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Arsenal 2-0 Liverpool Match Report

5 Nov

                            Arsenal 2-0 Liverpool Match Report

 

Liverpool suffered their second league defeat of the season as they went down 2-0 to Arsenal at the Emirates in this top of the table clash, Liverpool could have went top with a win but the loss now leaves them five points behind the Gunners.

 

Goals from Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey separated the teams in a match that Arsenal won convincingly.

 

                             The Team

 

The pre-match team news confirmed that Liverpool were without the services of Glen Johnson due to illness and Jon Flanagan would deputise for the England right-back. Flanagan had not featured in Liverpool’s first team since the FA Cup tie against Mansfield back in January. Meanwhile, fit-again Philippe Coutinho was named on the substitutes’ bench.

 

The eleven that started for Liverpool at the Emirates were Mignolet, Flanagan, Toure, Skrtel, Sakho, Cissokho, Lucas, Gerrard, Henderson, Sturridge and Luis Suarez.

 

                            The Match

 

The game got underway with Arsenal creating the first effort through Tomas Rosicky firing a shot across the face of goal which was palmed wide by Mignolet.

 

At the other end Jordan Henderson surged into the Arsenal penalty box before miscuing his shot. Liverpool started the game positively and pressed high up the park.

 

However, Arsenal took the lead in the 19th minute when Sagna burst down the right flank before crossing onto the head of Cazorla who headed onto the post before firing the rebound past Mignolet.

 

Liverpool almost mustered a swift riposte, but Toure’s downward header was blocked by Szczesny, though the flag was raised for offside in any case.

 

Liverpool were left frustrated when they tried to take a quick free-kick which ended up in the Arsenal net only to be brought back as the referee wanted to book Sagna for the foul.

 

But Arsenal stepped up a gear after taking the lead as Liverpool tried to stay in the game and Mignolet had to react quickly to get down to save Ramsey’s drive after a one-two with Rosicky.

 

Liverpool went in at the break a goal behind and Brendan Rodgers made an attacking substitution for the second half by introducing Coutinho for Cissokho.

 

Liverpool went close early in the second half when Suarez raced clear behind the Arsenal defence before toe-poking off target. Then, moments later the Uruguayan found space in a dangerous position before crossing to the back post finding Henderson but the midfielder volleyed over.

 

A slack pass from Toure to Skrtel was seized upon by Giroud but the striker’s chipped effort found the side netting to the relief of Brendan Rodgers.

 

However, Arsenal didn’t have long to wait until they claimed their second goal, when Ramsey connected with a half-volley from 20 yards that looped over Mignolet in the 59th minute.

 

Victor Moses replaced Flanagan as Liverpool tried to salvage something from the game, and they almost found a lifeline when Suarez fired in a low drive with the outside-of-the-foot but his effort struck the base of the post.

 

Liverpool continued until the very end to get something from the game and Suarez should have scored in the dying moments but his side-footed effort went wide as Arsenal held on to stay top of the league.

 

                                          Summary

 

Liverpool were dealt a blow with the loss of Glen Johnson before kick-off and I was surprised that Rodgers chose Flanagan to deputise in such a big game, but in fairness Flanagan had a good game and didn’t let anyone down.

 

I thought Liverpool started well until Arsenal took the lead and then Arsenal were the better team and dominated the midfield. Despite Arsenal’s domination Liverpool had some really good chances and the quick free-kick being brought back was a poor decision by the referee.

 

Coutinho looked sharp when he came on for the second half and became very involved in trying to bring Liverpool back into the game, unfortunately his passing was just a little off.

 

Liverpool showed tremendous attitude by trying to salvage something from the game right until the final whistle but on the day they were second best to an impressive side.

 

 

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Liverpool’s Destroyer

29 Aug

The Kopite View Season 2012-13 Part 2 is now available on kindle format, buy it here at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kopite-View-Season-2012-13-ebook/dp/B00DP7UIGQ/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1372521782&sr=1-2&keywords=the+kopite+view  All the money from the sales of both books will be going to help http://hfsg.co.uk/ please help them by buying my book JFT96

Liverpool’s Destroyer

Lucas Leiva made his Liverpool debut 6 years ago and it is amazing how his reputation has changed since his first appearance in a Red shirt. Lucas has been one of the most criticised Liverpool players in recent years, and I was one of his biggest critics. I thought Lucas was the worst Brazilian player I had ever seen, and the worst Liverpool player since Traore.

