It has taken me just over 24 hours to calm down enough to write this little blog. 12 kids between the ages of 4-6 had the unfortunate experience to have me as their baseball coach 2 hours after this match. It's safe to say the red mist had fully descended and those little guys did their fair share of running last night. Dinner was forced down and frankly I just couldn't wait to get to bed such was the mood that LFC's collapse had put me in.
The only explanation I can come up with is that we are not a fit team. We have not scored many late goals this year (not many goals in general) and we do seem to be under pressure towards the end of games. Somehow after a game we completely dominated for 75 minutes we found ourselves only a goal up. Of course it came from a free-kick that wasn't and then from a corner that wasn't but either Henderson, Carragher or Reina should have done more to prevent the goal from going in. At 2-1 we still looked dangerous on the attack but we seemed exhausted In particular Downing and Gerrard seemed to be completely out on their feet and were not tracking back at all to help, especially Downing. Downing had a decent game but he didn't really ever take anyone on, except for our 2nd goal. His movement was better going forward but he still needs to do more. The second goal was shambolic defending by Carragher and I don't know where Reina was. The third goal a complete joke by Enrique.
Kenny was hampered by injuries yesterday as I think he would have preferred to take a tired player like Downing or Gerrard but was forced to take off Adam with an injury at Half-time. Kelly was also forced off and was replaced with Coates who scored our goal of the season but it counts for nothing. The Suarez for Carroll sub was a mistake. At 2-1 Gerrard or Downing should have come off for Shelvey to give us some energy in the middle of the park. Liverpool were brilliant for 75 minutes however my criticism is that at times I felt we over passed the ball. One time I can remember in the second half the ball fell to Gerrard on the edge of the box and for some reason he tried a clever flick into the middle instead of going for goal. The quick passing looks great but you have to shoot the ball to score and at times we over did it yesterday.
A final note, perhaps its just me but when most of our subs come on they seem to really want to get involved and show a hunger and desire to prove themselves. If you go back and look at the video of the match yesterday and watch Andy Carrolls performance he barely runs. The fastest I saw him move was to get back into our box when they were taking a free kick. At one point he makes a pass about 35 yards from goal down the left side and starts to walk/ jog into the box. It's just not acceptable.
Yesterday's loss was not about Carroll or Adam but about a sheer lack of fitness. It has nothing to do with the amount of games we have played as when you are at a team near the bottom and you are up 2-0 you should never lose if you have the players of Liverpool's standard. I think we need to go back to the days of Pako and get much much fitter.
Also it's time to play the kids. I would not mind giving Reina and Carragher a break. Here is how I would line up for Saturday.
Doni in goal
across the back from right to left flannigan coates martin enrique
across the middle kuyt spearing shelvey downing with
gerrard and suarez up top my first sub would be sterling on for either kuyt or downing.