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Liverpool Article 23 Feb 2024
Liverpool v Luton Town





In some respects that game lived up to the classic 'game of two halves' saying. The first half saw Liverpool create plenty of opportunities but just unable to convert them. The team were by far the better team overall, but the finishing was woeful. Added to that, the crowd were just not at it either and were a bit quiet, even though the team was providing intensity and some really good play, right up until the shot at the end of it. The second half felt different. The team came out and you could feel the determination to turn it around and get the three points. Along with that, the crowd seemed to be ready to help out (and not need Klopp to call for more from them as he did towards the end of the first half) and you could feel the atmosphere building along with the pressure on Luton. Eventually it all got too much for a Luton team who gave their all but were simply outclassed.



What was most pleasing from a Liverpool perspective is the way that everyone was in it together, a team from top to bottom, with John Achteberg setting an example by being the one to step in to talk to the officials when there was an issue, taking the yellow card so that Klopp would not get a touchline ban. The fans played their part too, building the atmosphere up like a pressure cooker at the start of the second half when the team needed their backing, letting them know they were with them. At this point of the season, especially with the number of injuries Liverpool have, it is not really about the performance, just the result, but that was also an excellent performance to go with it.





Luton gave everything, but they were just not good enough. They are highly reliant on the goalscorer Ogbene's pace, but his lack of end product is an issue for them and they lack quality throughout the team. That was their biggest issue, the lack of quality, they constantly tried to play out from the back but gave the ball away repeatedly as the press overwhelmed them. What I did see from them is enough heart, desire and willingness to give them a chance of staying up despite the lack of quality in the team. I do though wonder why all the fuss surrounding Barkley, who is an extremely average player and offers little bar poor decisions on the ball most of the time. Talk of him returning to the England squad must be a joke as he is nowhere near that level.





Quick notes on the players:





Kelleher - he had a mixed game, should have done better on their goal and his kicking was a bit erratic, sometimes good, sometimes just giving it away. He did come and deal with some setpieces well.



Bradley - another excellent game for the youngster, who was once again one of the better players on the pitch. I think it is telling he was taken off early to keep him fresh for the Carabao Cup final on Sunday.



Quansah - had a good game, defended really well, though he was not put under huge pressure. Strode out of defence a couple of times very well.



van Dijk - was much more aggressive and attacked the ball well from the start. A real captain's performance, driving the team on and then popping up with the equaliser.



Gomez - again he has played really well, both on the left and then when switched over to the right after Bradley was taken off. He was up against their only real threat and he kept him mostly quiet.



Endo - another good performance from Japan's captain who seems to relish a physical battle like the one Luton tried to turn the game into. He also played some very good forward passes, showing himself to be more than just there to break up the play.



Gravenberch - it seems like the Dutchman has figured out what is needed to make it in the English game and has added the mixing elements - workrate and physicality. His pace and skill was never in doubt, but now it is also added to by being a useful help off the ball. Early in the first half his pressing was enough to force Luton into giving away a corner, though he did show signs of frustration later in the half as chance after chance went begging. He was a bit less prominent in the second half.



Mac Allister - had an excellent game and got assists on the first two goals. Him and Endo alternate as the deepest lying midfielder, or sometimes both will hold deep, and they are working together well. It has really freed up Mac Allister to play his game.



Diaz - had a good game, causing no end of problems but was let down repeatedly by his finishing until he finally got one right. That also provided a great moment seeing his dad celebrate.



Gakpo - another who had a good game showing good pace and strength and got the goal his performance deserved. He is looking back to being the player who impressed so much in the second half of last season.



Elliott - worked hard, but in the first half his decision making and passing was off, as well as joining in the general malaise with regard to weak shooting. In the second half he stepped up, his driving runs made a huge difference to the game and helped put real pressure on Luton's backline. Good finish for his goal as well.



Robertson - brought on in place of Bradley in the 67th minute. Drive forward well and won the ball back for Diaz's goal as well.



Clark - came on to replace Gravenberch in the 77th minute. Struggled to really make an impression in the game, but tried hard.



McConnell - replaced Mac Allister in the 88th minute. Never really had time to affect the game as the game was in the bag by that point.



Danns - made his debut coming on to take Diaz's place in the 88th minute. So close to marking that debut with a goal and did show some nice touches.



