‘Jay Leiva’

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What a night!

A fantastic first half display backed up by a second half that was full of commitment, desire, pace and most importantly quality throughout.

Unlike many I don’t want to focus on the performance of Andy Carroll as I’m sure I’ll be able to leave that to many others for them to offer him some rightly deserved plaudits.
I want to look at what turned out to be an under-rated partnership of Lucas Leiva and Jay Spearing.

One is a handsome 20 something with a great first touch and an eye for a pass and that Lucas kid isn’t so bad either. The first thing I’d like to look at is the way they work for each other. If Lucas stuck a tackle in hard the first player to pick up the pieces was Spearing and vice versa. It was what the other was doing when the other had the ball that struck me, if Lucas came short for the ball Spearing would look to aid the attack or create space for himself to aid the link up towards Suarez and Carroll, a match made in heaven?

We’ve missed a Mascherano type character in the middle, no not the ‘I want to play with Lionel Messi’ Mascherano, the bulldog. I don’t want to big Spearing up too much by saying he’s the scouse version of the Argentine, but well I’m going to. He’s not afraid of the tackle in the slightest, I’m pretty confident in saying that pulling out of a 50/50 isn’t in Jay’s game. The one big difference to Mascherano is the range of passing he has, you can see he’s been training with the likes of Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso in the past, he’s not afraid to look for the killer ball, whereas did we ever see Javier Mascherano pass more than 10 yards?

Let us now turn our attention to that ‘future squad player’ Lucas, an outstanding display summed up by his composure throughout, never in a rush, never looked under pressure and always played the right ball. I’m not sure if Lucas will ever be a favourite with every Liverpool fan but he’s certainly worming his way into the hearts of the doubters I’m sure with every top class performance he puts in.

The contribution of Lucas and Spearing allowed Kuyt, Meireles, Carroll and mostly Suarez to attack with confidence. All four of them knew that if something did go wrong the insurance policy of ‘Jay Leiva’ (Ok we’ll work on that) would back them up and sort it out. A very satisfying performance by the pair of them and although we need to strengthen in the summer if they keep up the sort of performance we saw against Manchester City then well I am for one extremely content with our situation.


Ben Carr


  1. My article has just been backed up by this one and the performance Lucas put in tonight. But yes I think Jay Spearing was our man of the match tonight, played really well the pair of them. Great team effort tonight.

    Good read! Hope the doubters open their eyes to what good performances they are both putting in week in and week out.

  2. spearing handsome? haha never heard that one before, but yeah, he’s turning out some great performances. lucas has always been steadily improving, so nothing new there. flanagan had an awesome debut; so confident on the pitch. overall, it was an excellent team performance; everybody showed great desire. now if only the liverpool of the first half showed up in every game.

  3. Totally agree with you, Lucas has been on the receiving end of some undeserved stick these past few seasons. Sure he hasn’t set the world alight this season, but he has never once backed down, not from a challenge or a pass. When things went wrong he held his head up high and kept plugging away, totally changing my opinion of what I though the guy was all about.

    Him and Jay were unplayable tonight, stopping every City attack with their incredible engines and starting every Liverpool attack. They deserve every plaudit coming their way after tonight, they made a guy who takes home 250k a week look like a Sunday League player.

    Kudos lads.

  4. good point there mate n a nice lil name to the pair… Jay Leiva ! however, i had seen the 2 play b4 n was pretty impressed… the one which really caught my eye was Flanagan… a composed n no non-sense performance… dat now makes it 3 gud right backs to rely upon next season… glad to see our youth players get into the act n pretty much up2 expectations too… overall a very good performance… YNWA !!

  5. I don’t think I can totally agree with the whole thing here. Yes both of them had a good game. Lucas has more quality and a decent holding midfielder. Spearing on the other hand, has tenacity but does not provide the quality of a pass that can open up games. He doesn’t have the instinct to score goals. Yes he is hardworking but we can easily upgrade him with many players we can buy in the market. His crosses ain’t good either and a couple of times loses possession. You can say he is a Scouser and will play his heart out but right now we need someone who has the brains like Alonso to hold the midfield together. If we ever get this player, I imagine Spearing would be back to bench. A loyal servant indeed but just an addition to the squad, nothing more. Sorry but that’s what most of us think here.

