Liverpool Message Board
No thread up on our Europa win yet so I'll start the ball rolling.
Not the most prolific or eye pleasing match I've seen but job done, which is all you can really ask for in a European away tie. Henderson has had his critics of late, but got to say he had a good game, and not just because of the goal. In fact think he was unlucky not to get his brace. He obviously played a lot further forward than he has in recent appearances, so maybe that was the factor that saw him put in a good shift.
Thought Downing, another boy in the dog house also had a decent outing. Nothing fantastic, but got himself in the box a number of times, and looked composed on the ball getting pressure on the Italian right back. Back line also did a good job, a couple nervy moments, but overall a fine display.
The not so good I think was Allen. I've been very impressed with him so far this season, but as of late he's gotten sloppy, and misplaced a number of passes today. He has however played a lot of football, so maybe a rest might do him good, and with Lucas back, he's not as critical now, although on form I think him and Lucas with Stevie in front is our best midfield set up.
Suso also I was not that impressed with. Not a bad game, but seemed to really lack end product or spark. Got muscled off a number of times when he tried to back track. Still like the lad a lot, but just pointing out not his best effort in red imo.
I'd also have a go at the ref. No major clangers, but just a string of what to me were inconsistent decisions. Yellows (against us and Udinese) that should not have been, and seemed he did not like any Liverpool player heading the ball if he even touched an Italian in the process. I'd also note the red card was laughable. I know Pasquale may have been undone by an accumulation of fouls rather than a single bad challenge, but the challenge on Sterling was barely a foul let alone a cardable offense imo. Doubt it impacted the final outcome as it was so late in the game, but it did highlight a ref I thought was not up to the task.
Finally have to say I could not have written this if Di Natale had actually shot 6 inches lower with the final kick of the ball. Of course the facts of the game would have remained the same in terms of individual players performances, but since it would have knocked us out, rather than see us go top in our group, you know the spin would have been how Liverpool has crashed out with a whisper rather than a job done abroad. Strange how one kick can change everything!
Agree with pretty much everything you said. Overall, we were far the better side, (which is subject to and will be critiqued by someone else's opinion since I'm saying nice things rather than negative about my club) with about 15-20" patch of sloppy play and once again left wanting for a 2nd or 3rd goal, with Di Natale literally within inches of killing us off..
For me, Downing worked hard, but just simply is not good enough as a front player, and marginally good as a left wing back. He's also clearly not a fit because his only speciality is sending in good crosses, which were basically useless today, since Suarez didn't really seem to get in his normal positions, nor did Shelvey, though like you said Jordan did, and probably his best game in recent memory, perhaps ever in Red.. he worked very hard.
As for Suso, he's simply being played out of position. He doesn't have the pace or strength on his right foot to cause damage there, where I think/hope in time, he'll get an opportunity to have that free role behind Suarez or whomever. Though, he was a little shaky, some bad passes, he did track back quite a few times, got mixed up in challenges, quite physical for his age/size today, AND, he did a wonderful job of pinning his defender back, holding him off and laying the pass to Jordan for the goal.. so I think he was a little better than advertised..
Allen was avg to poor, but I said it recently in another post. if you look back to Swans, the Olympics and now, he's possibly played more minutes than anyone other than Skrtel, and we forget he's 22, 5'6 and I have to think he's just hitting a wall right now, thankfully Lucas is back, and Jordan showed he can play there a bit, as can Shelvey, along with a fit Gerrard..
Hard to slate Sahin, and for watching his season in Germany and what a stunningly good player he was, other than 2 games, he's really done little, though a quiet type player anyways, and it was disappointing to see him go off after 5 with a bloody nose, though it could have been broken for all we know.. He has the class in him, very much, just not sure we'll ever see it since he won't be a regular and Suso can probably emerge into his same mould..
The wasted sub on him also probably cost an opportunity to bring on Assaidi, and much sooner than other changes were made. He could have really opened things up with his pace, particularly when we were up a man, and trying to hit on the counter..
So, this would be the definition of "winning ugly" while actually being in full control, and since I just got off the phone with Daniel Agger, he said it was ok for me to repeat that we played them off the pitch despite the scoreline, again, subject to one's approval on the board of course..
So, onto the knockouts, nice job and focus on West Ham. VERY difficult game that could be a really spring board..
- 1 Reply to Jason
I might be being a little unfair to Suso, but maybe I'm just expecting more from him as he's exceeded my expectations for him so far this season in other matches. To be honest back in pre-season I thought people were mad saying he needed regular football with our first team. I thought he was too lightweight, and made too many over ambitious plays due to a lack of a mature footballing brain. However I'm fine saying I was wrong, and he's done much more than I would have predicted so far this season. But what has impressed me is that he's a player that has provided a spark: he'll take on a defender, or look to create something from nothing, and often pull it off. But today while I should give him credit for putting in a good shift, and of course setting up our goal, I just did not see that something special I've greedily come to expect from him.
On Downing I agree I think at best he's fast becoming a backup forward for us, but depending on who comes in January (assuming we go for a forward who can play wide and centrally) his opportunities are going to diminish quickly. But I also have to give some credit for his effort today. I think he did combine with Jose well, tracked back well, and had to deal with who imo was Udinese's biggest threat all match in Fabbrini, who did his best work when lying deeper on the right side.
On Sahan, much like Borini discussion I think we should not rush to judgment. I did not watch him in Germany, but my Turkish friends rave about him. I'm not sure how his English is, or how he's doing settling into his 3rd country in 3 seasons, but his technical ability I think is clear, it’s just a question of if he can put it into practice to really make his mark with us.
And, lastly as for Agger, you've got to stop forgetting your friend there is prone to hyperbole every time he opens his mouth, just as our manager is. So when they say we played well, just so you think as your supposed to (rather than trusting your own eyes and judgment after watching the full match) discount by at least 40-60% whatever they say!
Agree with all that, Henderson's movement was really good all night and as the commentators were saying, he seemed to be more alive on the ball, not dwindling in thought and just playing quickly and instinctively. He has struggled with the pressure of LFC but is obviously doing somethings right recently so I am happy for him, think he can be useful to us over the next few years.
Allen was pretty poor again last night, his final ball is weak, I wonder if the criticism from the Anfield faithful has burdened him some what and he is now trying to be more adventureous with his passing.
Suso is so talented, his 1st touch is amazing and he just looks graceful on the ball, he is very much a work in progress.
You just have to love Di Natalie, he is just so good and always has a big smile on his face, its odd how he came to his prime in his 30's, I would have him in our side all day long!
- 1 Reply to LFC_Armchair_Supporter
.....................and amidst all the talk about Sahin, Henderson, Suso, Allen et al, let´s give Jose Enrique another pat on the back. A productive shift and some of his over the defence balls for Suarez (and the missing pairing we await in January!) were spectacular. Two up front and at least one of those passes could easily have resulted in another goal. Love the way he in particular and Johnson drive forward with intent and (back to those aerial passes) it was intelligent on Enrique´s part to try and bypass a crowded Udinese midfield and defence imo. Bet even tika taka Brendan accepted the alternative approach he provided.