I used to think that he was too slow and too small and couldn’t tackle a fish supper but how wrong I was with my judgement. He has transformed into Liverpool’s most improved player, and I now rate Lucas as Liverpool’s most important player.

Liverpool lost a lot of talent in recent years with players of the calibre of Xabi Alonso and Mascherano leaving Anfield in recent, many people wondered if Lucas was ready to become a regular in Liverpool’s midfield after a much criticised beginning to life at Anfield. But he got his chance to play regularly in Liverpool’s midfield early in the 2110-11 season when Mascherano left for Barcelona. Mascherano was terrific in the holding midfield role and it was a big task for Lucas to step in and replace him.

Lucas made steady progress that season as a holding midfielder and after a brilliant start to the following season his season was cruelly ended by injury at Stamford Bridge when Liverpool beat Chelsea in the quarter-final of the League Cup. Lucas suffered damage to his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee which kept him out until the start of the 2012-13 season.

Lucas’ bad luck continued when he suffered another injury in Liverpool’s second League match of the season against Premiership Champions Manchester City when he injured his thigh in the warm-up prior to kick-off. This injury kept him out for a further 3 months. But once again Lucas showed what a fighter he is by recovering from a serious injury not once but twice to return to Liverpool’s midfield.

Lucas came back into the team and played regularly last season notching up 31 appearances in total as his fitness and form improved with games. Liverpool’s form in the last 2 season has been highly influenced by Lucas’ appearances.

In 2011-12 Liverpool finished a lowly 8th position in the Premiership and I believe a large part of their problem was the absence of Lucas from the team from November until the end of the season. Whereas Liverpool had a terrible start to last season winning only 2 of their first 10 League games again in Lucas’ 3 month absence.

But when Lucas returned to the team in a regular basis Liverpool’s form and results improved, highlighted by an end of season run of only 1 defeat in the last 13 games.

Lucas has become so important to the Liverpool team in the holding midfield role and he has become one of the best in the Premiership in that role. The loss of midfield talent in recent years has given Lucas the chance to establish himself in the Liverpool midfield and he has grabbed the chance with both hands.

It is no secret that Lucas has endured some tough times in his Liverpool career, a young player moving to a different country to one of the biggest football teams in the world to apply his trade could not have been easy, but his treatment from some sections of the Liverpool support made it much more difficult, where many players would have struggled under that kind of pressure. But Lucas proved that he is a fighter both on and off the park as he fought and established a regular place in Liverpool’s midfield.

But the way Lucas has worked at his game by keeping his head down and improved his game has to be applauded. Lucas has worked on his strength and is very rarely knocked off the ball now as he appeared light weight in his younger days, and his reading of the game is a great attribute as he senses the danger of opposition attacks very early. Lucas covers every blade of grass during games and he rarely gives the ball away when in possession.

It has been obvious to notice Lucas’ value to Liverpool for his unfortunate absence through injury as no player has replaced him as effectively. Jordan Henderson, Joe Allen and Steven Gerrard have all recently tried to replace the Brazilian, but none have filled the role as well as results have proved.

Liverpool lost a lot of goals in the first part of last season when Lucas was out injured but their goals conceded improved greatly on Lucas’ return as he offers his defence superb protection.

Even in the first 2 games of the season Lucas’ statistics are impressive as Liverpool recorded 2 wins in their first 2 games along with 2 clean sheets.

Against Stoke Lucas attempted 74 passes with a conversion rate of 86.5% and he made 8 tackles winning 75% of them.

In Saturday’s game at Aston Villa Lucas made 5 tackles winning 60% of them and he also attempted 77 passes (more than any other Liverpool player) completing 90.9% them.

Statistics are not everything but they do prove how involved Lucas is in Liverpool’s midfield, his tackling and passing statistics are impressive and he is such a valuable part of Brendan Rodgers’ plans.