  6. Kuyt was man of the match for me, his energy unmatched over 90 minutes. Lucas oozed confidence and class in midfield, Spearing chased the ball all day and generally played very well (aside from the mistimed volley high into the stands), Aurelio was a reassuring presence at left-back (although the yellow card was probably deserved), Flanagan showed a maturity and confidence well beyond his years. Reina made the one big save he was asked to, Carra and Skrtel were solid at back and our offensive musketeers (Meireles, Kuyt, Suarez and Carroll) were simply fantastic in the first half and parts of the second half.

  7. great result. Gud payback to our loss at Eastlands this season.
    Nw we want to see Ince, Sterling, Robinson etc get a run in.

    Such performance like the one from Flanagan justify why we only need 3 players in the summer. Id prefer Arda Turan, Adam and Taiwo.
    Oh, Aurelio must not be sold, he must be given a pay as u play contract.
    If we buy too many players, then the kids wont get a chance.

    Kenny was wize in dropping Soto, making Wilson cover to CB and in making Flan start. Coz Carra must always marshal the defence, nt playing him as RB.

  8. Excellent performance all round! Impressed with Flanagan. What a debut! Kudos, young man!

    Now, the point about the partnership of Spearing and Lucas paying off is very true. However, it has not always been like that and it cannot be relied upon for a full year’s campaign. LFC need quality defensive mid-fielders. At least, one as a minimum. That will take the pressure away from the ageing and fragile defense which also needs at least one quality signing (Cahill, Kjaer, Taschi, Howedes, Musichio, take your pick) besides the LB (Taiwo on free and bleed Robinson while keeping Aurelio as back-up).

    We need M. Veloso of Genoa for versatility and either of M’Vila or Matiuidi for our DM positions. Ashley Young for the crosses but if he prefers to go elsewhere, I say we go for Gervinho (versatility again) and either of Ja-Cheol Koo of Wolfsburg or Chu-Young Park of Monaco (this way we can also cover the Asian angle). To get part of the money, clear house! YNWA

  9. It was a real team performance tonight which I have to admit at times took my breath away. Usually goals are the highlight of the game, but there was a period in the 2nd half when the Liverpool team harassed and pressed the Man city team right back in to their area and in my mind I thought “we are back” I wasn’t the backs against the wall battling which has seen us pull of amazing results over the years, tonight there was a arrogance in our play that was embedded by Bill Shankly words “My idea was to build Liverpool up and up and up until eventually they would be untouchable. Everybody would have to submit. Give in, give in, give in”
    That mantra had been entrusted in our teams until the 90s. My favorite Liverpool goal of all time is from that 87/88 dream team when John Aldridge scored a tap in after Steve McMahon produced a incredible display skill, heart, courage and never say died spirit that I have never seen repeated on a football pitch since…. Tonight I saw that spirit awoken once more.


  10. yeah gotta be splevia! jay has looked better everytime i see him, i think we will sign another cm come summer but he has defos taken poulsens place, christian cant possibly get even the slightest sniffs of first team action anymore. loving that people are starting to come round to lucas too. i argued when he signed that if he were a local lad the fans would love him then no question, but fair enough he aint so hes had to win folks over. probably our player of the season so far, raul and dirk have been class since kennys return but lucas has been our most consistent player….ynwa

  11. Moving Suarez in front of Carroll was a brilliant move.

    Last match v. West Brom it was far too easy for the defense to isolate both men, but moving Luis further up the pitch forced the defense to back off of Carroll because of the skill they had to contend with around the box. If anything tactical confounded Citeh, it was this alignment by Dalglish. So many opportunities were built up because Carroll didn’t have to constantly contend with defenders climbing all over him, which allowed hold up play by both Suarez and Carroll where more red shirts could move forward.

