13 Sep 2014

'It was shabby': LFC hero accuses £18m LFC star of Villa 'incompetence'. Harsh?

Liverpool are down to 8th place tonight after a poor 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa, and to be fair, the Reds didn't really deserve to win the game.

This kind of disjointed performance is, perhaps, inevitable when trying to integrate lots of new players, but despite a wealth of attacking talent on the field, Liverpool consistently failed to make a telling creative impact.

Once again, individual mistakes sabotaged the team, and Anfield legend Jimmy Case laid the blame for Villa's winning goal squarely at the feet of Mamadou Sakho. He barked:

"It was an unnecessary corner given away by Mamadou Sakho's incompetence. It is a shabby goal that has bounced off a few players and trickled into the corner. A few players went under it but there was uncertainty in the defence."

I'm not Sakho's biggest fan, but in this case, to accuse him of 'incompetence' is unfair, and given the disproportionate reaction to something so commonplace, it seems to me that Case's view may be underpinned by latent personal dislike. Players give away corners all the time; it doesn't make them incompetent.

Lovren must shoulder the lion's share of responsibility for Villa's goal. He let hacker-extraordinaire Philippe Senderos get in front of him, and that lapse led to the goal. Analysing the game, Ex-Red Jamie Redknapp was not impressed with LFC's £20m signing. He told Sky Sports:

"I can't believe it. It was poor defending from such an experienced player [Lovren]".

Some other points:

* For me, resting Sterling remains the right decision. Rodgers is entitled to expect that a team containing Balotelli, Coutinho, Henderson, Lallana, Markovic, and Gerrard is capable of scoring against Aston Villa at Anfield. The pressure shouldn't be on Sterling to rescue Liverpool; the team has to learn to win games without him, and I'm sure that will happen.

* In any event, after all the clamouring for Sterling to come in, he didn't make much of an impact. Ditto Borini and Lambert.

* Pretty poor performance from Balotelli. Very little movement, and barely threatened Villa's goal. He's still settling in, of course, but it's not like he's never experienced the Premier League before.

* Lallana was generally anonymous, too. Yes, he's just got back from injury and isn't fully match-fit, but he contributed next to nothing in the game, which is a disappointment.

* Excellent passing from Sakho throughout the game, but he still unsettles the defence (IMO). Lovren is more effective as a left-sided central defender, and perhaps that explains why he's looked a little shaky (at times) over the last couple of games. Still, mistake aside, Lovren defended well overall, as did Sakho.

* Some argue that Liverpool missed Joe Allen, but I totally disagree with that assertion. What exactly did the team miss? His goals? Assists? Chance-creation? Physical presence? Tackling? Domination of midfield? The only thing the might've been missed is his ability to press the ball, but since when did 'ability to press' become a midfielder's most important attribute? Allen rarely, if ever, effects the game (i.e. makes a telling impact on the scoreline), and it would've been the same against Villa.

There will inevitably be doom and gloom over the scoreline; it's a bad result, but it's not critical. This result mirrors the 1-0 home defeat to Southampton a year ago, and Liverpool's season didn't collapse as a result of that. Indeed, after the Saints result, the club lost three of its next nine games, but still went on to finish second in the league.

It's just teething problems whilst the raft of new players settle-in, and learn to play together. I'm not worried, and things can only get better.

Author:



75 comments:

  1. I always have a fear when sakho is in possession or we are defending a set-piece. Overall, the team was not fluid enough. But we are back in the CL. Lets be positive and show what we are in the CL. YNWA

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  2. Villa were more organised and defensive and we couldn't break them down. That's all there is to it, this is the sort of situation where lallana is meant to excel, in those tight areas.

    Markovic needs to play in a 433 so he can run in behind the defense and cross/ shoot.

    Gerrard continuously tried his 'Hollywood' balls and failed most of the time, he doesn't suit our style anymore and needs to have a lesser role in our teams. Only CL games and 25-30 PL games this season, no more.

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  3. What game were u watching it started when Countinho loss the ball in midfield period it was he who put the defenders on the back foot and I know we should defend better but it all started with him he dose this all the time he was shocking again countinho all through the match.

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  4. mignolet could have collected that ball but he tried to shield it instead..a very sloppy goal(yes lovren needs to be blamed for it too)..balotelli didnt show any movement in game..they didnt stretch the defence at all..yes its difficult to unlock the backline of 6 though but liverpool will face this more often now and we need to find a way.

