Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughLiverpool must improve - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Liverpool must improve - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Liverpool must improve

Welcome to The Green Room. An open, honest one-manned forum for everything Premier League. In particular, the Reds from the right end of the East Lancs Road. Join me every Sunday for a round up, review and in some cases, post-mortem of the week’s best and worst of Liverpool and the rest of the protagonists that make up the worlds best football league.

The beginning of a new season of expectation. Champions League qualification? Easy, they said. King Kenny is the man. Top four? Champions, they enthused. And so it came to pass. The reds of Liverpool came out, all guns blazing, quick passing, plenty of movement and attacking intent. Certainly in the first half, Liverpool raised the bar. Unfortunately not the cross bar. If they had the score would have been 3-0 at half time. If’s and but’s. Small words with big meanings.

An expectant Anfield and global audience looked forward to a goal-fest against a spirited but ultimately toothless Sunderland side. What they got instead was impersonations. First up was Dirk Kuyt playing Terry Butcher to a tee, head bandaged, plenty of endeavor but no end result. Then entire team doing a very good rendition of the Wimbledon of the eighties with the long ball in search of the “knock-on”. Last but definitely not least, Raul Meireles doing a brilliant Mr. T. Unfortunately, he wasn’t “gett’n on no plane” and thus was, due to a lack of aerial ability, ineffectual in fitting in with Liverpool’s tactics.

On this showing, Liverpool will not achieve John Henry’s target of Champions League qualification unless they abandon this long ball game and play to their strengths. Pass and move. Fast-paced, ball on the floor and to feet.  A one dimensional Liverpool side were held at home to a, frankly average, Sunderland who, but for the impressive Sebastian Larson on his debut, wouldn’t even have been at the races. It burns me to say this as a Liverpool fan but had this been Manchester United or Chelsea versus Sunderland, the “Mackems” would have been blown out of sight. Sorry, but they are the bench mark and there isn’t a Liverpool supporter with more than one brain cell that can argue against that. Jordan Henderson’s take on Bruno Cheyrou was… impressive. He’s clearly not ready.

Having said that, in the end 1-1 was a fair result, Suarez missed a penalty where usually you’d have banked on him scoring, but made amends shortly after. Pepe Reina, like most goalies you could mention, was helpless to the technically perfect effort from Larsson. All credit to the boy. Although Reina’s general distribution was much poorer than usual I have to say.  Lucas was his now customary all action self. Charlie Adam showed glimpses of what we can expect from him. Very solid in the tackle, looked a little nervous early on. Above all though, I think the eight yellow cards dished out by Mr. Dowd was probably a bit over the top. This was by no means whatsoever a blood and thunder, all guns blazing derby.

If Liverpool are to progress this season, however, and fulfill their potential, not least the expectation, they have to abandon this long ball to Andy Carroll and start playing the ball. As the late Brian Clough said “If god had intended us to play football in the sky, he’d have put grass up there”.  There’s no other way in this modern game. Barcelona against Manchester United Champions League final. Need I say more? Liverpool’s tactics went away with “Big Bob” Latchford. Pure and simple. Until Blunderland scored Liverpool were in complete control of the match and a moment of class knocked them out of kilt.

Enough said. In schooling terms the first day report reads “If Liverpool wishes to succeed this year, he needs to stop indulging in this shabby approach to his work and knuckle down to his strengths. He has ability and I’d like to see more of it”. Let’s put this down to the traditional “slow start” Liverpool usually have. Give the others a head start.

Away from that, QPR went down 4-0 to, the now premiership leaders, Bolton (never thought I’d ever write that). No real surprise there though, even given the fact that one of the QPR players was among the scorers and the record still says “Goals For – zero”. I felt Neil Warnock’s side could have done better. Maybe that’s wishful thinking? Norwich earned themselves a good result coming from behind to draw against Wigan and now occupy fourth place. Not surprisingly, for me anyway, is that Arsenal also got what I’d call a good result away to Newcastle. A good achievement considering I believe they’ll be one of the big casualties this season.

There we have the usual first day anomalies, Bolton top, Norwich the new boys in fourth and Wolves occupying second place. Liverpool have started off where many people expect them to finish, so maybe they’ll be there come May? A question I wouldn’t want to answer right now.

Today we have the so-called “favorites in Manchester United, and Chelsea. Manchester City on Monday night, all taking their Premiership bows for this season. Bolton’s stay at the top may well be short-lived, but you know what? I could get used to this.

Ben Green @Mrbengreen

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