Uninspired Liverpool Lose At Newcastle
Liverpool fell to defeat at the hands of a rejuvenated Newcastle side on Saturday as Alan Pardew's team got the better of a poor tactical display from Brendan Rodgers. A single goal from Perez was enough to seal the points for the Magpies whilst Liverpool never seriously looked like scoring.
A slow start from Liverpool but with the small positive of good bouts of position meant Newcastle were quickly able to grow into the game at St James' Park. Obertan particularly was causing issues to start with, his pace down the wing was too much to handle for the Liverpool defence and the decision to start three at the back from Rodgers was immediately called into question.
Obertan shortly afterwards suffered what looked like a bad injury to his quad muscle and had to be replaced, this gave Liverpool some respite but the Reds would still struggle throughout the game.
A corner early on in the game left Liverpool holding their breath after the ball fell to Papiss Cisse whose shot was cleared off the line by Glen Johnson. The Reds defensive frailties were clearly on show again and coupled with the lack of ideas in attack it was only going to be a matter of time before Newcastle found the back of the net.
Liverpool's best chance of the first half came to Martin Skrtel who after a set piece made some great movement but unfortunately sent his header off target. I said before kick off to my fella and mates who I was watching the game with in Liverpool that because Brendan had once again chosen to field Balotelli on his own (it's no secret I think this is pointless) we wouldn't find the back of the net the entire first half. He'd then make a sub around about 60 and we'd probably have a better chance. Whilst the first half of my prediction was correct we didn't necessarily "improve" when Rodgers' decided to go for a 4-4-2.
The first point of note in the second half came after a studs up challenge from Sissoko on Joe Allen, it was a bad tackle from the Newcastle player who was perhaps lucky to escape a red. It was nothing on the later challenge from Janmaat on Balotelli though, he absolutely hacked the Italian to the ground and once again collected just a booking.
Balotelli's best chance of the game came when he stepped up for a free kick. It wasn't a bad effort at all really but Tim Krul always had it covered. Balotelli was once again wasted for the majority of this game because he had no support. It wouldn't be so bad if he was alone up top and was receiving balls from the likes of Sterling and Coutinho but nothing came through.
Newcastle had to wait until just after the 70 minute mark to score their first and only goal of the game. Some good build up play from Sissoko and Dummet eventually led Sissoko into the box, his pass to Perez left the Spaniard with one option only when Moreno showed him too much of the ball he easily converted for the home side.
Alberto Moreno is a player that I really like but it is still evident that he has not adjusted to the fast pace of the English game. He seems to think he has a lot more time to play the ball than he actually has, the sooner he overcomes this weakness, the better.
Moreno was caught off guard again later in the second half after he was beaten high up field following a Liverpool corner that went AWOL. Thankfully the break involving Cabella who took the final shot was stopped by Simon Mignolet's outstretched leg.
Another attempt soon followed from Sissoko but the angle again allowed Mignolet to prevent Liverpool from conceding again.
I asked you for your thoughts on the game and here are a few of the tweets I received:
@LFCKirstyLFC our attacking flair last season papered over the cracks in our defence. This year we dont have any paper to cover them. #awful
— Jason (@slip17) November 2, 2014
@LFCKirstyLFC Tactical experimentation/naiveity by Rodgers is costing us and it was emphasized in this match. Was clear 2 up top was best
— HendoGump (@LFCKV) November 2, 2014
@_TheLiverBird Final ball was none existent. Movement off the ball was poor and once again any fast breaks were slowed down.Overall it was a very poor performance from Liverpool, not helped by the tactical set up selected by the manager. By no means do we have all the answers, even when a more appropriate set up is selected, we still have a lot of issues but I just don't understand why Brendan is choosing to experiment at this point in time. If anything we need to play to our strengths and hold steady until the return of Daniel Sturridge who will hopefully get back to his scoring ways and then allow Brendan the freedom to mix up the line up.
— Zepsis (@Zepsis) November 1, 2014
It seriously frustrates me seeing the team sheet with Balotelli alone up front. Once again I'm not saying he's guaranteed to score in a 4-4-2 but it would bloody well help! Borini is more than capable of supporting Balo and I feel that is what we should field up front currently.
With Real Madrid up next followed by Chelsea at the weekend it is looking like a very difficult period for the Reds.