Start of a renaissance, or a one-off decent performance?

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As usual, before Liverpool games, I sit back a few minutes before kick off listening to a rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone. I was particularly looking forward to watching yesterday’s match primarily due to Liverpool playing at Anfield which adds that extra spark and tends – only just these days – to lift an underachieving team. Secondly, I was hoping to see an improved performance by a Liverpool team which has been totally out of sorts as of late. We needed a good performance by the Reds to lift our spirits.

Liverpool did just that. Still lots of room for improvement but the performance put in yesterday was reminiscent of a team wanting to win things, to score goals and most of all keep a clean sheet. The latter was a futile exercise but there was much to be positive about and look forward to. Needless to say, the feeling deep down is that Liverpool will fail to build on this next time round against Bolton. Not being pessimistic but acquiring stability is typically a roller coaster ride so don’t be put back if all Liverpool can achieve against Bolton away is a boring draw, although this may even be too much asking for.

Back to yesterday’s game and in my view leaving Poulsen out was a key decision. I’m not yet certain what’s happened to Poulsen but, unfortunately, the less he plays, the better a chance Liverpool have of being adventurous, creative. Poulsen is too one-dimensional, playing the ball sideways. Playing Poulsen is like trying to drive a car with the hand brake not entirely released. Liverpool tend to focus play in the midfield, loose the ball and end up having to defend in an effort not to concede. Aggressiveness is the key to an attacking side so deploying such a defensive midfielder means the team can’t move up to top gear. Not much to say about such a situation: just don’t play Poulsen altogether. Lucas needs to up his game and I’m sure he’ll cement his place in the first team; and he’s got a perfect chance to do that. In this respect, the Brazilian (sounds a bit ironic using the word Brazilian..), is a far better alternative to Poulsen. He tackles cleanly, has vision coming forward and is not rooted to the midfield quarters. That said, still a huge way to becoming that super player we all hoped for on his arrival. He’s improved a great deal in the last few months so the only way can only be up.

A performance which left me awestruck was that put in by Maxi and how he owed that to the fans. Maxi has been poor, terrible I must say. One senses he has the potential to be a great squad player, the way he controls the ball, the dynamics all point to a player capable of some neat flashy football. And I’m sure this is the case, but many times, he’s chased shadows and only shown glimpses of the player Liverpool fans were so excited about a few months back. Yesterday was a different scenario and Maxi was pivotal – together with Stevie – in pushing the Reds forward. Quite simply class. Again, not much to state, just more of this expected!

My man of the match has to be Sotirios Kyrgiakos. The Greek international has shown, not on one occasion that he has the qualities to be a first-team choice in defense, indeed take over stewardship of the defense duties in Jamie’s absence. He is a tower of strength, cool and likes having a pop at goal. Partnering Skrytel results in a best of two World’s scenario. Skrytel is swift, tackles wisely, but Sotirios gives that added personality when defending high balls and muscling opponents away. And, as mentioned, he doubles up as an attacker when the Reds attack spot kicks. Carragher seemed relaxed on the right; actually I was quite impressed with his sprints and attacking passion – let’s not forget that Carragher has always been very defensive minded.

The only problem in having a good pairing in CB and two good full backs (currently Carra and Konchesky) is what to do with the likes of Agger and Auerlio. More worried about the former who has found it hard to impress Roy and is a player we can’t just ignore. The problem these days with top clubs having two great players in the same position is that it’s hard to play them both regularly. Who would you play – Skrytel or Agger? Playing both is a no option since they share similar characteristics. Rotation is healthy but should not be overused. So, inevitably, one of the two has to be sacrificed and it’s up to the player to understand and accept that a peripheral role is equally important within a club of Liverpool’s stature.

Last but not least, how relieving it was to watch Torres score his second goal for the club this season. I used the word watch, but I actually didn’t enjoy the goal live as the video stream went bananas a few seconds before the goal. You can imagine how cheesed off I was, but anyway. The anger was soon to fade and Torres’ frustrations must have been cut down too after his much improved performance on the pitch culminated in a goal which ultimately proved to be the winner against a stubborn Blackburn side, undoubtedly helped by a fantastic keeper. We can only now keep our fingers crossed this is just the beginning for Torres.

All, in all, a great game to watch and a massive three points in the bag. It was a collective effort and one which needs to be used as an example to how Liverpool should approach all games, home or away. Being aggressive is the way forward. Cautious, yes, not too much though. Scoring one goal is not enough. Winning a game of football is all about scoring goals (and trying not to concede) so sitting back and conserving a one-goal lead should not be part of the system. We’ve seen this many times. Score a goal and slowly let the opposing team get back in it.

I re-iterate that this may not necessarily lead to another game won at Bolton but may be the start of the stabilizing sequence of which leads to the team finally gelling together. Expect one or two more defeats and/or draws before such a unit is put in place.

See you next time.

More Stories Blackburn Kyrgiakos Maxi Poulsen


  1. Great article. Got it about right by my reckoning. Rome wasn’t built in a day and we are still in the relegation zone so there may well be more nervous last ten minutes. Hopefully to become a warning part of the learning curve for the current side. Here’s hoping they can demonstrate why they shouldn’t be in the bottom half of the table even at this stage of the campaign.