The holding midfield role is such an important position in the modern game with wing-backs pushing so high up the park in many games the holding midfielder has a lot of covering to do especially against the counter-attack to protect the centre-backs, and Lucas is excelling in this position as Liverpool’s destroyer.

Lucas is now 26 years old and is very experienced at Liverpool having played over 200 games for the first team and I can see him being a future Liverpool captain through his service at Anfield and also by his good organisational skills as he has grown in confidence over the years and looks a perfect candidate.

It is hard to believe Lucas made his debut for Liverpool 6 years ago and I hope he plays at least another 6 years for Liverpool. It’s funny how time can change your opinion of a player.

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Valerenga 1-4 Liverpool Match Report

8 Aug

Valerenga 1-4 Liverpool Match Report

 

Liverpool continued their pre-season in good form with a comfortable win in Oslo against Valerenga. Much of the talk surrounding Liverpool at the moment is about want away striker Luis Suarez, but the speculation didn’t affect Liverpool’s performance as they won through goals from Luis Alberto, Iago Aspas, Martin Kelly and Raheem Sterling. The match was watched by Liverpool’s Principal owner John W Henry for the first time in 13 months.

 

The Team

 

Brendan Rodgers started the match with some of his squad players against Valerenga with Brad Jones starting in goal with a team of Alberto, Aspas, Henderson, Coates, Downing, Spearing, Allen, Flanagan, Ibe and Wisdom in front of him.

 

The Match

 

Liverpool struggled the last time they travelled to this part of the world when they required two late goals from Daniel Agger to salvage a draw. Liverpool enjoyed a far more comfortable match this time around as they dictated play.

 

Liverpool went close in the opening stages with Joe Allen and Jordan Ibe having efforts. Meanwhile Aspas was becoming a constant menace to the Norwegian defence and was twice denied by good goalkeeping from Valerenga’s Kongshavn.

 

But it was Aspas who influenced the opening goal for Liverpool on the half hour mark when he struck the frame of the goal with an effort before Luis Alberto drilled into the Valerenga net from 20 yards.

 

Liverpool were in total control but were surprisingly pegged back when Gonzalez headed an in-swinging corner past Brad Jones to give the Norwegians parity.

 

Liverpool responded with Aspas scoring his fourth goal of pre-season as he showed good movement to finish from Downing’s cross.

 

Brendan Rodgers made 10 changes to his personnel for the start of the second half Assaidi and Sterling providing the pace down the flanks. Liverpool extended their lead in the 54th minute when Valerenga struggled to deal with a corner that landed in the centre of the penalty box which invited Martin Kelly to force the ball over the line to make the score 3-1.

 

Within 60 seconds Kolo Toure thumped a header against the bar from a set-piece as Liverpool continued to pressure the hosts. Borini went equally close to scoring when he pounced on a loose ball before rounding the keeper but his effort rolled all the way along the line but refused to hit the net.

 

Borini was again cursing his luck as he struck the crossbar from 20 yards with 15 minutes remaining but Liverpool did manage another goal in the closing moments with Sterling scoring and giving Liverpool a 4-1 win in their 6th straight success.

 

Summary

 

Liverpool performed well creating a lot of chances in their trip to Oslo as the team look in good shape for the new season. Rodgers managed to give most players a run out and that is very important in pre-season. Liverpool are playing with confidence and players like Jordan Henderson and Joe Allen are feeding of this with fine performances. Aspas played very well once again and he is finding the net in a regular basis. With one more friendly to play, the signs are looking good for the start of the season.

 

 

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Gerrard’s Testimonial

3 Aug

The Kopite View Season 2012-13 Part 2 is now available on kindle format, buy it here at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kopite-View-Season-2012-13-ebook/dp/B00DP7UIGQ/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1372521782&sr=1-2&keywords=the+kopite+view  All the money from the sales of both books will be going to help http://hfsg.co.uk/ please help them by buying my book JFT96

 

 

Liverpool 2-0 Olympiacos Match Report

 

Anfield paid tribute and showed their appreciation to one of Liverpool’s greatest ever players Steven Gerrard in his testimonial match against Olympiacos. Goals from Joe Allen in the first half and Jordan Henderson in the second half capped a superb day for the Liverpool Captain.

