Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers went into the game against Norwich at home with great concern. Since the end of the 2013-14 season, nothing has gone right for the club and every match these days seems like Rodgers’ last opportunity to turn things around. The draw against Norwich was not the brightest result and many fans find it amusing that FSG have not relieved Rodgers of his duties despite the rumoured financial implications of doing so.
We are here today to discuss some key talking points from the game from a Liverpool perspective.
James Milner has been dismal
The Englishman has been dismal to say the least since his move from Manchester City and the game on Saturday was another exhibition of the same. Yes, he has been industrious, but there should be so much more to the game of a man who is the highest paid players in the side and wears the armband. He was booked with 2 minutes on the clock, fluffed an easy chance early on in the game and was poor with his passing. He averaged just 74% pass completion and what was more worrying was his inability to identify the runs of his team mates. Another aspect of his game that didn’t go down well with the fans were his crosses. They were awaful as they neither had the elevation nor the speed to unsettle an opposition. All in all, either he should up his game or should be dropped
Sakho was boss
This was the first time Sakho featured in the Premier League this season and he made an instant impact. His positioning was good, he drove the team forward and was the calming presence in this often so troubled Liverpool defence. He did get caught out once during the game, but that was the only time he put the wrong foot down during the game. While having a three at the back against Norwich might not have been the best of decisions Rodgers made in the evening, starting Sakho ahead of Lovren was. Sakho made 4 crucial interceptions, 2 successful tackles, won 5 aerial duels and 3 blocks in the game. What was heartening was that there is at least one defender who will not be bullied by the opposition. Sakho was neither dispossessed nor dribbled past through the 90 minutes, leading much needed steel to the defence.
Mignolet’s flaws on show again
Mignolet won over the fans last season after a dismal beginning with his inherent shot stopping skills. However, the goalkeeper’s distribution has always been poor and it was on show again. He did not release the ball early enough at times and the long balls he played reminded us of how bad he can be. His confidence was what was under immense scrutiny at the beginning of the last season and the weak punch that lead to Norwich’s goal must have gotten his critics talking.
Moreno and Clyne are the way forward
This could be remembered as the game where Moreno regained his lost confidence. The Spaniard was one of the hot properties in world football before he was subjected to a tough first season at Merseyside. While Clyne is the best right-back at the club apart from being one of the best in the league, Moreno’s number in the game were tremendous. He was a constant threat down the left flank twisting and turning his way through the Norwich defence. He created 6 chances, completed 3 take-ons in the final third and made the crucial pass that resulted in Ings’ goal. While he has often been hailed for his attacking capabilities, he has been touted as a defensive liability by many. However, he did more than enough to add steel to the Liverpool back line making 5 crucial blocks and 2 tackles through the game. Many would attribute his performance to the presence of a solid Left Centre-back in Sakho. We believe that going forward the left side of the defence, irrespective of the formation should be manned by Sakho and Moreno.
We need to take our chances
I would not blame the manager entirely for the demoralizing draw on Saturday. He was in many ways let down by the capability of this side in converting chances. Milner missed an easy chance, Sturridge was rushed going into a shot and despite finding the back of the net once, he should have found it once more when his touch let him down. However, the worst miss of the day belonged to Coutinho who had a lot of time, space and Danny Ings in support but missed. This side is awfully short on goals and the players aren’t helping the cause by missing easy opportunities that could put the result to bed.
Oh I missed the awful freekick routine
We saw Daley Blind score against us with a perfectly practiced routine last week. However, I can think of two distinctive set play routines that had me asking do they even practice that in training. Interestingly, both had the acting captain Milner at the heart of it.
I thought we were better against a poorer side than the matches before. Yet all we can show for the evening is a point. With tougher games to play in the coming weeks, the skepticism around the club has only been magnified and I believe the decision to stick to Rodgers could well cost us the season with less than 10 games down the belt.