FT 90 +5 HT 0-0
Referee : Andre Marriner
Attendance : 44,171
Liverpool v Southampton
Anfield, Sunday 25th October 2015
> Superb defensive display by Saints
> Saints still undefeated away this season
Last week's draw felt a loss, this one feels a win.
A Game of Almost There. A Spark from a Light We Thought Went Dark Mane’s guile and skill undone by poor decision-making.
My plans for this match were unfortunately not meant to be. I’d hoped to join a LFC supporter friend of mine and go to the local LFC pub and make an away experience out of it. But alas insomnia and lack of vehicles dictated. I was not disappointed in the match even if it didn’t provide oodles of excitement.
Both clubs struggled with various areas of the game at different moments. Inconsistency shrouded in sexy almost class football was the rule of the day.
Saints quick on the attack through Tadic on the left poor first touch by Pelle and a deflected cross lead both to nothing. Saints seem better organized defensively and Liverpool being pressed back forcing them to work the switch to advance up the pitch.
Early signs show that the ref is going to let Skrtel n Pellè rough each other up a bit. Usually a bad sign for our Saints as we like to actually play football. Also makes sense why I’ve seen more attack from the sides than through the middle.
Liverpool’s patience to move in on our side started paying off a few minutes later, seeing more near the box possession and without a great block by Cédric ranging to the other side of the box which could’ve very well seen their first crack from Coutinho. (And it started with a diagonal run by Clyne to the middle and a nice pass to Lallana, who I thought looked dangerous and reinvigorated. Maybe he’s just that happy to not be in the doghouse but his play seemed suited to much of what they were doing. Looks like the badge kisser may flourish under the new LFC manager, Sam The Eagle Klopp.
*It’s shorter than Jurgen “I like to accent my lack of neck by hiding my chin in it.” Klopp*
7' Mané slacking on defence is another clear thing that needs improvement, though perhaps it’s more lack of focus than ability or technique. I think this is the big part of why we see so much Davis on the wings. If Sadio’’s in the right spot at the top of that D triangle he picks up the middle clear from Tadic and can start the break. That’s why you see him stay at the top there right after that missed pass. Attention to detail on both sides of the ball. I bet they work on it.
8’ Sakho pulls the chair out on Pellè, some would call that, Marriner obviously doesn’t. Lost that battle.
Great footwork from Mané to win the corner but I blame Fonte’s new hair for affecting the trajectory on that header. I’ll bet he borrowed some product from Pellè and will need time to gel.
Numerous solid buildups from Saints only to fail in the final ball, reminds me of most of last year, but compared to how we started I guess I'd say overall it's an improvement.
Saints seem to press right on the Liverpool and force the switch. Interesting to see them lower the challenge to Clyne.
So many great buildups all the way to the final ball. Nice to see us actually get to this point again. Weeks past we were unable to get to the final ball half the time.
20’ Oh Davis, how I’d hoped you’d carry your goal scoring, but that’s not your ball. You’re not gonna probably take a tightly contested fancy touch to get a clear shot off… maybe have the one-touch pass ready next time.
The Defence is up for it. For sure, still giving away a little of space but when they need to be they’re there.
Great play by Pellè to turn with the ball out of a trifecta of thieves only to put Mane in but he’s off his line and we give a great opportunity back.
Around 30’ I’m realising that RK is having the squad sit deeper and work more off the counterattack. As opposed to before, where we were pressing high and (to be fair) the best LFC chances came on their counterattack. Maybe trying to save tired legs while also force LFC to do it the hard way and still having Pellè/Mané connection up top… looks great until someone’s offsides instead of on a breakaway. They almost do but Milner doesn’t get a good foot on their first good chance that got past a defender.
Don’t think Fonte has forgotten that wondergoal from Coutinho last year. He’s ranging far to block/harass and otherwise not give up an angle to Coutinho, who only seems to have space working diagonally midfield, a tough spot to score from. Well done RK.
As if on cue, at 31’ they’re right back to high pressing. I think it’s being done basically only when Davis is playing RM/W and Sakho has the ball.
And now the game is opening up. Great movement from LFC Coutinho playing it in and Milner’s powerful shot is blocked, again, huge plays that don’t tell the whole story on a stat sheet.
Many almost chances. Mane sprung but can't trap it in time to shoot, VvD with a well placed but rather easily beat header.
42’ The Requisite “Wanyama Moment” (Surprised he made it to the 42nd min) Brilliant steal at midfield, great trap and quick touch nutmeg to start the break, then a horrid momentum crushing pass out wide Mané had to change directions and chase to the line, giving LFC ample time to get back.
1st Half Thoughts:
Can looks physical, strong and impossible to get the ball off his foot, but completely lost once another defender (oftentimes the touch line) shows up and just wets the bed and gives it back. Have found it very difficult to get good chances on net in open play. Coutinho looks frustrated. Clyne mostly looks scared. Sahko looks elderly. How does anyone keep that posture as a professional athlete.
