do the same now?

 

I'm not getting into the whole Rafa thing other than to say if Kenny's been in the job six years and this is happening then my attitude will be the same as it was with Benitez. As it is, he's been in the job for a year and my attitude to him is the same as it was with Benitez at the same stage of his tenure. There's no inconsistency.

 

Yep, that's how I saw it as well. Thing is, they are footballers, and stuff like that is what they talk about when they are on the bench, at least when there's no chance of taking part in the game.

 

There was a huge amount of irony too, and even I thought it was a bit funny, even if I was seething with our performance. Therefore, I can't really say I have a problem with it tbh. The lack of effort from those 14 chosen to play are a much bigger issue than two fringe players sharing a humourus moment on the bench. Unlucky for them, the xenophobics on here will focus on that moment instead of the complete lack of effort and leadership of our Scouse captain, who is in his head still basking in the glory of his derby hattrick, and is no doubt solely focused on the semi-final against the same team. Judging by his body language and efforts on Sunday, he cared just as little as the two dirty foreigners on the bench:telloff:

 

Xenophobic? Fuck off with that shit, and no-one has mentioned 'dirty little foreigners' other than you. The players on the pitch - Gerrard certainly included - were obviously a much bigger problem than Aurelio, I don't see anyone suggesting otherwise.

 

Very unfair to aurelio - he's not the problem.

 

Never said he was, I was merely highlighting an incident that pissed me off. I even acknowledged it was a bit 'meathead' of me, but it was the last thing I wanted to see at that time and plenty of others feel the same. Doesn't mean anyone thinks Aurelio is 'the problem'.

 

At no stage of the season has either Jordan Hnederson or Steward Downing put in a performance where their attitude or work-rate stank. Criticise the quality all you like but they have been one of the brightest in terms of consistent attitude and effort.

 

Disagree. There's different ways of showing work rate and attitude, it's not just about running around. They've both run around a lot but both have also hidden and gone missing in games and shit out of numerous tackles. Downing at Old Trafford for example was bordering on a disgrace whilst Henderson has shit out of numerous shooting opportunities. I'm not especially singling them out over others, just responding to your comment that their attitude is faultless.

 

Funnily enough, Enrique's loss of form has coincided with our vice-captains return to the team. In fact, one could make the same point with Skrtel, faultless for much of the season, now he's suddenly playing a lot deeper and being involved in some of the opposition goals... We're missing Agger as much as we're missing Lucas unfortunately.

 

I really like Aurelio, and wouldn't mind seeing him in the side. I just don't think Enrique is solely responsible for his troubles atm. With Agger at his side (or even Coates) and a left winger and DM/CM who knows what he's supposed to do in his area, he'll look much better again. He's great one-on-one, and his pace should help us defend through balls, it did earlier in the year at least. Overplayed perhaps, but definitely not someone we should be looking to sell imo!

 

I agree with your overall assessment on Enrique, but blaming Carragher for his poor form is embarrassing. Enrique was great up until new year, and then he's been really up and down ever since. Maybe it's because he needed a rest that he didn't get, or maybe he's not as good as we thought he was after his great start. I don't know what the problem with him is, but it isn't Jamie Carragher.

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1.I'm not getting into the whole Rafa thing other than to say if Kenny's been in the job six years and this is happening then my attitude will be the same as it was with Benitez. As it is, he's been in the job for a year and my attitude to him is the same as it was with Benitez at the same stage of his tenure. There's no inconsistency.

 

 

 

Xenophobic? 2.Fuck off with that shit, and no-one has mentioned 'dirty little foreigners' other than you. 3.The players on the pitch - Gerrard certainly included - were obviously a much bigger problem than Aurelio, I don't see anyone suggesting otherwise.