Agree0

Liverpool Article 19 Feb 2024
Brentford v Liverpool





That game could probably be called a Phyrrhic victory as a great result was slightly overshadowed by the team suffering three injuries to get it. The injuries to Nunez, Jota and Jones have come at a difficult time and to three players in good form, just as the season enters its final stretch. Whether it does cost the team in the next few weeks or not, right now the performance was very impressive. The intensity, the willingness to battle and chase, it was only bested by the noise from the away fans, who were excellent. It was a game where Liverpool gradually tightened their grip more and more as it wore on. It was just a gradual turning of the screw, more and more control of the ball and even the enforced substitutions failed to knock the team out of its rhythm. In fact the players who came on all played well and helped the team to the win.



The big issue for me is the openness at the back, there were a lot of risks taken and the two centre-backs were often left one-on-one at the back up against two attackers. When added to van Dijk's liking for backing away and refusing to engage, opened up opportunities for Brentford to get a run at the defence and cause a lot more problems than they should have. It then allowed them to get into dangerous areas where they could look to 'win' a free kick. One thing they do very well is set-pieces around the box, it should have been part of the gameplan to keep those to a minimum, but it matters little when you get the result anyway. And that is the thing, even when this team is not playing well, it is picking up the results, when it does play well, like in this game, it overwhelms the opposition, even if there are still weaknesses in the plan.





I personally find Brentford really tedious to watch now. When they initially came up they were a breath of fresh air, they went at teams and took the game to them and it was refreshing to see. As time has gone on, they have become more pragmatic and less about winning by taking the game to the opposition and more like watching the worst of an Allardyce team. They have become focused on physicality when they do not have the ball, with the intention always to leave a little on players. That would not bother me so much if they were not so intent on throwing themselves to the ground if anyone breaths on them. If they were just physical, I would enjoy that. Instead it is just one-sided, they give it out and then whine and cry if they get anything back. It is clear that their tactics have become solely based on set-pieces and getting them in dangerous areas. Like when Diaz went down claiming a penalty after a slight touch, which for me was never a penalty, it should be called out for what it is - cheating. That is what the Bees have based their game on, cheating to get set-pieces.



It has made them go from a plucky underdog that I wanted to do well, to being a team I would be glad to see the back of. The treatment of the returning Toney has compounded that for me. He has been lauded like a conquering hero coming back from an unjust lay off, rather than someone who let his team and teammates down by knowingly breaching the rules. He should be looking to make amends for his misdeeds, but he is clearly just looking to get a big money move away from the Bees. Hopefully the sale will give them the funds to put together a team that can do more than merely look to get set-pieces. When they did look to actually attack, they were managing to achieve overloads in wide areas and drag the centre-backs out of position to deal with it. With a bit more of that, they could have made the game much more difficult. They did play into Liverpool's hands with the back three set-up. It meant they either needed to keep the wing-backs back or take a risk one-on-one with Liverpool's front three. They ended up getting caught between both and caught out with the wing-backs trying to get forward.





Quick notes on the players:





Kelleher - a fairly easy ride for him, surprisingly, as they failed to really put him under pressure. It seems an odd thing to do, to not heavily press a back up keeper when he was on the ball, but Brentford did that. He was a little unlucky on their goal, having made a decent save initially.



Bradley - once again Bradley showed class and composure to match his ability. He is not playing like a youngster who has just broken into the team, he is playing like a seasoned, regular first-teamer.



Konate - the kind of game the big Frenchman loves, he likes the rough-and-tumble of a physical battle and it showed. He had a very good game and gave Toney little change.



van Dijk - a mixed game, he probably should have scored, he was caught by a simple ball in behind and was not aggressive enough dealing with their forwards. Instead he was back to dropping off and waiting for them to make a mistake. While that usually works, it is dangerous against a team that are looking to just get around the box and go down to get set-pieces. He really should have been looking to engage them higher up the pitch and kept them at arm's length.



Robertson - it is impressive how quickly he has slotted back in. He played well, particularly in the second half when he had more freedom to attack. I do wonder if it might well have worked in the club's favour having him come back fresh at this point of the season.



Endo - another good, solid game from Endo. He does lack the range of passing that Mac Allister has in that position, but he brings much more defensive solidity and gets stuck in. That physicality was very important against Brentford.



Jones - as the game went on and Liverpool took control, Jones was running the game. Unfortunately he had to go off injured.



Mac Allister - was playing a bit within Jones' shadow early on, often finding himself in a similar area of the pitch and with neither having the physicality to do anything different, it felt like it was one too many of the same type of midfielder. With Jones playing so well, he was struggling a bit to impose himself on the game. After Jones went off, he stepped up and became the player controlling the play instead. Having Gravenberch alongside him made him the senior player and the two had much clearer delineation of responsibilities, it seemed a much more natural partnership and Mac Allister played very well, even adding a goal.



Diaz - had a really good game, causing their defence and midfield so many problems as he moved around all over the place.



