17 Aug 2014

'Not the best': Evans, Aldo et al on 'ugly' 2-1 win. Plus, surprising stats reveal LFC's top performer

SAS is dead. Long live SAS! Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling secured a valuable three points for Liverpool at Anfield today, but the performance left a lot to be desired, and doesn't bode well for the tougher challenges to come.

Post-match reaction:

Raheem Sterling

"Great team win today. Happy to get season off with 3 points!"

David Fairclough

"Not the best performance today but the main thing is to get the points on the first day so credit the Reds for getting us back in front"

Roy Evans

"Showed good determination to get three points but hope there are better days to come when the team gels and becomes fluent and gets a high tempo"

Jose Enrique

"Good 3 points to start the season. Congratulations to my friend Javier Manquillo for his debut"

Daniel Sturridge

"Teamwork always makes the dream work. Great 3 points. Dug in deep and got the result in the end. I'm a happy fella!"

John Aldridge

"2-1. Ugly win, but I'll take it all day long".

Michael Owen

"Liverpool not at their best but a big 3 points. Mignolet great save late on. The new SAS both on target"

Gary Gillespie

"Not all about performance but getting 3 points. Job done will need to get better but think they will"

Gary Lineker

"Natural born goalscorer is Daniel Sturridge. Can't be taught. He just gets it!"

* Henderson delivered an absolute wonder-pass to create the first goal, but apart from that, he didn't really impact the game. Only two chances created all game, one of which was for the goal. Ditto Gerrard. A few sublime passes, but overall, the midfield unit didn't dominate the centre of the pitch.

* Coutinho struggled to get into the game, but he was basically man-marked for the whole 90 minutes. Very few players will thrive under those circumstances, and I doubt Lallana or Markovic would've fared any better. Like Henderson, the Brazilian created two chances, but he gets slated, whilst Henderson - who wasn't man-marked - gets the plaudits.

* Lucas failed to make a single successful tackle in the entire game, which is unusual for a defensive midfielder. If he's not effectively breaking up play, then what exactly is his role in the team? Still, the fewer tackles he makes, the fewer stupid fouls he'll concede (!) Partially at fault for the goal, but Glen Johnson also failed to track the run.

* Collectively, the midfield three of Gerrard, Lucas, and Henderson managed a paltry 33% tackle success rate, and managed only 4 interceptions, and 3 blocks between them, which is pretty poor, and shows the lack of dominance in midfield.

* Joe Allen didn't fare much better: Defensively, he contributed zero tackles, no interceptions or clearances, and only one solitary block. Yes, he brought an injection of 'energy', but that's normal when everyone else on the pitch has been playing for 70+ minutes.

* Great Prem debut from Lovren. 96% passing accuracy (the highest in the team) and some of his cross-field balls were Gerrard-esque at times. Skrtel also achieved 90% passing accuracy, and together, they put in some solid defensive work. A stable central defensive partnership is essential this season, and Rodgers should stick with Skrtel/Lovren as much as possible.

* Good debut from Manquillo, too, and the stats show that defensively, he put most of LFC's players in the shade. 5 blocks, 9 tackles (33% success rate); 8 clearances; 4 interceptions; 67% aerial duel success; compare that to Glen Johnson, who didn't put in a single tackle, and managed only 1 interception, 3 clearances, and 0 blocks. Add in 87% passing accuracy, and Manquillo was one of the most effective players on pitch.

* Some great saves from Mignolet, but his distribution continues to be an issue.

The first game of the season is never really a reliable indicator of what's to come, and the priority is simply to start as you mean to go on, and Liverpool certainly did that. Three points in the bag is all that matters, and there's plenty of time to iron out ongoing performance issues.

That said, I'm a little nervous about the Spurs and Man City games; both clubs have much better attacking players than Southampton, and if they get as much space as the Saints did today, the Reds will get punished.



