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Well played, Alberto
It’s probably not going to be mentioned, but can I just say how impressive Moreno’s performance was, particularly considering the spotlight on him all this week. Dejan Lovren rightly called out publicly the disgusting messages he receives online, god knows the state of Alberto’s inbox. It’s an unpopular view, but sometimes managers know more about players, and football, than we do.
Also I’m not sure whether Glen Hoddle is unable to grasp the meaning of irony or the foresight of managers to prepare their teams in advance to thwart the opposition, however this comment in the first half made me chuckle “isn’t it ironic that Coutinho finds himself in this slightly withdrawn midfield position and he finds so many blue bodies around him”
Tariq, LFC (Salah didn’t celebrate for the 300+ victims of the terrorist attack in Egypt. Respect to the man)
More Liverpool thoughts
1) The first half was one of the best individual contests of the season. Mo Salah vs Eden Hazard was a treat to watch with their contrasting styles. Salah showing phenomenal strength when receiving the ball with his back to goal and then turning to run at defenders versus the exhilirating sight of Hazard starting a counter attack from his own half as the Liverpool midfield and full backs converge to try and stop him. Fair to say, Salah won that particular battle with the goal.
2) Chelsea’s change to 3-5-1-1 means there is always a third man runner which usually is Bakayoko. But with Coutinho in the left central midfield position, Drinkwater was asked to make those runs and twice had good opportunities when he got beyond the Liverpool defense.
3) A word on Liverpool’s defense. Gomez was as usual magnificent and the best Liverpool defender, Matip was steady while Klavan was lucky. With regard to Moreno, I’m not sure about the statistics, but I’m pretty sure most of the Chelsea attacks came down the Liverpool left. The reasons for that were 3 fold. Coutinho not tracking Drinkwater’s runs, Zappacosta having a phenomenal first half, and the presence of Salah on the Chelsea left tearing Alonso to shreds. Despite this, I thought Moreno did admirably and it was a good call by Klopp to continue playing him.
4) I have to talk about Liverpool’s game management again. The number of times we have let leads this season as well as the previous one slip is shocking. And here is my problem with Klopp. I thought he made the right call with his initial selection ( we have two important PL games within a week and rotation was necessary), and the change on bringing Wijnaldum for Danny was equally brilliant. It allowed an extra man in midfield, Salah to play center forward and twice Coutinho almost played Salah through on goal.
But his substitutions continue to defy logic. From minute 75-80, when it was clear that we needed to defend the lead and when Pedro, Willian and Fabregas came on, Klopp dithered. He claims the referee did not allow him to make subs, but how about one of his players show game intelligence in clearing the ball out of play to allow for them. 30 seconds before the goal, Milner was in the right back position looking absolutely spent and instead of clearing the ball out of play, he played it straight back into midfield and the resulting move allowed Willian to score. Also, Mane should have come on for Coutinho way earlier to provide fresh legs for counter-attacks.
5) The biggest issue to resolve till January is Liverpool’s backup striker. When Danny plays like that against a big team at home, you know that his time is over. Klopp should look to sell him in January as we have a backup striker in Danny Ings. Ings is a runner in the Firmino mould and fits our system way better than Sturridge. I would be happy with 20-25 mil in Jan for the Studge.
6) After two seasons under Klopp, Liverpool finally have some strength in depth. Our bench had Firmino, Mane, Lallana, TAA and Wijnaldum while Can was injured.
7) I believe Klopp bought Alex Ox for his versatility more than anything. He can play in both wide positions and through the middle as well. While overshadowed by Salah, he is an important player for us and will get enough game time throughout the season.
8) At the start of the season, I beleived our primary goal was to consolidate our league position and achieve another top 4 spot. In this current season where you have one clear frontrunner ( Man city), games between the other members of the top 6 are not as important. Last season, when Liverpool were champions of the top 6 mini-league and Arsenal were last, they still finished only one point behind us at the end. I think Klopp has realised this and thus wanted Firmino and Mane fresh for Stoke, Brighton and Spartak.
All in all, a decent point for Liverpool and it should allow us to maintain momentum for the trip to Stoke.