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  5. Manager trying to put Stirling in his place after his Ronaldo comment, himself suffered from the same ailment and let his ego overcome his common sense. result 3 points lost - anyone could see it coming. Both full backs plus Lallana, markovic and Balotelli have played less than a handful of games Lovren not many more -WHY then leave your best player out ?.

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  6. This one falls squarely on Rodgers. It was painfully obvious before the game even started that an attacking line up inlcuding Lallana, Markovic, and Ballotelli would be problematic - I didn't need to plug that into
    FIFA to know that they wouldn't have chemistry. And surprise surprise who were the 3 he took off?



    He needed to start Sterling, not just for what he adds in creativity, but balance, a familiar face to Cout, Hendo, Gerrard, etc. He probably should have started Lambert too, seeing as he is familiar with the regular squad (played all pre-season), and probably won't start in the CL game.


    Sure there might be a Champion's game on wednesday, but that opposition is inferior to Villa, plus dropping points on must win games like this one could mean no Champion's next year.


    I'd classify it as a lapse on Rodger's part - much like Sotton last year where he fielded 4 centre backs.

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  7. i agree sterling should have played from start..he wants to take pressure of him but he must admit that sterling is the best player we have got now who should play whenever he can..damn with this pressure thing sterling should be able to handle all this crap if he wants to be the best..every great player did that at his age

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  8. I am worried. I agree with you completely

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  9. Coutinho had a chance to show Rodgers that he should not be dropped and was poor. Mignolet flapped again at the goal. Sakho made a couple of errors but played really well apart from that - his passing is excellent. I am not a Lovren fan. He is not overly quick, nor overly strong or good in the air and his passing is nothing special. Sakho and Skrtel for me when everyone is fit. Lallana didn't look sharp and Ballo didn't fancy it today. One of those days.

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  10. Agreed... coutinho form has dipped drasticially this season and he should have no excuses, very annoying at times to watch. He was dropped previously and if he carrys on like this, he will be on the bench very soon.
    Markovic was surprisingly poor and our defence...well Im lost for words on that one.
    2 poor games at anfield this season where we have not played well, needs addressing asap.

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  11. This loss is down to utilising the wrong tactics.. The diamond formation has been affective for us this season.. Especially in the game against saints when we scored twice after switching to it.. We should have started sterling at the top of the diamond and have balotelli and lambert upfront.. When we decided to switch to the formation during the game we took off balotelli and sub in borini who hardly did anything after coming on.

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  12. And @Bobbygraham, did you read what Sterling said or did you just read the headline and make your decision from that? Sterling said that he has always looked up to Ronaldo as a player and would love to one day emulate what he had done but he is aware that he has to up his goal ratio before any comparison can be made. The boy is very modest.

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  13. Too many new/recent players blooded in one game. Coutinho was ahead of Sterling 18 months ago, now he is light years behind as he is not dictating games

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  14. The moment I saw suarez biting chielini I knew its gonna be a long long season for us, and I havent changed my opinion at all. Balotelli? Oh man I just dont know what to say really, how could rodgers even think about him? The guy just doest wanna play football its so obvious. Look at chelsea who they got, mancs, and we go for balotelli, wow speechless. Markovic now what does that guy do we give 20m for him, whats his qualities? llalana lambert haha, borinis case is like chelsea-lukaku, wont ever shine until he moves ( to sunderland) I guess. What a pity suarez left us, we could of been even better this year, oh and we will play real madrid soon lol.. Honestly, it will be a very painful season it seems, but lets just relax, we know we wont be like last year so just let the life go on...

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  15. Saving £8m on the back of a dubious medical with are my seemed ill advised at the time and will continue to prove so throughout the season.

    It's just one game though

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  16. Allen rarely loses possession, he is always available fir the ball and can beat a man. All very necessary for a strong midfield. We lacked options for the man on the ball and that Allen gives. Balo moving a bit more also would help that as well as a different formation. Cout didn't get in the game much either and in my opinion rarely does in the ten role.

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  17. I don't think you read Sterlings comments properly. No need for Rodgers to put him in his place, more simply trying to manage the squad, give people sufficient rest and give players minutes in games that we really should win.

