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Anfield Points Lost, Saved, Won And Dropped

2 - 2


21st December 2014 4:00 pm

Attendance: 44,703


A point won or two dropped? Hard to say that Liverpool weren't worth at least their point. We haven't been so comprehensively outplayed since away to Dortmund back in September. In that game we had a bit more possession even if mainly in our own half but in chances and attempts the pattern was much the same. For much the same reason too. Liverpool closed us down, didn't allow us any time in possession and squeezed us into playing those small tight narrow triangles in central areas that stifled our midfield at times earlier this season. We didn't have the control or composure to play on the counter so our front three found possession hard to come by and hence difficult to get into the game. Sanchez and Welbeck both had poor games but Sanchez in particular was dispossessed far too often and his use of the ball equally unsuccessful. Giroud found it slightly easier to see more of the ball but a lazy lay off at the end of the first half allowed Henderson to set up Coutinho giving Liverpool the lead.

Whether Ox was fully fit was questionable I guess but he also struggled to have an impact on the game. Though he seemed to cover plenty of ground in the time he was on the pitch it was rarely with the drive and verve we have seen from him in getting from one box to the other. Cazorla by contrast had more touches than anyone, passed more frequently and more successfully (92%) than anyone else yet lost possession only twice compared to 6 for Ox and 8 for Sanchez. Had they been able to match Cazorla`s performance we might have got more out of this game.

That we got anything at all was due in part to the determination and aerial ability of Debuchy. He did pretty well in terms of aerial challenges the last time he played centre back, which was also the first time he had ever played centre back, against Newcastle in the previous fixture. He showed that ability again in this match but tellingly this time in nodding home our equaliser at the end of the first half winning his challenge against Skrtel who was to gain some revenge later in added time at the end of the second half. That Debuchy is strong aerially is great for the team but it's also a strength that would add more to a settled defence with him playing at right back.

As well as he has done Chambers, like most young players, needs some time out to watch, reflect and learn. If Monreal is fit then moving Mertesacker to his more favoured right berth with Monreal alongside him should allow Debuchy to play in a role that would probably add a little to our overall defensive security.

This game though was more about the inability of our midfield and forward line to command and control the ball. The triumvirate of Giroud, Welbeck and Sanchez worked well at home against Newcastle but it needs more behind it than we were able to offer in this game. Scousers will point to the fact that Szczesny had more touches than any of our players bar Cazorla to rue that they got less than they thought they might have deserved but it is also true that a good number of their attempts were speculative and from some distance outside the box. When they did create some clearer chances, mainly in the second half, the young Pole showed a touch that as much as anything earned us the point which, deserved or not, might well have been 3 points.

It feels mildly disappointing that we didn't come away with all three but we'd have taken it quite happily at Anfield last season. Maybe we needn't be too disappointed with it this season either.

Star Player

Santi Cazorla

Date:Sunday December 21 2014
Time: 9:26PM


Last year Amos you said the stuffings we took had no lasting impact on anything other than the 3pts associated with that match. Well today Wenger's spoke about the psychological issues we have after getting tinkled here before, do you still think it has no affect?
21/12/2014 22:19:00
We beat them in the FA Cup just after we lost at Anfield so the beating we took there didn't seem to have a lasting impact. I can imagine the psychology of the game in the 96th minute was that Liverpool felt they had nothing to lose and and we felt we did. To what extent last season's result had anything to do with it I'm not sure but I would reckon the performance in the immediately previous 95 minutes would have had more to effect.
21/12/2014 22:30:00
Based on our display alone, a win would have been a steal. I will take the point.
21/12/2014 22:35:00
So no then - no affect, Wenger's wrong when he says it did
21/12/2014 22:38:00
You need to be clear about what Wenger did actually say before deciding whether or not he's right or wrong about something shewore. Having conceded 4 goals in the first 20 minutes last season it's perfectly reasonable to observe that the team 'maybe' were conscious not to do that this season and played more cautiously. When asked if last season's defeat played a part he said 'I'm not sure' but thought we played with the handbrake on. But either way I'm pretty sure we didn't only gain one point this season because we didn't take any last season. Or do you really think we would have won this season if we hadn't lost heavily last season?
21/12/2014 22:49:00
Might also be worth considering that only 5 of those who started the game last season started this one - and one of those was our best player in this game!
21/12/2014 23:45:00
I think the Liverpool side, under Rogers, has gotten better at this quick passing, high pressing style it reserves for the big games and did surprise us with how intensely they can play at Anfield, last season. Recall how they went on a run after that game; I feel they are returning to that form again and very few teams will go to Anfield and 'escape' as we did. So, yes; it was wise that we played with caution instead of matching them or bombing forward and getting pasted again. No matter what we think, these things would play on the minds of the players, especially as liverpool played with the same intensity. If they were any weaker, we would be getting the 3 points.
22/12/2014 04:57:00
Ox didn't look half the player he has been in recent games. Maybe, factor to do with a lack of training time this week or the occasion being too overwhelming for him. Whatever it was, he simply was a liability at times, losing the ball in critical areas, turning into trouble or dribbling when he could just pass. Cazorla, on the other hand, was immense and did his job well defending or attacking. If we can get Alexis to turn up in these types of games and with Cazorla on form, we can be a greater threat to teams even while playing on the counter. Chambers again showed he has limitations handling pacy, tricky wingers. More of a CB, for me. Of course, I'd rather have him at RB than the young Bellerin today. Szczesny did okay today but should have had two defenders guarding his posts for their corner kicks. Let's hope this serves to show where we must improve to make progress.
22/12/2014 05:09:00
We were poor, not our usual self blah blah, but to drop points in that manner, so late in the game is bitterly disappointing. After QPR, got a run of quite a few difficult fixtures. Need to get our injured players back, or else it's going to be a scrap for fourth yet again.
22/12/2014 05:35:00
It will be a scrap for fourth, again, but we have the players to get there. By the time we face Monaco, Ozil, Walcott, and Ramsey will all be back (hopefully) and if we add a midfielder to protect the back four, and one or two to supplement the back four, we should expect to beat them. After that, who knows, but all the managers that get their teams that into the final eight are going to be better tacticians than Wenger, sad to say. As for today's game, I had to work when it was playing so I only saw it a few minutes ago on repeat. Before I saw it I thought it, based on news reports, it was all Liverpool and we were lucky. After I saw it I thought, 'no, it wasn't that one sided at all'. We started slowly, but fully deserved a point. Wenger has to right some wrongs in January, squad-wise. I think this year the lowest expectation for him to keep his job is third in the league. If he doesn't get that, somebody has to take him aside and ask some serious questions. For example, why did he go into the season with only two experienced centre backs, especially when he knew one of them had been suffering from a hamstring injury for the past (at the time of the window) six months? It boggles the mind how he could be so remiss in addressing an obvious issue. And in the case of a midfield enforcer, not addressing a problem since Gilberto left. You can't blame Wenger directly for the breakdown of marking that led to the equalizer, and you can't blame him directly for all the injuries in midfield, but indirectly you can, for his tactics on corners and his management of player health. He has admitted Sanchez is in the 'red zone', but he won't get rested, he will be played until he is broken. Same with the Ox and Cazorla. Old man, old ideas. Even if he wins the league and Champions League (both unlikely if not impossible), I would still want him to retire with dignity at the end of the season. I was hoping a first trophy in nine years would be the catalyst for him to call it a day, but I guess he has eight million reasons every year to carry on.
22/12/2014 07:00:00
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