26 Feb 2015

Europa Fail: Liverpool crash out of Europe as Sterling bottles-it against Besiktas

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has sprung another surprise tonight with his decision to start Mario Balotelli ahead of £26m summer-signing Adam Lallana.

FULL TEAM: Mignolet, Toure, Skrtel, Lovren, Allen, Can, Moreno, Ibe, Sterling, Balotelli, Sturridge.

SUBS: Ward, Manquillo, Williams, Brannagan, Lallana, Lambert, Borini

* With Kolo Toure in the team, Emre Can will almost certainly play alongside Joe Allen in midfield. Can has admitted several times that he favours a central midfield role, so it will be interesting to see how he performs.

* After recent contributions, Balotelli arguably deserves to start, but Lallana will probably feel aggrieved at being dumped on the bench for one of Liverpool's most important games of the season.

* Good to see Jordan Williams and Cameron Brannagan on the bench; the experience of preparing for a European game will hold them in good stead, and if they're lucky, one of the two may see some action in the second half.

* Martin Skrtel captains the team, which is the right decision. If he does well, then he could become a genuine option to succeed Gerrard at the end of the season.

With Balotelli and Sturridge in the team, what formation will Rodgers employ? There are a couple of options:

3412

------------------ Mignolet

----- Toure ------- Skrtel ------ Lovren

--- Ibe ------- Can ----- Allen ----- Moreno

----------------- Sterling

---------- Balotelli -- Sturridge

343

------------------ Mignolet

----- Toure ------- Skrtel ------ Lovren

--- Ibe ------- Can ----- Allen ----- Moreno

----------- Sterling --- Balotelli

----------------- Sturridge

I suspect Rodgers will go with option 343, with Balotelli slightly behind Sturridge, a position the Italian striker likes to play.

My prediction: 2-1 LFC (revised from 2-0)

EDIT: 21:30

* In my view, Sterling bottled-it during the penalty shootout. He is an attacking player, and with Balotelli, Gerrard, Sturridge, and Coutinho unavailable, he should've stepped-up and taken the responsibility.

Author:



297 comments:

  1. Not too bad a team, if the Ref does his job, we should be ok.

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  2. Good attacking line up - lets's go at them from the start get the early goal and they will have to score 3 to win ....

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  3. With this team we should be playing BSC Young Boys !

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  4. BR is probably testing it out for Man City.

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  5. We score one and the game is over. It seems to be Rodgers plan tonight.

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  6. Every game is now the most important game of the season. This is exactly the Tempo I would uave picked. Manquillo, Borini and Lallana will likely be the subs if we are winning. If not I am not sure What will happen.

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  7. If we are winning comfortably, I would love to see Williams for Allen and Branno for Sterling.

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  8. Mario won't start at the weekend. He is not in our first eleven and if we have Henderson and Coutinho back in then there is definitely no place for Balo.

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  9. Me too. If not so comfortably then I think will go how I say.

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  10. Imagine Branno and Flanno on the same side.. Speaking of him, is he ever coming back?

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  11. Really bad injury supposedly started rehabilitation training

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  12. Branno, Flanno, Hendo, Sterlo, Sturro, Balo, Brendo..

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  13. Playing with or without a strike partner has no baring on Balotelli's poor decision making.

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  14. Pleasant surprise to see Sturridge and Balotelli starting. I'm 15 minutes behind so apologies in advance if my comments don't make sense.


    Loud crowd. Really loud.

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  15. Sturridge pass the fliping ball!

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  16. Ballo on a yellow already

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  17. sterling was in an offside position he couldn't do too much...
    however he doesn't really look sharp today

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  18. Sigh. Just seen the first couple of fouls he's been blown up for, and both look rather soft.

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  19. watch out for the spoilers then ;-)

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  20. Ooh, seen the card. At least he's launching himself enthusiastically into the defensive side of things. Seems to have listened to Rodgers.

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  21. Why did Balo chose to hold up the ball just now insteas of paying it of?

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  22. Haha I don't mind spoilers :-)

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  23. Jeez Stu shoot

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  24. You see...once again Sturridge being selfish

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  25. That was a really bad waste of a chance.

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  26. Think some of you guys might enjoy this.

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  27. What is the matter with Studge these days ? Just shoot man ! Should have scored...

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  28. Can needs to get more involved in the game...a few good touches...

