The Good, the Bad and the not so Ugly!

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Let’s just say it was not exactly the start we were all expecting. Let’s also say that when taking everything into consideration there might be some justifications, but it’s still not what we were all expecting!

At the end of the 90 minutes, the bottom line and all important aspect is the result. I am sure that in the Club’s PL marching plan for this season, yesterday’s game had been marked as a three pointer, but it was not too be. The usual ‘it was just the first game’ cliché needs to be thrown out of the window because this will be a hard fought season in which teams of the caliber of LFC need to fight game by game, point by point, so it’s really not the season to be compassionate and patronizing if we really have the ambitions we have been talking and discussing about all summer.

The good thing about yesterday’s game was a positive first 45 minutes in which the Reds seemed to want to show what playing against them this season will mean. For most of the half we were on the verge of 75% possession and that possession was not passing the ball between the back four and the holding midfielders like we did in the second half! Jose Enrique’s debut confirmed why he was bought in the first place and it was only his first game. Downing was positive, giving glimpses of pace and brilliance, Adam gave in his shift and more. The movement, alertness and concentration of the team in the first half was exemplary and exhilarating.

The bad thing about yesterday’s game was perhaps the starting line-up which even commentators declared to be ‘somewhat surprising’! In hindsight perhaps Flanno’s choice at the back was a tad audacious, because when you are third in the pecking order and the two above you are injured it’s one thing, when you are third in the pecking order and the one above you is fit that’s another. I don’t think the youngster had a positive game culminating in a stroke of amnesia when Larssen found himself with acres of space that gave him the urge and chance to produce a picture goal. I am not slamming the lad by any means; I am just saying that objectively, I’d play Kelly in his place if I had to choose between the two. Henderson too looked a bit out-of-sorts on the right and I personally expected more initiative from him. We had four new faces playing, but the Sunderland had even more! Many commented about the absence of Aquilani, which now brings me to the conclusion that his inclusion in the pre-season games was merely to showcase him and entice Fiorentina and Milan into a ‘come and get him’ frenzy. Any other reason why he was not even on the subs bench?

The ugly thing about yesterday’s game was how we lost our puff in the second half, resorting to send in a flurry of long balls for Carroll to play down to his team mates that were always a few meters too far. We were so bad in the second half that we had a 70% possession stat in the first that dwindled to just 52% overall. They eventually had more scoring opportunities than us and we should all conclude and agree that Bruce’s second half counter-measures worked and that they deserved the point. As I wrote in the beginning, we will need to take the positives out of the second half performance. I really don’t know if there were any to be honest, but we must stay positive, no?

On a final note, because I am sure many of you will add this to their comments, we were unlucky not to blow them away in the first half which would have given the second a different perspective. We did not and we should now have what it takes to recover and slam opposition like Sunderland, especially at Anfield. Phil Dowd was wrong not to send Richardson off! That foul was a sending off-offence at any minute of the game and we honestly cannot have referees reasoning that such decision too early in the game will mar the result. Not looking for excuses, just stating the facts.

Arsenal at the Emirates up next!


  1. Well put!

    I do think that Henderson has to be eased into the team gradually and that Kenny has to nurture and develop him into a first team player. I think Raul and Kuyt are before him in the pecking order at the moment.

    It also seems like we’re trying to play around Carroll. Let’s rather just let him play his game and not focus too heavily on him. If we are going to mould a team around someone then it should be around Suarez. One thing I am a little afraid of is that if we keep playing like that to Carroll that Luis is going to get frustrated and tempestuous. It’s just in his competitive nature to get niggardly and I can see him getting frustrated by long balls. He thrives on the quick one 2 passes and through balls..

    Also agree on Kelly and Flanno.

    But I support all the boys nonetheless when they are on the park to the fullest! If Kenny’s there I think we should give them unwavering support!

    1. Sorry meant – “If Kenny puts them (the player) on the park we should give them our unwavering support.”

    2. I personally don’t think that if I claim it was perhaps premature and a tad ambitions to play Flanno and Hendo from the first minute means we are disputing Kenny! We are fans, we all love the Reds and we adore Kenny hands down! We need to use Carroll’s aerial ability with crosses from depth not from before our half-way line. Liverpool’s way is to build the attack not to override midfield! Andy is brilliant with his feet (especially his left foot) as much as he is with his head. The second half was extremely disappointing though…..!