 

 

I agree with your overall assessment on Enrique, 4.but blaming Carragher for his poor form is embarrassing. Enrique was great up until new year, and then he's been really up and down ever since. Maybe it's because he needed a rest that he didn't get, or maybe he's not as good as we thought he was after his great start. I don't know what the problem with him is, but it isn't Jamie Carragher.

 

 

1.Wise enough, particularly as the circumstances around the club has changed a lot... Probably unfair to aim this at you as others are doing a much better job at lowering expectations than you, just think it's strange how the focus has shifted.

 

2. Wasn't particularly aimed at you either, and I couldn't find a better word. But I do think you (and many on the forum) indulge a disproportionate amount of crap from Carra and Gerrard (and now Kenny) than to some of our less, shall we say, Scouse players. There's no room for sentimentality imo, and if players/managers, be it club legends (this may be your main mechanism for defending them) or not, aren't doing the job, they should be criticised just as much as those with less pedigree/scouse blood...

 

3. Then why single out those two players, name them and shame them if you want, rather than single out the most pathetic captain's effort in the PL this year. It's pretty obvious what's the bigger problem....

 

4. It really isn't. No more than praising Carragher for someone playing well because of his talking at least...

 

Football is a team effort, and players compliment each other. Enrique loves to play the ball out of defense, and he's really good at it. Having Agger and Lucas next to him makes him look good (and I was surprised at how good he looked up until Christmas) - having Carra/Skrtel there instead of Agger and constantly changing his partners on the left (and those close to him in CM) doesn't help him. I'm not saying Enrique is faultless, but those changes have definitely not made it easier on him. I think he'll be back to his early season heights once those players return, even if I think short term he should have a CB more comfortable on the ball (and in the air) next to him short term, i.e Coates.

 

Sorry for offending you, just tired of the revisionism and lowering of the bar on the forum these days...

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What does my head in is that we've lost nine points over the last few weeks that were all there for the taking and if they had put a fucking effort in they would all be ours. None of the games we've lost lately were down to opponents being better than us. It was only us being too shit to grab hold of the nine points that were sailing by.

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We seem to play a different system with different personnel every week and it's not doing anyone any good. The players don't seem to know what they're supposed to be doing

 

The buck stops with the manager.

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Good report as ever Dave - just wish I could read a few about us playing well and winning for a change. I can't remember ever being so annoyed with a Liverpool performance as I was daft enough to expect a reaction after recent results. We certainly can't use the excuse of tiredness like after the Wigan game. The officials were utter crap (allowing that second goal has to be one of the worst decisions I've ever seen) and as usual we fell behind against the run of play to the first chance the opposition created but none of that makes it acceptable for the way the players just gave up after going a goal down.

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But I do think you (and many on the forum) indulge a disproportionate amount of crap from Carra and Gerrard (and now Kenny) than to some of our less, shall we say, Scouse players. There's no room for sentimentality imo, and if players/managers, be it club legends (this may be your main mechanism for defending them) or not, aren't doing the job, they should be criticised just as much as those with less pedigree/scouse blood...

 

When you've built up as much credit as they have, you'll generally be cut more slack than someone who hasn't done so. It's only natural. The likes of Hyypia would get the same kind of respect, it's not about nationality. If Gerrard had been sat on the bench laughing I'd have made the same point about him. For example I slaughtered him in the Arsenal report over him getting injured playing for England.

 

Then why single out those two players, name them and shame them if you want, rather than single out the most pathetic captain's effort in the PL this year. It's pretty obvious what's the bigger problem....

 

Not sure what you mean. Which two players? Are you talking about Aurelio and Doni, because if so I didn't criticise Doni at all. Or do you mean Carroll and Enrique and the joking around with Newcastle players? If it's that, then that was just a throwaway observation, it wasn't intended to put the blame on the performance at their door as most of the others were just as bad and disinterested once we fell behind, including the captain.

 

It really isn't. No more than praising Carragher for someone playing well because of his talking at least...

