Liverpool Message Board
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Colin, I do actually agree with you on Assaidi. I do like to give players time, but in his case I think (someone correct me if I'm wrong) he's been available all season long (unlike Borini) and does not have some lingering injury (like Allen) as an excuse. So the fact the gaffer has rarely put him on the bench, or thrown him on when he's been at the ground, suggests he's just not making the grade. And, while only one match, it’s hard to argue he made any sort of case for himself yesterday.
However I can understand BR's thinking here. Having lost Downing, and seeing what was essentially a back 6 preventing us to get in behind, I think he wanted at least one natural winger on the park to try and, as you say run at players and get in behind them. Get Collins or Tomkins to pull a little wider to back up their full backs could have opened up the space for Suarez, Sturridge or Coutinho to run into. However with the only real wing play coming from Jose and Glen, we found ourselves constantly running into a brick wall of 6 defenders plugging up the inside.
It’s all well and good to say you want tactics of running at players, but when there is no space to run into, and we don't have the players to actually stretch the pitch and create that space, it’s a bit easier said than done. Yes maybe having an Andy Carroll like player could have helped us with all the corners, but Collins was nodding them away for fun so not sure about that. Besides would another static body in the center have helped to create most of those corners?
For me, first and foremost, WHU should be given all the credit in the world. I've watched a lot of football this season, both EPL, Europe and International, and I have to say that was one of the most impressive defensive performances I've seen. They were organized, cohesive, resolute, and never made a single error, or came close to a penalty, nor gave away a single silly free kick. Even moreso, I'd say that Collins put in one of the best performances of a CB in the prem all season long, and while it's hard to say someone could ever have Suarez in their pocket, he must have take the ball right off Luis' foot 6-7 times, cleared away others, and headed away any trouble with ease. Honestly I'm surprised Luis didn't lose his composure and do something dumb and get a yellow. So, all the credit in the world to WHU, and Collins for being MOM..
As for us, it's hard to say anyone had a great day at the office, though I think Stevie was good, Coutinho's movement and ideas were good, and Agger probably our best player on the day. Glen and Jose weren't themselves out wide, Sturridge was very poor, and Suarez one of his worst days in Red. Overall it highlighted why Rodgers' major concern this year, despite us being 4th in goals scored, was to add quality in the final third. We lack another attacking, creative winger, especially once Downing went down to injury, which was the idea behind trying to get Tom Ince in January, and another true #9 who is a finisher, with timely movement, and clinical ability to time his runs right. We must have been called offsides against the back line at least 6-7 times, when chances did present themselves...
It was a bad day at the office for most of our players, and a great day for WHU. It wasn't like the West Brom or Aston Villa matches at Anfield, it really was just a matter of not making the best of some good opportunities, and a game we should have won 2-0, but didn't. The draw didn't help much, but earlier in the season, we would have found a way to get caught out, and lose ie- WBA, AVL, Arsenal.. One thing I would say, which is my opinion of course, is that I thought we hunted down the ball in packs, and that work rate/desire was there, we just never took advantage of it. I'm disappointed because we needed the 3, but every so often you have a match where you just hold your hands up in the air.. Again, clearly showed where we need to strengthen..