By Paul Culff
Another disappointing result for Liverpool as this game is surely 2 points lost. The only good thing is that the teams around us didn’t capitalize. Unfortunately the season is now one game shorter and before we know it, time will get away from us. There is no real theme to this article but merely some observations and comments. No doubt it will provoke comment from the many readers.
I felt the display was fairly lackluster. It’s strange because playing at Anfield on Boxing Day should need no added motivation . With player’s families and friends in town, I would have expected a blockbuster performance. Unfortunately it didn’t pan out that way. Passes were going astray, players weren’t making or anticipating runs and we were losing possession where we needed to be dominant. The squad now is deeper than it has been in the past and we have seen Kenny rotate the team fairly regularly and we can expect much more of this over the next couple of weeks. I wonder if this is affecting players being on the same wavelength and gelling. The midfield four has changed so much during December with Shelvey, Kuyt, Bellamy, Maxi, and Spearing in and out. Suarez has also been asked to play up top with Bellamy, Kuyt, Maxi, Shelvey or Carroll playing off him. All these players offer different things and this must create uncertainty among each other from one game to the next as players need to anticipate their team mates movements. Should we field a more regular team on a consistent basis to get them to gel? I think this can be evidenced in the back four. The same four have been exceptional and justified in keeping Carragher out of the side.
Andy Carroll – cue the comments. I am an Andy Carroll fan and want him to succeed, that’s all. I’m not saying he is setting the world on fire but can a fan not back him to succeed and subsequently help the team. I certainly hope he starts banging them in soon, be it pretty or not. Unfortunately right now, Andy Carroll can’t buy a goal. He had 2-3 huge chances in this game, one of which would have made him an instant hero. The four yard effort in the first half at point blank range was a great save. Carroll couldn’t have done much more and his ability to bring it under control and even get a shot off was admirable. He had a header towards the end of the 2nd half that he should have hit the target with but went just wide. Finally, the world class goal line save from his stab right at the death was unbelievable. Again, Carroll couldn’t have done much more. I felt he was pushed in the back (whilst attempting a header in the box) in the lead up to the injury time pandemonium. He works hard for the team and you can see he wants to push on. Hopefully he will. I think when he does, Liverpool will too. Just like Andy Carroll can’t buy a goal right now, neither can Liverpool for that matter.
Luis Suarez is struggling a little too I think. He is carrying the burden of the racism allegations, a looming 8 match ban and also trying to carry a team on his shoulders. That also doesn’t include the abuse he cops from opposing fans and the lack of protection from referees. He has been wasteful recently and I am worried he is losing faith in some of those players around him as he gets selfish when other players may be in better positions. That being said, if I want anyone to be selfish, it is probably him because more often than not he can pull it off. I can’t do nothing but admire his work rate, sublime skill at times and also his motivation. I just hope that he doesn’t get too burned out, frustrated and over react on a big stage when everyone is watching him under a microscope. He just needs to regain confidence and his mojo. This will begin by converting more chances as he gets in good positions more often than anyone else.
Finally, it was great to see Steven Gerrard back. He changed the shape of the game when he came on and I don’t recall a misplaced pass while he was on. He fed players left and right and got into dangerous positions. He did more on the field in 25 minutes than Charlie Adam did in 65 minutes. Incidentally, I think this was Charlie Adam’s worst game in a Liverpool shirt so far. Surprisingly he didn’t look up for it yesterday. Steven Gerrard was up for it though and hopefully he slowly regains fitness. I still think he is slightly injured because he wasn’t tracking back like normal. We lost shape in the middle after that substitution but we needed to push forward and Gerrard really gave us that attacking threat. I look forward to seeing more of him out there.
No real theme to this article but just me thinking out loud about Monday’s game. I’m sure people either agree or disagree and I welcome your constructive comments, not Andy Carroll bashing.