 

I've yet to see anybody put Enrique's good form down to Carragher talking him through a game. The mistakes Enrique's made have been his own doing, and it's ridiculous to blame Carragher or anybody else for them. I bet you Enrique doesn't blame anyone other than himself. Off the top of my head I can think of three glaring errors he's made, two of which led to goals. There are others he's got away with too, mostly getting caught in possession by trying to do his muscleman act and hold people off instead of clearing the ball. None of that is anyone's fault other than his own.

 

Football is a team effort, and players compliment each other. Enrique loves to play the ball out of defense, and he's really good at it. Having Agger and Lucas next to him makes him look good (and I was surprised at how good he looked up until Christmas) - having Carra/Skrtel there instead of Agger and constantly changing his partners on the left (and those close to him in CM) doesn't help him. I'm not saying Enrique is faultless, but those changes have definitely not made it easier on him. I think he'll be back to his early season heights once those players return, even if I think short term he should have a CB more comfortable on the ball (and in the air) next to him short term, i.e Coates.

 

I agree with most of that (especially the constant chopping and changing of the player ahead of him) but if he can only play well when he has Agger and Lucas in the side then it doesn't reflect well on him. I can accept he may feel more comfortable being around certain players, but that's no excuse for his game going south when they aren't there. I'm not sure that's the reason for it anyway, I think it's a combination of needing a bit of a rest and him suffering through the team struggling. He's having a dip in form but he showed more than enough in the first half of the season for me to hope he'll bounce back again.

 

Quick final point, from what I've seen so far I'd say Coates is a lot more like Carragher/Skrtel than Agger when it comes to being comfortable on the ball. What exactly is it you've seen that makes you think he's good in possession? I'd say it's possibly the weakest part of his game.

 

Sorry for offending you, just tired of the revisionism and lowering of the bar on the forum these days...

 

Not offended, the xenophobic thing pissed me off but you've clarified that so there's no problem.

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Not sure what you mean. Which two players? 1.Are you talking about Aurelio and Doni, because if so I didn't criticise Doni at all. Or do you mean Carroll and Enrique and the joking around with Newcastle players? If it's that, then that was just a throwaway observation, it wasn't intended to put the blame on the performance at their door as most of the others were just 2.as bad and disinterested once we fell behind, including the captain.

 

3I've yet to see anybody put Enrique's good form down to Carragher talking him through a game.

 

4. I can accept he may feel more comfortable being around certain players, but that's no excuse for his game going south when they aren't there. I'm not sure that's the reason for it anyway, I think it's a combination of needing a bit of a rest and him suffering through the team struggling. He's having a dip in form but he showed more than enough in the first half of the season for me to hope he'll bounce back again.

 

Quick final point, from what I've seen so far I'd say Coates is a lot more like Carragher/Skrtel than Agger when it comes to being comfortable on the ball. 5.What exactly is it you've seen that makes you think he's good in possession? I'd say it's possibly the weakest part of his game.

 

Not offended, the xenophobic thing pissed me off but you've clarified that so there's no problem.

 

1. Yes. I just think it's typical that a small detail like that gets blown out of proportion, and there's a refusal to talk about the elephant(s) in the room. We've needed a new captain since Gerrard's flirt with Chelsea. Now that he's likely to go nowhere someone may perhaps have the balls to strip him and give it to someone that's willing to fight for us in all games, not just the derbies and a select few games a year. Given Kenny's reluctance to drop Carra I don't think it'll be Kenny though (there's a certain element of the Maradona/Messi awkwardness there).

 

2. See 1, why no mention of it (I guess you have answered that, but in my opinion both Carra and Gerrard have way overspent whatever credit they have built up during the years), I normally think you're writing the best match reports out there, so I'm just curious as to whether your close relations to the local contingent makes it harder for you to criticise our local heroes.

 

3. I was talking about Flanagan's (or even Kelly's) debut, for which you (and a number of the Carra fan club) were desperate for him to be credited with.

