Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Match Review - West Brom

A wins a win and we badly needed one before the game, I would have taken anything, we got one and i was pleased that on top of the three points there was one or two positives to take from the game.
Before the game most of the talk was about Balotelli being dropped or rested and Lambert taking his place in the starting eleven, I wasn't sure I haven't been impressed with Lambert so far, he has looked out of his league, very slow and with a poor touch, I know he is better than he has looked, but perhaps nerves etc of playing for Liverpool are costing him.
This game Liverpool managed to find the fast, high intensity start that has been missing from last seasons performances and it was good to see we still had it in us, we didn't get a goal during this period but we looked more lively and threatening than in recent games, unfortunately the intensity appeared to drop and after around the first fifteen minutes we returned to the frustrating, slow paced football that has plagued the start to our season and didn't really look like scoring right up to the moment we did, some brilliant interplay between Henderson and Lallana gave Lallana the chance and he took it with a superb left foot finish across the keeper.
We did defend better as a team throughout the game limiting the number of chances that WBA were able to create and that was good, signs that the team are starting to function a little better, but there were still plenty of problems particularly with the centre backs and in my opinion Lovren in particular, we still had problems defending set plays and crosses in to the box continue to be a problem for Mignolet, but Lovren had one of his poorer days and this is happening to often for me with poor decisions and positioning costing us and when the penalty came it was again a poor decision and a lazy challenge from Lovren that cost us.  I'm sure he has it in him to be the twenty million pound defender that we need but we haven't seen it yet, I expect far more.
When the penalty to WBA came it was as I have said partly poor defending but also was in fact not a penalty the contact was well outside the box and was a terrible mistake from the officials, this could have cost us hugely, and we shouldn't just have to accept mistakes of this magnitude, referees must do better, yes it's a tough job but It's not acceptable to make mistakes and then just brush them under the carpet, the consequences for players and mangers could be careers threatening.
After West Brom equalised from the penalty i feared the worst but we actually got a good reaction from the team and the management and it wasn't long before Henderson had restored the lead after good work from Sterling a good goal and reaction from the players but it was the slight changes in formation and the substitutions that really impressed me. Balotelli took to the field and played in my opinion his best game for the club so far, linking well and looking a threat, perhaps a very good decision from the manager to start him on the bench.  Henderson was played or at least allowed to push forward more resulting in an assist and a goal and a superb performance with his physicality noticeable in the midfield and finally Gerrard was pushed forward for the last fifteen minutes and impressed, creating plenty, possibly the reason why Balotelli looked so good, nice to see and a few more options for the manager. 
I said in my last blog that if we were going to insist on playing this formation we needed to make slight changes and find a way to make it work, I don't know what these are or should be but today we looked better with one or two noticeable slight changes.  Still lots of work to do, still plenty of players needing confidence and a return to form but a small step in the right direction, well done Liverpool.


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