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Liverpool Football Club Thread - Champions 19/20

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Think even Mignolet would have saved at least 1, if not both, of the goals Arsenal scored.

Stupidity from Borini but I did like the energy and urgency he brought to the game, and came close with the headed chance. Not the answer to our striking needs mind.

I'm quite liking the back three of Kolo, Skrts and Sakho, would keep that going a while longer, just wish it was in front of a capable keeper.

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To be fair, playing Jones for a few weeks is a masterplan in terms of talking the pressure off Ming; there is literally no way he can look bad in comparison when he returns.

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Having just watched motd, all I can say is what awful defending for Arsenal's second goal but what a header from Skrtel!! Why oh why can we not defend though??

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I think blaming Jones for the goals is insane. Skittles got out jumped by a midget for the first and ran into no mans land leaving his man open for the second.

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If I were to be generous, I'd say that - for the second goal at least - the lack of regularly playing a 3 at the back, and the awareness that comes from doing that regularly, was the problem. The first goal is just because we're completely rubbish at defending set-pieces and have been for years.

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It's still proper worrying how we can dominate a game so much but still only just manage a draw. Defending is still crap, 3 defenders all switch off for their 2nd, no one is marking Giroud at all.

Hopefully it's the start of us picking our game up and we'll start to dominate and win more.

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Skrtel and Toure were both to blame for the second.

Skrtel, yes, Toure no. He had to go to try and close the space, Skrtel should have trusted him to do that and make sure he cut the pull-back out.

As rubbish as I think Jones is (very), he wasn't to blame for the goals. The header was right in the top corner from close range and whilst the second went through his legs, that often happens to 'keepers from that kind of distance.

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I wouldn't specifically blame him for today's goals. It's more that he doesn't look like he's ever likely to save one.

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From what I saw of of Coates in the Tyne/Wear derby he looked decent- on the right side of the defence no less using his right foot. Never going to get a chance at Liverpool but i think him and Sakho could be a reasonably balanced and certainly physically imposing central pairing.

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Skrtel fucked up on the first, but that is the way he's defended corners since Rafa left. It's no surprise to see him give goals away in situations like that. Daft foul to give away by Gerrard in the first place, though.

Gerrard should have been picking up Giroud for the second. The defence were actually all in good positions and if Stevie had any defensive awareness he'd have cut that pass out easily. I'll say it again: the centre of midfield is the biggest problem in this team. It was a lot better today but it still boils down to points dropped due to the space in front of the defence not being controlled. We need to sign a proper DM as soon as possible, and Can needs to be playing.

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I agree that Gerrard should have done better, but still think with 3 at the back it serves no purpose to have them all in a deep line. Sahko was too far away but I do think Skrtel should have been more aware also, especially given that they only had Giroud in the box.

That's not to disagree with your overall point though, that being we don't have enough protection for the defence.

As for the foul for the first goal, its a shame to see Rodgers shouting about it being a dive. It was a definite free-kick, albeit Sanchez was a little theatrical with the fall.

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On one of the replays for Giroud's goal you can see Skrtel just wander around and look aimlessly.

A back 3 should negate the need for the DM to drop back because you have a man left over anyway.

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Skrtel, yes, Toure no. He had to go to try and close the space, Skrtel should have trusted him to do that and make sure he cut the pull-back out.

As rubbish as I think Jones is (very), he wasn't to blame for the goals. The header was right in the top corner from close range and whilst the second went through his legs, that often happens to 'keepers from that kind of distance.

He closed down the space, but then happily watched the ball run right past him for Giroud to score. I think you could be right about the lack of experience of playing in a back 3 though.

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It's still proper worrying how we can dominate a game so much but still only just manage a draw. Defending is still crap, 3 defenders all switch off for their 2nd, no one is marking Giroud at all.

Hopefully it's the start of us picking our game up and we'll start to dominate and win more.

Is that not largely down to not having a striker? Sterling is great but his finishing ain't so hot.

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I agree that Gerrard should have done better, but still think with 3 at the back it serves no purpose to have them all in a deep line. Sahko was too far away but I do think Skrtel should have been more aware also, especially given that they only had Giroud in the box.

They were stretched out because the 3 have to cover the width once the wing-backs have gone forward. This is why we need the CMs to have discipline and awareness. I think Gerrard did very well outside of our box, by the way. It's just a shame he isn't able to patrol the space in front of the back 3 effectively.

A back 3 should negate the need for the DM to drop back because you have a man left over anyway.

That depends on whether or not the wing-backs have pushed forward. Once they have done so, the CBs need to cover the width of the pitch, which obviously means one of them is going to be left on his own in the centre - which is when the CMs need to squeeze the space ahead of him.

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But that's playing the position, rather than the situation.

At that point, only Giroud was anywhere near play (I don't recall any runners from deep making up the ground) so with Toure looking to try and stop the cross that left Sahko and Skrtel left to cover the man. I feel they both got caught following the ball and Skrtel at least, as the central man, should have been a little more aware of the threat. Gerrard did also switch-off momentarily to allow Giroud to make his little 5-yard dash to create the opening, but I don't know what Skrtel thought he was achieving being caught where he was. Playing a narrow line against 1 man in the box doesn't seem too clever, no?

I could just be talking rubbish, mind, but believe that in the same way as the first goal it was decision-making, not tactics, that led to the goal and think that perhaps if Toure and Skrtel were switched in that scenario we would have seen a different outcome.