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  18. Yep the Remy saga will prove to be an almighty cock up & a source of embarrassment to LFC.
    We looked so poor today & lacked a cutting edge. Sterling is too important for us to drop him! He needs to start always if fitness permits!

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  19. So Skrtel pulls shirts and it is highlighted loads yet Costa near enough sparks someone and it is not even mentioned and Senderos goes about kicking Balo off the ball and it is near enough applauded on match of the day. I am not one of these pool conspiracy theorists but bloody he'll.

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  20. So what if he rarely loses possession; that doesn't win games. He contributes nothing to the overall result of games. A midfielder needs to do more than just retain possession. And Allen 'can beat a man'? Now he's suddenly dribbler? You're clutching at straws.

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  21. If the opposition don't have the ball they can't score. He also does make a decent amount of key passes as well as being an option with runs in to the box.
    He does go past players he travels with it taking men our the game. I am nor saying he is Suarez but he offers more than you credit him with. Not clutching at anything just giving my observations. Uses you feel that degrading a person's opinion is now suddenly ok? Try not to hypocritical Jaimie not of your going to try and play the moral corner when you choose.

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  22. Allen is the Welsh Stewart Downing!

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  23. From what ive been noticing, Sakho is the onky one of our centre backs that always looks to pass the ball forwards with pace. Yes, Lovren has a better range of passing, but watching him and Gerrard repeatedly roll the ball sideways today at a snail's pace was painful.

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  24. Such an absolutely frustrating game. Villa can f*** off. Typical tinpot club.

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  25. Essentially 6 new players in starting 11, while without last season's front 3........ So as author says, it will take a bit of time

    I've no complaints with the loss, these things happen....... however.....

    We had 75% possession, 18 attempts on goal, Coutinho hit the post, Moreno had a wonderful chance to square to Markovic at end of 1st half but hesitated, Markovic took one off Mario's head, Sterling was almost through onto a deflected pass, his control let him down, Coutinho could have set up Balotelli with a simple cut back in 2nd half, but was lost in a flurry of Roy of the Rovers impressions for about 15 minutes. Surely this approach can't work for Villa away to rest of the top 6??????

    Senderos should have seen red for his kick on Mario, and should be retrospectively punished. Hutton made a horrible tackle on Mario and a bad one on Sterling.

    Will Chelsea's Costa be retrospectively be punished for lashing out at his opponent, or is it only actioned if live on Super Sunday?? He, like Suarez, is a ticking time bomb.

    What was Sakho trying to do? Just lash it away first time. He is a liability.

    I fear that BR's teams will always be flaky at the back, especially with Mignolet behind them.

    Almost all of our new players seemed in awe of Gerrard, kept giving him the ball when they were in better positions to cross etc.....

    A lot of ifs, buts and maybes but fair play to Paul Lambert, he has a bunch of really dedicated players

    The international window has passed, our players have time to get to know each other, and CL is coming back.....

    Real only have 1 win from 3 games, so even the mighty struggle.....

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  26. When Philippe Coutinho first came in he played wide and his production especially assist stats were amazing.Everyone wanted him to play central and they got their wish, but PC isn't the same player making chances and doesn't dictate play like he's capable of doing.
    I think Coutinho's a expert at playing clever diagonal defence opening passes.When he plays central the angle is narrowed.The pass to create a goal scoring chance has to be weighted and directed to perfection.A defenders job is made easier if he's facing straight passes.
    When Coutinho plays through balls from wide, defenders are side on which makes passes difficult to defend against.The pass doesn't have to be perfect either.Intelligent strikers or midfield runners with good movement, timing and speed to recover a slightly over hit pass, can turn a good ball into a fantastic one.

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  27. Absolutely agree.

    Somehow what Costa and Senderos did was "funny". I really hope Costa keeps it up, actually I have no doubt he will....

    Di Michelis will rile him up next week.....

    Although I'm also really pissed off that I took Costa out of my FF team. Hope he gets a red soon.....

    Falcao (shame) is my captain. Hope he scores 3 in a 4-3 loss

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  28. I hope it's that and not the Brazil call up that's messed him up. He was awful, so many wasteful shots. Dropping deep.

    There was a lack of discipline all round

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  29. Why was Balotelli giving passes as if his leg had morphed into a sand iron or pitching wedge? Was Anfield full of Cistercan Monks and Sisters of the Poor Clares? Both are religous orders who take a vow of silence.

