LFC Raleigh

LFC Raleigh

Official Liverpool F.C. Supporter's Club

Think Positive Thoughts

It wasn’t pretty, but the boys got the job done last Sunday with the 5-3 victory at the Britannia.  It’s true that they certainly have some issues on defense and it sure would be nice to see Mignolet get a clean sheet once in awhile.  There’s been a lot of negative feedback insisting that Liverpool needs to shore up the defense if they want to reach their goal of a top 4 spot.  I’m not in disagreement, but let’s look at the bigger picture here.  There’s a lot to be positive about when it comes to Liverpool Football Club.  First and foremost is the return of Daniel Sturridge.  How sweet was it to see Luis Suarez’s goal celebration after getting such a sublime assist from Sturridge?  I could almost hear him tell his compadre “welcome back, I’ve missed you” through the television speakers.  Then there was the clinching goal itself, with such a fantastic second effort and skill that is scaring defenders all across England.  It’s exciting to think about the return of SaS and the havoc that will be wreaked in the coming fixtures.  When you look at this result from the “big picture” point-of-view, there is even more room to be positive.  Before last week, the Potters had lost only one home fixture all season long.  Which powerhouse club grabbed those three points, you ask?  The mighty canaries of Norwich City pulled off the 1-0 victory on September 29.  Manchester City couldn’t muster any goals in their 0-0 draw and Everton recently lucked into a point with a stoppage time penalty to secure a 1-1 draw on New Year’s Day.  Chelsea dropped all three points with their 3-2 defeat back in December.  So with one of the better home records in the entire BPL, suddenly the three points Liverpool earned last week look that much more important.  I don’t know about you, but I personally am looking forward to that February 1st fixture when Manchester United walks into that stronghold and watch the likes of Liverpool’s Assaidi put a few in the back of the net against the Red Devils.

Looking ahead to this weekend, the Reds return to Merseyside to face an intriguing Aston Villa squad.  Don’t be fooled by the fact that the Villains sit in the bottom half of the table only five points clear of the relegation zone.  They are still a dangerous team with the same Christian Benteke up front that came to Anfield a year ago to break our hearts.  They looked diabolically abysmal through the first 75 minutes against Arsenal on Monday, yet somehow managed to turn it around and almost equalized late at the Emirates.  This fixture comes at an interesting time for Liverpool.  It could be considered what we Americans call a “trap game” where the team looks past a supposedly-inferior team in anticipation of a bigger challenge the following week.  And what a tasty fixture is up next on the BPL schedule when Everton cross Stanley Park to Anfield.  That’s a game where the Reds most certainly are looking forward to avenge the highway robbery that took place at Goodison only two months prior.  LFC must keep their focus.  Looking past a team like Villa may have happened last season and seasons before that.  Not this Liverpool team.  Steven Gerrard won’t let that happen.  Brendan Rodgers can’t let that happen.  Furthermore, the FA have been generous enough to squeeze in a nice trip to the coast in the 4th Round of the FA Cup for a match against lower-tier AFC Bournemouth before the Merseyside derby on January 28th.  All things considered, I think we can expect to see the lads firing on all cylinders this Saturday.

Personally I am quite intrigued to see what transpires on Saturday.  Do we see Sturridge return to the starting XI?  If so, at whose expense?  My money would be Raheem Sterling to give him a little rest.  Remember how Rodgers had overused him a year ago and he was shelved in the spring?  I think his legs are more valuable at full strength down the stretch and any chance to preserve him should be taken.  Does Gerrard go back to attacking midfielder while Lucas returns to holding midfielder?  It was an interesting experiment to witness them swap roles against Stoke, and perhaps that can be a new tactic for Rodgers to deploy later in the season.   We shall see.  Can the defense step up and rebuild the fortress that once was?  Martin Skrtel has been steadily declining (I honestly am just waiting for that one referee with the courage to finally award a penalty against him on a set piece), Cissokho has been a disappointment, and both Agger and Sakho are questionable to return.  Someone needs to step up and tell us that they are worthy to call themselves a Liverpool defender in it for the long haul.  Will Mignolet return to the sharpness that made him the Liverpool’s first player of the month this campaign?  Or will he let in another goal that blows up my twitter feed with snarky comments about how he should’ve saved that one?  There are so many questions that I can’t wait to see answered.  One thing I know for sure is that you can find me enjoying a pint of Guinness at the London Bridge Pub to watch it all unfold in front of me.  Hope to see you there.


2 Responses to Think Positive Thoughts

  1. Nice article! Point of parliamentary procedure – the result at the Britannia was 3-5 rather than 5-3.

    See you at the pub, YNWA

  2. I definitely hope they aren’t looking past Villa. They have more “away” wins than any other team that currently sits 9-20 in the table and the memories of what Benteke did in his last visit to Anfield are all too vivid. All the other top clubs are “holding serve” more often than not and there is simply no room for error.

    I will offer a quick counterpoint on Skrtel and Mignolet. Skrtel has definitely had some high-profile gaffes but he’s also come through with some clutch defensive plays. Rodgers has put the weight of the world on him, frequently using off-norm formations with three defenders where he is essentially ask to play the role of both central defenders – all with a carousel of players as his supporting cast due to injuries and new faces. I do agree on the muggings in the box and that he’s eventually going to get called. If he’s in the Starting XI at Old Trafford and Howard Webb is named referee I’m afraid it will be the perfect storm.

    I’m a little surprised if the twitter feed blew up about Mignolet during the Stoke match. The first goal was a perfectly placed header by Crouch. If anything, Mignolet was guilty of forgetting that Crouch was nine feet tall and he may have been a bit wrong-footed expecting the ball to reach the next Stoke player that was beyond Crouch on that cross. But still, it was a close-range header perfectly placed to a corner of the net. There was no saving the Charlie Adam blast and it was mostly just remarkable that ball didn’t hit either one of Skrtel’s legs on the way through. The third goal is the one that might have looked iffy, but I think Mignolet got himself caught in no-man’s land because he first expected Toure to intercept the pass that eventually landed at Walter’s feet and then he again got his view obstructed by Toure when Walters switched it to his left foot. (Back to the Skrtel points, he’s had a lot of good plays this year when he has timed a slide to intercept a pass just like that and Toure didn’t attempt it.) I’ll concede Mignolet probably should have stayed closer to his line there but it also struck me as an unfortunate sequence of events where Toure had at least two chances to prevent the shot from ever being taken in the first place. Mignolet also made a great save on a Walters header just a couple of minutes before that goal. So yeah, he gave up three goals but it was just a crazy match. I actually thought the Stoke keeper played a good game too which can’t often be said of a keeper who lets in five. The reaction save he made on the initial Sturridge shot that eventually resulted in the 5th LFC goal after that amazing Sturridge effort was world class. (Hey, my son is a goalkeeper, I get irrationally defensive about the position sometimes, what can I say?…)


Leave a Reply to Thomas Mullen Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>