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  29. He's got to keep his cool or we will be down to 10 men

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  30. They are going to try and get Ballo sent off ..... fool if he can't see it

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  31. Centre forward taking a free kick, he shoulda been in the box.

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  32. What the heck Balotelli.........flipping pass the ball you mug

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  33. They are going to try and get Ballo sent off ..

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  34. what is this guy doing?

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  35. Worry is ..... he can't see it !

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  36. Win the ball and get players in the box we have plenty of players who can score .... we only need one . Hopefully SH we can get em on counter as they will have to go for it

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  37. Ah but will he listen ?

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  38. yep centre forward shouldn't take free kick, what are the like of Messi, Suarez, Cr7 thinking...

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  39. reminds me of the following story from mourinho about balotelli:

    “I could write a book of 200 pages of my two years at Inter with Mario, but the book would not be a drama – it would be a comedy,” the tactician noted.

    “I remember one time when we went to play Kazan in the Champions League. In that match I had all my strikers injured. No Diego Milito, no Samuel Eto’o, I was really in trouble and Mario was the only one.

    “Mario got a yellow card in the 42nd minute, so when I got to the dressing room at half-time I spend about 14 minutes of the 15 available speaking only to Mario.

    “I said to him: ‘Mario, I cannot change you, I have no strikers on the bench, so don’t touch anybody and play only with the ball. If we lose the ball no reaction. If someone provokes you, no reaction, if the referee makes a mistake, no reaction.'

    “The 46th minute – red card!”

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  40. not sure who tried some hollywood passes but he should stop, and Sturridge should stop and try to be Suarez

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  41. ´boring game so far, but we don't have to do much more. at some point besiktas will need to attack and open up a bit in defence.
    I'm quite optimistic were going to the next rounds

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  42. If Sturridge had shot Balo would have had an assist... He's doing okay bar the early fouls.

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  43. A typical Balotelli performance, somehow being our best player... and our worst player... at the same time.

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  44. I'm happy with it. Controlled it and could have taken our chances better. We have to see how they come out.

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  45. Yes he wiil listen, will he comply, I doubt it.

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  46. I prefer to call them lies. That's what they are.

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  47. Haha nailed it. Hoping for more of the asset side of things second half.


    I do like the fire he brings to our side, though. Everyone else is so calm and clinical and it's nice to have some emotion up in there.

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  48. Don't worry about Mario getting a second yellow.

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  49. i don't know what you want more from Balo, he fight for the ball, make some block defensively and make some good pass when in possession.(of course he's not perfect but he hasn't played that long for quite some time)

    Don't know if it's me but the pitch seem awful.

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  50. Right on! A fellow Balo believer. Although I do think Robo's comment was fair.

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  51. It would be harsh for Balo to score the goal then cause their decline with a red card. Lallana is my man to come on in his place.

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  52. And Sterling really can't shoot...

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  53. To be honest I thought a lot of the criticism of Suarez was justified, but I'm not going fight with you because you are supporting my point! And yes, I agree that MB is an easy target for all sorts of reasons

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  54. Ohh; I didn't see yesterday's football so missed the reference. Yep; no doubt people will try to aim for perceived weaknesses in a player's game or reputation.

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  55. poor teamwork ? look at the Sturridge he's playing selfishly... i've been critical when he didn't produce anything but right know he's our best forward today.

    Of course he's not perfect but if you have to be critical of a player there's other that deserve it more

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  56. Yea he's been our best player so far

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  57. Suppose some consolation is, Fiorentina have scored v Spurs

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  58. well we're not playing well but if we get through doesn't really matter honestly.

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  59. Yes, poor teamwork. Basic stuff like support play. If he's not directly involved in an attack, he often doesn't contribute: whether that's making a supporting run or a dummy run or whatever. He often just stands still and spectates, or jogs towards the play. You see this over and over with him. This is not to mention his bad defensive discipline. I'd say he does his tactical duties about 50% of the time.

    Other forwards contribute much, much more in modern football. Sturridge always does his work, for example: he goes where he's told defensively, and is always looking to contribute in attack. His only "selfishness" is sometimes shooting when a pass might have been playable. But since the guy scores pretty much a goal a game, he justifies his decisions with performances, unlike Balotelli.

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  60. Wonder if we will be seeing more defensive subs by 75 mins

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  61. Sometimes just happens.

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  62. Probably the deafening noise has got to them ..

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  63. oh my god .... not gonna argue because obviously there's no point.