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  30. In hindsight,maybe Lambert should have played sooner against a team with a Roy Keane input.

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  31. Maybe it's a cop-out but I'd say Liverpool missed Allen's "intangibles". It's all those small moments that you otherwise don't notice. Allen does three things very well: short passes, tackles and pressing. Some good pressing, a link up play, a tackle or two ... no, they're not goals and assists or 35 yard passes down the flank, but they are still important. 20-30 of those smaller moments from Allen could make a world of difference. Of course Liverpool had no trouble keeping possession BUT they started slowly and perhaps Allen would have made a difference there. The only reason opposition teams end up getting corners is because they end up with quality ball in the final third. Allen is more likely to be a guy in midfield to stop that from happening either by cleaning up Liverpool's untidiness or by stopping Villa getting the ball forward. He would have added that bit more combined pressure and control in the short areas when the game was so untidy early on and given that the game was all about the early goal it could well have made the difference, especially consider that it was the mostly anonymous Lallana he would have been replacing.

    However if you want an argument for Joe Allen then look no further than the simplest statistic of all: the score. Allen played against Spurs and we won 3-0. Against Villa he was absent and we lost 1-0. Just because it's difficult to quantify or explain his influence doesn't mean he has none. Quantum physics is hard to explain too, but at the end of the day the physicists simply accept the results. That's probably the most far reaching analogy I'll make this season but it's not entirely spurious.



    Overall though, I think it's just too many new faces. Balotelli, Lallana, Markovic, Moreno, Manquillo and even Lovren. 6 guys who were not here last season when we played our best football. History shows that it takes time for Liverpool to be at their best. Our 11 game run last season was late in the season and we're currently only 3 games in. Some of these guys have had injuries, Balotelli has come in late, and otherwise they're just young guys new to the system. Perhaps it's not helpful to make excuses and I don't think Rodgers will accept any of that as being good enough, but it's just reality. You simply can't integrate all these new players. They SHOULD be good enough, but for now they're still adapting and unfortunately the team has to deal with that.

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  32. Daniel Sturridge also played in the 3-0 victory, and Sterling started the game. Without Sturridge and Sterling (for the most part), LFC lost. It's far more likely that's the main reason that Allen's supposed influence.

    I note you also conveniently neglect to mention that Allen also started the 3-1 defeat to Man City. Where was his defensive/ball-retention genius then, or last season in the defeats to Man City, Chelsea (twice), Arsenal (twice), and Hull? Additionally, LFC's midfield got overrun many times last season with Allen in the team.

    Allen never effects the game for LFC. You can take any other player in the club's midfield and point to specific examples of their tangible impact. Henderson, Gerrard, Coutinho, Sterling, Sturridge etc - they have all specifically contributed to positive results for LFC.

    The 'intangibles' you speak of make little difference to LFC's forward progress, and if Allen was sold tomorrow, it would make absolutely no difference to anything. He is expendable.

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  33. Silly dropped points early in the season cost the title last year....Deja vu anybody

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  34. I agree in hindsight this was a bad time to rest Sterling but the others did not step up. I hear Balotelli had a flu and was not 100% but he had no supply for his midfielders

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  35. I hear Balo had the flu

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  36. If thats the case Rodgers must seriously distrust Borini's ability.

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  37. Even I distrust Borini as a Liverpool striker

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  38. Obviously and even worse than a mis-firing striker with the flu.

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  39. it seems our marketing strategy is to send leaks out about being linked with costa, falcao etc and then end up with lambert and balotelli.

    Chelsea came 3rd last season and have added fabregas and costa who probably will take em to title. Total cost about 65 million. Our strategy was to buy youth and in the end it showed. outmuscled in midfield in the first half and once a goal behind we couldnt unlock a 8 man defence!

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  40. Too many news faces for me in the line up. We should of keep the familiarity of Couthino Sterling Hendo Gerrard for consistency and once we gained control of the game then rested the likes of Sterling. Sturridge was a huge miss for me today and I feel that he had something to prove before his injury. I think he is more important to LFC at this moment than Sterling.

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  41. I assume you mean that Allen could be sold and replaced by someone else. I probably agree; if we had 15 million pounds to spend on a midfielder we could find someone who could fill that role equally as well. However I think if that happened you'd be disappointed because based on how much Allen is currently used, Rodgers obviously values him and would probably just go out and buy a player with exactly the same qualities.