That’s why Ferguson was the greatest
Both liverpool’s games this week kind of pushed me to write in this mail. Klopp and Pep are the epitome of attacking football, while mourinho and Simeone are the the epitome of defensive football. The more successful Italian coaches (Conte, Allegri, Ancelotti, Sacchi(never watched a game of his team but I’m only guessing so I’m sorry if I’m way of), Capello) can do both, but with a defend first mentality. As I was watching Chelsea’s game with Liverpool I found myself yelling at conte for the first time in his wonderful year or so. Why not attack earlier?! This Liverpool defence is always there for the taking, but I understand he doesn’t want an open game. Playing with a defend first mentality requires all 11 players to have 9/10 games for you to win.
This is where SAF’s greatness comes in. His teams both threw the kitchen sink and put up a Great Wall. They were well drilled defensively, and attacked in numbers. He is by far the most balanced manager there ever was. He just proves like with all things in lif, balance is the key to greatness.
On a completely unrelated note, I’m not pissed that we lost two points, as that boy Salah was the scorer. That was probably the first goal Chelsea conceded that I did not get mad at. Oh and Willian’s goal is a beauty.
Shafei, CFC fan
Theoretical question, obviously, but if Liverpool had either Courtois or De Gea in goal…how many more points would we have? I reckon 4 more at least.
The goal was a freak moment but the other keepers manage occasional world class moments to keep their teams in it whilst Mignolet manages to save a penalty once a season but otherwise does nothing to keep us in games.
I think it’s a shame that his good half season last year convinced Klopp to keep the faith but I also suppose that when you look at how Moreno has improved (yes, he has) you do appreciate why Klopp backs himself to coach more out of players.
Given Mignolet’s well-documented (by F365) inability to save any ball that goes vaguely in his direction, I hardly think Willian’s goal counts as a “fluke”.
Some Chelsea thoughts
Let me start my narration by admiring Daniel Storey’s work on this website and normally a big fan of what he writes. However, Mr. Storey (a) did not see the full game or (b) wrote out an article in a hurry. That game was a game Chelsea should have comfortably put to bed by half time. I feel aghast at 2 points lost than a point won.
Chelsea’s two game plans: We had two plans. One to play without the ball and create chances in their fragile defense and one to play with the ball and dominate the game with control. The without the ball game was an attempt to keep them at bay for large parts, ensure it either stays at 0-0 or a 0-1 to us before playing with the ball. The idea was to bring Cesc around 70 minutes to pick out passes against a tired Liverpool and their shambolic defense. However, when I saw their starting eleven, I really really felt we should’ve killed them.
The first half: Forget the statistics, Liverpool had no meaning attempt on goal despite possession, we looked the most threatening team to score the goal. Eden Hazard had another of those nights where he seemed like hurting the opponent from anywhere and everywhere on the pitch. Salah was in his own at the other end, but we were far dangerous in our break from midfield. Also, Danny Drinkwater had a solid game. He was quick to close down Coutinho, make those simple passes under pressure, and made those third man midfield runs in attack. Zappacosta was very bad with his crossing or passing despite seeing a lot of the ball.
The second half: As expected, Pool started brightly, but around the 57 minute mark, even without cesc, our second game plan began. There was a 4 minute spell when we had the ball for fun and were successfully building from the back moving the ball and causing them all sorts of problems. I really thought Liverpool got a lucky break scoring against the run of play. Credit to Salah, that was a goal of highest individual quality, and on another day a winning goal. But the fact of the matter is, we were in control of the game at that point and it seemed like a total bummer. The only part of the 16 conclusions I agree with is that Cesc Fabregas changed the game. Earlier we started holding the ball, but with him around, the penetration was much better. I thought he was the reason we really almost won it at the end.
I can probably write why Cahill will not find a starting place (or even bench) against top 6 + everton and southampton but going to pass. My real thoughts are with Conte. Why does he give the likes of Wenger, Klopp (and even Pep) so much respect? It’s not about the team, but the intent in these games. I seriously feel Conte doesn’t know how to play these big games at times. Do I attack more or defend more? Sometimes I get this feeling that Chelsea are stuck in no man’s land in these games. Please Antonio, take a call and I’d say we have a team to take on these teams head on. I trust you to make the best decision though.