 

4. I think it's a very valid reason, if there are 2 or 3 players that are comfortable with the ball in the back 4, they tend to make each other look good. If only one is, he'll be made to look bad by the others, as he'll have fewer outs, and will invariably be holding the ball too long, getting stripped by the opposition. I know this from own experience, as I've been playing both CB, LB and CM in my active career (not at this level, but the point still stands). If you are a LB and neither your closest CB (Carra/Skrtel) nor your CMs, nor your LW (Downing) show for the ball, your style will be hampered severely.

 

The reason Enrique looked so good early on (imo) was that he immediately struck up an understanding with Agger, Lucas (and even Adams), both wanting the ball and giving him outs when receiving the ball under pressure. There's a point that his errors have been self-inflicted of course, and if he hasn't got a good target, he should just hoof it upfield. That's not his game though, and he's been suffering with fewer alternatives than he did earlier on in the season.

 

5. Disagree wholeheartedly! His weakness is that he's a bit slow to turn, and not the quickest for the first 10 yards. His skills with the ball (along with his long legs/tackling and reading of the game) are probably what sets him apart from most other CBs.

 

He shows for the ball, and has a calmness about him. I think he looks comfortable when he carries the ball as well, his short passing being a little better than his long, but he masters both. I don't really know how to put it into words, but I think you will agree with me after a few games (if he's given the chance that is). Not saying he'll be another Agger/Hansen, but he's more in the Terry/Ferdinand mould than Carra (Skrtel is a bit better on the ball than Carra, so I wouldn't put them in the same bracket either).

 

I think Coates is going to be huge for us (no pun intended), and this is the perfect chance to give him valuable game time. I was delighted when we got him, and I'm truly shocked by his lack of playing time up until now. OK, Skrtel and Agger have probably been our best two players, but any sane person would have given Seb the starts from when Agger was out. There's absolutely nothing to gain from playing Carra now (unless you are afraid of upsetting him), and it's a complete no-brainer for 99% of Liverpool supporters around the globe which one should be playing. Unfortunately the manager (and certain other local players) don't see it that way, so I'm starting to fear Coates will look elsewhere soon. I think he should be 2nd choice behind Agger - he's that good, it's just lack of gametime holding him back.

 

Another side of it is the goals we let in, I bet 40-50 % of them are after crosses into our box. Even if his heading isn't as good as his height suggests, his few starts have surely given enough evidence as to why he should be eased into our side. If managed correctly, I think he'll be integral to our future success.

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Is it just me, or does Suarez look to be getting a bit more frustrated by the game? It seems like he's trying to do a lot more on his own and maybe doesn't trust some of the players around him enough to pass to them.

 

On the plus side though, it's pretty damn obvious how much he hates losing and he's one of the few players we have that doesn't just cave as soon as we go behind.

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Good report and pretty much mirrors my feelings.

 

One thing that did concern me was how quick I got over the defeat and the feeling of “as expected” I had when the goals went in and we missed our chances. I’m clearly resigned to defeat these days, which is a horrible feeling. The league is also well over for us as a competition, and it’s clear the players feel the same. The only hope we have is that Kenny can tell them they are playing for semi-final spots, and then, please God, final spots.

 

I don’t agree that Auerlio didn't care or was out of order. He clearly passed a comment to Doni that he was going to be in nets now, and Doni cracked some level of gag that Fabio smiled at. That’s it. Nothing shocking, no disrespect, nothing. I’d liken it to Sami’s smile he used to do when he missed a good chance, or missed that peno in a shoot out. It’s a pissed off smile, and certainly not laughing at the situation.

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One thing that did concern me was how quick I got over the defeat and the feeling of “as expected” I had when the goals went in and we missed our chances. I’m clearly resigned to defeat these days, which is a horrible feeling.

 

That's exactly my feelings too. And just what I said to my mate I was watching the game with, who happend to be a Newcastle fan.

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