Saints are vacillating from looking unlikely to concede, to being a better final ball away from netting the opener. Good form and organisation, decent adjustments. The whole top 4 have gelled and had their chances but just a better first touch, a better cross, or a better strike away.
Off the bat the substitution bringing in Benteke is affecting LFC’s play from the jump. Great buildup off the chest of Benteke, but met equally well by Virgil blocking the cross attempt that followed. LFC was looking both more confident and dangerous. Both teams attacking well and thoroughly, taking turns pinning the other team down in their final 3rd. 53’ Another drag down of Pellè goes unsurprisingly uncalled. This carries on for some exciting footer for a bit.
59', Mané sprung on Moreno. Kind of a halfway first touch that puts the ball just far enough for Moreno to get to (tho I believe I’ve seen a penalty called on that follow thru on Fonte before soooooo, yay BPL referree consistency!!!). Either way I think Mané would’ve been better off trying a hesitation move and watching Moreno fly by.
Announcers saying Moreno’s pace is too much for Tadić, when it’s really his fitness. Tadić seems to layback as the game wears on and pick his spots.
Mane Brain Lapse SIGHTING!
72’ Lookin a good chance at a quick counter buildup… but… Sadio forgets to trap the ball.
Goal: Benteke off a looping high cross off the right foot of Milner outside the box. Mané slow/disinterested in pressing Milner gives him time to settle and pick his spot.
Multiple times this game I’ve noticed that it seems like for all the skill and talent Mané possesses, he doesn’t add to that through hard work in the film room studying his opponents and their tendencies (Yes, yes I know, 'if he had it all he’d be at Barcelona'; I don’t have a problem with that, I’d like him to have it all and let Barca give us 50 million pounds for him.). That, or he just got used to watching Moreno flub all of his final balls and fell into a bad habit. But, not to take away too much, was a solid goal. Benteke crushed that into the top right corner. That being said it was a better cross. Milner had time to take multiple looks into his target, carefully plant, watch the kick through and deliver the most accurate cross of the day. Granted, not every player could do as much with it, but it makes you wonder if he’d have been that crisp with Mané charging him, instead of doing the NBA Style non-challenge walk by..
But all of a sudden… that goal brought a shot of energy to Saints. We’ve got life from the jump crisper passing and more determination and energy.
Course, still more shady work from Skrtel as he pushes Pellè into Bertrand to disrupt the cross.
80’ Gastón Sighting!
I haven’t seen him since he was defeated by Beast from the tale as old as time.
Definitely see thieves playing not to lose, which means they won’t win usually. Nifty ball in to Mané who fires a bad angled shot around Skrtel… broken record, decision making.
86’ The equalizer came as it felt it should. Something at times last season I felt was a hump this club couldn’t get over. Seemed like it happened because it was supposed to. Had you told me that it would come from a freekick by JWP off the dome of Fonte to the noggin of Ramírez (WAAAAAT AND he didn’t fake an injury during the celebration?) HE’S BACK GUYS, GO BUY Gaston KITS for everyone*
The crowd sounds a bit anxious and grumpy and the players are getting more and more chippy as the clock winds.
More Gastón? Is it a full moon? (It is actually) He holds off an absolutely gassed Lucas who can’t even try to catch up. A couple of neat touches and he finds space behind the back line for Pellè who has time to size it up and plant but couldn’t get a boot on it. Looked to me he was trying too hard of an angle and twisted himself off the mark.
90’ Marriner’s inconsistency grows as time draws. He watches multiple players collapse and roll from hard challenges in succession then nails Mané with a yellow for a clipped heel.
Mané’s red. Maybe I’m cynical, but it really looked harmless in replay. At full speed I get it, but he slipped and that caused the trip. So I’ll chalk this back up to decision making. Gotta know when to take those chances and when not to. The tail end of extra time with a yellow already out, not the time. As a clear show of professionalism Mané then slows sulks off the pitch despite RK’s hollers to make it quick.
I take a lot of positives from this club and 10 games in I take a lot of positives from their start to be honest. Last season I felt we were too feast or famine, not knowing how to nick the late equaliser or play with grit away from home against a big club. This club may start to see that as it wills it so it shall be. This gives me a lot of hope and excitement moving into the next quarter of the season.
*I just would like to help the club recoup any revenue it can on this cash sinkhole named Ramírez.
Wednesday, 03 January 2018
07 Milner Booked
20 Lallana (Firmino - 67' )
10 Coutinho (Ibe - 83' )
27 Origi (Benteke - 45' )
04 K Touré
17 van Dijk
04 Clasie (Juanmi - 76' )
08 Davis (Ramírez - 80' )
10 Mané Dismissed after an earlier booking
11 Tadic (Ward-Prowse - 64' )