16 Mar 2014

'Gutted' - Aldo, John W. Henry, Sturridge etc on LFC's 'convincing' win over Man Utd.

Make no mistake about it, Liverpool are genuine contenders for the Premier League title, and today's superb victory over Manchester United is an emphatic indicator of Reds' ability to go all the way this season.

A selection of post-match reaction:

Daniel Agger

"Great game, great atmosphere!! Hardcore keeper.. With friends like that, who needs enemies? :) "

John Aldridge

"The longer the night's going the more gutted I'm becoming! it should've been 5-0 or 6-0 never mind 3 will after do. We should've had six penalties"

Brendan Rodgers

"We had real dominance. From the first whistle, the team was outstanding."

Daniel Sturridge

"What a win!! Get in there boys!! Striving to be second to none"

Steven Gerrard

"Happy to be back playing. Great result today. Well done everyone".

Gary Gillespie

"As comfortable a game as I've seen for LFC at OT today. Man Utd as poor as I've seen them.LFC better team in every dept by miles"

Glen Johnson

"What a result. Great performance and another big 3 points"

John W. Henry

"A convincing win at Manchester United. LFC is the most exciting team to watch in football"

A few observations:

* After chopping and changing defensive partnerships this season, and spending €19m on Mamadou Sakho, it's kind of amusing that all roads ultimately lead to the much-maligned Agger/Skrtel partnership. That's two clean-sheets in a row now, and the duo will gain great confidence from that. If LFC go on to win the title, it's only fitting - after their years of service - that Agger/Skrtel is the partnership that brings it home in the final stretch of the season.

* Steven Gerrard is having a superb second half of the season, and his performances of late are a joy to behold. If only he'd scored that third penalty today, he would've been the first LFC player in 77 years to achieve a hat-trick at against Man United.

* Sorry, but Daniel Sturridge blatantly dived to win the third penalty. There was no contact from De Gea, and there's no such thing as an anticipatory foul (nor should there be). Vidic may have recklessly gone to ground, but that doesn't give Sturridge the right to try and con the referee as a result. A few minutes later, though, Mark Clattenburg denied the Reds' striker a blatant penalty, so it all evens out.

* Liverpool dominated some aspects of the game, but did not (IMO) dominate in attack. Sturridge and Suarez had an off-day for the most part, and Sterling didn't make much of an impact. Getting three penalties at Old Trafford is historically unheard-of, and will probably never happen again in our lifetime (!), and it's basically the penalties that won the game. Without those, it could've gone differently.

* Defensively, and in midfield, the Reds controlled things, but the current diamond formation seems to nullify the effectiveness of whoever plays the number 10 role. Against Southampton, Coutinho struggled, and Sterling - who played that role for a while today - also struggled to make an impact. That is a concern (IMO) - it may be okay against poorer teams like Man Utd, but I doubt the same tactic will work against Man City and Chelsea.

* Minor issue, but I don't see the point in bringing on Aspas in injury time. Rodgers could've at least given him 10-15 minutes.

At this point, I genuinely believe that Liverpool will go on to win the title, and if that happens, it will arguably the greatest victory since the Premier League started in 1992. No team has come from 7th place and 28 points off the pace to win the league, but LFC are on well on the way to achieving that.



  1. Disagree with the man in the hole being nullified in the diamond, sterling was solid doin defensive work and started a few counter attacks in doing so aswel, would also point out that diamond shape is how the last great Milan team played that we played against in the 2005 and 2007, also won the champs league 2003

  2. Me too thought he had a sound game albeit in a different role. Worked his socks off.

  3. Sterling had one good run in the entire game. He usually makes more of an impact (in attack). You're entitled to disagree, but it's clear that Sterling didn't have the same impact he usually has. Coutinho also struggled against Southampton in the same role. There's obviously a connection there.

  4. You do wind me up with some of your comments. It's obvious you haven't played football. A few points!

    Firstly, De Gea didn't touch Sturridge because he was no where near him.

    Secondly, you cannot get awarded 3 penalties, have the chance of 2 more, and score from open play if your attack didn't dominate. What planet are you on?

    Thirdly, the diamond system has led to 6 goals, all away from home, and none conceded. The important point here is the none conceded, AWAY FROM HOME!

    Number four, Aspas comes on to wind down the clock, not to play any significant part in the game. Once injury time is added, players are substituted to waste time.

    You really do have very strange views on the game!

