The Liver Bird  

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Salah Scores Again In Chelsea Draw

Liverpool couldn't quite hold on to their 1-0 lead at Anfield on Saturday with the Reds having to settle for a draw after a Willian equaliser in the 85th minute. It was a strange starting line up from manager Jurgen Klopp but overall a draw was probably the right result.

Image via The Mirror
A starting XI consisting of the likes of Milner and Daniel Sturridge meant players such as Firmino and Mane were left on the bench. It was an interesting decision by Klopp, was he rotating with one eye on the busy fixture schedule ahead? Did he change the line up specifically because he felt it would work well against Conte's Chelsea? Who knows. All I know is, if Mane and Firmino were on from the start, this would have been a different result.

The first half, even with the weird starting XI, went quite well for the Reds. No major chances but Liverpool maintained a lot of possession and looked relatively at ease against Chelsea who looked lacking in ideas to begin with. After neither side found the back of the net it was suspected that early substitutions would kick of the second half but Klopp decided to stick with his original set up.

Just after the hour mark, his decision looked to have paid off when that man Mo Salah found the back of the net, again. A lovely piece of play involving Coutinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain and the Egyptian appeared to hit Chelsea hard but the Reds didn't do enough to secure the deal.

As with many Liverpool games this season, the Reds never quite look certain to take all three points, whether that's 3-0 up against Sevilla or 1-0 up against Chelsea, you can never fool yourself into thinking we will see it out until the final whistle, especially against a side like Conte's.

By 80 minutes though to be honest I genuinely thought we might just have this one in the bag but Willian thought otherwise. His effort from the right-hand side was definitely meant to be a cross, you have to feel for Mignolet a bit because I don't think he was expecting the ball to come his way at that point but he looked positioned well enough to deal with it. 

At 1-1 with five minutes to go the questions about the starting line up all started to flood back and the introduction of Lallana and Mane with a couple of minutes to go just made the whole thing even more frustrating.

I still don't really know what Klopp was thinking but, I'll take a draw with Chelsea so I'm willing to brush this one aside for now. We'll see what happens against Stoke in the week...

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Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Reds Throw Away 3-0 Lead

Only Liverpool could let a 3-0 lead slip like that couldn't they? In the grand scheme of things the draw probably won't even matter but it's not the point is it? The Reds are so unbelievably weak at the back and facing a distinct lack of leadership I just don't think we have enough in the attack to carry us through the season. 

Liverpool defence
Image via
The game started phenomenally well with a goal inside just two minutes from Bobby Firmino. Swiftly followed by a beautiful header from Mane, Firmino then found Liverpool's third and final goal of the game at the 30 minute mark. 

Back in the dressing room at half time Klopp must have been over the moon. Comfortably winning and knowing his side were not only top of the group but that they would go through with a game to spare. All we had to do was see out the match. 

There's no denying that Sevilla were always going to come out second half with a bit more gusto but there was no excuse for Liverpool crumbling like they did. 

It may seem like I'm singling players out but I'm just highlighting moments. For me there are huge problems concerning all defensive minded players and nobody is solely to blame. 

Moreno though needs discussing. There was a time way back where I stuck with the idea of Moreno in defence, I remember writing a positive article for Shoot trying to convince people to be patient but that era has long gone. Still it seems there are many members of the fan base desperate for Moreno to make it in defence, that would be lovely but he's just not a soddin defender, he's nowhere near. His decision making is shocking and in games like this the panic sets in. Two very poor decisions from the ex-Sevilla man effectively allowed the home side to find two goals in quick succession. Both were scored by the influential Yedder. 

Despite this, the Reds were still 3-2 up there was no need to rush, calm it down and hold the ball but it's almost as if the lads know themselves that they won't be able to retain the slim lead and hence opt to attack. Seriously, when was the last time you saw Liverpool switch tactics and solidly defend a lead? It's not pretty football but sometimes you need to do it and we simply are not capable. 

Somehow we managed to grind it out until the 93rd minute but it was easy to guess what was coming when Sevilla collected a late corner. Klavan managed to get a head to it but it was a poor attempt at a defensive clearance, heading down back into the box was never going to end well and Sevilla obviously converted turning Liverpool's secure win into a draw. 

It's not the end of the world, of course it's not but it just bloody does my head in! We're never going to get close to sorting this defensive issue if Klopp doesn't make some big decisions and decide on a set back four. Injuries obviously affect this but he's chopped and changed those lads for all manner of reasons and also does anybody know where Andy Robertson is?

On top of all that there are no leaders in this squad, gone are the days when Gerrard and Carra would be screaming at their team mates for 90 minutes, heck even Lucas used to bring some of that to the table. I have nothing against Henderson but he's not a leader for me but then again, I don't really see who is one in this team? 

Those fooled by a couple of clean sheets against the likes of Southampton and Huddersfield were naive in my opinion, there's a long way to go to solve our woes at the back. Here's hoping the January window helps. 

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Monday, 20 November 2017

Champions League: Sevilla V Liverpool

Liverpool travel to Spain on Tuesday evening as they prepare to face Sevilla at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuan in their penultimate Champions League group game. The Reds are currently top of the group on eight points with Sevilla following closely in second on seven points.

Jurgen Klopp's side collected a 3-0 win over Maribor in their last outing in Europe thanks to goals from Mo Salah, Emre Can and Daniel Sturridge. Mo Salah is having an absolute stormer of a start to the season and if he features on Tuesday night I'd be banking on him to find the net.

Adam Lallana and Danny Ings
Image via Liverpool Echo
Prior to this season, Sevilla and Liverpool have only crossed paths once before, that was in the Europa League final of 2016. How do the Reds weigh up against Spanish opposition in general though? Liverpool have met Spanish opposition on 24 occasions since 2000. During that time the Reds have lost eight, drawn six and won 10.

A win on Tuesday means the Reds will qualify for the knockout stages with one game to spare. Injuries have taken a positive turn for Jurgen Klopp who has named both Adam Lallana and Danny Ings in his squad, however, Joel Matip has not travelled to Spain and remains out with a groin issue.

Sevilla come into this game having won four out of their last five games in all competitions. Their only loss came at the hands of Barcelona. With a good run of form behind them, the Spanish side also have the incentive of leap-frogging the Reds into top spot if they can find a win at home.

Liverpool have also won four out of their last five in all comps only losing back in October after a terrible display against Spurs. The Reds have found some momentum but arguably still have huge problems in defence and sometimes struggle to get into gear.

Players like Mo Salah and Sadio Mane eventually find the magic to make the difference but in a tough tie against Sevilla I fear the Reds may walk away without a win meaning victory over Spartak at Anfield in December would be required to seal the deal.

I don't think we'll lose I just think there's too much incentive for Sevilla and can see this being a 1-1 draw. Enjoy the match folks wherever you are watching! Apologies for the dull period on the blog, I've been mega busy in November but haven't gone anywhere, still plan to blog about the glorious Reds as and when I can!

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