      1. Sorry I didn’t mean it as an attack on your view.. I think calm reflection, even if it is negative, on the game is a great thing, which you always do..

        I was just seeing a few things on Twitter about Flanno and Carroll that weren’t calm. So I was just stating that even if I make a negative comment about a player it doesn’t mean I don’t fully support them.

        Agreed about the hoofing from halfway. In fact I agreed with all your points! Hence the “Well put!” as my opening statement..

          1. I think you just got carried away by your own over ambitioud expectations after signing 4 average players.

            Your squad is till worse than the top 5 who have finished above you in the last 2 years and you simply dont have enough star men.

            Arsenal have RVP, Wilshere and Arshavin
            Spurs have VDVaart, Modric and Bale
            Man Utd have Hernandez, Rooney and Nani
            Chelsea have Drogba, Torres and Cole
            Man City have Aguero, Silva and Tevez

            Lamps and Gerrard arent anywhere near the players they once were

            Suarez is the only top drawer player you got and you will realise that if he ever gets injured

          2. I assume your ‘you got carried away’ comments is towards all Liverpool supporters right? I don’t think your comment carries much weight though! May I remind you that from end Jan 2011 to end May 2011 the Reds were the second best performing team in the PL! That was without the ‘4 average players’ we signed and without any ‘star men’! May I also remind you that we went from being in the relegation zone to challenging for 5th and in the with 6/7 matches to go we could have even challenged for fourth had we not dropped points in games Liverpool were predicted to win.
            On a personal leve I don’t expect the Reds to challenge for the title by any means, but I do expect them to give anyone a run for their money on their day, just like did last season when the occasion came along!

          3. Jay, I am not a blind Red supporter. I think all of us that have half a brain truly know that the fight is on for 4th place.

            But let’s be honest?!

            Star men – Arshavin? Drogba? Torres? Tevez?

            Arshavin has never been a star. Torres has been horrendous. Drogba had a terrible season. Tevez doesn’t want to play for Man City. Even Aguero hasn’t proven himself yet.

            I am however optimistic that it will fall into place for Pool. I feel Kenny is building a squad of low ego’s that will be a united, loyal team, unlike a team of prima donna’s like Man City. Mancini is not man enough to handle all those ego’s. They’ve spent hundreds of millions of pounds and they still only came 3rd!

            Even Ancelotti had trouble in the dressing room with the Chelsea players moaning about there lack of time on the field. Mourinho was a genius at handling players.

            Arsenal are in a bit of trouble this season and I expect us to pip them to fourth. No doubt Spurs may give us a run for our money as well..

            Man U are way ahead – agreed. But it took Ferguson 5 or 6 seasons to build a winning squad. And he used homegrown talent, sprinkled with foreigners, like Kenny is doing now

            Let’s see how we get on in the coming season and then I am more than willing to eat humble pie. It’s only been one game!

  2. I feel we started spectacularly, as we should at home on Day 1 and although the result was ultimately disappointing the performances of Adam, Downing, Luis and even the bustle of Carroll were extremely encouraging. Especially when in the context of the days results in the League as a whole. S’land will probably be a Top 7 side and despite the even nature of the 2nd half, we were nullified not dominated. Flanno for Kelly I do not understand at all, in fact Johson for Kelly often bemuses me. So all in all a solid start but more importantly playing football the Liverpool way for 45 mins was more than most of the last 2 seasons combined. YNWA

  3. With all the optimism in the world, the facts have to be faced. Based on all the pre season performances and the one against Sunderland on Saturday, LFC is simply NOT top six material – irrespective of King Kenny being in charge.

  4. I think we all agree that there were positives in the match esp for those who tot Adam was not a good buy – the man of the match close to Suarez. But still we shd also be disappointed that we drew such a match as each point will count at the end and it is not good for morals either to have a draw at home. Flanno and Henderson shd not have started – Lucas shd have been sub coz he was not playing well at all.