    If you mean that we could simply discard Allen entirely and it would have no impact then of course that's just absurd. His selection record speaks for itself and you simply can't take that much playing time out of a team and it not have an impact. There is a difference between a player not having some easily described cutting edge or stand-out feature to their game and that same player being completely redundant. Allen plays a lot of football for Liverpool, Rodgers picks him consistently and, as you noted above, for the big games against top 4 teams. Clearly the manager values the contribution that he makes so the issue that you personally can't understand it doesn't mean very much in the overall scheme of things. The failure of us as fans to understand something never makes it actually less important.


    Anyway, you asked the question of what Allen would have contributed to THIS particular game so I answered it. Apart from the intangibles, I think Allen is the one member of our team who would have the highest average rating for pressing, short passing and tackling. I'm not quite sure how you can simply dismiss the importance of pressing, it's a fundamental part of how we play the game and of course it has to happen in the midfield. A significant number of our goals come from broken possession and counter-attack, mostly due to pressing and winning unexpected ball in midfield. That's exactly what Allen does and I'd suggest he does it better than anyone else in the squad. Rodgers himself suggested that we started slowly, that it was "unlike us", and therefore it stands to reason that a player like Allen would have helped in that regard. Tempo, control and pressing - the primary features of a Liverpool fast start - were all mostly ineffective in those early periods of the game and that's what Allen would have provided.

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  42. Three were several invisible players today: Coutinho, Lallana were nearly invisible except for one Lallana shot wide right. Even Balotelli was pretty ineffectual but to be fair he was being mauled the whole time he was in the game. It bothered me that no one took on Senderos and had Balo's back. Someone should have kicked him in the leg or back to see how he licked it; not one even attempted to even the score....

    It still puzzles me why Villa of all teams has our number..

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  43. Our first half performance was painful to watch. Vs Southampton we started the match with Lucas and Gerrard as holding midfielders. Southampton were strolling around the park while our midfield looked laboured. Allen was brought on, we changed to a diamond and we started to press and push Southampton back.


    Vs Villa what does Rodgers do? Plays two holding midfielders! Villa from the first minute took the game to us and caused endless problems. We were camping in our half of the pitch in the 1st half and hit them on the counter on occasion. They played us off the park. Why did Rodgers not change things after the Villa scored in the 9th minute? It was blindingly obvious that we were going nowhere.


    If Rodgers had gone into the match with his second half tactics and formation then Villa would not have given us continuous problems like they did in the first half. Just hope we do not another tactical approach like we did from the fist halves vs Southampton and Villa. Awful laboured football.

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  44. I agree. I think also playing against two banks of four doesn't help either. Less to run in to for the man recieving the ball. We needed more give and goes. Hopefully lessons learned.

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  45. Will he suit our style in 25 games but not 13 ? Players should be picked and played on merit and form to give the best to our team.

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  46. Sakho is the one to be blamed for the goal! I hope Brendan Rodgers is having his regrets at the moment - selling Daniel Agger for playing that immobile frenchman is a fucking joke! Totally unnecessary to give that corner away so stupidly!

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  47. thats a pretty accurate summary jk......my main concern is that rogers doesn't change it quick enough when the tactics are clearly not working it was obvious after 5 or 10 minutes that the formation needed changing

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  48. tino is very much a one trick pony

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  49. liverpool can only play on the front foot we just dont have the system or players to play any other way ....if you take sturridge and sterling out of the team at this stage of the clubs development we offer nothing which invites teams to attack ....rogers is trying to accommodate players instead of either dropping them or playing them in there best position

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  50. If rogers had done his home work he may of realised that lambert would of been the better option up front today....Lambert relishes a physical battle against center halves, i agree hindsight is wonderful but rogers and the staff at liverpool are paid big bucks to realize these details ...that in turn would have took the spotlight of balo its no coincidence that balo played well against spurs with sturridge up front

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  51. thats no excuse all the teams in the prem have new faces including villa who had cissoko &cleverly to name a few ..our new face cost big bucks circa 80m if you cant play at them prices its time to pack up

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  52. This was pretty accurate on all counts JK. It looked as though the team had never played together and for the first time in ages looked to be clueless in possession, insisting on passing sideways and backward more often than not. This is a blip that I'm confident will be rectified in future games, funny that some are pushing panic buttons already.

