I beg to disagree with Sam who said Liverpool played poorly against Arsenal yesterday (Sunday). I think we played well. This was an away game at the Emirates. It’s not like we were playing at home against a mickey mouse team. For me the only part of the team that didn’t function was the strikers. Suarez was not very neat in possession with many stray passes throughout. Carroll was not effective even though he won many first ball headers. And he didn’t contribute in any other aspect of the game – even in defence he was letting people get headers on him.
There are two recognised strategies to beating Arsenal: Either you are Barcelona and dominate possession or you are everyone else (Man U and Chelsea included) and you stifle them with solid defence and hope to hit on the counter or from set pieces. Suffice to say we are not Barcelona.
On the points Sam raised:
1. Reina is immense. If he does leave, Shay Given would be a decent replacement though – rumours are circulating.
2. The defence was really good and was solid most of the game. There was never any space in behind them which shows they were holding a really good line. And with Lucas and Spearing playing so well in front of them there was no space in front of our defence either. That’s exactly what any coach would want to see. I agree Robinson was a little nervy. I think he was setting up a little too close – i.e. he was giving too much of the line to Walcott. He was obviously very worried about Walcott going infield towards our slow CB. According to MacParland he is actually the better prospect compared to Flannagan. I think the only difference is Flannagan has better temperament. Coming in the way he did against City is actually very rare. I would say compare them to the Man U twins. I think they are about equal except that the one twin has over a seasons experience yet he still makes plenty mistakes.
3. Forward passes depend of the options available. First half we tried to hit Carroll with the outlet ball but Djourou had him well handled. Second half we pulled Suarez in behind Carroll and he was the outlet. He was much more effective even though “his boots” were obviously causing problems with some of his passing and shooting. When the movement up front is bad the CM end up looking bad!
4. Dirk’s feet are erratic. But his work rate was top notch.
5. Lack of speed has been a major problem for us for a very long time. I blame Babel. We’ve bought many speed players but they really haven’t lived up to expectation. And now with Gerrard losing pace the counterattack game is going to be limited. Spearing though has shown he can get up there but he starts from so deep it’s not really viable.
Forget Bale. I’d rather have Lennon. He is just deadly and is getting more end product.
6. Jonjo is disappointing for real but he was the right sub. The midfield had worked hard the whole game. We needed more legs in there. Ngog doesn’t have the up and down game to help in a defensive dogfight.