I have been reading some people say that we played well and that the 3-1 scoreline doesn’t tell the story, however, I have to disagree with every one of them. I got a chance to watch a lot of the match and found myself just as frustrated, as though I were watching the same terrible stream from earlier.
Anyway, I’ll try to run things down.
Moreno and Johnson both should not have started and it showed. I was saying it before the game and I don’t care how highly rated he is by Rodgers or how well he trained during the week or how he played at Sevilla, you can’t start him against the best offense in English football for an incredibly inconsistent defensive team. Moreno might have positioned himself well for counters, made great runs down the flank, played smarter offensively than GlenJo, but he was still poor defensively. He is a defender, I don’t care if he brought a spark to the offense, defense has to come first and he didn’t do a job (nor was he ready for it). Yeah, he made a sensational Lahm-esque save while sprinting across the field, but much of it was from him being out of position to allow space between his flank and the center. Johnson was unsurprisingly terrible, if Rodgers doesn’t realize that there are other (better) options that deserve a starting chance at fullback, then he better be ready to defend his terrible decision. Give Manquillo another chance, he was absolutely phenomenal.
Lovren and Skrtel need to be more commanding. Lovren and Skrtel are both hardworking and fearless, if the football were a bullet, they’d still dive in front of it for the team.. But they aren’t Carra. Neither of them are generals and no matter how far back you pull Gerrard, he cannot command the defense. He can organize the team, motivate them, and bring them together, but even when he’s playing center back, a defender has to lead the defense. By this, I am especially referring to man-marking (I’m a broken fucking record I know) as well as the space between opposing players and our defenders. You give them an inch, they take a mile, and it is no surprise that every team that we have played since Carra left has been able to camp inside of our box until we make our inevitable defensive error as we always do.
Allen still chokes under pressure, two new signings impressed the hell out of me and deserve a chance. I have recently endorsed Joe Allen’s form because of how good he was at the end of last season, in this preseason, and of course how good he was against Southampton, but the second he is given a starting job against a team like City, he is a completely different player. He his a headless chicken, just running around the pitch and clearly not using his damn head. His work rate was going to absolutely waste, especially against a team like City that can pass the ball at light speed and can create havoc in the space that you leave behind to chase something else. I couldn’t tell you what he was doing for the 70+ minutes that he was on the pitch, he still lacks creativity in a starting position, only able to pass the ball backwards and occasionally left and right. Allen belongs on the team, he is still a good player, but he should never be starting in important matches like this one. In a vast sea of disappointment though, Emre Can and Lazar Markovic impressed. Firstly, while I still don’t think Can is the best player or think that 20+ minutes is an ample time to judge him, he came in against the best offense in the league and I believe he brought a sense of calm to Liverpool. He positioned himself well, another BR player with a great workrate, deserves more than 20 minutes. But Markovic really impressed me. In a game where the midfield was stagnant and beat in every aspect of the game, City cut off the supply line to our attack, but Markovic seemed to have brought it back. I personally thought that we didn’t need to sign Markovic, at least when we did I still think he’s a great player, but I was hesitant on embracing his capture. However, he did one hell of a job connecting with Moreno and contributing with his pacey, creative, and unselfish play.
This is just a summary, I can really go on about this, but I think it will be interesting to see how Rodgers would alter the lineup to fit in a second striker in Balotelli if he is ready to go. I would like to see something maybe like this
(4-1-3-2) (could drop into a 4-4-2)
Coutinho Henderson Sterling
Flano Skrtel Agger Manquillo
Finally got home, first thing I see is United lose 4-0. Check the calendar and it’s August instead of December, weird day.
(Good that Rita is still alive though, was worried for a second)
I wouldn’t be as angry about it as you might think
I’ll be working on a post match analysis when I get back even though I had to listen to like 85% of the match and didn’t even get to see Lambert’s goal
Sorry for no recap or anything, no signal and not much tolerance either. I spent so much time trying to get connection for the most frustrating match I’ve ever only watched just a fraction of
On the bus back to NYC now for my last week in America for a while
I have to give Markovic props for giving tempo to a match stuck in reverse
The only thing I can compare our defense to is a group of players on the back line who are only there because they are tired and don’t actually want to be playing defense
Midfield is stagnant, no help for Sturridge and Sterling who haven’t been good but at least have an excuse
Lovren, Johnson, and Moreno watching the match up close like a dog that’s just been shown a magic trick