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  53. Not a panic but not a blip.


    We're a top 7 side who are going to have to fight like hell to get near 5th or 6th.

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  54. We haven't started any worse than we did last season, anyone vying for a top spot in this league will "have to fight like hell". Think it's pointless at this stage to make claims that we it's going to be any harder for us to get near 5th or 6th than any of the other of the top clubs.that hasn't spent upward of £30m on individual players. Too early in the season to make any kind of judgement on who will finish where,

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  55. Yeah but last season we had one of the top 3 players in the world busting a gut for us.

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  56. Doesn't matter who we have up front if Mignolet and his dozy duo can't defend

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  57. Cos Rodgers is a fool and overinflated ego blinds him

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  58. True, but I'd argue that he only became one of the top 3 players because of us. We also potentially have 1 or 2 more. Just a matter of time I reckon, plus now that LS is gone, there's more chance of other players stepping up as opposed to just relying on him in every game which is what happened most of last season.Remember, we destroyed Tottenham before the international break...Without LS away from home.

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  59. I agree with the money spent but six new faces in our forth games obviously going to produce a disjointed performance. Last season pace movement and goals won us games and we missed that sorely yesterday

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  60. Remember, we've been rubbish in the 3 other games.

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  61. That is also true, it is the beginning of the season though and if you look at the table, we're like a point behind City who have a vastly superior team... they also got beaten by Stoke last game after beating us. It's all relative I guess, just need to see what happens when the first 11 have played a few more matches together and are used to each others movements.

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  62. Fingers crossed, I just think Liverpool fans should not be expecting top 4, we could easily play quite well and end up 6th.

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  63. Couldn't agree more Remys movement at this stage is quicker than our current strikers and he took his goal wonderfully.

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  64. Last season it was...

    "Doesn't matter if we have Mignolet and his dozy duo at the back, we've got Luis up front."

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  65. By not playing Raheem we protect his physical development so that he'll be more effective when he's 25 and playing for Real Madrid.

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  66. Louis scored and bailed us out this season we nobody to bail us out

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  67. I think its you that's clutching at straws, one person has mentioned Allen and you are on it, no comments up until this point but ghasp did he dare go against your point?
    Allen not losing possession helps build momentum and yeah he can dribble really well who do you watch? Whats wrong no Suarez you have to start getting on at one player that little more

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  68. Read Rodgers' comments regarding Hodgson's training methods. The reason Sterling was left out is because he doesn't want to burn him out like Owen. Also Hodgson doesn't follow our routine of giving fast players 2 rest days rather than one. We have lots of games to play this season and we have a squad now so I can see why Rodgers wants to protect arguably our best player.

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  69. well real lost two matches in a row now after spending so much so u never know in football..our tactics went completely wrong in this game and i can see liverpool bouncing back and hard.

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  70. Sorry, but for me, resting Stirling after 3 games, was more to do with Buck wanting a pat on the back from the media. Bet he doesn't do it again. That said, not scoring against a back line including Hutton, Cissohko and Senderous, is pretty damning!

    ps

    I agree with Jimmy Case, how does Sahko manage to give away a corner there?

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  71. I agree, Sahko in possession is usually accurate and progressive with the ball.

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  72. Integrating 3 new players in attack with 1 returning from injury and all 3 lacking match fitness was a risk that DID NOT pay off. Playing our strongest team having already lost Sturridge was important. It was disappointing the team had 1 shot on target.

    Allen was missed in midfield. Those sort of midfield battles are perfect for his game.

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  73. ok no top 4 according to you..so that means u think two of the teams among manu tottenham and everton to be superior..tottenham first though i dont think i should give any reasons after our performance at white hart but u really think that the attackers and defenders they have are of elite level or better than ours?? everton playing good football though but got 5 points till now with a near full squad..both these teams have europe too to compete in..now manchester united lol yes they did a good and expensive business but it will all end in panic according to me (u cant fit all attackers and his system requires more defenders which are all left footed ) PANIC BUYS...and i dont rate arsenal higher either..the two teams that i think are way better are obviously city and chelsea only..so third and 4th are still for taking..6th from your side tells me u are a pessimistic guy

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