Kuyt got Liverpool's only goal...
An embarrassing 3-1 defeat yesterday for Liverpool has only piled even more pressure onto manager Roy Hodgson and onto the lads to fork out some consistency. Of course different fans have different views on the reasons why Liverpool's season has been so atrocious but i think one thing we can agree on is something needs to change.
1 win in our last 9 away fixtures is not acceptable. For a side like Liverpool, faltering or not, that kind of away form would stand you in good stead for relegation favourites if it were paired up with a matching home form, thank god it's not but it's just not good enough.
Newcastle's first goal came within the first 15minutes. The Reds beforehand had a few chances from the likes of Kyrgiakos and Maxi but nothing really to threaten the Magpies. Kevin Nolan capitalised on his chance and managed to get the ball past Reina at his near post. The assist came from Andy Carroll who would later pop up again, i didn't need to warn anyone about the talent of Carroll but he caused way more problems than i would have expected and proved too much to handle for Liverpool.
If i'm correct i believe the last time Liverpool won away after being subject to going down in the game first it was the 3-2 victory against Bolton. Again this didn't spell out much hope for an already slow looking Liverpool side.
I thought the added magic of Fernando Torres would help up us achieve another similar if not better performance like the one against Aston Villa but unfortunately for the Spaniard he wasn't on song. Chances you would see him bury in other fixtures were sent packing and it was clear it wasn't going to be Torres' day.
So who else i hear you ask do we rely on for goals? Well, unfairly so i often think, Dirk Kuyt is often slated, although he isn't the most tidy of players, we all know he'll give 110% and he can get you a goal when needs be.
Just after half time, the Dutchman managed to get an equalizer for the Reds and "managed" is the perfect word to describe it. It wasn't a given goal by any means and at one stage it didn't even look like it was going to trickle in but his hard work beforehand to steal possession when the ball hit off Sol Campbell's back and his ability to keep his composure meant that Kuyt deserved his goal.
At 1-1 you've always got to fancy a Liverpool winner, even when we're not playing up to scratch i always feel a bit more confident once the first goal has gone in. The Reds though weren't going to be in for any celebrations today.
Newcastle's second came from a pathetic little man, i can take the fact that Newcastle won and i totally agree they deserved the three points but i would have rather have seen us been hammered 6-0 than to see that thug in all his arrogant glory after stealing possession from a sloppy Liverpool defence and sending the ball past Reina.
I pity the bloke, he's a poor excuse for a footballer and in my book shouldn't even be playing, the sooner he gets his comeuppance the better. (I do apologise to any Newcastle fans reading but i sincerely despise the man)
Anyway, strictly moving on... Liverpool now found themselves on the back foot again. As Roy said in his post match interview, the side that went out first half were a different side second half, Roy was not pleased apparently afterwards with the way the second 45minutes were panning out... Not unhappy enough however to perhaps make a substitution?
Even his first change of the game was forced. I just can't get my head around Roy's thought processes.
So just before 80minutes with the Reds still being unfruitful in their minority of chances in front of the Newcastle goal, Andy Carroll thought it was about time this game was put to bed. With a shot from a good range out being allowed to happen as the lads in defence didn't think they needed to close him down (?!) Carroll smashed a super effort into the net and made it 2-1 to Alan Pardew's boys.
Hodgson brought on Milan Jovanovic at 85minutes for Maxi Rodriguez but it was too late to change things. Alan Pardew has recorded a victory in his first game with the Magpies but fans in the North East still seem to have questions over his appointment and notably how he was appointed.
For Liverpool's managerial situation i think it would be wrong at this point in time for there not to be any questions hovering. I agree that some of the lads performances this season have been below par but for me it's Hodgson in the bigger picture that appears to be causing the problems.
I still and always will stand by the fact that i respect Roy as a man and manager but he isn't going to work for Liverpool. 1 away win in 9 away fixtures and 1 i think in his last 27 (includes his time at Fulham) is not an acceptable record for somebody in the top seat at Liverpool FC.
Not only this but his insistence to bring in Konchesky means we are left with a Fulham standard player, i know we don't have a natural left back but i personally would rather see Aurelio in that position, maybe not every game but certainly in ones where we should be attacking.
A side needs balance i feel and with Johnson such an influential attacker i feel we need a similar style player on the opposite side, the gaps left are a risk of course but it worked last season with Insua and Johnson on the majority of occasions. You only have to look at the Finnan and Riise days to see how one half of the defence flank was unbalanced. Just a theory.
Then of course we have the question of whether Roy's persistence of 4-4-2 is going to work? Don't get me wrong, i have been intrigued for a long while of Liverpool going back to 4-4-2 but as much as i think Ngog is a right good player, he and Torres just don't seem to work well together. In contrast the other night against Villa he and Babel worked very well but we cannot sacrifice El Nino. Therefore in my eyes, Roy needs to rethink and field Torres as the lone striker with Meireles for support until Stevie gets back.
I did at one stage think with Roy's experience of different players and different clubs and styles that he would realise when he is making a mistake and be able to adjust the side and adapt to different circumstances but i'm afraid The Bootroom is just too much for Hodgson and the shoes just don't fit.
With Utrecht up next and then a home tie against Roy's old club Fulham followed by what could be a tricky away game at Blackpool, these are tightrope walks for Hodgson.