  1. Nevergonnacrackthecode9:33 pm, August 17, 2014

    A good win , i agree lucas and gerrard should never start together , no mobility at all
    coutinho and sterling will have to adapt to extra attention now suarez is gone
    finally henderson is a beast , that pass was something pirlo would be proud of and i would say he is our most important player alongside sturridge and sterling.

  2. First game of the season, the 3 points is what matters to me. We weren't great but got the win, isn't that what 'top teams' do?
    Manquillo looked good, as did Lovren. Wanyama had a good game and completely silenced Coutinho.
    Pretty much agree with everything you said really.

  3. Nevergonnacrackthecode9:36 pm, August 17, 2014

    I think the three players that liverpool desperately need to keep fit if they are to ahve a good season:

    sturridge -our goalscorer

    sterling- are marquee player the one that excites everyone

    henderson- the heart of our team ,

    everyone else can arguably be replaced by a decent alternative apart from maybe mignolet

  4. You love your stats then point out how they can be completely distorted if a player is manned marked.

    Oh and if Henderson gives an assist every game that will do for me

  5. "That said, I'm a little nervous about the Spurs and Man City games; both clubs have much better attacking players than Southampton, and if they get as much space as the Saints did today, the Reds will get punished."


  6. I did not 'point out' that stats are distorted if a player is man-marked, and god knows where you got that from. Please do not twist my words.

  7. Nevergonnacrackthecode9:47 pm, August 17, 2014

    we conceded 3 vs swansea , 3 vs stoke, 2 vs nowrich , 2 vs fullham

    none vs arsenal at home , none vs everton at home , none vs spurs home and away , none vs man utd h and a

    i think it is different for every opponent

  8. We're a different (poorer) team without Suarez, Southampton came to Anfield today and arrive back home tonight wondering how they haven't got 3 points.

  9. Nevergonnacrackthecode9:49 pm, August 17, 2014

    The falcao roumour is scary
    apparently he is our op target and will cost 22m for a loan move
    what if he suffers a injury like ross barkley

    that is too much of a risk
    would rather have bony on a permanent transfer

    bony and schniderlin and we are good to go

  10. Nevergonnacrackthecode9:51 pm, August 17, 2014

    i think suarez leaving will allow sturridge and sterling to flourish
    like when ronaldinho and eto left messi went to a completely different level or ronaldo when ruud van nisteroy left man utd

  11. Let's hope so, but as far a today goes we've robbed 3 points.

    Here's to 37 more robberies.

  12. Nevergonnacrackthecode9:53 pm, August 17, 2014

    i would not worry
    today was a rodgers error starting lucas

    he famously make most of his biggest errors vs southampton

    4 cbs vs southampton or starting a allen with no shoulders and playing only 2 cms

  13. Nevergonnacrackthecode9:54 pm, August 17, 2014

    i am still praying reus joins

    join me foullani

  14. We certainly need someone. If you swapped Wanyama and Schneiderlin for Gerrard and Lucas today and I think it's a comfortable game for us.

  15. Interesting formation today, I was surprised to see it. I think it can be effective for us, but one drawback is that Henderson wasn't as effective on the right of the '3' as he is in his box to box workhorse role of last year, I wonder if it's a formation we'll use throughout. Regarding Joe Allen...not much of a surprise that he didn't contribute defensively, he played further up the pitch and Coutinho dropped deeper. I thought he did fine, but I prefer his industry deeper.