    It has to be said that the triumvirate of Spearing, Lucas, and Meireles all played key roles in tightening the middle and offensive build up throughout the match, and Flanagan looked beyond his years at RB (though he benefitted from a lack of real pressurization from Citeh). It was especially encouraging to see Raul moved further up the pitch as an offensive threat as I was worried even at the Stoke match that he was being relegated to play too far back – he acted as a third to fourth threat that kept Citeh off balance, which ultimately benefitted Carrol tonight.

    This was the kind of football we’ve seen for 15-20 minutes for a number of matches but not nearly as consistently for the full 90 as it was tonight. There were so few lapses (Toure’s chance being the only standout) and those that looked a threat were well out of the box and it was box-to-box domination. We’ll need six more like this if we’re to truly push for a european spot, but even if we don’t quite make it we’ve the makings of a great squad next campaign, as I’ve no doubt FSG will spend the necessary monies to fill in the gaps as well as recruit from within to field a truly competitive side.

  12. The performance of John Flanagan against City shows the way forward for Liverpool. Carragher could still have a few more years left if Liverpool were to integrate him and at least three other senior players with youngsters with great running power like Flanagan. Look how far Germany went with that great mix of youth and experience in the last World Cup in South Africa. Liverpool’s current standard of youth is incredibly impressive. If one recalls the backfour that finished against West Brom of Carragher,Skrtel,Kyzgriakos and Wilson that defence had very little running power. Liverpool’s youth players are the missing ingredients of running power which was clearly lacking against the likes of Blackpool,West Ham and West Brom. These youth players are the answere. For the remaining 6 games of the season the likes of Poulsen,Cole,Maxi,Wilson and Ngog should not be on the bench, instead Wisdom,Coady,Morgan,Sterling and Ngoo should join Robinson on the bench and Flanagan should be left at rightback for the remaining 6 games.

  13. What A STUNNING PERFORMANCE!!!!! I was so scared at the beginning of the game, but as soon as the whistle blew and 20 min of the game had passed, i thought i was dreaming!!!!! was this the same team?! Yes the spirit was on, we were massive and the evening was just waiting for a 4th one to get it! We should not move from Anfield, its the essence of Liverpool, and i think it scares our opponents… we would loose part of the impact!
    Just wonderful game, hope they keep it up and we will see what happens in the summer!

  14. Left back: Aurelio is not mentioned in any of the comments on the game, but if this guy is fit, he makes a huge difference. He’s reading of the attacking and defencive play is second to none. The crosses he provide is dangerous and he brings a different dimension to liverpools play. I think he is silently coming around and deserves mentioning, at least.

  15. If only we played like this against the “lesser” teams. Just think if we had won against West Brom,West Ham and Wigan. We would have been level on points with City and Spurs(assuming Spurs won their game in hand).

  16. Wel great result for us but i’ll corroll to hold d ball for longer time.it does alot of damages to d oppositions defence.a betta communication between carroll and a gun fighter will b great for us.

  17. We have d record on our side dis season we have being able to beat d best teams in d league but i’l urge king kenneth to dispose.joe c, Maxi, jovanovich,poulsen and some others. In my seven years as an lfc fan,lfc has won most of thier trophies trough the dedication of gud player. I think he should welcome Wel experience,young and skillful players like Quaresma,kun Aguero and marco Marine who stil have a lot to prove. They are nt just gud but will fit into the team very wel. Gud luck king.

  18. what a load of shite i’ve been hearing on the radio this morn, city bad tactics, city no passion, city weren’t trying etc etc etc they were beaten by a well drilled hard working and attacking team with a bite up front. this was helped by kennys tactics as previously mentioned swapping carrol an suarez etc. we dont get the credit but who cares, i dont need the so called experts to tell me when the reds are playin well, twats.

    i was so proud to be a red watching jay spearing and lucas fighting for every ball and delighted for young john flanagan who had a very steady game. i hope carrol goes on to terrorise defences for years to come, him an suarez are awesome. mireles seems to be a class act too, (or mirelesh as the annoying twats of commentators seem to always call him, attempting to sound continental) a fit stevie g an a few key new faces in the summer an we should have a good season next year.


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