  5. If that's s&s on an off day... i'll have that!! Thought they played well and regularly stretched the utd defence with pace and movement, Sure Sturridge would have had himself a goal or two on another day, but his runs and movement out wide caused problems. His excellent ball over for Suarez led to 1st pen and running at Vidic caused the desperate tackle, penalty or not. As for Suarez he just loves these big games, must be an absolute pain to defend against, constant menace and good anticipation for the misplaced pass by DS. Seems the more Luis gets kicked and fouled, the more it motivates him to hurt the oppo!

    Lets hope they are back to their best for remaining nine games ;)

  6. You were asking for Gerrard and Hendo to be dropped a couple of months ago. You base your opinions on stats and individual honours not on how the team performs e.g. Hendo is vital to how we play.

  7. Attacking wise, we weren't at our scintillating best. However, it doesn't mean we didn't offensively dominate them. We did. We got a great number of shots in, we consistently forced utd errors in their own half and then waltzed down to their penalty area, and we were in dangerous offensive situations so many times that we deserved at least 1 or 2 more penalties than what we were already awarded.

    The only thing notcieably off about our attack today was Sturridge's shot accuracy and Suarez' tripping over. I was screaming at the television to replace his new boots with his old ones. I was absolutely convinced it was the source of the problem!

  8. Has anyone else noticed that Gerrard always plays better in the second half of the year?

  9. Wonderful how it's got to the point where we can actually cheer for a united win against city in the upcoming game!

  10. Yeah so they might not play him in that role for the two biggies. Personally think Lucas will come into reckoning for one/both them games. To be honest the sheer presence of the three up top had united not knowing whether to stick or twist...along with the energy of hendo, shift by allen and the good performance by sg,

  11. AndWithSuchSimplicity11:48 pm, March 16, 2014

    Sturridge was selfish again, and Suarez was off-form (must be those knitted boots).
    Yet they both did enough to win a pen each, could have had another one each, plus Luis scored.
    Add the fact that Sterling was out of sorts and it just shows how far we have come as a team because I've been watching us at OT since 1983 and I can't remember such a dominant performance from a Liverpool team. (not even the 4-1). Once the first pen went in I have never felt so relaxed.

    Hats off to BR. I doubted him last season - shows how much I know.

  12. Still think Luis could score in his slippers. In fact by the end of match they could all of had the proverbial slippers & pipe ;)

  13. AndWithSuchSimplicity11:50 pm, March 16, 2014

    I wouldn't go that far, mate. I might smile smugly, but I could never cheer them......

  14. United have to get a result in that game, or Moyes really will be under pressure. Plus, Chelsea play Arsenal next week, so potentially more dropped points.

  15. Ha, you know what I mean. United win = city dropping points, a untid win for pride, and nothing else!

  16. I reckon United will get at least a draw. If this embarrassing loss doesn't spark them up a bit, I don't know what will

  17. I agree the diamond won't work against city or chelski, but two tough away games saw the reds dominate the center of the park because of the of the diamond, we didn't have the same muster going forward that is for sure. but with us nipping the heels of those 2 and them having to come to anfield and more than likely have to get points off us i think you'll see a return to sterling and saurez out wide.

  18. What about for the united fans not wanting to lose a derby but maybe helping us in process....such a shame!! Seriously reckon they'll get slaughtered if they play like that against City, especially if aguero fit.

  19. Like I said below, you'd think they wouldn't perform like that again. There's no excuse for a club like that roll over so easily like they did a few hours ago. At least Liverpool have always played with raging passion and desire in their home utd games whilst languishing near mid-table.

  20. it was absolutely a dive by sturridge and it cost him on the real foul. disappointed with those antics. but like the arsenal fans pointed out at the bar. the movement and control around the edge of the edge of the box had manu defenders nervous from the start and making piss poor decisions/tackles.

  21. Agree but honestly think he doesn't have full support of players...anyway great for us that they have problems for a change...all we have are good ones. Great job by Rodgers wherever we finish.

  22. In fact, United remind me of the English cricket team. They've gone from an absolute high of winning the Ashes, to falling down to the lowest of lows after getting spanked 5-0 in the matter of months. United- gone from the high of being champions, to being a soft mediocre team in 7th place.

  23. Ha sorry mate, I don't understand that British colloquial language!

  24. Rooney 300k a week, Mata 37 mill, Fellaini 27mill and van persie looking pissed off and thats three of there 'stars' lets not start on the rest ....haha

  25. To be honest, I was actually getting nervous about Welbeck coming on early in the second half. He's formed good combos with Rooney. Thank God Moyes loves us though.