Nunez - scored a good goal and was always a handful to the defence. Losing him for any length of time could be a real problem for Liverpool as he is just starting to raise his game, so Klopp will have his fingers crossed that taking him off at half-time will have saved him from long-term damage.



Jota - was playing really well, setting up Nunez for his goal and generally harrying the Brentford players into mistakes. Such a shame that an accident like that caused an injury that forced him to come off and looks to be a pretty bad injury. It was among the best performances he had put in while playing for Liverpool.



Gravenberch - replaced the injured Jones in the 34th minute. Normally the worry with Gravenberch is his tendency to bottle the physical aspects of the game, that did make me nervous when he came on, but he showed a totally different side to himself in this match. He was being much more physical and getting stuck in, which contributed to a very good performance. It allowed him to not just contribute with a few nice runs, but to also break up play and win the ball back.



Salah - came on in the 44th minute to take the place of Jota who picked up a knee injury. His return could not have come at a better time and he was back like he had never been away. A nice ball for Mac Allister to score and later scored himself after some good play.



Gakpo - was brought on at half-time in the place of Nunez, who was also injured. A much better performance from Gakpo. Not just scoring, but also being much more prominent in the play, working hard and getting involved.



Elliott - took the place of Mac Allister in the 83rd minute. Always provides a burst of energy when he arrives and it lifted the team just as tiredness could have begun to set it.



Gomez - was also brought on in the 83rd minute, in order to replace Bradley. Did not really have a lot to do.



Agree0

16 Feb 2024 10:45:02
Klopp to Madrid 25/ 26. Taa and vvd.

They've basically signed every player he wanted for us. By that I'm talk about thcoumeni. Which is not very deep but hear me out.

Bellingham. Vinicus. Rodrigo. Valverde. Camavinga.

Mbappe? Just imagine him with them

Also next season is TAA first ever season without Klopp. It's like the gift he's leaving us. It still hasn't sunk in for me. But all things come to an end and at least it's "good" tears, this is on the level though. I think personally it had gone to far and he8 had gotten legendary status. I don't think day could have ever sacked.



Agree0

Liverpool Article 13 Feb 2024
Liverpool v Burnley





Putting aside the result, though that is the important thing after all, there is a lot to be disappointed about in this match from a Liverpool point of view. For starters, the Anfield crowd was incredibly subdued, despite this being the Klopp farewell tour. Klopp deserves a better send off than that! This is a team fighting on all fronts still, with four trophies still up for grabs and yet the fans did nothing to roar them on. This is a big piece of history taking place in front of their eyes, they can be the difference when the team is struggling.



And, make no bones about it, at points in this game Liverpool really were struggling. It seems to be a common theme this season, start slowly with a lack of intensity and it becomes a real struggle to get the right result. How much of that was down to the flu bug that had swept through the camp and forced Klopp to make a lot more changes to the team than I am sure he would have liked to make, is difficult to judge. It certainly seemed like a lot of the players seemed a bit listless and struggling for energy at times, though that could have just been down to the lack of intensity in the team play. For me, that was not helped by the centre-back pairing, who are very similar, very laidback, almost lackadaisical at times. They set the tone for the slow, laboured play by rolling the ball about at the back at times, allowing Burnley to apply the press. This is when Henderson is missed, to give them a rollicking and wake them up. It is good, most of the time, having that calmness at the back, and both defenders are certainly good enough, singly and as a pairing, but when the opposition is pressing them, they need to look to move the ball more quickly.



That was the biggest problem, Liverpool created all their own problems, again, by allowing the opposition to press them, playing the ball around far too slowly and inviting more pressure on. The performance did improve in the second half and the team did enough to win the game without having to play well, which is hopefully a good sign. They will need to be better if the season is to be the success Klopp deserves to enjoy in his final season with the Reds. As Arsenal showed, a lack of intensity will be punished by the better teams in the Premier League. Burnley are not one of those though, so this performance was more than enough to beat them.





Burnley look a much better team going forward than they were earlier in the season, the addition of Fofana, in particular, has given them some threat up top at last. That is a relative term as they are still not that good. However, they are still causing their own problems at the back and, in Trafford, have a very poor goalkeeper who folds under pressure of any sort. Any time there is the slightest pressure on him when the ball is at his feet Trafford shanks the ball into touch and concedes possession. For a team that wants to play possession football and build from the back, having a goalkeeper that is unable to handle being pressed is unforgivable. He is a massively weak link, despite his ridiculously arrogant proclamations about himself and what a big, important player he is.