 

The Team

 

Although the match was Steven Gerrard’s testimonial it was still an important match in terms of match fitness for Brendan Rodgers and his squad as they prepare for the start of the new season. Rodgers started a team that looked like the one that could start against Stoke in Liverpool’s first game of the season. Mignolet, Enrique, Agger, Toure, Johnson, Lucas, Allen, Coutinho, Sterling and Aspas started alongside the man of the moment Steven Gerrard.

 

The Match

 

Steven Gerrard was welcomed by a guard of honour formed by both sets of players prior to kick-off and a standing ovation from the Anfield faithful as they saluted their hero.

 

Liverpool enjoyed plenty of possession in the early stages with loud cheers every time Gerrard received a touch of the ball. Joe Allen flashed a shot wide in the game’s first real effort.

 

Moments later Joe Allen pounced on a sloppy pass from the visitors before releasing new signing Aspas but the striker’s effort was blocked away.

 

Gerrard had the crowd excited when he lined up a long range drive but his effort was off target. Then Gerrard had a joke with referee Hasey when the unfortunate referee intercepted one of his passes.

 

Next Aspas showed a lovely bit of skill when he cleverly beat his marker before shooting into the side-netting with Joe Allen again providing the assist as his attacking runs forward were providing a big threat to the Greeks.

 

Liverpool continued to attack with Sterling and Coutinho combining in a counter-attack before Sterling’s weak shot was easily saved by the keeper.

 

Then Liverpool should have taken the lead when an extravagant flick by Aspas found Allen in the centre of the penalty area but the midfielder side-footed his volley over the bar.

 

But Allen made no mistake moments later in the 23rd minute when Joe Allen tapped home an Aspas low drive across the face of goal to give Liverpool a deserved lead.

 

Liverpool looked to be enjoying themselves with the goal encouraging them even more and next it was Glen Johnson to try his luck from long range but his strike just missed the far corner.

 

Brendan Rodgers continued with the same eleven players to start the second half and Liverpool continued to attack their visitors as Coutinho glided past a couple of defenders before shooting towards the far post but Olympiacos goalkeeper Megveri saved comfortably.

 

Then the lively Sterling curled a shot wide as he continues to impress this pre-season, before watching his lob go agonisingly wide of the post before the Anfield crowd showed great appreciation towards the introduction of Luis Suarez and Jamie Carragher.

 

Jordan Henderson also made his entry for Joe Allen and within seconds he made it 2-0 for Liverpool after finishing off a move involving good work from Raheem Sterling.

 

Henderson almost scored his second goal moments later but he shot straight at the keeper. Jose Enrique was thwarted by the keeper in the next attack after finding space in the box.

 

With 15 minutes remaining when the Kop saluted a former favourite when Robbie Fowler was introduced, and the crowd was on its feet when Gerrard slipped the ball through to Fowler but his quick strike was deflected wide for a corner.

 

Then with 6 minutes remaining Steven Gerrard was replaced by Jay Spearing to a standing ovation as he left the field and end an emotional day for the Liverpool skipper.

 

The match finished 2-0 in another impressive performance for Liverpool, but the day was all about Steven Gerrard.

 

Summary

 

The Liverpool supporters paid their respects with a tremendous turn out at Anfield for Steven Gerrard for his testimonial. But Liverpool treated the match seriously as they showed great energy and commitment from the start as Olympiacos were pegged back for most of the game. Rodgers started the match with eleven players that will probably start the match against Stoke and he gave them an hour before making the expected substitutions. Aspas looked lively up front and Sterling is showing great confidence in his play that lacked at times last season. Joe Allen was very impressive as he starred in an attacking midfield role and should have scored a hat-trick in the first half, but it was good to see him score and get into forward positions. Lucas is looking back to his best as he thwarted countless Olympiacos attacks. Great finish by Henderson after just coming on and he could be an important player for Liverpool this season as he looks more confident. Overall it was a good performance by the team and a special day for a special player Steven Gerrard.