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  64. there's still the pitch excuse in these kind of games ;)

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  65. Getting overrun in mid

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  66. Got to get control back defending deep

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  67. I wondered if the excuses would come out. Truth is this is just a basic Balo performance. Not all thay good.

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  68. Yes normally, but now, we need a goal.

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  69. You could see it coming Subs too late

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  70. Thats what happen when you get overrun....sub coming in way too late

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  71. Unless we get another body in mid we are going nowhere...

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  72. Extra time is the last thing we need

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  73. Lallana must come on, but for who?

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  74. The way we are playing there won't be extra time

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  75. why not Sterling ? because to me the europe Stage seems too big for him.

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  76. Would be a brave decision from the manager to do that

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  77. Okay did not see that one coming...

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  78. I think it's crazy he hasn't done it already

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  79. I was thinking both needed to come offshore a while but Sterling hasn't been much either. Sad to see Ibe comw.off though Manquillo needed to come on ages ago.

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  80. It doesn't matter if we concede again, we still just need 1 goal to go through.

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  81. For all those thinking that we don't need Can and Sakho is the back three this second half is a prime example of why we do. We need that composure. These lads don't have it.

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  82. This is where lack of experience shows and where we miss Stevie

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  83. is this game really that important.. ? wouldn't we be much better off without the european distraction ahead of our run in the premier league ? its still much easier to get into the champions league with 12 games to go in the league than winning the europa league...

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  84. tottenham on their way out as well..

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  85. Was saying the same thing earlier

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  86. Fulham got to the Final a few years back, they played 19 games, thats half a season.

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  87. Possibly right .. think this team is not ready for Europe yet

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  88. English football getting exposed it seems

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  89. ok i disagree as i feel its the easier route to champions league than win this competition..

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  90. Colin Pascoe seems like a decent bloke. Just looking at the clapping and handshake on the bench there

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  91. Manquillo...no skill or pace there

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  92. would you rather we lose the tie in the next 10 minutes or drag this over the entire 120 minutes and then win just days before city visit ?

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  93. Skirts has been excellent AGAIN.

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  94. Was hoping to go to a back four. Get more men in midfield.

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  95. This is tradgic.

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  96. He needs better players beside him though. But he has done his job well. Won everything.

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  97. true but they did not have any business in the league rather than finishing in the top ten maybe.. we on the other hand HAVE to finish in the champions league if we are going to get anything close to a gerrard replacement next season..

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  98. Same here. Would like to see Sterling out wide as well. He's surely the one player in our squad who would actually look natural at RWB. Reckon Lallana will win this for us though, best player on the pitch already.

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  99. Can just wasted possession there with a pointless Hollywood ball. He's done nothing in midfield today.

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  100. Why are we so deep? Manquillo on just shows how tactically inept BR actually is.

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  101. Sturridge hasn't done much either is he overated?

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  102. How many from the manager down has European experience

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  103. Are you serious? Sturridge has proven himself for Liverpool time and time again. Can is overhyped.

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  104. They want it more. Players lacking a bit of hunger tonight imo

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  105. their best player is Tore, and Ibe is not a defender, Ibe was targeted.

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  106. Really been disappointed with our attacking players- should have put it to bed first half

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  107. it was well exposed even before.. compared to the liga giants, bayern and even those plucky teams who spring surprises every season in the champions leauge, english teams are nowhere near the level they used to be..

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  108. BR was in Italy a few weeks ago, where does that leave your argument, :)

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  109. what has Sturridge proven in Europe ?

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  110. Can has actually been steadily losing form for a few games and hasn't been great tonight. Midfield can be a fast moving environment for a cruiser like Emre.

    I think the hype is justified overall, though, such as it is: he's an exciting prospect. I've not read or heard anyone say anything more than variations on that sentiment, have you?

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  111. Ha Just One Cornetto ....

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  112. Lucky there,, I think I'll hit the bar myself soon.

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  113. Did I say Europe? I said Sturridge has proven himself for LFC, which is true.

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  114. Bemba hit the ba thank goodness !

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  115. just what the doctor ordered... extra time.. f&%k this..

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  116. And only City in 3 days time !

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  117. i didn't say you did but you're judging can on an european performance (because obviously in the PL Can has shown he has quality) so let's compare players at the same level, right ?

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  118. Sturridge has been quite poor. Jogging about.

