I was so pumped and excited about our game yesterday. I met up with MoKo and Manny at a bar to watch the game there and when I walked in and saw Moko draped in his Liverpool scarf and wearing his Liverpool jersey, I knew the season had begun!
I will not look back and give a blow by blow review of the game as I am sure the majority of us watched it and there are dozens of reviews of the game already written. But what I would like to discuss with you are certain key points in the game. Honestly speaking, we did not play well at all and it is no surprise to hear Harry Redknapp this morning saying he was surprised how easily they beat us 2-1. The first 45 minutes were terrible from our part. What stands out to me is that whether we like it or not, we missed Xabi Alonso yesterday! Lucas is meant to have stepped up and filled Alonso’s shoes but he is miles away from being anywhere close to Alonso.
If Lucas continues to play the way he did yesterday then we are in trouble! I just hope that Aquilani gets fit soon because we need some creativity in midfield. We looked better in the second half when Stevie actually dropped back into midfield and started to try run the game. Pulling Stevie back into central midfield is a drastic move but I think it may be the only solution if Lucas keeps on playing like he did yesterday. But let us not forget, this was just one game against a very good Spurs team which will not be a walk over for the other Top 4 teams.
Babel Babel Babel!!! I was expecting the guy to be a better player this season but it still looks like it is the same old Babel. Yet again, maybe he just had an off day but I would pick Yossi ahead of him any day! When Yossi cam on we looked more of a threat. Yossi should be starting ahead of Babel and then Babel can come off the bench as an impact player.
We can not have this discussion without mentioning the frailties in our central defence. Seeing Carra and Skrtel colliding over the same ball was not the prettiest sight. It may be early days yet but the two have played together for a while now and such collisions should not be happening. The injuries to both of them are not good and Rafa needs to go out and buy some cover for central defence because I can not see us relying much on Ayala. He is young and will get better with age but for now we need someone solid to step in if we have problems with Carra, Skrtel and Agger. I was impressed with Insua yesterday, he held his own and was not completely embarrassed by Lennon. You could just see the quality Johnson brings to our side now. He looks like a threat every time he goes forward be it a cross or a run into the box such as the one that won us the penalty.
Reina made some very telling saves during the game and you can not blame him for the goals scored. The first one was just a screamer which no keeper in the world could have stopped and the second was just poor defending from Carragher.
Rafa has come out and complained about the penalty decision that did not go our way when Voronin went down. At first look, it was not a penalty to me but then after seeing the replays it look like a clear cut penalty to me. But you often do not get those calls away from home and it is very rare to get two penalty calls going your way away from home. Speaking of Voronin, I still do not like him! There are rumours that Hertha have made a bid for him. I hope we accept it and we can give the number 10 jersey to someone more meaningful.
As the headline for this post goes; there are a lot of problems I saw yesterday but it is too early to panic. Let us see what happens on Wednesday night against Stoke. If we are still struggling against them then we may need to start getting worried. we are already 3 points off the pace and we need to remain in contention and not find ourselves 5 or 6 points behind only after the second game.
We lost to Spurs last season and we drew to Stoke so after these two games last season we had 1 point. If we can beat Stoke then we would have gained 2 extra points from last season.
Liverpool’s frailties have been shown on the opening day of the season.
It may be too early to press the panic button but Rafa needs to address the problems that Liverpool have.
Lucas seems set to dissapoint again; as does Babel. Until Aquilani is fit the best option will be to play Riera on the left, drop Stevie into midfield in place of Lucas and have Yossi play just behind Torres.
A problem we had last season was that Liverpool did not have much depth and it seems that the problem is much worse this season. Our best XI can beat anybody, but if one piece of the puzzle is removed results are not guaranteed.
Liverpool need to get rid of the dead weight (read Lucas and Babel) and get some quality on the bench (read Milner and even Damien Duff will be a better option than Babel!)
One thing I took out of this game was the impact Glen Johnson had. I thik he was quality on the day. Long may it continue.
As for an assessment on the rest of the squad. I’m not sure I want to get into it at this early stage. All i can say is I hope i won’t be able to assess Babel’s season because he would have spent most of it watching Benayoun. And Lucas will hopefully be watching Aquilani closely in practice in order to see how a football player imposes himself on a game.
Lessons to be learnt. But the Liver bird will be up and flying soon!!!
But MoKo, didn’t Lucas have the opportunity of watching Alonso closing in training for two seasons. Surely if he was he would be a better player so I can not see Lucas studying Aquilani in training of he failed to study Alonso.
The Liver bird will fly, we still just taxiing down the runway before takeoff.