Again, make no mistake, I am a disappointed fan that we didn’t really do a number on Pool. 13 games, 5 against top 6, 2 wins, 1 loss, 1 draw. It’s those 6 points lost vs Burnley and Palace that’s the distance between us and City more than anything else. Pep and co will drop points and when we go to Manchester in March, I hope we are within 5 points of Pep.
Aravind, Chelsea Fan.
And THAT, folks, is what happens when Conte finally frees his Willy.
I’m here all week lads.
Mohammad Ali Khan
Did Willian’s goal remind anyone of Ronaldinho’s free kick against David Seaman?
No question this one was a fluke though. Unlucky Liverpool!
The neutral view
Results from earlier in the season indicate that the way you beat 3 at the back is to play “high and wide” – Mane/Salah for Liverpool vs Arsenal, and Sane/Sterling for Man City vs Chelsea.
So it was disappointing to see the disruption of Mo Salah offset by the safer stylings of Oxlade Chamberlain rather than Saido Mane when the teams came out…and thus it proved. Salah was a menace all game (on both flanks), the Ox not so much, and Liverpool played most of the game with one hand tied behind their back.
As for Chelsea, at some point we will have to call their 3-5-2 style of play for what it is…park the bus, route 1 long ball. Yes, they can break through the middle with Hazard (often from the knockdown), but it was generally pretty agricultural stuff. Only when Fabregas came on was there any subtlety to their game. The biggest flaw was not taking advantage of the very obvious “Moreno hole” down the right. As was noted in the commentary, Drinkwater peeled off Coutinho a couple of times into that hole, but a dedicated Pedro/Willian right wing in last years 3-4-3 formation would have exploited that properly.
From a neutral’s perspective, it was all a bit disappointing.
Is the Man United way a myth?
Have always appreciated the great rivalry between Liverpool and man united. Looking forward to knocking man u off their…..
But take some time to consider Big Sam’s comments when fans complained about west ham not playing the west ham way. Remember – what way did Pards play? What way did Curbs play? Or words to that effect.
So consider: what way did david moyes play? Van gaal? Mourinho? The man united way? In five years time people may be debating whether its a myth
Darryl Stephens – South Africa – YNWA.
Late goals will dry up
With Ibra back to fitness, common wisdom should dictate that United’s goal scoring should improve. I aver it will dry up – particularly the late, 80-minute mark plus goals – simply because Ibra will become United’s major attacking sub. And as skilled as he is, he does not possess the pace to take advantage of the spaces that will ultimately be left by losing opponents chasing a goal a la Martial and Rashford earlier in the season.
In addition, he is unable/will not/is too big(delete as appropriate) to close down opponents or run after overlapping defenders which means Lukaku will be forced to do the dirty work down either flank where his poor ball control will mean a lot of counter attacks sent to him will break down before they can take off.
The end of the glossy late goals at Old Trafford is here.
Zu, Lagos(ironically, because one of the better attacking players in the league is back)
Ain’t got much to say but our full time every game striker Lukaku sucks.. he misses every chance he gets.
Rashford and martial play very great football but they always go out. Jose needs to stop acting like master mind of football. He is old fashioned and am a fan of United and I still wanna celebrate trophies not lucky packet own goals win.
Just a fan saying.
What are Spurs doing?
In the past 4 weeks, Tottenham narrowly squeaked past Crystal Palace, drew against West Brom and lost to two of the top six. They may drop out of the top four after this weekend’s matches are completed. How much would they rue those lost points come May next year?
Also, Spurs beat Real Madrid and Dortmund in the Champions League. They could have lost both matches and still be in pole position to qualify for the next round as runners-up. Furthermore, their reserves might not necessarily have lost those two matches, considering the atrocious run Dortmund is on. What exactly was the point of trying so hard to win those two matches? I’m not sure the benefits of finishing top of their group outweighs the cost of points dropped. If they are unable to beat a big team, might as well get knocked out early to focus on qualifying for the Champions League next season.
Wayne, Man Yoo, Singapore