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  119. Don't really think anyone's done too much but he's not been our worst player tonight

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  120. Thing is he ended up having to shoot with his right anyway except from a tighter angle. Should've just hit it

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  121. I think our players have got one eye on Sunday. Nobody wants to risk getting injured so nobody's running flat out and we're losing every 50/50

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  122. Maybe better to go out of the comp then? Sturridge was busy early but really not that much. Hardly worked the channels when he should have.

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  123. sterling is another overrated british player!!

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  124. Do they REALLY want it enough ?

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  125. well to me allen running everywhere seems more because of his poor positioning (he don't know where to place himself so run everywhere when he see it's not the right place), sometimes being clever is better than working harder.

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  126. They know they have us on the ropes

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  127. I'm in two minds. Overall I think it's good for the players and the club to be getting experience dealing with midweek football. That's the long-term view. But unless you can get the players committed there's not much point being there at all, is there. What do you reckon?

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  128. Sorry bud positionally he can be one of our best players. He is always finding angles. What cam happen is he will move on to space for a pass and the player takes the other option and gets it wrong then he has to make up the space.

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  129. This is probably the hardest away leg in the competition though, Anfield aside.

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  130. there's more to positionning than looking to pass the ball, defensively being at the right place is much more effective than running around.
    i don't like the guy but Busquet is the perfect exemple of that, always at the right place at the right time

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  131. He's been awful hasn't he?

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  132. Pretty similar tbh. We do need the experience but at the risk of the League? The way this looks is we may go out next round anyway so is that worth it? It's hard to say right now. Too fed up.

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  133. thanks for the answer that's what i thought

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  134. He is trying to force it.

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  135. All the other games finished

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  136. Lambo to do it then eh

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  137. Here we go, Lambo

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  138. Lovren couldn't cross the road...

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  139. Not only that, Toure has been far more impressive, Lovren could be spending a long time on the bench again.

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  140. Agreed, Lovren's been rotten again.

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  141. Come on, you can't judge him on his crossing ability :)

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  142. Are we still on the pitch? Havent hadvavshot on goal in half an hour....

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  143. Moreno looks very tired.

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  144. If Besiktas were a premier league team, where do you think they'd be? I reckon they are about a sort of Newcastle-level team. Couple of decent players, a bit of pace, bit sketchy at the back...

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  145. Yea I'd agree with that

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  146. Are Newcastle in the top half of the table? Would Baskets you think?

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  147. how shall he cross back to anfield road from here? some fans clearly demand to much

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  148. Yeah they are well-coached, eh. Their defenders make loads of mistakes and couldn't live with our guys 1-1, but their system worked well tonight.

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  149. Just time to change batteries in the pacemaker ....

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  150. Maybe! Their home support would be worth 10 or 12 points a season on its own.

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  151. Gimme that nail clippers quick, before the shoot out begins.

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  152. We've been dreadful tonight. Worried there may be a couple of injury concerns after this game too

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  153. yep... not what we needed...

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  154. Mine are chomped off.

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  155. What? I expect this from a streaming site!

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  156. As long as Sterling won't take one

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  157. Get the ear plugs in !

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  158. I know man and they cancelled River Monsters for this.

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  159. Suddenly the Soto game doesn't look so good.

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  160. Bloody ITV, remember the farce a few seasons ago against Everton in the FA cup when everyone missed the only goal of the tie cos it jumped to a tic tac ad. That and the fact they subject me to Andy Townsend

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  161. Ha great show

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  162. I would rather a river monster do the commentary than Townsend.

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  163. I would rather sh1t in my hand and clap than listen to him

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  164. Is it possible for commentators to say the word "Lallana" without saying the word "elegant" within the next few seconds?

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  165. Well that post was the best part of this night for me. Up to now.

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  166. Bad-ass penalties.

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  167. Imagine if Allen had missed. There would be explosions all over the place.

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  168. I thought he would to be honest, he looked so sad and afraid. Bless him.

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  169. Yeah.... yeah.

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  170. Who else sums it all up !

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  171. Lovren oh my gosh!

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  172. Wouldn't you just know it. I knew he was missing

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  173. I looked up from my phone and saw him. Just knew that was it

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  174. yeah you could see it in his face

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  175. everyone knew, another proof of Rodgers naivety, penalty are vital in europe and you should work on them

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  176. As soon as I saw Lovren I screamed and looked away...i knew he was going to miss. Poor pferformance today.

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  177. Who idn't?!? Him the thoughest one, what a decision?

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