Over the course of this year’s European Under 21 Championship we’ll be keeping you updated on how the Liverpool players get on. Jack Williams takes an in-depth look at the Reds involved in last night’s England v Italy game.
Liverpool have five players at the tournament and all-but-one featured in Wednesday’s game between England and Italy. Man of the match Lorenzo Insigne scored the only goal of the game with a 79th minute free kick but how did the Liverpool players get on?
Jordan Henderson, Jack Robinson, Jonjo Shelvey and Fabio Borini all started the match, with Andre Wisdom on the bench for England. It was a fairly dominant display by Italy with Insigne and especially Verratti controlling the game for large periods. Due to this none of the Liverpool players really had a significant impact on the match but below is a rundown on how each player got on.
Jack Robinson: He played in his usual left back position but unusually had the number 9 on his back. Sadly the number 9 didn’t inspire him to go rampaging up the pitch and unfortunately he did nothing of note in an attacking sense (although to be fair to him only Redmond really stood out from an offensive point of view for England). As a left back his main duties are defensive and for the most part did well; he made a good block 11 minutes into the game and although most of Italy’s attacks came down the opposite flank he did well against his opposite number when required. However he was very lucky not to concede a penalty when he appeared to catch an Italian midfielder in the first half. He probably wouldn’t have been sent off but it was silly of him to not stay on his feet in that situation.
Jordan Henderson: Henderson improved as the season went on for Liverpool and would have been disappointed he couldn’t have had more of an impact on the game. He started just ahead of Jason Lowe in a midfield three with Shelvey and was England’s top passer as he looked to try and get some control of the midfield. Maybe I’m slightly biased but having the largely ineffectual Lowe covering behind him certainly didn’t help him, he covered a lot of ground (as usual) and passed the ball around sensibly but it would have been nice to see him take the game by the scruff of the neck as he is the captain and one of the most senior players in the squad. However he came close to getting an injury time equaliser but his freekick was well saved by Italy’s keeper.
Jonjo Shelvey: Shelvey started in an attacking midfield role behind Wickham and started in his usual confident manner; a 50 yard attempt only three and a half minutes into the game certainly showed he wasn’t planning on shying away. Whilst he was on the pitch he was the set piece taker and put in a few good balls, England had a goal very harshly disallowed that came from one of his corners and he came very close to playing Wickham through one on one in the 26th minute. He had his only real chance of the game in the 19th minute, he got into a good position but a poor touch meant he lost control of the ball, apart from that he never really got in a scoring position. He was moved to a left midfield role when Chalobah came on for Sordell and he stayed in this position until he was subbed off for McEachran in the 75th minute.
Fabio Borini: Fabio started up front with Immobile was the more right sided of the two strikers, this saw him matched up against teammate Jack Robinson on a few occasions. He made some good runs, especially in the early stages and with better service he could have gone through one on one a few times. He came close to scoring on one occasion in which he almost scored a header from a very tight angle but Butland managed to tip it round the post for a corner. His best chance came when he charged down a Butland clearance in the 64th minute, he was in a tricky position but should have tested the keeper or played the ball to a teammate, in the end his shot was off target and reasonably tame. In the end he was subbed off in the 78th minute for Roma striker Destro and although he probably didn’t have the impact he would have wanted he had some neat touches and his quick interplay definitely increased the threat of Italy’s attack.
Overall I would say that I expected more from the Liverpool contingent, all players showed moments of class but I wanted at least one of them to really stamp their authority on the game in the same way Verratti and Insigne did for Italy. The Liverpool players are all next back in action on Saturday evening, England face Norway at 7pm (GMT) and Italy play Israel at 9:30pm (GMT).
Let me know what you thought of how Liverpool’s players got on, I’m always interested to hear people’s opinions so leave a comment below or you can tweet me at @JLwi11iams.