  2. wish to believe it’s a renaissance but still i have my doubts unfortunately! time will tell … but the mentality the manager has is not an offensive one! issa naraw :)

  3. Time will tell, but the most pleasing thing about yesterday’s performance is that the players how now shown themselves and us fans what they’re capable of. I can see us go on a good run now putting the childish screaming for Roy’s removal where it belong.

  4. Having played well for 70 minutes and then regressing to letting the mighty blackburn dominate our midfield for the final 20 minutes is a bit worrying. We are now all wondering why has Roy suddenly gone all attacking? The rumour was Sammy Lee and Dalgish had a word in Roy’s ear prior to the game. I gather Gerrard also told him the players felt he was too negative. Rumours? It just seems strange that an overly defensive manager went for it.

    Saying that though. Give them credit. Blackburn were absolutely awful. There was no marking for either of our goals and yet we still managed to only win by the slimmest of margins, clinging on at the end when we could have carried on going for it and putting the game to bed more comfortably.

    This is against Roy’s philosophy though. We have a safety first, ‘underdog’ manager, who may now realise he is managing a team that should easily be challenging for the top four/five. We cannot sit back and let Blackpool, Sunderland and West Brom dominate us. It is, to be frank, obscene. I wanted him to do well when he came, but I feel any continuation of the negative ‘sitting back, two lines of 4’ tactics will lose us more games than we will win.

    You sense the players enjoyed it for the most part yesterday. They need to attack, we look a better team for it. When we sit back and invite pressure, we look vulnerable. I hope Roy has taken all these points on board.

    One other difference yesterday was that we had width at times. What a difference it makes. Again, Roy’s early comments said we played without wingers and that was deeply worrying. When we had width yesterday we created chances.

    The next few games will tell us if Roy is the right man. Mind you, this run of games we have been through, should have got us more than 9 points, much more. Maybe Roy will see the things he has done wrong, stop talking down the squad, get Aquilani back, stop alienating Torres, Agger and Reina (three world class players), stop pandering to Carragher, be positive and go for teams.

    Only then will Roy get my vote of confidence.

    And ps, we don’t want Chris Brunt or Carlton Cole, not Liverpool quality.

  5. “Two good full backs”? Konchesky fell apart in the second half and Carra looked OK with nobody up against him. As full backs they’s be a liability against half decent opposition.

  6. I agree. It was best I’ve seen Maxi so far.Soto is also inspirational pressence in team which needs leaders on the pitch.I fear Blackburn are worst team we played so far and it will be back to reality next week .. not many teams in this league will be brushed aside so easily but if we play with more confidence and belief we can still beat most sides when at our best.

  7. I’m still not convinced of Roy. With the players we have a good one-off is likely every once in a while. If 2-1 win at home against aweful Blackburn is the best this team can acheive a change is certainly needed. My feeling is give Roy until December because January seems like a long way away.

  8. I never watched the game and I only feel lucky we did not end with a draw. It is still early to get our hopes so high.The next crucial games are so vital.With our recent form, we’ll be lucky to get one point from the two matches.Going forward though, I dont feel Roy is right for this squad.We need a manager that inspires a team to success. Gerrard and Sotirios were awesome.I have always believed in the Greek.Was not so solid in the begining but has now adapted well to the english fast game.He should be in the first eleven.

    I was thinking maybe the club should get Frank Rijkard but am not sure about his sharpness with the game lately. He did well at Barcelona but has not achieved much since he left. Maybe Guus Hiddink.
    Our season will be determined by how we invest in January.Our squad needs reinforcement.I hear Fernando Llorente is being linked.He could be a good buy.Mario Gomez however wud be the best but might be too expensive. We also need a really good winger.Huan Marta the Valencia guy wud bring something that we now dont see so often since Riera left. And why on earth was Aquilani released. He was class. Finally, I think our two full backs are not the best.Johnson and Konchesky should be replaced. Johnson is more attack minded and is not good at defending.

    These are just my thoughts. The season is young. I see us still challenging for fourth but only if the squad is improved.


  9. As I stated in an early article, give Roy till Christmas. Whereas before we took one season as being the maximum time for a team to gel, we nowadays expect this to be a few months and rightly so. We’ve been waiting for some silverware years now so expectations are terribly high. Roy and everyone connected with the club from top to bottom must understand that an instant change for the better is required. Some use the word miracle.

    Nonetheless, we need to be reasonable in our judgment and avoid jumping the gun. We all would like to see either King Kenny or Rafa back at the helm but we also need to respect our current manager and players. I’m sure Roy knows that he needs to get the ship steady by Christmas. Failing to do so will only lead to one outcome.

    We need to support the team through thick and thin. Criticism must be constructive and healthy. We tend to use heavy words but we also should make it clear that in no way are we trying to lay offense to either Roy or any other Liverpool player (I for one have been highly critical of Poulsen for example).

    I agree that Blackburn were nowhere near to what they can achieve but at times this is what is required for players to better their communication skills on the pitch. You can say it was a intensive pressure-cooker training session on Sunday. At the end of the day it’s something to build on.

  10. pliz fire roy mr henry then liverpool will start winning.yes he is english but he is not liverpool material,period.

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