  5. Would of been better having Henderson in the mid with lucas and Charlie on the right or switched him with Downing. Flanno was good a times but should of had Kelly there instead. I’ll go as far as to say that Charlie Adam should of been further up the pitch. He doesn’t belong in the centre with lucas not defensive enough and was getting frustrated with catermole lol…

    The Balance wasn’t there, I’m not tactical specialist by any means but a realistic supporter.

    1. Reason for Kelly instead of Flanno he is faster we would of had pace from both sides going forward and had Henderson as a box to box midfielder well Lucas did the enforcing although could of had spearing on cos Lucas had rough patches.

      1. well spot on maybe adam should have played on the left as he did in preseason or switch him to right during the course of the game but i doubt if he can thrive in the right position.

  6. Wrong choice of tactics in the second half. Refree get it all wrong. Kieran foul was definitely a red card offence. Result will definitely be difference against a 10 poor man of Sunderland. Caroll goal should have stood. He barely touch Ainton Ferdindand. Too bad cracking thunder of Downing after a maxing run hit the crossbar. Very poor positioning and marking by young Flanagan. Kelly should have played. LFC definitely need a out and out right winger such as Marko of. W Bremen. Henderson was crap on RM and Caroll is not a 35 million striker

  7. Two things i noticed. 1. The thing with kelly and flanno. 2. When raul was substituted on, Kenny played raul on the left, kuyt on the right and downing in the middle. At one point, just once came downing out to the left, made a cross in and that was perhaps one of the best chances of the second half. I think it would be better if downing and raul would have switched places since we created nothing with downing in the middle behind carroll.

  8. I too agree that Flanno’s inclusion was rather bold.

    I thought that when I saw that starting XI. My feelings were confirmed throughout the match. Larssen’s goal was the most glaring example; however, throughout the match he was getting exposed time and time again. I think the lad has a bright future. That being said, he is not quite there yet.

    I actually was not as bothered by the inclusion of Henderson. Yes, he did not have a great match. Nonetheless, he did not have a shocker either.

    As for Aquilani, where exactly would Kenny have played him yesterday? Liverpool is stacked in central midfield and it is not like Kenny brought on a pauper off the bench in the second-half. Meireles is pure quality. The way we have things set up in our midfield, we should expect to see some quality players not even make the bench on some match days since Liverpool still needs to have a keeper, defenders and at least one striker on the substitutes bench.

    All in all, while it was not the greatest start to the season, I am sure things will be sorted soon enough.

  9. Flanno is a good lad, bt i think KK got it wrong on starting him instead of Kelly. Maybe it only takes doctors to understand why?
    Im gutted, frustrated, Bitter and angry.
    Bt we could win at Arsenal, no Gervinho, no Cesc, No Nasri, possibly no Song, plus champions league pressure.
    We should win.

  10. Sorry lads but 41 million for Carrol (injury prone)
    and Jose is a joke. NUFC are going to buy Dutch international left back from PSV for 6 million so why dose LFC buy an uncapped player? Henderson for 20 million ha ha another joke and Adam is a carthorse lucky to finish in the top half!

    1. ‘Jose is a joke’ is a veru audacious comment to make. Enrique does not play for Spain for the same reason Reina doesn’t, because there is someone a tad better than him. He is a solid defender with speed and only played his first game. Stg 6 million is a steal. Hendo for 20 million I agree a tad risky but Adam a solid player. You are either bitter or you are not a Red fan. Sorry!

  11. Three reasons why we lost two points on what ought to have been a morale booster game. 1. Starting Flannagan instead of Kelly. Was the weak link in defence leading to sunderland goal. 2. Suarez taking the penalty knowing well Adam a damn good penalty taker. Game would have ended 2-1. And 3. Not starting Aquilani. Why he wasn’t on the squad is something we’ll never know. He would have made the difference as we struggled to find the winner. Next up Arsenal. Better hit the ground running with better team selection.The season has began man!

    1. Where exactly would you have played Aquilani?

      You’re not going to swap Aquilani for Lucas because one, Lucas was our best player last season. Two, they play completely different roles.

      Would you have swapped him out for Adam even though Adam played really well before fading at the tail end of the second half?

      Would you swap him for Suarez who played in support of Carroll?

      You would not swap him for Downing because not only did Downing play well yesterday, but, he plays out wide.

