Saturday, December 8, 2012

Liverpool 1 - Southampton 0: Observations

Scott watches most games while dressed in camouflage 
photo by Jayel Aheramvia PhotoRee

Columnist Scott's thoughts on Liverpool's most recent victory and more:

o I was thrilled to see Lucas Leiva back in the lineup. Back-to-back injuries have kept the Brazilian out for over a year and his strong work in the midfield has been missed. Unfortunately, it seems it is going to take a few games for him to blow the rust off and contribute in a meaningful way. Sloppy with his passes and tentative in possession, he has a way to go to get back to his previous level. But we wish him well and hope he continues to get playing time.

o Luis Suarez doesn't seem to be diving as much. In fact, I think it has been a couple of games since I've groaned over his antics. Sure, he still complains about every call and doesn't shy away from going down when there is contact, invariably demonstrating with hyperbole the symptoms that he has suffered. But he doesn't dive as much, even when he gets pulled by the shorts in the penalty area. And for that we are thankful.

o Jose Enrique seems to be back. Marcelo may claim to be the best left back in the world, but Liverpool's defensive Spaniard has all the tools to refute such braggadocio. He is fast and strong, tactically solid defensively, uses his body well, makes incisive passes and, impressively, has the foot skills and moves of the best forwards in the league. Were he of any other nationality, he would be getting regular international play.

o Steven Gerrard also seems to be back. I've been critical of his play at times but it seems that before he, like Lucas now, just needed to blow the rust off a bit. His long-range, pinpoint passes can turn a game in an instant and his leadership is unquestionable. Plus, he's easy to root for given his dedication and commitment to the club. A class act.

o Speaking of class, who stole Michael Owen's? I've always been a huge fan of Owen and still root for him when he gets on the field. But it seems the formerly formative striker feels the need to explain away his injury history by pointing to playing too much when he was starting out at Liverpool. He even goes so far as to say "Looking back on my career thinking what might have been there is no doubt I would have won more honors had I signed for Manchester United as a youngster." My guess is that he would have jumped from the Liverpool ship even sooner had they not played him as often. He even admits to muttering back then "I will rest when I'm 40" when asked about Gerard Houllier resting him for a game. So don't blame the team that gave you your start and everything you asked for, Michael. Take a look in the mirror before you cast dispersions and suck up to Darth Ferguson. And remember that you can't take back a column of quotes simply by concluding that you wouldn't change anything.

This is farlieonfootie for December 8.

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