    Definitely wasn't thrilled to see Lucas starting, and he didn't play great, but I have to disagree about the goal, that wasn't his fault - it was Skrtel's and Johnson's. We saw Clyne bust through on a Tadic pass later and Skrtel and Johnson did very very well to get a block in...that's exactly what should've happened the first time. Johnson was at fault for being lazy and losing his man, and Skrtel was at fault for poor positioning. Lovren & Skrtel, like all CB pairings, are supposed to be keeping a certain distance apart and moving together when the other team has the ball. Lovren came over to get on Tadic (and held him up well, very tough to anticipate and block that little pass) and Skrtel got caught ball watching out of position, and couldn't get over in time. Near the end when Mignolet made that incredible save from Schneiderlin, Skrtel was again at fault for letting the ball hit the ground and allowing a clear shot on goal...I just watched that replay again and it was really embarrassing on his part, not only did he completely miss the header but he moved himself from goalside to the other side, completely out of position. I personally like Skrtel, I think he's aggressive and talented, but he makes too many mistakes..I'd much rather see Sakho in with Lovren. I wonder if Rodgers is accommodating Lovren's preference to be on the left, if Sakho has a knock, or Skrtel is just outperforming Sakho in training, would be interesting to know.

    More of the same from Manquillo, I thought he was fantastic. Seeing him in that role really brings home to me how bad Glen Johnson has been, very excited about that acquisition and hope Moreno does similarly well. Mignolet was really freakin good as well...the Schneiderlin save particularly, but also the one from Davis (or Davies? when Ward-Prowse squared it). Saved us 2 points, no doubt about it.

    I'm not particularly worried about the Man City & Tottenham games...every team will take time to peak and get up to speed, we've seen sub par performances from all the big boys this weekend so far. I think, on the road, 4 points from those games would be great, and I expect us to get them. Hopefully Markovic is back for next week and Lallana gets back quickly. And I'll add, very pleased with Lovren's performance and the fact that we signed him. I think he'll be the most influential of all our buys.

  16. I personally think Gerrard was quite weak today Lucas should be in his position with Henderson and Can in front and Gerrard should come as a sub... Teams are not gonna give him space or time to be that deep playmaker Aston villa sussed it last season.... Keep Lucas as back up for his position sell toure Coates send llori on loan and nobody is mentioning Marco Reis for 20 mill he's a bargain.....

  17. Had a chat with God and you're right he does know

    I thought you were saying that the fact that Coutinho was man marked affected his contribution and by definition his stats. I don't disagree with that which is anotherrason i don't believe in

  18. When you made an excuse for countinho being man marked the whole game it seemed that way to me too...

  19. Well, you'd be wrong too, then. And it's not an excuse, it's a fact: Southampton paid special attention to Coutinho.

  20. Henderson started on the right Jamie

  21. Nevergonnacrackthecode10:03 pm, August 17, 2014

    makes sense
    koeman watched coutinho vs bourissa
    in that game he single handily destroyed a team
    that would win the german cup two days later

  22. lucas was shocking today emre can should drive him to the plane and wave goodbye

  23. First game of a new season so Liverpool will get better of course, especially with Lallana and Markivic back, Moreno in Johnson out and hopefully another striker coming in. All the top attacking players Arsenal have and they didn't look any better yesterday.

  24. Maybe Coutinho will be better against City, they probably think they're too good to have to man-mark him.

  25. Nevergonnacrackthecode10:08 pm, August 17, 2014

    allen has to play that day he is always good vs yaya toure

  26. B Rodgers needs to bring in a Mobile Tough Tackling DM with a bit of pace to him to centre of park as S Gerrard(34) and L Leiva(27) are STATIC.

    B Rodgers should offer Tottenham £6-£9M for E Capoue(26) and when fully fit and injury free we will have an awesome Mobile DM protecting our back four.

  27. Does anyone think City vs Liverpool next week will turn out similar to United vs Chelsea at old trafford last season the one where Mourinho was afraid to attack

  28. Nevergonnacrackthecode10:13 pm, August 17, 2014

    coca-cola can should drive the plane

  29. Can, we have Can.

  30. Nevergonnacrackthecode10:14 pm, August 17, 2014

    morgan schniderlin is better then capoue does not have injury problems and will settle easily with lovren just behind him and lallana in front

  31. we certainly need to see more of him

  32. I would start with the diamond gerrard henderson can and sterling.

  33. I think your being a tad harsh on Henderson. He was pretty vital the whole game just pressing and closing down/ always on hand to double team the saints attackers. We'd have been much worse without him. Allen was great too imo. Didnt do much defensively but I think he always just seems to change the game to his pace; which was so important at the stage he came on.