      The only midfielder you could have possibly swapped him for was Jordan Henderson. The problem with that though is that Jordan Henderson played on the right. Aquilani does not play on the right.

      As for Aquilani not being on the bench, I am sorry but, how is it a crime to have Meireles come on instead of him?

      1. I would have player Aquilani just behind Suarez in place of Carroll!!! Aquilani may be off to AC Milan this week!

  12. Downimg should stick to putting in quality delivery to carroll; not pumping balls from deep, kenny needs a proper right winger; marc albrighton will do, always play meireles in the middle; his forward runs will win us free kicks at the very leadt + his sense of timing will enable him pounce on cut backs and loose balls from the wings, carroll should remain in the opposition box; his job is to score and not link up play, kelly should always sytart ahead of flannagan, sell cole, ngog, poulsen, kygriakos, ayala, el zhar, insua; buy albrighton, cahill, damiao + henderson has an assuredness on the ball best utilized in the middle, not on the wings!

  13. Marko Marin has already snubbed Liverpool F.C
    This is the squad we have and this is the squad that will win silverware this year.
    Please note, there are a minimum of 39 more games to be played. The way they started the match, I was not sure who’s gonna score. The attacking intent of Suarez, Carroll, Downing and Adam was there for everyone to see.

  14. Reason for not winning!

    I agree with the opinion of others on hers about Flanagan starting ahead of Kelly. However I rate the boy very highly and we’ve got to look at the bigger picture! Kelly is a centre half playing right back while Flanagan is a true right back. The experience that Flanagan got yesterday will stand him in good stead for the future. He’s a real quality player and at 18, playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world marks him out as a future superstar and regular international for years to come. Like I said look at the bigger picture he is Glen Johnson’s understudy and heir apparent.

    I think people need to deal with that fact that Aquilani done well in the games against none British opposition and is better suited to the European game! He has quality but Liverpool need to return to a British identity, which we have done. Everyone works, no passengers! Aquilani needs to be sold period. Can anybody see Aquilani playing against the Stokes and Bolton’s of the world?

    The first half yesterday we played a brand of quite fantastic 2 touch, high tempo, attacking football. However we tired in the second half. The none call by Phil Dowd played its part (it was a sending off and he tried to be too clever). That would have put Sunderland down to 10 men and made the possibility of scoring 2 goals a lot easier! Lets not kid ourselves. If Liverpool would have score a second goal they would have relaxed and the football would have been more fluid in the second half. If Dowd makes that call would we be analysing the performance as much as we are? That call, or should I say non-call is directly responsible for LFC not winning. Suarez and Lucas hardly played with the other players. Enrique never played with the players before. Add this to Adam, Downing and Henderson (first game against old club – the club he supported) playing in their home débuts and you can see, we may have been asking for too much.

    The first 3-4 games though important are a bedding in period. However I’ve seen enough in the first half to be confident enough to make the assumption that we’ll do better than a lot of Journalist and pundits think this season.

    1. Agree with most of your considerations, but I dare say the PL is not a place to experiment and whether is a CB or a RFB Kelly, for now, is a better option. You do not recover points lost! Aquilani expressed his wish long ago to play in Italy and Dalglish put him on show during pre-season for the purpose of attracting buyers! The money we get from his sale will go to purchase another CB, probably Dann!

  15. As for Aquilani, we could have played Adam on the left, Downing on the right, with Alberto in the middle with Lucas. Do I see him playing against a Stoke? No. But against stubborn defenses, or a soft Arsenal side? Absolutely.

  16. Stevie still makes it tick. Aquaman I believe has much to offer the Reds if and when he’s given the chance. Kuyt should have started. More stable when he came on. Should play the team that ended last season That had lucas, raul and even maxi and fill up with Jordan and Charlie to change the game. That long ball stuff just proves that they need time to be integrated into the setup. The first half showed what they’re capable of and bodes well for us. Kenny knows what he’s doing and needs to do. He kept Flanno on so as not to shake his confidence. Painful with the end result but necessary just the same. Enrique had a solid game and our left suddenly seems settled. Come on Reds. We’re behind you always regardless.