  26. If points were money, Moyes would rank above the likes of Geldof and Jolie as the most respected philanthropist in the world.

  27. Agree, honestly thought Welbeck should have started for them...puts in decent shift whenever i've seem him play.

  28. great result today we didnt have to change gear, deserved 3 pens today regardless of sturridge diving for one, which is confusing as he had beaten vidic and was on for a tap in pretty much.
    point is we played a 6th-7th place team today who are where they should be, uniteds only strength was a hostile crowd.
    agger and skrtel are still dodgy but did ok today, skrtel caught ball watching on 2 nearly costly occasions.but credit where its due they did enough.
    sakho is the future and a great young beast of a talent.
    unsung heroes today were flanno and allen.
    11 lfc players played excellent as a team great spirit and togetherness ,,,,,,,,,no fear !!

  29. problem watching it on tv is that you cant always appreciate what players are doing off the ball, sterling caused some tired legs out there today.
    chelsea superior attacking players to united and saints,,,,,lol err whos that then,,,,,,,,,,,torres haha
    saints and united have a better forward line than chelsea, not including hazard obviously ;0)

  30. Fergie needs to write another book.

  31. The 10 role in the diamond is incredibly demanding, especially the way Rodgers plays it. It requires you to play equally as an attacking threat and defensive press leader. I don't think either Coutinho or Sterling are quite mature enough to get it perfect but I'll be damned if Sterling didn't do a good job. The majority of his passes were in the opposition half and he was close to 90% successful. He pressed really well and covered huge areas of the pitch. The problem is that we're still not quite there as a team and in a formation like this we play very direct which means plenty of moves break down. I think as we settle into the formation for the rest of the season we'll see a bit more cohesiveness which will mean a bit more space and time for the guy at 10. That player needs the guys behind him to be really sharp and position themselves well for recovery. Allen and Henderson are perfect for that kind of role but they both have their shortcomings and need to keep improving if we're to really dominate quality teams. Just that small lack of quality that creeps in from time to time means a poor touch, a misplaced pass ... that's really the difference.

  32. Penalties and diving are still a strange issue for me. Generally speaking if you don't go to ground you don't get the call. I think that's wrong. What if a player is tripped and has to stumble and make an effort to stay on his feet? It's not in the rule book but I don't think I've EVER seen a penalty called when a player is fouled but only stumbles and still manages to stay up. That can't be ignored. What are players supposed to do? In that case you have to wonder if it's an unspoken assumption that strikers will allow themselves to go to ground in order to win the penalty. Think about that for a second ... the refs know this is the case, the players know it's the case, everyone who watches the game knows ... why would it be any other way? Until refs change the way they control the game and award penalties this same unspoken assumption will remain a part of the game and yes, in my mind that means allowing yourself to go to ground is not only acceptable but in fact expected.

  33. Yes - I fully expected Sterling to be replaced by Coutinho in the second half as little was seen of him in first 45 mts. On balance it seems better to me if Coutinho starts and is subbed by Sterling (rather than the other way around) to take full advantage of Sterling's pace against tiring players.
    Really high energy performance by Reds today with no time given to the Devils to settle on the ball at any time. If the manager can maintain the 'up and at em' drive in the remaining games we will do well but for the moment it's best to concentrate only on the next opponent. Good performance today but Allen must be praised for his play as he has so often been the butt of complaints in the past. Keep it going lads - as the song says 'You never can tell'.

  34. Its an away game, we're never going to OT with an attacking 4-3-3. That their main threat was from their right fullback speaks volumes about how we shut down the centre.

    I thought Sterling's contribution was immense that he pressed up high and never gave Fellaini or Carrick much time on the ball and that he passed/dribbled us out of trouble when United tried to squeeze our central midfield.

  35. Maybe Rodgers just kept it the same because United generally get the ball out wide and cross it in. Similar tactic against Southampton. I personally don't like it because Allen and Henderson have to cover the middle and also the flank, it's too much to do and it takes away their opportunity to impact the game in an attacking sense.

    Sterling is a natural out wide in one on one situations with space to work with. Coutinho is better in a tighter environment where vision and quick touches are required. Sterling only played there because Coutinho hasn't been up to it recently. Having said that, what a player to have coming off the bench, Coutinho was able to find lots of space and linked up with the other mids and strikers far better than Sterling did. It's like the 3 centre back situation, we got some results but I'd much rather switch back to our conventional 4-3-3.

