Can Liverpool bounce back against Hull on Saturday or do the lads think it’s all doom and gloom. This week, Paul and Chris are joined by Mark Hughes and Sean Rogers to bring you all the Uncensored Match Build Up.
Reds Defeat Was Not A Surprise
Liverpool lost to Real Madrid in last night’s eagerly awaited clash with the champions of Europe, the game marked Liverpool’s return to Europe’s elite competition by playing the 10 time champions of the competition.
A magical goal from World footballer of the year Cristiano Ronaldo and a double from French international striker Karim Benzema killed off Liverpool’s hopes of producing another famous European night at Anfield.
The Reds started the game brightly before Ronaldo’s sublime effort changed the game and it was so comfortable for the Spanish giants after the opening goal as they showed their class before taking their foot off the gas in the second half, Coutinho’s shot against the post at the end of the first half was Liverpool’s best effort of the night.
Like most Liverpool’s supporters I was optimistic that Rodgers’ men could produce another famous European night, but realistically I feared the worst with Liverpool struggling for form and conceding too many goals with a defence that doesn’t inspire confidence of keeping a clean sheet.
The thought of Ronaldo up against Glen Johnson filled me with fear and with the lazy Mario Balotelli in attack I wondered where the goals were going to come from, and my fears were realised in a first half that left the Reds trailing 3-0 at half-time.
I was relieved that Real Madrid eased off in the second half or it could have been really embarrassing, but at the end of the day the score was probably expected regarding how both clubs are playing at the moment.
Ludogorets win over Basel gives Liverpool hope of qualifying for the next stage of the Champions League, so after a sobering night at Anfield there is still plenty to play for and a win against Hull on Saturday can put Liverpool back on track.
By Rob Peters @RobPeters_14
So, we’ve finally played Real Madrid, possibly the greatest team in the world at this present moment in time, who are in the fortunate position to boast the world’s greatest player, as well as an all-round fantastic squad. Question is though: What did we learn from the performance at Anfield?
Brendan needs to re-think his outlook at times
Even the most stubborn Liverpool fan knew we were no match for Madrid if we tried to go toe to toe with them attacking wise, it was suicide to even attempt it. Pressing for the first 15 minutes was all well and good but we needed to keep that intensity and pressure for at least an hour then see where we were from there. Sadly, we couldn’t do it, we pressed well for all of 15 minutes and then once we dropped off, Madrid and their quality struck. There was no shame in the first goal, it was something special from two players worth a combined total of £140m. The second and third however was a different story. Hopefully Rodgers has now realised that we just can’t afford to go for it against a team as strong as Real. They will hurt us. In Madrid we need to just try and soak up pressure and hit them on the break, it’s not Rodgers’ way or the way we want to play but in Europe, at times, it’s the only way you can possibly attempt to do well if you’re the weaker team.
Balotelli is not a lone striker
It’s became pretty clear now that Mario Balotelli is not a lone striker and cannot cover ground quick enough (or at all some would say) in order to help the team out in any way possible. He needs a strike partner, at Spurs we saw him and Sturridge link up okay, not brilliantly of course but nevertheless, we weren’t calling for Mario’s head after that game. I don’t think we can truly write Balotelli off until we’ve seen him in a good run of games with Sturridge. I am not suggesting he will set the world alight or that he will provide us with breath-taking moments but maybe they may have a fruitful partnership and help each other out on the goal front. As for the shirt swap, that’s just a media snowball that will only roll on and on. Anything to get Mario’s name in the headlines.
Our set pieces as a whole need sorting out
We know Liverpool can’t defend set pieces too well, we’ve seen it time and time again now and it’s not just this season, the fact we haven’t sorted it out yet is quite worrying. It’s not just defensively though, this season I just feel like we haven’t threatened from any corner or free kick yet. A lot of our corners just hit the first man, with corner takers such as Gerrard, Coutinho and Lallana this is just unacceptable. Last season we were the best team to score from set pieces in the league, this season we look scared to try and get a goal. We should arguably be stronger with the presence of Lovren, it’s very strange how weak we look attacking the ball from a corner or free kick.
We need consistent top four finishes
I don’t want that Madrid game to be an everlasting memory for another 6 years until we’re back in Europe’s elite. We need to make sure, first and foremost that we consistently break into the top four regularly, if we do this then the pulling power will come. When players see that Liverpool are a guaranteed Champions League team they will be more convinced to join than maybe they were this summer just gone. Until that day we can forget trying to go head to head with the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich like we did during the Benitez era.
We miss Daniel Sturridge
A lot would say we miss Luis Suarez. Of course we do but even if we’d kept him, he was not available for that game against Real anyway so we have to look at what we do have and will have in the coming months. Sturridge’s presence up front puts everyone at ease, our midfielders know they have someone who will run the lines and get in different positions and they know he will keep the ball long enough for them to break forward into the box. How many times when Coutinho had the ball last night were you wishing Sturridge was on the pitch to make a run into space for him to play an inch perfect pass? I’m not saying we’d have won last night but I’m convinced we’d have got a goal or two if Sturridge had been on the pitch, he just creates things and makes space for other players to get into and we miss it desperately.
Lastly, there is no need to be worried or embarrassed.
As I said earlier, there is no shame in losing like that to the World’s greatest team. Real beat Bayern Munich 4-0 at the Allianz in the semi-final of the Champions League only 6 months ago. To stumble to a 3-0 defeat is not great but it’s no shambles. We have a long way to go before we’re able to compete properly with the best teams in Europe but hopefully we’re on the right path and if Rodgers and the players get more experience in Europe’s top competition, we should be fine. Also, on the league front, we play Hull on Saturday. A win in this game will place us within the top four and we all know that we haven’t been anywhere near our best except for one game against Spurs, this to me shows that there is something to be positive about going into the future league games and European games. Bring on Madrid at the Bernabeu!
Liverpool lost by three goals to the current European Champions in their group B match and The Redmen TV are here to bring you their Uncensored Match Reaction Show.
Ahead of a massive Champions League match this evening against Real Madrid, Liverpool have been linked to a possible move for the next raising star of Portuguese football Ruben Neves (17). (Source: Daily Mirror)
The Portuguese youngest only joined up with the first team squad during the summer. This was caused by an injury to team mate Mikel Agu. He went on to impress Porto Manager Julen Lopetegui during pre-season and began the new season as a member of his first team squad.
Ruben Diogo de Silva Neves is only 17, but he is already breaking records. He became the youngest ever player to score in the Portuguese League. He was aged 17 years and 155 days at the time. His goal came after 11 minutes of the match. (Source: Wikipedia)
The defensive midfielder has enjoyed an promising start to the season. He has played ten times and scored one goal. Liverpool are not the only Club keen on securing his services. Italian giants Juventus are reportedly watching the situation. He may have some big decisions to make come the end of the season. Any deal may include the option of the loan back to Porto.
The Number 36 of Porto has many qualities for one so young. He has vision, is astute when it comes to his positioning of the pitch and can pass the ball with precision. He sounds like the type of player Rogers is keen upon.
He has been compared to Sergio Busquets of Barca, which is maybe why the Reds have watched him three times so far this year.
Already during his short playing career, he has captained his Country at the UFEA U17 European Championships. More recently Neves has played and scored for the Portuguese U21 side. He looks certain to have a big future for his Country.
With European Champions Real Madrid heading to Anfield on Wednesday for a crunch Group B clash, the lads take an Uncensored look at Liverpool’s chances