  17. Simply put, yesterday was embarrassing. I am not quite sure of Jordan Henderson’s role, but he needs to figure it out soon. No more “taking the positives,” these are professional footballer’s being paid a lot of money. We played like sh*t yesterday. Adam and Downing were the best of the new boys, but faded with the rest of team in the second half. Suarez and Carroll had bright spots, but again not the deadly attacking, cohesive unit I wanted to see. I thought the summer signings, including Enrique, were going to bring some wide options. Other than Downing, it seemed like the same Liverpool to me. Which is say, through the middle to attack. I know Enrique was just signed, but I expected him to get to the by-line and put crosses in. Watch the replay of the game and you’ll see Enrique signaling for the ball, only to be ignored by Agger who chose to got through the middle instead. Same for Downing, he had that gorgeous run with his shot hitting the crossbar, but he didn’t get to the by-line and get crosses in as much I thought he would. And yes, Flanno had no business being in the squad. I am happy that Melwood is turning out promising talent, but Kelly is better and he makes runs down the right flank.

    I know it’s the first match of the season and blah, blah, blah. Sorry Kenny, yesterday was not good enough by a long shot. No I am not all doom and gloom, but it’s not going to get any easier from now on, and yesterday was a golden opportunity to get off on the right foot. You want a top four finish? Dropping two points to Steve Bruce’s fat head is not the way to do it.

  18. i dont think you should leave my best ever player dirk kuyt out on the bench again, coz u should be playing my dirk kuyt not leaving him out coz no wonder we didnt win yestersday

  19. Lfc’s squad excluding rubbish like Cole,Poulsen and Ngog consists of 24 outfield players. These 24 consist of 11 defenders,11 midfielders and 2 strikers. That is a ridiculous makeup for a squad with aspirations of a title shot or at the very least top 4 this season. Carroll should only be used as a sub in most games. The 3 behind Suarez should be Downing on the left,Johnson (if he ever gets fit again) on the right. In the middle of the 3 should be either Adam,Meireles,Kuyt,Gerrard or Aquilani. It is time Agger was moved into central midfield, their is so little goalpower in the team and squad that with his ferocious shooting and excellent passing he should play alongside Lucas in central midfield. Flanagan made a bad mistake yesterday but those who are crucifying him should remember the many mistakes that the likes of Carragher and Johnson have made in their LFC careers that have led to goals being conceded. Fans always seem to have a double standard in this situation, they prefer to criticize the kid but leave the established player off. The failure to take 3 points yesterday was nothing short of disastrous. LFC will lose at the Emirates but even a draw would be a poor result after yesterday’s screwup. The fitness levels for the players are alarmingly bad, Kevin Keen should have never have been given a job on the coaching staff, he is clearly out of his depth. Look at United’s fitness levels compared to LFC.

  20. no need to sell Aquilani we need stars in depth especially with Gerrad out injured.Henderson belongs to the middle maybe the gaffer could change him to right in the second half for change of tactics as he has good delivery of balls into the box but he is not a winger.would have prefered Kuyt on the right and he would have taken the penalty but i understand the fact that Kk wanted to give all the new boys home debut except the new keeper.flanno shouldnt have been played Kelly is much more outstanding in that position he’s grown and adapted well in that position but i fear he might sustain injury.i was impressed with carrol as he played very well with nice quick one two’s and won so many balls in the air.i would still like to see Aquilani in the hole thats he’s best position very good at taking shots and very good with intelligent throuugh passes as we struggled in the final third

  21. I personally would have Suarez-Kuyt partnership. They had a very good understanding last season resulting in goals (LFC 3 – 1 scums last season comes to mind) when Carroll was out injured. Anyway, Kuyt’s best position is centre-forward, not on the right wing. Where would Carroll fit in? Well depends on tactics and the type of opponents faced. Carroll doesn’t have to be playing in the first eleven week in week out. Maybe as an impact player. He could even play in the hole, just behind the two centre-forwards, if just to head the crosses onto the two forwards path, or, heading the ball straight to the net. He does possess a lethal left foot you know. In this case, the formation will be 3-5-2 with GK : Pepe RB : Kelly CB : Agger LB : Enrique DM : Lucas CM : Adam LW : Downing Hole : Carroll RW : Johnson (Yup, you read right, I think he’s a better attacker than a defender) CFs : Suarez – Kuyt. Could this work? Thoughts

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