I had already decided to write some further justifications for yet another poor result, before the kick off against Norwich so I was ahead of schedule, when we finally came across a Black Swan, and won comfortably! Having taken my customary 24 hours to digest the match, I realised that a lot of what I was going to include in my email about the context of the result, was still valid, even though we won! Yesterdays performance was like any other performance this season by Liverpool, except with goals! In fact, analysing the match, we were actually slightly worse than normal! We had half the number of shots on goal and a lot less possession than usual.
As usual the team selection was still a surprise, as Dalglish is even harder to predict than Benitez (average changes per game 4 versus 3) but on top of that, KK has a different formation every week! An interesting point that has been noted more frequently of late is that Suarez is a better goal scorer when he is fed, not when playing as a playmaker. 15 of Suarez’s 17 goals this season have come from one or two touches. He rarely scores after his dribbles, but they do cause mayhem. It seems it was the same at Ajax, where he was a prolific goal scorer, taking 1 or 2 touches to score. Therefore it was slightly less surprising to see us line up against Norwich, designed with 5 attacking midfielders, whose only job was to feed Suarez.
As usual, we were slightly wasteful, hitting the woodwork for the 31st time, still with no favourable rebound, but improving on our league low of converting 9% of our attempts on goal. Instead of 1 in 11 we were 1 in 5.
If the selected eleven were fighting for their Wembley places, as I suggested pre match, Downing must REALLY want to stay on the bench. In fact, I believe it is probably time for Johnson to move up to right wing, and let Kelly take the right back slot, Downing was that anonymous. He didn’t really do anything wrong, but he is making the team play with one less in attack or worse. Several times he got the ball out wide, and ran across the pitch, giving the defence time to recover.
Sean notwithstanding, I thought Henderson was poor, for the simple reason that he was bought to provide assists and balls going forward, yet he is happy to continually play the safe recycling lateral ball. He needs to get the confidence to take a risk and play the ball aggressively occasionally and create chances, but like Sean, I believe he has the ability to grow into the role…but it has to happen soon as he has had a whole season to settle and there are deserving youngsters at the academy who didn’t cost GBP16. The same goes for Jon Jo in this game, although he is usually a bright ray of attacking sunshine in a grey team, is a lot younger, has had far less run outs and cost very little!
I have no idea why Carra started, but I hope it is was just to give Skertl a rest, which could mean Carra and Skertl will start against Fulham, and then the ideal pair, Skertl and Agger against Chelsea…but with KK, who knows? However, praise to Carra for putting his body on the line a couple of times to stop probably goals. A growing tendency that was getting ridiculous against Norwich, were the balls hit towards the goal for Reina to clear, and long cross field balls across the penalty area. I don’t know how many times the PE teachers would tell us off for doing such things, and I don’t know why LFC have suddenly taken to doing it…(and I hope I have killed any possible jinx by bringing it up) but that could really bite us in the arse if we get caught out by a faster pressing team.