 

 

 

 

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Newcastle United 0-6 Liverpool Match Report

27 Apr

Newcastle United 0-6 Liverpool Match Report

 

Liverpool hit the headlines today in all the right ways after a difficult week for the club which saw their star striker Luis Suarez banned for 10 matches after last week’s infamous biting incident with Chelsea’s Ivanovic. Liverpool hit 6 against a poor Newcastle side with an early goal from Daniel Agger setting the theme for the day. A double from Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge, followed by a goal from the fit again Fabio Borini resulted in an emphatic score line for the visitors.

 

The Team

 

As predicted Brendan Rodgers replaced the suspended Luis Suarez with Daniel Sturridge in attack, the rest of the team remained the same with Reina in goal and Johnson, Agger, Carragher and Enrique the defence in front of him. Coutinho, Lucas, Gerrard, Henderson and Downing provided the midfield.

 

The Match

 

Liverpool started the match on the attack with Coutinho releasing Johnson down the right flank before the full-back crossed low only to be cleared behind behind for an early corner.

 

A minute later Agger headed the visitors into the lead after Coutinho looped a ball over the top of the Newcastle defence.

 

Newcastle seemed shell shocked from conceding the early goal and Liverpool grew in confidence from taking the early lead. Sturridge had the next effort but his effort was punched away by Elliot although the striker was flagged offside.

 

Not surprisingly Liverpool doubled their lead in the 17th minute after a brilliant move involving Sturridge and Coutinho before Sturridge unselfishly set up Henderson to pass into an empty goal.

 

Liverpool continued to dominate possession as Newcastle struggled to contain Liverpool’s attacking threat. But they should have pulled a goal back when Haidara crossed into the centre, but James Perch headed over from close range.

 

Newcastle had their best spell of the match prior to half-time but Liverpool defended comfortably to preserve their 2-0 lead at the break.

 

Newcastle started the second half a lot better than the first and Gouffran headed an effort straight at Reina to encourage the home support. But the hosts were hit by a sucker punch when Sturridge smashed in Liverpool’s third goal after a clever pass pass by Coutinho.

 

The match was now over as a contest but Newcastle had a shout for a penalty when Ben Arfa’s powerful shot cannoned off Lucas’s arm in the box, but the referee correctly waved play on.

 

Then on the hour mark Henderson squared for Sturridge to net his second of the day and Liverpool’s fourth as many Newcastle fans headed for the exit.

 

Steven Gerrard was replaced in the 73rd minute by Fabio Borini who was returning from injury and he made an instant impact by stabbing an effort past Elliot for his first Premiership goal for Liverpool.

 

2 minutes later Debuchy was sent off for a second yellow card after a rash challenge on Coutinho and Henderson curled in the resulting free-kick into the bottom corner making it 6-0 to the visitors.

 

Coutinho almost made it 7-0 but his long range effort was superbly saved onto the bar by Elliot. The rest of the match was played out like a training match as both teams appreciated the contest was over.

 

Summary

 

Suarez wasn’t missed too badly today as Liverpool scored 6 and Sturridge impressed by scoring 2 goals and the way he lead the line. But Coutinho was the stand out performer with several defence splitting passes and played a part in most of Liverpool’s goals. Newcastle were poor but you can only beat what’s in front of you and Liverpool played well. To score 6 goals away from home and without their star striker was tremendous and sets them up well for next week’s Merseyside derby.

 

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Reading 0-0 Liverpool Match Report

14 Apr

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Reading 0-0 Liverpool Match Report

Liverpool left the Madejski Stadium frustrated after missing numerous chances to win the match against a Reading side fighting for their Premiership survival.  Reading goalkeeper Alex McCarthy was the main reason why Liverpool failed to find a winning goal as he produced numerous saves to keep the Reds at bay.

The Team

Brendan Rodgers made just the one change to the side that started against West Ham last weekend, with Sturridge replacing Stewart Downing. The rest of the team included Reina in goal, with Johnson, Enrique, Agger and Carragher in defence. Coutinho, Lucas, Gerrard and Henderson were the midfield with Suarez in attack.

The Match

Prior to kick-off Reading paid an emotional tribute to the 96 Liverpool supporters who died at Hillsborough ahead of Monday’s 24th anniversary of the disaster with a minute’s silence.

