Essentially clinical!

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Some might have wondered where the old fart that usually writes to lambast the Reds when they fall short of expectations might be hiding. Well here he is, ready to give credit where this is due and critique the shortcomings making sure everyone is kept on a tight leash.

On a day when the Reds were inferior in all the statistics were they usually reign supreme, be it possession, passing, tackles ecc, ecc, they came out on tops in the only statistic that really matters: they scored one more than Chelsea, got the three points and a morale boosting, confidence solidifying and ego friendly win at Stamford Bridge. We are still a bit way-off consistency, but we certainly were cynical and why not!

I tend to often quote the words ‘bold and brave’ and my first impression was that Kenny & Co wanted to try something different. Now allow me to make some considerations on what I saw:
• In an initial 4-4-2, Suarez and Bellamy worked tirelessly to continually harass the Chelsea back four and keep them on edge. A very generous display yet again from the feisty Welshman (would be pointless making that remark for Suarez as he was his usually unconditional self).
• Lucas and Adam had a solid game in midfield, and while the Brazilian was partially conditioned with an early yellow, the scot showed a glimpse of what is expected of him and was pivotal in both goals, and showed Ramirez on one or two occasions that he meant business.
• Maxi! We had been asking why the argentine has been left in ‘neglect’ warming the bench. Kenny’s ‘gamble’ paid off, big-time. Suffice to say he has not lost his urge to put it in the back of the net has he?
• Kuyt put in his usual selfless shift but I felt he gave the ball away on too many occasions and his passing was essentially poor.
• Captain Pepe saved our game with that stupendous save just after their equalizer which could have killed us off.
• I don’t want to sound harsh because I really adore the guy, but did anyone notice Carra’s absence?

Summed up in a paragraph, I felt the Reds had a decent and disciplined first 45 minutes were Chelsea’s superior possession never really worried us bar that Drogba free-kick. Our goals were two exceptionally executed gems and while the first rewarded the Reds’ asphyxiating pressing in the first half which caught the Chelsea back four in possession and napping at the same time, the second was an inch perfect long range pass from Adam, enabling Glen Johnson to display sublime technique in mastering the ball on the run, to leave Ashley Cole for dead, and to finish with the consummate ease of a seasoned striker! We struggled in the first phase of the second half when AVB took off an evanescent (and highly overrated) Obi Mikel bringing on Sturridge and placing Ramirez in front of the back four. AVB’s plan initially worked as the Reds were pinned back and the young forward found the net and brought back Chelsea on level terms. The introduction of ex-Reds Torres and Mereiles went almost unnoticed while our Downing for Bellamy and Carroll for Suarez swaps seemed purely academic.

So why do we win at the Emirates and at the Bridge and draw at home to Norwich and Swansea while Arsenal and Man Utd both record victories away to them? Is it ‘newcomers’ syndrome’? Do we take ‘lesser’ opposition for granted? Consistency is key! Being bold and brave is imperative, but being cynical and clinical does not hurt, does it?

It’s baffling why we grind out results against top opposition to then come down crashing against teams we really should be dominating. While we drew at home with Norwich and Swansea, both Arsenal and Man Utd got three points away to the same teams! Consistency is key! Being bold and brave is imperative. Being cynical and clinical would not hurt either. We are still in the mix and we do have the right ingredients: we just need the right recipe week in week out!


  1. Very fair article Tonio. I enjoyed the read. Being more clinical is the key. This performance showed me my doubts that we can make the top four are unwarranted.

  2. I was beginning to wonder where those articles about the victory were? It was a great team performance! I am so happy for their win and i hope they play well against Man C…

    1. While I welcome with joy a victory over Chelsea especiallty at Stamford Bridge we must not forget that the Blues have now lost 3 out of their last 4 games, so we can say that they are going through a dip in form which we made the most of cynically and rightfully. Man City are on a high and will most certainly be a different proposition. We played much better at home against Man Utd than we did last weekend at Chelsea, and it is that kind of performance that may give us the chance to pull off another great result and propel ourselves further up the table! Remember: consistency is key!