  36. Noted all your points but I hope you're not in a way trying to defend Sturridge, he has no defence.

    Suarez was fouled countless times today but stayed on his feet, the benefit of doing so is that play continues and more importantly we still have the ball. The critical thing to note is if the ball is lost or not. Sturridge had lost the ball and was going away from goal, the only chance to get a pen was to emphatically dive, conning the ref. In any situation where Suarez believed he was fouled but more importantly the ball had gone, he would of gone to ground every single time.

    I haven't seen what you are referring to either. From my point of view what you describe to me sounds like a half foul. The ref will only give a penalty if a foul has been fully completed. So if there is slight contact, deemed by the ref as not sufficient enough, and the attacker remains on their feet, the goal scoring opportunity remains, so play on. The ref decides if there's enough contact, not the player, that's why pen calls are always 'Yes' or 'No'.

  37. You said it yourself that "Suarez was fouled countless times but stayed on his feet". The problems I have are precisely those incidents. Have you ever seen a player get fouled in the box, stay on his feet and yet still get awarded a penalty? Ever?

  38. When I refer to Suarez being fouled I'm pointing out that there were hands all over him and minor leg contact. You see that in the box too. Skrtel had his hands all over a Swansea player and got done, so it can happen. With Suarez, he was never fully fouled to the point where the opposing player took all man and no ball.

    No I've never seen it, but if your approach is taken, anything could be given for a penalty and that's not exactly what we need.

  39. Suarez scored via an assist from the "selfish" Sturridge. Maybe he's not selfish at all and just a very, very good striker.

  40. Yes beautiiful skill. I like the way he took the pace off the "pass" and made it look like he had just scuffed a shot. Suarez knew exactly what he was going to do and read the "pass" .I expect they have been practicing that one :-)

  41. If a defender shoves an attacker on the ball with both hands and the attacker is still standing, that would obviously be a penalty, but how often does that actually happen? I can't see a problem with this sort of officiating.

    Apart from being conned by Sturridge I think the ref had a great game. Sturridge was looking for contact but it never came, so he decided to cheat. The ref obviously thought Vidic slid in and got it wrong and that's why Sturridge ended up on the deck.

    I follow the German Bundesliga and countless times I've seen refs refuse to give in against attackers who perform silly dives or go to ground way too easily when there is minimal contact. The referee is always looking for sufficient contact in their eyes, and as I said I don't have a problem with that.

  42. This is probably where I disagree with the established way of thinking. Penalties seem to be this rare thing that we want to avoid, to not have in our game, and I think that leads us to where we are today. I don't think football should be a non-contact sport but I'm not impressed that at the very top level of the game a player can be kicked and hacked and shoved and have his shirt pulled and it all means nothing. People are all up in arms about diving, it's a real soap box for some, but I don't understand why the dirty physical tactics engaged by others are any better. We allow a grey area in terms of one set of rules but get all indignant about another. I think one be-gets the other. If you won't get a foul called when someone kicks you, trips you, pulls your shirt and shoves you in the back well ... next time it happens you're going to make the most of it. In that sense it's a situation that has created itself. We don't punish the smaller infractions so players feel in order to get justice they have to play-act and make a show of it.
    The second half of that argument is that we KNOW this happens. It's not a secret that players go down. You can read down the comments here and see a guy who coaches his players to do so in order to win a penalty. Pundits and professionals weigh in on the argument and say there is nothing wrong with going down under light contact, that you're actually letting your team down if you don't. That says a lot to me, it says to me that we already admit that this happens and, contrary to rules about simulation, we simply accept it. Otherwise wouldn't someone be doing something about it? Players dive every week and apart from an occasional yellow card the officials do nothing. It is, by the very fact that it happens so often, entirely acceptable. It's a known part of the game and until someone actually does something concrete to change that I can't quite bring myself to slate those diving players as if they're murdered my Nana.

  43. Fair enough, you are looking at the bigger picture. The A-League has recently introduced a playing ban for diving, so I guess that's a step in the right direction. In regards to regular fouls in the outfield there's the play on rule to gain an advantage and also yellow cards for persistent fouling. I can't think of anything else.

    I think it's impossible to change the culture that you've identified. For me, 'going down' is in alignment with cheating. As I mentioned, the Bundesliga refs have really impressed me. From what I've seen, they have the highest standards and they recognise contact and regularly make fantastic calls regarding players who 'go down' and then players who blatantly dive. Equally on the opposite side, they stamp out annoying tactics used by defenders to rough up their opponent.

    But in terms of players in the box and penalties, the only thing the referee can do IMO is make a judgement on whether a foul occurred and if there was enough force/contact involved in the challenge to warrant a penalty.