Saints At Liverpool The Verdict
Monday, 3rd Feb 2020 10:08
A game of two halves, where sadly Saints went back to their chaotic defending at the back from earlier in the season after holding Liverpool at half time.
The one thing that has to be said about this game is that it was not a four nil game, ironically we shipped one more goal than the previous two visits despite playing ten times better than we did do in those two games where we were gutless.
But we were the architects of our own downfall, in the first half we stuck doggedly to our task and went tow to toe with the home side, they had their chances but we also had ours and I doubt whether man sides had caused them this amount of problems in any other game at Anfield this season.
We were not only well drilled and organised, but we went forward with, purpose and at the break it could easily have been 2-1 to either side or even three all.
But before many fans had got out back to their seats after the break the game took a dramatic turn, firstly Danny Ings went down under a clumsy challenge, but the ref waved play on and Liverpool went straight up the other end and scored, we suddenly looked lost a couple of nice flicks from them and ex Saint Alex Oxlade Chamberlain fired home with McCarthy rooted to the spot.
Initially this did not phase Saints and we went back at them but the damage was done and on the hour the game was put out of our reach when Jordan Henderson took advantage of some poor defending to score.
But it got worse and Mo Salah's two goals to make the scoreline look a lot worse than the performance itself where again the result of our failure to read a game at the back, mark a player or make a decent tackle.
This was a Jeckyll and Hyde performance that highlighted what I have been saying all season, in the midfield and going forward we are a top 10 side, at the back we are not even top 10 in the Championship at times.
Hopefully we can put this one behind us and secure the two wins we need to make sure that we don't pay dearly for not buying a central defender in the January transfer window.
The main thing that we can take from this game though is we left with a lot more pride than our previous two visits, the Liverpool supporters were very complimentary after the match we gave them a game, ultimately we got the same result as everyone else who has gone there this season, but we did so taking the game to them.
We had more shots than them, 17 compared to their 16 and I suspect not many teams go to Anfield and have that many, we had 11 corners to their 6 we showed that we can play, but we also showed we are still a work in progress, we still need a central defender.
Hopefully this was a blip, after all we had to play JWP as a stand in right back and although that is likely to happen again at Spurs after that we will see if Kyle Walker Peters can do a job for us there, you felt that we might perhaps have nicked something if we had had Ward Prowse in our team..
Onwards and upwards we lost to the best team in the World at the moment, it was no disgrace, we just need to win two games quickly and banish any lingering thoughts that we might get sucked into a relegation fight.
Meanwhile after Manchester City lost at Tottenham, Liverpool are within 6 wins of a first ever Premier League title and it is fairly likely that they will do it with a record points total and perhaps hit that magic 100 goal mark.
Photo: Action Images
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|arthurfane added 10:29 - Feb 3|
This is what we voted for when we axed Puel - I'd always rather Saints go to the big teams and take the game to them than park the bus and try to scrape a 0-0. If we lose trying to win the game then so be it. As you say Nick, the scoreline flatters Liverpool hugely.
Some encouraging signs, and but for some appalling refereeing decisions and sloppy finishing we could have at least drawn this game.
On to Spurs on Wednesday. Would love us to have a cup run again! COYS.
|A1079 added 10:31 - Feb 3|
Nick - I concede I take a pessimistic view of my teams fortunes, even when we are flying high, but I am struggling to see why you feel only 2 more wins are needed to secure another season in the PL? I would have said we need 10 more points to be sure, because of the manner in which all the teams from 8th down to and including the bottom 3 continue to pick up points and the distribution of those points. 39 or 40 may see you across the line but only just (and we have a chronic goal difference - not helped by Saturday). Fail to beat Burnley and Norwich and things will not look so rosy.
I really have not seen much of Saturday's game and just a few brief highlights which focused on the Liverpool goals but if as you say we had more shots than Liverpool and failed to score at all, then again, our lack of sharpness up front as well as our collapse at the back are equally to blame. What I see of good teams is that, even on a not so good day, they are clinical in front of goal as well as steadfast and stoic in defence.
