|Photo by Kevin Gill|
The illusion of the perfect season now shattered, Scott is starting to ask a few questions:
Brendan Rodgers had Liverpool fans everywhere scratching their heads with his team selectionand then smacking their foreheads on any nearby steel pipe by the end of the game. Yes, Glenn Johnson was injured and, yes, Philippe Coutinho was also injured. But FOUR center backs all in the same lineup??!! Kolo Toure on the right, Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtl in the center and Mamadou Sakho on the left. To say there wasn't much offensive threatening down the flanks would be an understatement. But surely a quadruple dose of height and brawn would render aerial assaults useless. Ironically, the only score of the game came from a headed in corner. Of course.
Aside from really missing Coutinho's energy and creativity, without mobile defenders on the outside for overlapping runs (except for Toure's one significant amble into the penalty area), Liverpool struggled all night to transition through the middle third of the field. High pressing from the Saints exacerbated their problems too. Nor did Artur Boruc's sublime goalkeeping for the visitors help the situation, saving a sure-goal on Steven Gerrard's free kick, among other feats.
Daniel Sturridge struggled mightily to make space for himself upfront and certainly got no favors from referee Howard Webb who repeatedly refused to whistle when the striker was bundled over and kicked, once inside the penalty area. None were "jump-up-and-down-how-could-
you-possibly-not-call-that" fouls, but surely you would think he would give at least one call. Ultimately, the previously unbeaten Reds were reduced to countering rather than possessing, even after the experiment was over and Luis Enrique was finally brought on for Agger.
This is farlieonfootie for September 24.