    Lucas and Johnson were exceptionally poor. Up until Lucas came off it was like we were a man down. Completely and continuously over-run in the midfield. I always felt loyal to Lucas but after today ... I think he should be off if we can find an adequate replacement. Not sure why Can didn't start but I think he might have a niggle or something. Probably will play next week. Though I think Allen is a better shout.

    As for John Glenson ... hopefully he will be playing at QPR before the window closes!! *crosses fingers*

  34. They signed Isla and play 3-5-2

  35. In my view, when Liverpool play at home, more should be expected of the team's so-called key players.

  36. Maybe Can didn't start because Rodgers is afraid of throwing 3 or 4 new players at once, something Spurs did last season with 6 or 7 players

  37. Nevergonnacrackthecode10:21 pm, August 17, 2014

    you should have done 'key players' like this after so called

  38. Nevergonnacrackthecode10:21 pm, August 17, 2014

    integration is what we need

  39. But all at once?

  40. Nevergonnacrackthecode10:22 pm, August 17, 2014

    no i was agreeing with you
    get them in slowly

  41. That ... would be taking the piss...

  42. yeah I agree. But we dont really know who those key players are yet. Gerrard looked a little off. Sturridge was outnumbered till Lambert came on. And Coutinho was marked out of the game. Shame.

    Really could have done with Lallana and Moreno today. Still, I'm just glad to see us win. Even if it was disgustingly dirty lol

  43. Nevergonnacrackthecode10:23 pm, August 17, 2014

    soutampton would probably prefer to sell to us rather then europa league rivals spurs

  44. No protection for the defense Johnson is woeful and to think that cheeky sod is holding out for a top contract!. Lucas a great servant to liverpool looks past it. Thankfully we have better players who can replace them.

    The only surprise is why Rodgers started them. There are positives to take forward though, The team even when things arnt going right still have that derire to win and it is that alone that got us the 3 points today.

    Dare I say it, thats the stuff of champions.

  45. I get to that point when I think one extra drink won't make any difference and it always does :-)

  46. Bear in mind that this is slightly distorted because we switched to the diamond after 70 minutes

  47. Nevergonnacrackthecode10:26 pm, August 17, 2014

    dogs don't drink alcohol

  48. Well thats a real shame. Spurs should buy him then. Or Saints! Bout time they took one back. I'll take ... us paying them 2 million just so I dont have to see him when Liverpool play...

  49. Nevergonnacrackthecode10:28 pm, August 17, 2014

    why dont we just pay ff his wages like with j cole and aqualani

  50. And they say I'm barking!

  51. Surely Lucas has played his last game for Liverpool and Johnson is a bench warmer at best. Gerrard may be more effective from the bench playing in an advanced position, he still has the power and pass to play the last 30 minutes and be a menace to the opposition. But his days in the engine room are surely over now and Henderson must pick up his mantle.
    Mignolet might be a better shot stopper than Reina but his distribution was far superior, Mignolet should watch a few of his DVD's if he wants to improve. Really pleased that Sterling continues his impressive progress and that Manquillo didn't look too phased making his league debut. With two dynamic mobile midfielders waiting in the wings and hopefully a quality striker waiting to be signed I am very optimistic even after just one game.

  52. ...because then he'd win.

  53. So basically Lucas replaced Suarez today. BR changed the system, added another holding midfielder and yet our midfield was second best until the very moment Allen was brought on for Lucas. Hopefully BR will revert to four attacking players once Markovic or Lallana (or the new striker) are available.

    RB will be a problem this year. Johnson is way past it, Flanagan offers very little going forward and Manquillo's positioning is criminal at times. Hope he learns quickly ... seems to have a lot of energy though.

    In Lovren we finally have a CB with a certain degree of composure. Here is hoping that he will make everybody around him better by organizing the back four.