I fear our woeful lack of doing something in any transfer window to repair our defence and then to loan out what little we had was a strategy for the foolhardy or the blindly arrogant.
|Block8 added 10:57 - Feb 3|
Nick we were weakened at the back by playing a central midfielder at right back!
The centre half has always one eye on what he perceives as a weakness & has a tendency to cover that weakness. They attacked JWP relentlessly from the start which forced Jack further from central defence than he would have been happy with. However we contained them very well for 47 minutes and actually looked good going forward despite this! The pace of the game and continued by-passing of the midfield by both teams helped us very much. When we conceded the second we lost our shape & neither side midfielder tracked back hence the last two goals. The goals that killed us both came from wide on the right & both times the CB has been dragged out of position to cover the weakness created by not having a full back!
Ironically on current form any new CB would probably replace Bednarek imo!
|saintpp added 11:13 - Feb 3|
Cant agree with ''At the back back we are not even a top 10 championship side''
Before this game we had the 4th best goals against in the last two months and this was Liverpool we were playing with world class forwards.
They could not break us down the first half and they needed the boost of a clear penalty being denied plus a first goal before they got their tails up and did what they have done to every team in the league and won.
You seem bit obsessed with blaming our cbs for every goal in every game when in fact credit must be given to the other teams forwards for making chances.
Jack and Yan have been performing admirably Ralph obviously thinks or he wouldnt have let Yoshi go or bought a new cb.
Why break up their partnership when they are growing and learning together.
We are short of fb cover that is more of a concern if bertrand gets injured.
|Number_58 added 11:15 - Feb 3|
Nick, not sure if you noticed but the transfer window's closed, so we won't be acquiring that mythical central defender of your dreams. Probably time to let it go.
|underweststand added 12:02 - Feb 3|
You covered most points in the article NIck. We were "better" than the score suggested.
Saints drew compliments from Klopp, much of the media and Ralph was well-satisfied with the effort - if not the result.
Anfield is the "new Old Trafford-as was in Ferguson's tid" namely no penalties against the home side and no favours to the visitors. Typically the ref was "un Friendly" to us , and even if the " Long /Firmino incident " was/wasn't a penalty then Danny ings one was, and
the blatant back pass to Liverpool's keeper was "over-looked " as well, but I bet it wouldn't have been if it had been in our 6 yard box.
But still- it was Liverpool and we should be glad we don't have to play them every week.
Despite the defeat there were a lot of good things in the game - particularly first half.
|SanMarco added 12:45 - Feb 3|
I think the article is probably over-critical - the key first goal was a penalty to us and what is VAR for if the ajudicator doesn't have the 'courage' to enforce that? We would probably have still lost but you aint going to win at Liverpool with the luck against you.
The comment about the transfer window is a good one. We have taken a risk. If Bednerak and Ings were to get season-ending injuries on Wednesday night we would be right back in trouble. We shouldn't be goung to Anfield with an emergency RB the day after the window closes. A1079 is right - we might need 40 or 41 this season. Seems fine at the moment but things change quickly down at the bottom this season, as we ourselves have proved. We have 13 games left - we got 9pts from our first 13 and a return to that form would lead to a very close finish...
Was there really no competent CB available to ensure that the above anxiety doesn't happen???
|davidargyll added 13:11 - Feb 3|
There’s not a great deal that can be said other than we came a distant second! However it most definitely was not the “Absolute tosh and waste of time watching” that some so-called supporter wrote on here last night.
The lesson that we were given yesterday, oh so clinically, was “suck in the oppo,then break fast, electrically fast”; Liverpool showed they are absolute masters of that particular art.
But funnily enough the last few matches have shown me that we are moving in that direction; yes, we were shown at Anfield how much off the pace of the Champions elect we are, but I am convinced we are now quite a long way clear of some of the rest and really quite optimistic for the rest of the season.
