Once again, it was Luis Suarez who took centre stage as Liverpool earned a point for a dominant Liverpool against 10-man Newcastle at Anfield. We take a look at 5 things we learned from the game at Anfield on Sunday.
1. Overuse of Allen
I think he has a lot in him at such young age. His maturity is above a lot of our players today and his work rate is second to none. But Allen is only human, and Rodgers is overusing and trusting him way too much. Over the past 2 games he has not been himself and he has been misplacing passes. While I don’t think many could take that spot up, I would try and give Henderson a start in some of those cup games, rather than keep using Allen. He wasn’t himself in this game.
2. No adventurous players
I do not know why and what is wrong with our players, but we do not seem to like to attack teams with numbers. We don’t pile up in the box when we are attacking. We tend to stay back, drop outside the 18 yard box. Nobody makes a run into the box. This could be confidence issue, as we have been caught from a few counter attacks which cost us games. In second half, we started to push forward in numbers with more bodies in the box and it shows. We had a lot more shots on goal, and actually scored one.
3. Style of play
Rodgers kept saying about playing those passing game and possession football. That style of play is nothing new to the team. All but one of our previous managers emphasised on possession football. Style of play is not really a problem. The problem is application of it, when the players are on the pitch. Lacking of movement made us look rather stale in the first half. We had a lot of movement in the first 10 minutes and soon faded away.
Without intelligent players with interchanging of movement, we become predictable. Teams started to close us down a lot quicker and that has caught Allen off guard lately. This is my concern when it comes to Rodgers. He may have the style and tactic drilled into the players, but he may not have encountered teams that come to us, setup for a draw and stifle us. Nobody does that to Swansea, and clearly Newcastle was doing that to us in the entire game. Soak up the pressure and launch a counter. Every team will do that when they play Liverpool FC.
Incidentally, the goal did not come from a calculated move. Did not come from a 25 passes and tear Newcastle’s defence to pieces before slotting the ball into the net. It comes from a long ball, a direct long pass from a left back to Suarez. The pass caught Newcastle off guard and that magic touch and skills of Suarez did the rest.
4. Inexperience is showing
Apart from confidence, inexperience from the likes of Suso and Sterling is quite glaring when playing against teams like Newcastle, teams that soaked up our pressure and wait to see what we would do and react. These types of teams tend to test the intelligence and experience of our players. There are times when Suso should look up and lay the ball to Suarez or Sahin, he opted to take another touch and then took a shot in a crowded box. There are times where Sterling should just move into the box after laying the ball off to Suarez or Enrique. Instead he stood still after his pass. Same goes for Suso on ball watching and Sterling on over dribbling.
5. Over reliance on Suarez
While we are trying to get used to that “tiki-taka” or “Rodgers’ pass and move”, he needs to realise we need to mix it up. When a team like Liverpool is not getting results, confidence level dropped faster than the likes of Swansea. Pressure is much higher and doubt will sink in deeper. When that happens, no matter what style of play you try to “educate” or preach, it would not go into the players’ head. And that is where things fall apart.
We are now over relying on Suarez. Only 2 of our goals this season have not involved Suarez, either by assist or him scoring himself. That itself should worry not only Rodgers, but the other players. I hope Rodgers is as anal over details as Rafa. That would be the only way to teach the youngsters what to do, if they do not have a senior player to learn from.