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That depends on whether or not the wing-backs have pushed forward. Once they have done so, the CBs need to cover the width of the pitch, which obviously means one of them is going to be left on his own in the centre - which is when the CMs need to squeeze the space ahead of him.

Right but Arsenal matched their three with ours and for the second goal you're talking about men left over in the box - including Skrtel who should be at least aware of Giroud's positioning but his constant head swivelling doesn't really inspire that.

Gerrard didn't have a great game but the second goal wasn't his fault.

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Hyypia has left Brighton. Would love to see him come back to take care of the back.

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The way that Sami played suggests to me he could well be a good defensive coach. He couldn't rely upon pace or bulk; he just tended to be in the right place. Not many CBs could defend brilliantly for an entire season and not pick up a single booking.

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But that's playing the position, rather than the situation.

At that point, only Giroud was anywhere near play (I don't recall any runners from deep making up the ground) so with Toure looking to try and stop the cross that left Sahko and Skrtel left to cover the man. I feel they both got caught following the ball and Skrtel at least, as the central man, should have been a little more aware of the threat. Gerrard did also switch-off momentarily to allow Giroud to make his little 5-yard dash to create the opening, but I don't know what Skrtel thought he was achieving being caught where he was. Playing a narrow line against 1 man in the box doesn't seem too clever, no?

I could just be talking rubbish, mind, but believe that in the same way as the first goal it was decision-making, not tactics, that led to the goal and think that perhaps if Toure and Skrtel were switched in that scenario we would have seen a different outcome.

Skrtel was covering the near post to cut out a cross to that area and Sakho was on the penalty spot. Both , from a fundamental POV were probably in reasonably okay positions and given that Sakho was the left of a back 3 three with no left back he was where he should have been.Skrtel wasn't too bad either but the lack of awareness/ communication between him and Sakho meant that Giroud had so much space because neither knew who was behind them so neither picked up the man.

I think in isolation all of our defenders are reasonably good at their jobs- there seems to be some sort of communication or system issue - I'd generally put that down to the coaching - as mentioned previously, the defenders were actually in "textbook" ideal positions but at the level they're at they should be well above said textbook.

If Sami came in as defensive coach it could be a good thing- though Steve Bould at Arsenal got some stick for the way they've defended in the past so there's no guarantees.

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Gerrard should have cut the ball out by picking Giroud up instead of standing behind him ball-watching. Giroud laid the ball out wide, Toure wasn't in position so Skrtel had to try to cut the passing lane out - to block the cross. If he doesn't go into that space the player with the ball has a free run at our near post. I don't rate Skrtel and I don't understand how he's the only ever-present in this defence, but it was Gerrard that made the most avoidable mistake for the second goal.

Put it this way: watch any of the other teams that have aspirations of success and count how many times you see their CBs in 1v1s in any given game in comparison to ours. Or you could just look at all of the goals we've conceded this season and take note of the space we give up around the box. Who's fault was the Rooney goal against the Mancs?

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I'd argue they were textbook positions if you had other players in the box - but Giroud was the only man in the box, and not near them, so my point has been that Skrtel should have been more aware of that. As I said, I don't put it down as a tactical issue, but poor decision-making and not playing the situation, given that .

I used to be a big fan of Skrtel; in his first couple of seasons he was great - strong, confident, took up good positions...but then he got injured for a while and has never been the same since. I've compared his situation in the past to that of Josemi - he started his career with us well, then got a bad head injury against Man U (IIRC) and was never the same again.

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I fear we're going to go round and round in circles here...

The ball was played behind Toure (by Giroud, a clever pass). Once that happens, Skrtel either has to trust that Toure will get there (he wouldn't have), allow the player in possession a free run at the near post and hope the 'keeper can stop him (the worst possible decision), or move into the space in order to prevent the cross, and hope that one of the three players behind him has picked up the only opposition player in the box (the correct decision). Why are the two CMs running back into the box. We were actually 5v4 (which is one of the fundamental strengths of 3-4-3) at the time, so what are they doing in the box? Just making sure no other Arsenal players can get a free run from deep?

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Sakho probably cant speak English yet, that is a real problem for the organisation of a defence.

I'm not sure its worth discussing that goal because the first goal was infinitely easier to stop, Skrtel was terrible.

Leadership is the main problem for the defensive unit, and I include the goalkeeper in that. There is no coincidence that all of the best defensive performances have come this season when Kolo Toure has been playing, he isn't the best defender physically or positionally but if you watch him he is constantly talking.

The leadership he gives is a massive bonus, basically the team need that kind of leadership but in a player who is another level above what Kolo Toure can offer as a defender.

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Which is exactly what Lovren was supposed to be bringing. I agree that the first goal was easily more avoidable. I'm finding it a bit annoying that Skrtel gets all of the blame for being shit at his job, but Gerrard gets off without so much as a murmur about him being shit at his (for giving the freekick away in the first place). I love Gerrard but he is not a defensive mid.

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Well, there's another entire debate- the defensive mid position- Lucas has brought back some stability but again has lost something after the injury at the beginning of last season(?) and Gerrard just doesn't have the engine or the awareness to play that position effectively against decent opposition. I've not seen much of Can but apparently he's strong , can put his foot in and pass a bit as well so he's sitting on the bench while Allen or Gerrard are indulged as games pass them by or they're brushed off the ball.

It does seem like Rogers likes to play the team to his ideals than the realities of certain games though at least he seems to be learning things as he goes. A bit of humility and a defensive coach would be lovely though.

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