Monday, December 1, 2014

Mortality and Hope: Liverpool 1 - Stoke City 0

photo by procsilasvia PhotoRee

Scott has some thoughts on this weekend's performance and more:

It was ugly. It was frustrating. It was close. And it was hard. But, in the end, thanks to Glen Johnson's brave header, Liverpool finally prevailed in the league. Many are pointing only to how hard it was. And still others, like correspondent Ed, are focusing solely on how poorly the Reds are playing of late. Ed and his ilk may, indeed, be right to do so because, let's face it, Liverpool have been simply awful over the last several games, and not much better before then.


But what I saw in this game, after what I hope and pray was the bottom of Liverpool football during a first half that saw nary a shot on goal, was the faintest glimmer of hope. Sure, Johnson's staple-stitch inducing header (for which, no doubt, he will receive a Purple Star) finally garnered 3 points. But more important to me was the 4 or 5 occasions in the second half when Liverpool produced legitimately dangerous passing combinations in and around the penalty area that showed they have not completely forgotten how to play attacking football in the forward third. May it be a harbinger of similar style….


o I think Gerrard's time as a starter is rapidly coming to an end. Quite frankly, his mobility is starting to remind me of what I see playing on Monday nights with Ed and the others of our generation. There comes a point when leadership can no longer overcome an aging body. Giving Emre Can an extended run of games seems to make sense. Stevie, you will always be our favorite talisman but the time is drawing near for us all to accept your mortality.


o Kolo Toure is proving himself once again. If he just keeps it simple and avoids the occasional aneurism, he can help our defensive efforts.


o Meanwhile, Simon Mignolet needs to get a hard crack on the knuckles every time he goes for a cross outside the six yard box. He has flapped at more crosses this season than a pelican trained to fetch balls. OK, that's silly, but the visual, I believe, is on point with respect to awkwardness.


o Philippe Coutinho needs to let everybody know before the game which of his personas has come to play that day. Is it the fancy-footed Brazilian who leaves twisted defenders in his wake before firing on goal or slotting a through ball?  Or is it the sloppy midfielder who passes more to the other team than his cohorts, as he did against Stoke City, especially in the first half. While the former is more common, the latter can be dangerously self-destructive.


o Rickie Lambert's hold up play is exceptional. Now to add more quick passing around the box and the finishing we so desperately need.


o Speaking of finishing, both Joe Allen and Lucas Leiva, for all their other talents, could use a refresher course. Or maybe the whole course all over again. Or maybe just remember the two things I tell my 8 year old girls team: keep the ball down and try not to hit the guy in the green shirt who can use his hands.


o And more on finishing. If Liverpool can parlay this victory into an upward trajectory of quality and results as we finish this year, maybe we can at least finish 20104 with our heads held high.


This is farlieonfootie saying “Rabbit Rabbit” on December 1.

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