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 Pool 1 - Arsenal 1

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Shankly Gates
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Date d'inscription : 2005-01-13

PostSubject: Pool 1 - Arsenal 1   Tue 17 Aug 2010 - 12:21

New season, new manager, new players new players and hopefully new owners in the not too distant future.

The first game of the new Prem season and my first trip to Anfield this season.

I will not try to do match report that copies what you have probably already read in the press but instead give my views of what is not always evident from watching the game on TV
but you that can see from being there at the match.

The first 45 was dire from our point of view and I sat there seriously asking myself who were the home team as the Gunners seemed far more at ease than we did. We seemed to be playing a new system, not surprising given we have a new manager. I couldn't figure out if it we were playing 4-4-2 or if it was a 4-4-1-1 as we were constantly changing between the 2
with Cole playing behind Ngog but really Cole seemed to have a totally free roving role the full width of the park to receive the ball and launch attacks. It wasn't really that Arsenal were that much better than us it was just Ngog was having a howler. 3 times balls were played forward from midfield that split the Arsenal defence wide open and all three times he was offside. It cannot be that difficult to look along the line and stay onside he has to work on this as it just gave them the ball back to attack us again. When I said he was having a howler he really was having a stinker every time the ball was played up to him to hold up and bring the midfield into play he either miscontrolled the ball or was far to easily dispossesed. It is as bad a 45 minutes as I have seen from him in a red shirt. He wasn't alone though in losing possesion of the ball we were giving the ball away all over the field and for all the possesion we conceded to Arsenal they couldn't capitalise on it. Cole who looked lively throughout was sent off just before the whistle. I couldn't truly tell if it was warranted or not.

Second half and I don't know what Roy said to Ngog but he was a different player. Timeing his run to perfection and staying onside to lash the ball into the top corner at the near post with Almunia being beaten by the sheer pace of the ball. This totally transformed him from the shadow of a striker he had seemed in the first 45. All of a sudden the ball was sticking, he was deftly turning with the ball and leaving his marker behind. His flicks were finding teamates, he was winning the ball in the air. He was working tirelessly and I thought he can't possibly keep this work rate up. I thought he must have been told to run himself into the ground as Nando would come on to replace when he ran out of steam. This was his finest performance in a red shirt since he came to Liverpool and the standing ovation he received from the whole of Anfield was totally justified.

It was hard to believe at times during this second 45 that there were only 10 Reds against the Gunners 11 we were dominating the play and looked far more capable of scoring another than they did of equalising. I felt the points were ours as I just couldn't see them scoring.

Jovanovic looked lively on his Prem debut but he is a work in progress and has so much to learn, he obviously found it difficult with the increased pace of the game in England and was actually guilty of ball watching at times something that will hopefully be corrected by Roy and also his teamates he needs to concentrate more and be able to stop and be aware of what is around him. He blazed one ball high and wide from a difficult angle when he had at least 2 players who had bust a gut to get into better positions in the box. Still early days but I couldn't help feeling this is another Benitez bad buy. And we were starting to get pressed on his flank by Arsenal and he was rightly pulled and the more defensive minded Maxi replaced him.

Danny Agger was outstanding at left back and this tells exactly what Roy's intentions are regarding this position. Agger was heroic going off near the end from a head injury and leaving us down to 9 only to come back on DESPITE the medical team physically trying to stop him from rejoining the game but all credit to him for his bravery and commitment to the red cause.

Mascherano was outstanding. Time and again he made those trademark darting runs when he rushes out of his defensive position to make a 25 yard dart to disposses an opponent only today he when he did this he was either the most advanced Liverpool player or only Ngog was in front of him and double marked. So he just kept the ball his pace taking him into attack and then he would hold the ball until finding a player to pass to. When he eventually went off with what seemed to be an injury his name was ringing round the stands of Anfield, rare for player who has publicly stated he wants to leave but his performance really was that good. He will be hard to replace if he goes and you can only hope he can be convinced to stay even if it is against his will.

Torres came on for the Ngog and was twice in quick succession found with through balls in his favoured position playing just on the shoulder of the last Arsenal defender. Both times he took the ball perfectly in his stride and I thought now he will leave the defender in his wake as he turns on the turbo and be through on goal. Only he didn't leave the last defender in his wake, he either couldn't or it seemd to me as though he had doubts that if he hit full throttle his groin or his hamstring would go. The disbeleif in his own ability to to turn on the pace was obvious. He does not look ready to come back yet and I think we are going to have to be patient with him as the problem looked more mental than anything else.

The final point I would like to make is that we cannot rely on Carra playing too many 90 minutes this season as quite frankly much as it pains me to say it his legs have gone. Near the end of the match rather than be the sole defender marking the sole attacker he kept screaming at Johnson to come closer and closer to him and was panic stricken if Johnson strayed more than 5 yards away from him as he knew any ball played forward that was a race between the attacker and himself was only ever going to produce a situation where the attacker would have a clear run on goal. We couldn't replace him as we had used our subs but this situation is going to have to be carefully monitored. His performance and marshalling of the defence during the first 60 minutes mean he is too important for us not play him but I think 60 minutes is probably going to be his max this season.

Pepe' mistake was a cruel and totally undeserved end to a heroic Liverpool display. This was not fair there was only one team who truly deserved to win this match and it was the 10 Redmen.

So many positives to take out of this first premier match under Roy though and that is what I will end on.
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