Monday, February 4, 2013

Growing Pains: Liverpool 2 - Arsenal 2

Day 56: Growing Pains aka Restless Leg Syndrome aka Stress
Photo by Bryan Gosline on Flickr

Correspondent Scott can't wait for the finished product:

I'll chime in on the Manchester City game later in the week as I'll need to fix the holes in my walls once I stop hyperventilating.  In the meantime, a tardy submission on a little game played at the Emirates last Wednesday.

If you had asked me before the game if I would take a draw away at Arsenal, I would have said yes without hesitating.  But if you asked me the same question in the 64th minute of Liverpool's game at the Emirates on Sunday, I would have sniffed disparagingly and waved you away.  Then again, in the 67th minute, I would have begged to have your generous offer reinstated.

In the end, a point on the road to a team that can beat anybody when they are in the groove, with a formidable Wilshire-Giroud-Podolski-Walcott combination, is a valuable one.  Liverpool started strong and fast, pressing high up the pitch, and found themselves ahead after only 5 minutes.  When they went up by 2 goals, via Jordan Henderson's perseverance and a fortuitous bounce, in the 60th minute it seemed a bit of the luck that had eluded them all season decided to pay a visit.  Unfortunately, the success seemed to stun the Liverpool players as they completely switched off for three minutes and allowed two goals in that span of time.

Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge continue to work well together on the field but I am questioning putting Sturridge in the center, forcing Suarez out wide and saddling him with increased defensive responsibilities.  Sturridge, when receiving the ball alone up top, struggled to do much with it whereas we've seen what Suarez can do in those situations.  I like it better when Sturridge drifts outside and Suarez comes center - that's when I think they really click.  Unfortunately, when Suarez finally did go up top, Sturridge exited at the same time to make room for Jose Enrique.

This was an interesting game for Suarez haters.  Without complaint he ceded the center, worked hard defensively, did not dive and took a few lickings but got up right away.  This is a few games on the trot now in which the Uruguayan seems to have abandoned South American simulations and embraced British .  The striker was soundly pummeled by Bacary Sagna in the 25th minute but got up without complaint when no foul was called.  And, even more encouraging, Suarez exacted a bit of revenge on the Frenchman 7 minutes later when he muscled the corn-rowed defender to the ground and took the ball.   A few more games like this and I'll call for an end to the Suarez Anti-Diving Protests.  Then we'll only have to work on those pesky hand balls...

Two steps forward and one step back has been the theme this season and Sunday was no different.  Still, if you do the math, that's progress.  Sturridge was a nice addition to the team with immediate impact.  Now all eyes will be on Liverpool's other significant acquisition during January, Philippe Coutinho.  

This is farlieonfootie for February 4. 

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