And this is made clearer by some of the other results yesterday and today which I thought were quite telling. For example Leicester and Chelsea drawing 2 all, Palace only being beaten by one goal by the Blades, Bournemouth beating Villa, Burnley and arsenal scoreless. Bearing in mind our results against them, I think they show that, although we may be somewhat below the top of the tree, we aren’t a million miles away from the top third.
|bstokesaint added 13:20 - Feb 3|
That was a complete sucker punch of a result. And it’s a shame VAR wasn’t used as it should have been, i.e. to cancel the Liverpool goal, book their player and give us a pen. Good to see the technology not being used. It certainly would have been a different game then, but hey this is Liverpool and it feels like we should just accept it because it’s ‘their turn’. Whatever.
It’s a shame we’ve ‘used’ the window too to effectively weaken ourselves. Is it just arrogance or naivety? It’s a very worrying trend, and once again is proof we have no money. How are we ever going to improve if we insist on hampering ourselves?
On a final note, where’s the thank you Yoshida article? What a class professional and club man. I still maintain he is underplayed. If he’d had the run our other players have had he’d probably be playing now. I wish him all the best at his new club.
|saintmark1976 added 13:24 - Feb 3|
Excellent observation about the points required to stay up A1079.Every team below us with the exception of Norwich are close to a point per game to date. Continue in the same vain and they will all finish very close to the fourty points which is usually good enough to remain in the Premiership for another season.How Nick sees it differently is beyond me as is his continual criticism of the centre backs and his failure to give any credit to Yoshida since his departure.
In reference to Saturday, if Armstrong had been fit and J W P had not needed to be deployed as a full back we may have at least kept the score semi respectable.Regretfully, due to failure to adequately strengthen in transfer window after transfer window I fear that we may well encounter similar problems at Spurs on Wednesday and for the rest of the league season. I hope I am proved wrong however.
|landerwal added 13:38 - Feb 3|
A bit harsh on our CBs. Liverpool attacked with real pace and were getting numbers in the box in the second half. No other team in the Premiership could have done any better than Saints against the World Team Champions. That said, we gave them a real game in the first half and had we got a penalty for the trip on Ings two minutes into the second, who knows was might have happened? Certainly not the first Liverpool goal. The way we have been playing for the last couple of months and the way we matched Liverpool for much of the game means we can look forward to the rest of the season with real optimism for the first time in three seasons, knowing that in the remaining fixtures, we are capable of winning them all. It was also a nice gesture from the Liverpool fans to applaud Danny Ings when he was substituted. Whether it was relief from not having an ex player score against them or a genuine regard for him, I don't know.
|janecook added 13:43 - Feb 3|
Why did we let one of our best defenders go without getting a fit replacement? We should have tried harder to keep Cedric. Prowse is to slow to play at RB this showed yesterday. When are we going to get the new central defender that we have needed for over 3 years now? This January Transfer window has left us as a team weaker then we were before. Lets hope Armstrong gets fit soon as we missed him big time yesterday.
|SaintPaulVW added 13:50 - Feb 3|
A bit like the home game at St Mary's last season. Good performance for most of the game and then the wheel's fell right off of Ralph's red and white wagon.
Played well against as someone says above possibly the best side in the world ATM.
Plus can someone by Boufy some studs as recently he seems to fall over every other time he gets the ball.
|IanRC added 13:54 - Feb 3|
I agree Underweststand, unfortunately the two major decisions against us, the backpass and the failure to give or even review a clear penalty, ruined an otherwise excellent game and turned the tide decisively against us. Even more annoyingly with regard to the non-existant penalty review, a similar situation occured in the Spurs City game and two minutes after the original incident a penalty was awarded to City after a VAR review. The final cherry on the cake was when the commentator observed about the delay in awarding it, what would have happened if Spurs had scored .... Still widely different interpretations applied to different teams it would appear.
|the_saint added 14:34 - Feb 3|
LiVARhampton 4 saints 0
Cant see why var was used in liverpool's penalty appeal but not ours I thought var would even the playing field but now I think it is there to protect the top 6 and make sure nobody else does a Leicester
|JoeEgg added 15:46 - Feb 3|
Incredible - just incredible! We were promised at least one top class defender in the transfer window. Instead we finish with three defenders out and replaced by a full back with little or no experience.