  54. Mate use capital letters for the good of English.

  55. You are a massive fan of Capoue

  56. Big three points and that's what matters most. Think we can and will play much better than today. Agree with most of your points, Lucas and Gerrard should never play together as they are both so slow these days. As much as we need a new striker I really am starting to think we need another top CM. We need to sell Lucas and bring someone else in asap.

  57. Manquillo is a bad ass

  58. Couthino should be expecting this and he needs to raise his game to beat that. Every great payer gets man marked at times. This has been his lows, he fizzle out when things get really tough. Nobody blaming him, Hendo did what Hendo does. Their jobs on the field are different. Gerrard needs to be moved foward for games like this. Lucas and Glen are worrysome. Allen did very well no need to give reasons why, 70 minutes or not. A striker is needed!!

  59. Got destroyed in midfield today, Ward-Prowse was in acres everytime he got the ball behind Gerrard. I think Allen should start instead of Lucas or Gerrard, more energy and hes good at passing forward. We played lucas, hendo and allen at white heart lane last season and destroyed tottenham, our pressing was relentless.

  60. Those two could get injured like Ross Barkley too. We are CL team you need big players to survive what's coming.

  61. So is Couthino regardless of been man marked or not. That's what is expected from so called key players.

  62. Just watched Mancity game on motd. Liverpool should've really tried to sign Feranado. What a players he is, running his socks of making plenty crucial blocks. With him and Henderson in front of Gerrard that could've been the best mid in PL. City looked very strong aswell, hopefully Chelsea don't produce the same. Are they any similar players like Fernando? One I can think of is Fernandinio.

  63. Nevergonnacrackthecode11:29 pm, August 17, 2014

    schniderlin at lfc

  64. If Liverpool do get him they might aswell get wanyama as he can play in that role too. And maybe Clyne and Ward Prowse. Then they should buy Southampton's stadium and use that for training sessions.

  65. We controlled the game until we scored the goal.

    Then the tactics changed because for some reason we decided to sit back instead of continue to attack. There wasn't even a counter attack. When you invite pressure, you're bound to get it and bad things happen.

    And amazingly enough when we change our tactics to become more attack, we created chances.

    What a novel idea!

  66. Good article Jaimie, pretty much summed it up.
    I thought Lovren was excellent today and agree that Skrtel/Lovren is our strongest pairing. I thought Johnson was abysmal again today and if Moreno is better than terrible, he shouldn't have any problem making that LB slot his own. Really don't think Rodgers fancies Enrique.
    Manquillo looks a decent player. Reminds me of Arbeloa a bit and for me it should be between him and flanno for the RB slot.
    I think we look at our best when playing the 4-4-2 diamond. Makes signing another striker all the more important

  67. Last season in the same fixture they did get the 3 points. Progress

  68. What? Where are these stats from? Have they not properly been collected yet?

  69. Agree we need a new CM but no thanks to Capoue... He was poor last season for Spurs and isn't particularly mobile himself!!!

  70. Worried about our soft & pedestrian midfield. Wanyama's physicality dominated, as did Schneiderlin's craft & award-Prouse 's endevour. Can needs to be the one to offer more steel.

  71. After the game i got the impression that we had to get Song i think he should be our number 1 priority at the moment and a striker second Lucas and Gerard were awful.

  72. As always spot on with the analysis. Main point we played poorly but WON.. yeah!!

    Migs made a fantastic save at the end, but his distribution and FLAPPING were there for all to see. On his performance today, I would bench Johnson and try Moreno, even if it is Man City next.

    Lovren was pure class - better than I expected or hoped.

    Very disappointing midfield - but hopefully only a blip. Were far better against Dortmund where we pressed high - did not see much of that against Southampton.

    For the City game I dont expect any changes to the starting 11, although I am concerned of being over run in midfield.

  73. I'd try a cheeky bid for Milner on transfer deadline day. He would team up well with Hendo.