17 Mar 2014

Aldo & Macca: 'Unbelievable' £35m duo were LFC's 'unsung heroes' vs. MUFC. Agree?

There are a lot of positives to take from yesterday's 3-0 victory over Manchester United: three vital points in the race for the Premier League; LFC's defence finally discovering some consistency; Steven Gerrard continuing to master his new role etc. Overall, the whole team performed extremely well, ex-Reds John Aldridge and Jason McAteer have singled out two players in particular for special praise.

Analysing the game for LFC TV last night, McAteer enthused:

"Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson were unsung heroes in the game.

"Allen with his ball retention, and Henderson did well with his running off the ball".

Aldo added:

"I'm pleased for Joe Allen. he's been a bit of a scapegoat for a year and a half. He had a terrific game. Henderson was unbelievable - he was just frighteningly good in the second half"

Both players did great work in midfield, and their constant hassling of Man United's players made a positive difference in the game. I still maintain, however, that Coutinho should've stated the game ahead of Allen.

Given how poor Man Utd were on the day, I don't think it would've made a difference to the result, and the Brazilian's attacking ability would've caused extra problems for United's creaking defence.

The Reds may be able to get away with the diamond formation against Man Utd and Southampton, but it won't (IMO) work against Chelsea, Man United, or Spurs, who have superior attacking players.

I just don't think LFC can regularly support a player whose only job seems to be ball-retention and pressing. Top class central midfielders need to offer that, plus something extra. Henderson offers those qualities, but can also score/create goals, something that Allen doesn't offer.

Contrary to popular opinion, I don't have a problem with Allen. I've always maintained that he's a good footballer, but I simply dispute the rampant overhype about how he is some kind of superstar-in-waiting, who is suddenly going to blossom into an essential player for LFC.

Allen is a squad player, and will remain that if he stays at Anfield. And that's fine - he's definitely good enough to be in LFC's squad, he's just never going to be a regular starter for the club. This season has proven that, and it will be the same story next season.

For now, though, Allen should stay in the side. Two games, two wins - why change a winning team?



  1. They both played really well. Allen will be a useful player away from home in the champions league next season and hopefully, as his confidence grows, he'll play his part in us winning the league.
    Henderson was fantastic. Hopefully England fans will start to appreciate what a very good player he's become, but then we took our time in realising it too...

  2. 4th is are target7:24 pm, March 17, 2014

    Disagree with you macca with the champions league qualification almost there Allen will be a very good addition to the first 11, when we have teams that are better than us, were guna need grafters (Allen) we are not barca who nearly every player is attack minded, we need a mixture and he will be very useful on the weekends after travelling to for example- Italy or spain, the lad just needs a bit of confidence an game time which we will have next season when were fighting on 4 fronts. Keep it going reds remember are target is 4th place ! Anything else is a bonus ;-)

  3. small mistake jamie i think you mean man city instead of man united

  4. Allen created the key second goal with the penalty!

  5. Well we all know how good Henderson is; he's been mostly exceptional for the last couple of seasons. As for Allen, I admit I was slightly disappointed to see his name on the team sheet and not Coutinho's, but to be fair he played an absolute beaut. Let's not forget that it was his rampaging into United's box that won us that second, decisive spot kick. I've never been completely sold on his abilities, but have to concede that he's been pretty unlucky with injuries and whatnot, and that's kept him from a consistent run in the team and means that none of us have really had the chance to see what he's capable of. He certainly does provide some stability in the midfield. As much as I love Coutinho, the manner of his play means that he will naturally concede possession more often.

  6. It is very difficult to not let yesterdays win cloud my judgement on the bigger picture.
    Allen is a good player, Henderson is a good player, World beaters? NO!
    We talk about being linked with all of these wonderful players but at the end of the day we can only put 11 players on the field at any given time.
    If we do indeed sign any of the numerous hyped up individuals then at which individuals expense?
    Based on yesterdays game, none! Reality is a bit different though as United where absolute strangers to themselves.
    Sterling is in my team, Gerrard is in my team ( for now ), Sturridge is in my team, Suarez is in my team.
    Outside of the back four which is another topic within itself there are only 2 additional places up for grabs in the midfield.

    Allen,Henderson,Coutinho,Lucas and come the off season the return of Suso to contemplate and this is before we go out and spend our 'War chest' on lateral/Spurs type signings.
    Making household changes leads to instability in the chemistry and makeup of the team, to date something we have not suffered from this season due to our small squad.
    Exciting period ahead, the question is 'Who will make the starting eleven'?

