|photo by [3/4 of zer0]||via PhotoRee|
Scott has some
excuses thoughts on Liverpool's last two horrific losses games:
Top of the league at Christmas and now 5th and 6 points from the top before New Year’s Eve. How could this have happened? Well, like most things in life, it is no single thing but rather a combination of factors:
1) Liverpool squandered chances. In the first game against Manchester City, Liverpool played at least as well as the home team and likely deserved a point for their pressing, creativity and determination. But too many chances went begging and such opportunities must be seized when playing against the likes of Manchester City or Chelsea. While there were not as many chances against Chelsea, failing to convert certainly played a role.
2) Mignolet had a bad day against Manchester City. I think on almost any other day, Simon does not let Negredo’s weak shot dribble in. But dribble in it did.
3) The competition was excellent. To be fair, it wasn’t all down to Liverpool not executing. Manchester City created scores of opportunities also, while Chelsea were relentless in their high pressing and quick strikes. Plus, the darker blues were aggressively defensive (overly so at times) when they needed to be.
4) The referees were bad in the Manchester City game. I’m not saying Liverpool lost both games because of poor decisions, but nobody would win the argument that those decisions did not have an enormous impact on the game. In the first game, the standout error was the blatant miscue that saw the assistant referee flag Raheem Sterling offside when he was several feet onside. Despite Brendan Rodgers’ comments regarding Lee Mason’s proximity to Manchester (with which I disagree), the fault is clearly the assistant referee’s. And this is not one of those “could go either way” things. He was way onside and was through on goal with acres of space and only Joe Hart ahead.
5) The referees were bad in the Chelsea game. Jose Mourinho can throw all the tantrums he likes and accuse Liverpool of all manner of theatrics, but the simple fact is that Samuel Eto’o’s (hmmm, the possessive looks a little redundant there) challenge on Jordan Henderson likely would have drawn a red if it were later in the game. It’s pretty amazing it didn’t even get a yellow. A game against a 10-man Chelsea squad would have been a very different game indeed. Especially given that Eto’o scored later. And, if he had at least gotten a yellow, when he did deliberately trip Suarez later, he should have gotten a second yellow and been out. Instead, no foul was called there either. To be fair, that was a tough call because Suarez didn’t have the ball and Howard Webb would have had to give a penalty if he called it. But, from the replays, there was no doubt it was a foul and that it was deliberate. And the fact that Suarez was mugged by John Terry in the six-yard box with no call was also nearly criminal. And all this against a Chelsea team that was the beneficiary of a phantom penalty call against West Brom.