  3. KK will have them all reflecting on where we are and where we could have been and this will hold them in good stead for the rest of the campaign. Title talk was probably too optimistic but top 4 is very attainable. We are becoming a force again after a poor few years and have good times approaching.
    Spurs look very good and may well finish above manure but city’s slickers have too much ammo. A win on Sunday may just set them back though.
    On the balance of things and given our cadres dropped points, 4th would be a very good outcome.

    1. I honestly think that a top four finish is the priority, but this supplemented with a Cup win would be an astonishing achievement given where we’ve come from in such a short time.

  4. Good read Tonio – agree with most of your points. I’d like to comment on the conclusion though – while I think we’ve had this “small man” syndrome for many a year now, and usually always turn up against the big boys, this year I feel we’ve done everything except score in most of those games. Performances have been great and we’ve carved out loads of chances without putting them away, which is different to not playing well or deserving to win.

    Fingers crossed this “luck” will even itself out and as Kenny has been saying, one of these days we’ll batter someone!

  5. nice article yet again..the problem has been we have taken lesser teams for granted and underestimated them believing the high price tags on our new players would always do the damage but reverse is the case imagining we have been starting these matches with the likes of Bellamy,Maxi only God knows where would have been..Morese playing players out of position hasnt been helpful nor dropping experienced and clinical scorers for new comers had been another contibution to the negative results we have been getting against lesser teams.I dont think KK knows his best 11 yet but the player selection against chelsea should have given KK a better understanding of his best eleven.Stewart downing is a pacy left winger but his finishing on the left wing has been porous maybe he would do better on the right wing afterall it was right wing he played for villa many times last season where he received the plaudits and praise maybe he could do that for us remains to be seen..With Bellamy vying for the left position or centre forward which has yieled results and Maxi playing as well on the left position did yield rewards considering Downing had played much more times on the left than Bellamy and Maxi but they have both scored before him(Downing)…we cant allow inteligent players like Maxi and Bellamy be second best to players of high price tags in Carroll,henderson and Downing..The trio high price tagged players do have their strengths and abilities but they should be watching senior players in Bellamy and Maxi play perharps behind them in pecking order….

  6. I think Hendo is showing good signs though and is best played in the middle. Bellers is too good to leave out. I think that kuyt is at the most risk of dropping to the bench, graft but poor control and loose passing letting him down.
    Maxi is a good impact player to have and needs game time to get match fit.
    Top 4 would be ace, league cup as well would top it off. It’s Great having a strong bench.
    My bug bear is that KK needs to use his subs a bit quicker sometimes. Imo.

    1. Your comment with regards to tinkering too much before bringing on the subs is justified, and I have reiterated this on several occasions. Our oppositions seems to take the first step at changing the games most and we take our time to take countermeasures. One area were we need to become definitely more proactive.

  7. I believe that if we can beat Man City that will give us so much confidence now that we will go on a massive run. I also wonder if Kenny and Damien will buy anybody in January, as IMHO I don’t think we need anybody.

    1. I suggest we take it one game at a time and avoid getting carried away. There will definitely be some business in the coming transfer market for the Reds!

  8. Honestly, it was a deserved win. This is how to introduce players into a game most esp as some have performd below expectatn. They must earn their way to starting eleven. Merit first and more wins ahead.

  9. Smaller teams park the bus, we can’t break them down, they grow in confidence and try and hit us on the counter. Unfortunately, at the moment we are mostly a counter-attacking side ourselves, so when we try to attack at Anfield, we don’t do so well.

  10. Everytime Hendo comes in as a sub, he plays exceptionally well. I think, at this moment, he would be a great impact player. Putting him in the starting line up seems to be putting him in too much pressure to perform well. Maybe this is the best way to utilize and develop his talents at the moment. next season, he may well be reaching his undoubted potential. YNWA!

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