Liverpool dominated possession in the early stages of the match without creating any chances until the 14th minute, when Coutinho split the Reading defence with a clever pass sending Suarez through on goal, but the striker’s dinked finish past McCarthy was headed off the goaline by Gunter.

Liverpool continued to press and Sturridge saw an effort blocked by McCarthy before Coutinho’s low curling effort was tipped around the base of the post by the inspired goalkeeper. From the resulting corner, Carragher headed narrowly over.

It was one-way traffic as Reading fought to stay in the game against constant Liverpool pressure. Suarez saw another effort saved by McCarthy before Gerrard volleyed the rebound at the legs of Karacan.

Coutinho blasted high and wide after Sturridge saw his run into the box halted. Then just before half-time Sturridge was denied by a point-blank save from McCarthy following a corner before Agger headed inches past the wrong side of the post.

Liverpool finally put the ball in the Reading net moments after the re-start when Coutinho flicked home a Gerrard centre, but his effort was ruled offside.

The second half continued in the same pattern as the first half with Liverpool continuing to create chances. Rodgers introduced Downing for Jordan Henderson for the last half hour as his team continued to search for the opening goal.

Coutinho then skimmed an effort wide of the far post after a Sturridge cut-back. But Reading almost stole the lead against the run of play when Pogrebnyak’s centre found Hunt only yards out but Reina made a stunning point-blank save to keep the score level.

Reading called Reina into action again when McAnuff’s 12 yard drive had to be tipped over the bar by the Spaniard as the hosts enjoyed their best spell of the game.

But it wasn’t long before Liverpool were back on the attack as Suarez saw a great effort from a free-kick clip the outside of the post before Downing drilled a shot off target after cutting in from the right flank.

Liverpool continued right to the end in search for the winning goal but they were left bewildered by the form of Reading keeper McCarthy as he pulled off stunning late saves from Gerrard and then Suarez before Sturridge fired over the bar when presented with a great chance as Reading held out for a share of the points.

Summary

Another frustrating day for Liverpool as Reading somehow managed to keep Liverpool out. Frustration has been a common theme this season as Liverpool must be left wondering how they never managed to win this match. A catalogue of missed chances including poor finishing and outstanding goalkeeping from the inspired McCarthy led to Liverpool’s frustration as they continue to search for the recipe of consistency in their results. But many positives must be taken from the game as the drive and determination to get that vital goal right up to the final whistle was encouraging as the players showed great attitude in creating so many chances. Another clean sheet was another positive to take from the game. Gerrard’s energy to drive his players on was inspirational as he proved once again that he has a few miles left in his tank yet. But overall another disappointing result for Liverpool and the search for consistency continues.

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Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool Match Report

31 Mar

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Gerrard Sinks Villa

Steven Gerrard capped a second half comeback for Liverpool as he converted a penalty to give Liverpool the 3 points after Benteke had given Aston Villa a deserved first half lead. Jordan Henderson levelled early in the second half after being sent clear by Coutinho. Gerrard was the hero at the other end of the park too when he cleared a goal-bound Benteke header off the line to earn the win for his side.

The Team

Brendan Rodgers made 4 changes to the team that lost to Southampton 2 weeks ago. Reina, Carragher, Lucas and Jordan Henderson all returned to the side. Johnson, Enrique, Agger, Coutinho, Downing, Gerrard and Suarez completed the line-up for the visitors.

The Match

Like at Southampton Liverpool struggled to settle into the match as Villa set about unsettling their visitors. Agger had to intervene twice early on to prevent an opening goal.

Lucas blocked a goal-bound effort inside the 6 yard box as Villa pressed. Then Reina pulled off a point-blank save from Agbonlahor as Liverpool continued to struggle.

Villa finally got their reward in the 31st minute when Guzan’s long clearance was touched on by Agbonlahor to Benteke who smashed the ball past the helpless Reina to give the home side a deserved lead.

Liverpool responded with Suarez looking the most likely to bring the visitors back into the match. He had already dragged a shot wide after a superb through ball by Coutinho. Suarez was then denied by Guzan when one on one with the American.

