Post Liverpool – United Thoughts: Pool Dominate, De Gea Improving & Carroll Still A Flop
So, what can I say? Same old Liverpool, failed to capitalize on arguably their best performance of the season against a spirited if lackluster Manchester United side. I don’t think many people would disagree that Liverpool played United off the p…
So, what can I say? Same old Liverpool, failed to capitalize on arguably their best performance of the season against a spirited if lackluster Manchester United side. I don’t think many people would disagree that Liverpool played United off the park on Saturday. Out-fought them and out-thought them.
Credit has to go to Sir Alex Ferguson for his distinct ability to turn mire into gold and rescue a precious point for his seemingly sunken team. The United spirit shows that they are still the team to beat and I don’t think many other teams would have been able to draw against yesterday’s Liverpool side, let alone win.
I was pleased with the performance. This is not the first time Liverpool have out-played their arch rivals and come away with less than they deserve. Same old Liverpool. However, on this display I’d say Liverpool are moving in the right direction. I don’t think there was a Liverpool player that didn’t show themselves and that is testament to the leadership.
Steven Gerrard was given the Man of the Match award but that could easily have gone to Luis Suarez, Stewart Downing, Jose Enrique or the tireless Dirk Kuyt. Take your pick. Martin Kelly had Ashley Young in his pocket for most of the game and that alone deserves a mention.
Patrice Evra was quoted this morning as saying he was “racially abused” by Suarez. Personally, I’d say it’s sour grapes and far, far too easy to play the race card in these circumstances. Can you honestly say that affected the result? I would say not. Would Evra have had a better game if the alleged incidents didn’t happen? I would say not.
What I noticed about Saturday’s performance, other than how well Liverpool played was also, what a difference a couple of months makes. This is for two reasons. Firstly, the fact that David De Gea kept United’s heads above water and stopped them from sinking out of sight. Secondly was how well Liverpool played without Andy Carroll.
On the part of De Gea, he seems to have adjusted well to the Premiership and his quality is beginning to show. It seems like his shaky debut against Manchester City in the Community Shield and his poor early season form is now becoming a thing of the past. Despite his apparent slightness of frame, the boy seems to be pretty useful between the sticks and is beginning to prove his worth. Unfortunately for Liverpool and the rest of the Premiership. It’s too early to say how well he’s going to do but he’s certainly no Roy Carroll or Andy Goram. Those two names bring me nicely on to Liverpool’s own Andy Carroll.
Liverpool were forced to be more mindful in possession and not look for the inevitable punt forward looking for Carroll’s head. The fact that Kenny Dalglish sought to employ the services of Jordan Henderson on 58 minutes was also telling. Luis Suarez worked tirelessly as the single striker and Dalglish still felt our best chance of scoring would come from midfield and not from deploying another striker. The one he paid £35m for. It’s fair to presume that Dalglish felt Carroll wasn’t up to the task.
Many a reader won’t thank me for saying this but the level of transfer fee should and does dictate the expectation from the player and for this reason, I maintain that Carroll has been a waste of dough. In a game that one could argue was crucial for Liverpool, Dalglish didn’t start with his most expensive signing. Go figure.
A striker and a real holding midfielder should remain at the top of the wish list of any self-respecting Liverpool supporter, not to mention Manager come January. The new dimension that Carroll was supposed to have brought has not materialized.
Most Liverpool supporters should be happy with the return from the last three games. Following the losses to Stoke and Tottenham, a return of seven points from a possible nine is good news for a team with Liverpool’s expectations. Looking at the fixture list, Liverpool followers, not to mention the team, should be pleased with nothing less than a further nine points from the next three games.
Norwich at home, away to West Brom – perhaps the only banana skin – and home to Swansea are games that a team with their aspirations really should be winning if they intend to qualify for Champions League football and push on from that to ultimately challenge for the title.
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