Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Three Points: Liverpool 3 - Spurs 0

photo by lostajyvia PhotoRee

Although happy about Liverpool's win, Scott is now officially concerned about a Manchester United lineup that could feature Falcao, Di Maria, Rooney, Mata and RVP:

Now that’s much better.  Granted, this wasn’t the steady dismantling of Spurs that Liverpool achieved twice last season.  Rather, there were a few lucky bounces and calls but more than enough to secure the points and put defeat to Man City behind them.

Raheem Sterling, should he stay injury-free and under the careful nurturing of Brendan Rodgers, will be a global star in the coming years.  I am continually impressed with his ability to dribble past, around and through defenders with such pace.  Add to that his developing ability to be in the right place at the right time, such as at the far post to guide in Jordan Henderson’s cross in the eighth minute, as well as a still-improving sturdiness that allows him to shield and protect the ball, and he is well on pace to being one of Liverpool’s top stars of all time.  Still, I agree with Rodgers’ comment, which is consistent with similar comments that leave me hoarse on the training ground of teams I coach – he needs to work on his left foot.  After such a sensational dribble through the penalty area in the second half, all that was needed was a left-footed strike to bag his brace and match the score of last season’s second encounter between these two teams.  Instead, hesitation saw him then clunk the weakest of attempts with his right foot straight at a very grateful Hugo Lloris.  Two footed players can score double the goals, Raheem!

Mario Balotelli’s Liverpool career began with what has been described as a “solid shift.”  Despite his two missed headers and woefully wayward volley later, I agree.  He did his part defensively, was creative at times and seemed very willing to play with others.  Most impressively, he kept his cool better than I would have after an over-eager Eric Dier swept his legs from behind on a hard challenge that eventually yielded a bit of the ball, and should have further yielded a yellow for the Tottenham defenseman.  Subbed around the 60 minute mark, the Italian is bound to find his groove and, when he does and if he maintains his cool, he can prove lethal up top with Daniel Sturridge and Sterling, not to mention Henderson and others, to combine with.

After a very shaky debut against Manchester City last weekend, Alberto Moreno was solid defensively and showed the type of attacking instincts that Rodgers likes in his outside fullbacks.  Robbing the fresh-to-the-game Andros Townsend of the ball in his own half, the Spaniard’s acceleration and speed with the ball allowed him to maraud all the way into Tottenham’s box, where he was given too much space and availed himself clinically with a finish to the bottom, far corner.  Something to build on for sure.

I’m not really sure why Steven Gerrard won so many bonus points in this game.  He was average at best, despite dispatching another penalty won by Joe Allen who easily tumbled when grabbled by the na├»ve Dier.  For me, Gerrard gave away the ball too often and was not accurate enough in his passing.  Don’t get me wrong, he is still a huge asset to the team and deserves to be on the field.  But when he has an off day, I am not afraid to comment on the Emperor’s nakedness.

Daniel Sturridge will settle down once he scores.  He was creative and willing to share, and even pressed with enthusiasm up top.  And I am consistently impressed with his ability to hold the ball when under pressure.

Mamadou Sakho and Dejan Lovren need to spend some time together – preferably both on and off the pitch.  They seem to have the raw materials of a formidable central partnership but clearly lacked communicative skills or understanding at several points in the game.  Meanwhile, Javier Manquillo had another solid game on the right but needs to lose the penchant for a yellow card every game.

Nobody is getting too excited yet as there are a lot of shiny toys to fit into the system, but bouncing back like this after Man City was a welcome three points.

This is farlieonfootie for September 2.


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