The biggest disappointment for me during yesterday’s 1-1 draw with Everton, was the way in which Liverpool failed to kill off a side that for the majority looked there for the taking.
The Reds opted to close the game out at 1-0, and at that point you are always vulnerable to a point being robbed through a mistake or a moment of magic – on this occasion it was the latter from an unlikely source.
The final 20 minutes, we received the ball deep in our half and had opportunites to counter attack but instead we opted to slow down the play on too many occasions.
Lallana would be breaking towards the half way line and expect a run to be made by any of our attacking players but instead they were all behind him expecting to have the ball at their feet.
It was almost like Brendan decided to “park the bus” and just expect Everton to not have one chance in the game.
Honestly, I think it cost us big time because after we scored the momentum was with us, yet after Balotelli hit the crossbar the tempo went right down. You could sense the atmosphere around Anfield was nervous, because they knew that there was more in this game than just the one goal.
The problem that faces Brendan is that the Liverpool of last season would have gone on to look for more goals on the break but we are missing our two key men from last season. Suarez and Sturridge, who were so influential in leading counter attacks late in games in 2013-14 and that is what we miss. That ruthlessness, that killer instinct, that class. But when Sturridge comes back you can expect us to look much more threatening on the break.
But that has been half of the issue for Liverpool this season. It is always going to be a case of “well last season this would have not happened.”
This is not the right mentality to look at everything. In certain aspects of our play yes that is fine but in everything we do you just cannot expect that. Look at our full backs now, they are dynamic, attacking players who have added another layer to our forward play.
We saw great evidence of that yesterday, especially with Alberto Moreno who was a different class at times. His pace is absolutely amazing and he linked up very well with the midfield for the most part. Of course you do expect the players to get tired towards the end ,but Moreno covered so much ground in the game that in the last 20 minutes he had nothing left and a lot of our pace had gone.
The performance of Coutinho when he came on was much better than the last few games and he played a few decent passes and retained possession well. But yet again not enough in those last 20 minutes. Lallana however was by far Liverpools best creative player, he had great work rate throughout, and was always trying to make something happen when he had the ball. I expect him to start hitting some really good form quite soon.
My biggest disappointment was Mario Balotelli though. Although he showed flashes of class with his free-kick, close range save from Howard and of course his good close control. But for the majority of the game he was far too slow on the ball and invited pressure from the Everton defense. Balotelli on the ball was just not good enough for me and he has to be more influential in our play than he was today. Off the ball, his closing down was decent and his movement was far better than previous games.
Gerrard, Rodgers and Lallana have all been positive about the performance following the final whistle, but the decision to slow down the pace for that final 20 minutes is what ultimately proved costly in our quest for a crucial three points.