Burnley, and Kompany, are just out of their depth right now in the Premier League. It is not just the way they play, nor just a lack of quality, they also lack experience and there is no tactical knowhow on the bench to change things mid-game. I was going to say when needed, but they always need to make changes, so it seemed superflous! Their hopes of staying up are fading fast, and they were almost non-existent to begin with.





Quick notes on the players:





Kelleher - a good game for the Irish keeper, quick to come out when needed, but he was aided by Burnley's inability to hit the target regularly to really test him. His calmness on the ball was important to the performance though.



Alexander-Arnold - once again he looked to be playing before he was ready. Looked so far off full fitness, but he still managed to provide an assist to set a new all-time Premier League assist record for defenders. Even half-fit he can be a real problem for the opposition to deal with, though it did mean he struggled on the defensive end himself. He was taken off at half-time as an injury precaution after feeling an issue with his previously injured knee.



Quansah - needed to be a bit more lively on the ball early on, but overall he had a good game. Showed good reading of the game at times to mop up before danger could truly threaten.



van Dijk - like Quansah he was a bit slow at moving the ball in the early stages and invited pressure on the team. Needs to start the game at a higher tempo to draw the sting out of the opposition press.



Robertson - did alright in the first half, but was a bit subdued holding himself back from making his usual charges forward so that Alexander-Arnold could invert. His game picked up massively in the second half as he had more freedom to bomb down the wings. He was a constant threat in the second half and gave the Burnley team no end of problems.



Endo - improved as the game went on, initially seemed to struggle to get to grips with the pace of the game after his time away with his national team. In the second half he was one of the key players for Liverpool.



Jones - he was probably the best of the trio in midfield in the first half, though that is not a particularly high bar to compare against. Moving to right-back for the second half and it is telling that Burnley barely troubled him.



Mac Allister - struggled, despite playing in the position that is probably his best. Though he did improve as the second half went on. I might be wrong, but I cannot recall him playing this role during the season itself, so it is little surprise he was unable to be as effective as he had been playing in the deeper role. I am sure that, just like he did in the deeper role, he will come onto a game as he keeps playing there.



Diaz - was Liverpool's standout in the first half but faded a little in the second. Though it is probably more that the rest raised their games up to a similar level to him, rather than him fading. He was very much a threat throughout and fully deserved a goal.



Nunez - good finish for his goal and once again he was causing the opposition so many headaches throughout the game, but particularly in the second half. It is not so much about him getting or taking chances, it is his workrate, his movement, his constant pressure on the defence not allowing them a moment to rest. It is little wonder Liverpool score so many late goals when opposing defences are worn out by the chasing he gives them. Like Firmino before him, Nunez is more than just a focal point for the attack, and it is no coincidence that the team looks much more threatening when he plays.



Jota - he could have done with more service, plus he does need to stop going down too easily, but overall he had a good game. He worked hard and caused a lot of issues for Burnley, even when they had the ball he was not allowing them time and space.



Elliott - replaced Alexander-Arnold at half-time. He was given MOTM by the Liverpool official site and it is difficult to argue with that. Once again he stepped up and was the catalyst for a much improved second half performance. Gave Jones at right-back a lot of protection as well.



Gakpo - came on for Diaz in the 82nd minute. Arrived too late to really make a mark.



McConnell - took the place of Endo in the 90+6th minute.



Clark - also brought on in the 90+6th minute to replace Mac Allister.



Tsimikas - the third member of the triple substitution in the 90+6th minute, taking the place of Robertson.



Agree2

26 Jan 2024 11:37:57
Pep Guardiola to Liverpool? City will likely be getting relegated and Pep will be on the market. He has massive respect for Liverpool and it would rock worldwide football.



Agree0

30 Jan 2024 20:57:17
Will never happen. 1) man city will buy their way out of any severe punishment, and 2) Pep wouldn't come to Liverpool as he won't have 2 billion quid to spend each window.

08 Jan 2024 12:06:07
The mbappe thing doesn't seem believable but I would absolutely love to see him in a liverpool shirt. If! an only if! he picked us to play for that would be a humongous statement. We had a 100 million to pay for caiceido that could go towards mbappe. Apparently he has turned down Madrid an is interested in the Premier league.



Agree0

13 Jan 2024 10:29:51
Can’t see it myself . His agent using Liverpool has a bargaining tool . Thommo ( Phil) reckons he’s a bad egg from what he’s heard.

08 Jan 2024 12:06:07
The mbappe thing doesn't seem believable but I would absolutely love to see him in a liverpool shirt. If! an only if! he picked us to play for that would be a humongous statement. We had a 100 million to pay for caiceido that could go towards mbappe. Apparently he has turned down Madrid an is interested in the Premier league.



Agree0

 


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