Last night we witnessed a lackluster performance from the Reds which was quite disappointing especially after the very encouraging performance against Spurs.
Last night’s game did not have any positives from our side, but after a good night’s sleep and some reflections I’ve come up with the following considerations:
• As far as the line-up is concerned, I feel that Rafa went for the best selection with what he had available. Maybe it was too early for Stevie G to return and it was certainly not the best day to play him in the ‘hole’. Personally I would have played Aquilani instead of Stevie from the first minute, making adjustments to the line-up and game plan as we went along.
• Mick McCarthy saw us play against Spurs, and also saw how we chased every ball (which we still did last night). However, his master plan was simple. ‘Run more than the Reds and disrupt their game’. We can safely say his plan was a success. Teams that are technically inferior to you can only stand a chance of getting something out of a game by trying to outrun you. They may have not outrun us, but they did run as much as we did.
• The Reds are used to play on the immaculate green of Anfield which resembles a high quality Persian rug. The turf at Molinuex was skinned to the bare minimum so much so the pitch seemed brown, not green. This made for a harder surface and a jittery ball movement. In fact we rarely put a decent string of passes together.
• I noticed that our back four remain too close to the penalty area lately, giving the opponents more depth in which to put their studied schemes in practice. We used to operate a very efficient and almost flawless offside trap, which we don’t seem to do anymore.
• Last night the forward forays of our fullbacks were very limited and they seemed to remain pinned back to their positions.
• I’ve always thought that a manager can interpret the oppositions game plan within the first 10/15 minutes of play, and it seems evident that Wolves were out to disrupt more than construct. We did not change our game plan except for the insertion of Ngog for Riera which did give some spice to our attacking options, other than that we persisted with the same movements throughout the game and I felt disappointed that Maxi and Riera did not give as much width as we had hoped for.
A team like Liverpool should get all three points from such a game. We should not encounter ‘difficulties’ to impose our game against sides like Wolves. We really cannot afford to drop points in this manner.
We could and should have done much, much better!