Guzan had to be alert to deny Gerrard ‘s long range effort. Liverpool went in at half-time 1-0 down but deep down they knew it could have been more.

Liverpool got the perfect start to the second half when Henderson beat Guzan after being sent clear with a defence splitting pass by Coutinho.

8 minutes later Liverpool should have been in the lead but Coutinho failed to find the target after linking up with Suarez. Liverpool were far better in the second half as Aston Villa struggled to find their form from the first half.

Glen Johnson was unlucky to see his effort strike the post as Liverpool continued to threaten. But Liverpool took the lead moments later when Suarez was felled in the box. Gerrard made no mistake from the spot as he fired the ball past Guzan.

Villa tried to take something from the match the led and Weimann came close with an effort before Gerrard pulled off a goal-saving diving header off the line from Benteke.

Minutes later Reina had to be alert to tip a mis-hit cross to safety as Villa continued to threaten. Then in the last minute of stoppage time Benteke smashed the ball into the Liverpool net, but it was ruled out for offside as Liverpool hung on for the 3 points.

Summary

Aston Villa caused Liverpool a lot of problems in the first half and the visitors were lucky to only be 1-0 down at the half. But the important thing was they kept themselves in the game unlike the Southampton match. Poor defending at the Benteke goal but Liverpool showed more resilience in coming back from a difficult first half. Jordan Henderson showed great composure with his impressive finish from one of many clever Coutinho passes. No argument about the penalty, it was a definite penalty. Gerrard proved once again that he has plenty to offer Liverpool with another outstanding performance. A good away win for Liverpool as it was important to bounce back from that defeat at Southampton.

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Improving Liverpool

24 Feb

Improving Liverpool

 

Liverpool have endured a rollercoaster of a season since Brendan Rodgers took over in the summer, and the results have been so inconsistent leaving the club way off the pace for a top four finish. But this season was always going to be a transitional period.

 

Liverpool lost a lot of experience in the summer for one reason or another and Brendan Rodgers had to turn to youth to fill the gaps in his team. Players like Andre Wisdom, Suso and Raheem Sterling have stepped up to the plate for Liverpool and Liverpool are now starting to reap the rewards of their youth system with many others showing great quality and who will be challenging for a first team place in the not too distant future.

 

Jordan Ibe looks the pick of the bunch of talented youngsters but Connor Coady, Yesil, Ryan McLaughlin, Sama, Morgan, Flanagan, and Jack Robinson who is out on loan at the moment are a few worth mentioning.

 

New managers come to a new club and try to install their ideas and methods of how they want their team to play and Brendan Rodgers is no different, Rodgers likes to play a passing style including pressing the opposition high up the park. This has took a while to implement with signs of it working in some matches and many mistakes especially in defence costing the team dear in others.

 

To qualify for European competition next season would be high on the agenda at the start of the season, but with so many changes at the club the most important thing should be that the team is showing signs of improvement, and I believe that they are.

 

OK so the defence has been a bit more vulnerable than in recent seasons, but by playing a passing game from the back does put extra pressure on defenders and as the season has progressed I feel they are learning that there are still times when you have to just clear your lines when under pressure, when earlier in the season they would pass their way into trouble. There is still the odd mistake like Carragher’s the other night but individual mistakes do happen and I’m sure they will clear up soon.

 

The amount of chances Liverpool are creating has to be encouraging although the conversion rate is poor, but it is more of a problem when you are not creating chances and to produce 35 shots at goal in one game is quite remarkable and the conversion rate will improve.

 

The reliance on Suarez for the most part of the season has been a problem but he has been immense regarding Liverpool’s lack of striking options. But with the addition of Sturridge to the team Liverpool look far more threatening and a more attacking team. Lucas coming back from injury has freed up Gerrard to get forward more and the resurgence of Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson has been a great addition to the team.

 

The performances against Swansea and Zenit were very encouraging with the team playing some great football but more importantly playing with a desire, passion and high tempo that we have not seen enough of this season. So hopefully this style of play and attitude will continue as opposition teams will struggle against a Liverpool team playing this way.

 

There is a lot to play for in the remainder of the season for Liverpool and if they can continue to show improvement then the future will be bright for the Anfield side.

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