  7. Allen also worked himself clear for a shot which could have had more power and better placement than directly at DeGea, but just like Sterling and Coutinho took time to anticipate an imminent shot, Allen will have do do this too. And the only way to get better at it is to do it. His goals will come. He had a great match.

  8. I dunno, I think Henderson has a claim to be in the top 5 all-round central midfielders in England right now. He's a bit awesome.

  9. Spurs have scored 37 goals the whole season. Nothing superior about their attack. United may be below par but still have dangerous players like RVP, Rooney, Mata and Januzaj who can cause trouble for any team.

    Rodgers tactically has shown that he knows what he is doing. At Anfield we will see him set up an attacking team which can also include Allen in the starting eleven. He will have specific roles for each player and if they adhere to his instructions then the plan will pay off. Simple!

    A very good example was when Rodgers subbed Couthino for Sterling vs Southampton and then went on to score with his first touch. Sterling is not a natural number 10 but Coutinho did not have the greatest game. Sterling was given instructions and bang he delivered on everything Couthino couldn't.

  10. Firstly, "superior attacking players"? Rooney & Van P would get in both Spurs & Chelsea's team. Then there is Mata too. Allen has proven the point I was trying to get through to you recently about the importance of a strong squad, we don't want those outside the first eleven to be substandard. I can't believe how little credit you are giving to Rodgers in engineering such a convincing win at old Trafford. Read his words about Sterling too & you will see the importance of his role and performance yesterday.

  11. Why so fixated on fourth? That is not the Liverpool way. We're plucky; always have been. This is our chance to grab glory, not to be looking backwards. If that doesn't come off, then console ourselves with a CL place. I am dying to see Chelea and City bricking themselves.
    I think you mean: 'top four is OUR target'.

  12. Spot on! It baffle's me how obvious things are not comprehended sometimes.

  13. Rodgers has done an excellent job of using strategy to the strengths of his players without asking them to do too much.

    In the example you used, Coutinho and Sterling were playing two different positions when Sterling subbed on for him. Coutinho is much more comfortable in the center and tight spaces, while Sterling is much more comfortable out wide in space with his pace.

    In the Southampton game, we were not generating enough pressure as the midfield was too bogged down in traffic.

    Taking a player out of the center, and putting a player out wide spread things out and enabled us to generate a higher quality offense.

  14. Allen and Henderson linked up well to earn the second pen, I'll credit Allen for getting into the box as well. I actually thought Henderson was below par in the first half, probably because I'm a big fan and expected more, he gave the ball away a bit.

    Coutinho could not have done what Allen did during the match. The only spot for Coutinho in the narrow diamond is at the top. The workload Allen and Henderson had to get through was ridiculous, they have to cover the middle and the wide areas. If we switch back to our standard 4-3-3 then Coutinho has a chance of replacing Allen, but he did really well coming off the bench and working with lots of space against tired midfielders and defenders. Sterling struggled as much as Coutinho did against Southampton.

  15. Nicolas Chamberlain9:54 pm, March 17, 2014

    Spurs are woeful in attack. Since Sherwood took over they play a lot like Man utd. Their crossing is easily to defend. So it really doesn't matter which formation we use against Spurs. 4-3-3 with a high pressing attack and midfield will do the trick. The games against City and Chelsea will be completely different, there will be much more pressure.
    Those two games will be decided on minor details.

    Rodgers could have started the game with Coutinho instead of Sterling, but Allen played a vital part in yesterday's victory.

  16. Nicolas Chamberlain9:57 pm, March 17, 2014

    Nice pass by Henderson btw.

  17. They easily could have tied the game with Arsenal. They were in front of the net with the keeper on the turf. All that dude had to do was turn shuffle a short pass to Adebayor and the big guy walks it into the net. don't remember who the kid was but he got a fatal case of tunnel vision and tried to thunder it through two defenders. It baffles me that Spurs are 5th with a negative goal difference.

  18. I'm just happy that our team can just switch to different formations to suit the tactics we need to implement to try and win the game. Even though we have a relatively thin squad, we still have enough players to use and even play different roles and be competent in them, well, at least the boys seem to be adapting well in most of the games.

    The diamond formation may not work against the stronger attacking, more technical teams but we're proving that we can adapt, change the system during the game to our advantage.

  19. Nicolas Chamberlain10:31 pm, March 17, 2014

    Chadli was the reckless one. They played with a lot of enthusiasm but they created almost nothing. Their away form is pretty good, but not against the better sides. Spurs are having a schizophrenic season...

  20. For me we didnt play that good actually, like we played 50% of the games we played vs spurs everton arsenal etc. But even so we managed to win 0-3 which is pretty impressive. There were a few things I didnt like. First of all was sterling playing a cm? I mean how, and allen almost a winger, that was really strange. Then you have suarez again poor vs big teams especially mancs, was lucky with the goal anybody could scored there I reckon, but he was poor on the ball, almost invisible in the first half, not good. Probably same for sturridge and that dive didnt help at all, lfc are not a team of divers, should never repeat that, its a shame, although mancs deserved it, they been doing it for ages. Anyway couldnt be happier with the result but everyone after that including rodgers and gerrard and the rest was shouting we are title contenders, do you think this might give a negative effect? I do.

  21. Hendersen will be a LFC legend and captain. He is Gerrards successor both positionally and as a leader. Now we need a dead ball specialist but if Suarez hangs around maybe we don't even need that. Watching Suarez against Manure it's hard to believe he will leave. He looks like he's loving being in this team at the moment.

  22. No 4th is r target2:29 am, March 18, 2014

    Get a grip will yeah you are 1 of the fans that will blow it, am trying to play it down like most fans, don't wana be faviorites we don't want to spout are MOUTH off and NO I don't mean top is our target 4th is ! It dosent mean we won't get top, go an get some sleep now your getting to excited !

  23. Forget 4th! Anything but the title now will be a disappointment to me! Fortress Anfield.

  24. Every team needs those no-fuss players who do a job in the background and just get things done. The fact that you claim that ball retention and pressing are not enough tells me enough about where you sit on the issue, but I thoroughly disagree with that idea. Ball retention and pressing are massive aspects of the Liverpool game and Allen is best at both. It reminds me of your assessment of Kuyt. For you, if a player doesn't score goals or create assists then they are anonymous. You disregard the hard worker, the player who does the dirty work. Fair enough, you are thoroughly consistent in that point of view. However I would point to two 3-0 defeats against good teams and Allen playing an integral 90 minutes in both. He saw plenty of the ball and did plenty of work off it. That simply can't be discounted. Coutinho can't do that, not in the same way. For everything extra he offers in attack we would suffer in our ability to control the game and press the opposition out of their comfort zone. The ability to do that is immensely important to how we play so I think to dismiss it in any fashion is a massive misunderstanding. What works for the team is what's best, not individual stats. So if a player is part of a winning team that comfortably knocks off two very capable opponents then make no mistake - he has contributed and contributed well. There is no room in a Liverpool team for anonymity so I'd suggest if you can't see how important Allen was to those two victories then you're simply not getting it.

  25. Not all 11 players have to be match winners. Obviously that would be ideal, but Allen knows the system and is a team player, technically hes great as well, the type of player BR wants, and we can't really argue with BR's decisions thus far. JA is and will be a great asset to the team. I think he's been unlucky this season, injuries, Hendos performances have kept him aside. I believe he'll come good.

  26. We will get manager of the year, player of the year the golden boot and 2 in golden boot also our aim CL also scored the most goals in the PL, and it's going to be a disappointment if we don't win the league ??? Reality check for you dave i! It dosent mean we won't win it , but "Dissapointment" am not avin tha !

  27. So you don't see a connection between our pressing and making it difficult and them being poor? They are also one of the main reasons we kept a clean sheet.

    How have Spurs or Chelsea got better attacking players than United? What have Van Persie and Rooney scored over the last couple of seasons compared to players they have. One player in both those teams attacks are better than United's and that is Hazard. Big Ade at Spurs is past the point to prove stage and is reverting to form or lack of. And don't let your erection for Erikson cloud matters.

    I am not sure what system Villa used but if they can get a clean sheet from Chelsea then we can. In fact having those hard working players makes it more likely and then all we need are the goal machined to do their business. Against Soto Coutinho lost the ball so many times in so many dangerous positions it was a worry.

  28. very true...the whole midfield did a great job - important to remember that we hammered Man U in their own back yard and we should celebrating the result.

  29. traditionally LFC is one of the best places for the working class heroes....!!!.........and the KOP always admire those working class heroes....................allen has enough attributes to b the one of them.....!!

  30. Spurs? Their attacking threat is pretty lame at the recently.