Once again our defence was cruelly exposed in just 40 painful minutes at Liverpool. So instead of proudly celebrating a tremendous effort by attack and midfield, all we came away with was the memory of another 4- 0 thrashing.
Once again management have failed to demonstrate anything like the same level of ambition and determination that our players did at Liverpool. We are once again being left content with survival as the only attainable goal for yet another season. Incredible - just incredible! Such a huge let down once again.
|BoondockSaint added 16:42 - Feb 3|
We were lucky Mane wasn't playing or score would have been higher.
Everyone saw the last goal coming-as soon as Boufal touched the ball, you knew he was going to hand it over.
Lallana subbed on with 2 minutes left in a 4-0 game just to rub the salt in. Say what you like about any other manager, he's the only one who goes out of his way to humiliate the opposition. Can't wait for him to try that on the wrong team.
|Centurion added 18:37 - Feb 3|
All good comments and very good to read. Thanks to all posters.
I agree with most that it looks like we will need 40 points minimum and to steady the nerves hope we get them by the time we meet Norwich.
|Boris1977 added 18:55 - Feb 3|
The outcome not a surprise but the score flattered them. Disappointed about not holding onto the players we had as Suarez has found form over the last few months and contributed to the uptick in the teams progress. Yoshida was a useful back up CB who could be relied on to give 100% and was a consummate professional. Who is calling the shots in player retention and made this ridiculous call e.g. to make a few million at the risk of loosing tens of millions? This is warped financial logic.
I don't want an owner who spends millions of pounds buying mercenaries and panic buys but an owner that from time to time tells us the grand strategy and doesn't sell senior players at the first opportunity would be reasurring.
I would not be surprised if come the summer senior players will be sold before untested players are brought in for a third of the price and the uncalculated risk of staying in the cash cow top flight will commence once again. When this practice eventually back fires and we go down we will be in massive trouble and the fall out will hit us, the fans hard once again.
I hope I'm wrong but I'm fed up with our club being seen as a feeder club and one that sells all assets as it's embarrassing and doesn't provide stability.
|SaintStu7 added 20:22 - Feb 3|
Can anyone talk about transfers without becoming absolutely blind to the facts in front of them? Both players leaving this window had either refused a new contract or wasn’t going to be offered one. Makes perfect sense to move them on so other players who will be at the club next season can be developed. We have been signing CBs for the last 4 years, admittedly they haven’t worked out but there is a limit to how long a business can go on doing this without moving on some of those players. The squad is already bloated with many out on loan so surely this is a great opportunity for someone to step up. Just a couple of months ago everyone was berating Armstrong, Stephens, JWP, Redmond, Soares, Bertrand, Hojbjerg etc etc etc
|Boris1977 added 21:12 - Feb 3|
SaintStu7 I can see your point to some extent but the issue with selling two defensive senior figures, even one who is only cover, leaves the club a hostage to fortune. If all works out fine and we do not have any injuries or suspensions we may be fine.
However, we now have two non match fit right backs who will take time to get up to speed and fit into the team set-up. This is providing that Valery's well enough to get on the pitch.
Armstrong is out for a few more games at least, possibly more (we don't know) and if the two right backs are not up to the task or fit enough ward prowse will need to provide cover which means two decent midfielders are not available. There is no contingency.
As for the point about slagging off the players as you mention above that was a minority of contributers to this website so that is not a fair criticism.
All may work out fine but somebody is prepared to take a massive gamble on it working out ok. Maybe all the injury issues are minor and we'll be back to full strength in a week or two. Maybe we've got two very fit raring to go efficient right backs. But we do not know.
What we can say is we have lost two experienced defenders for the sake of making a few million pounds and the decision makers have bet a few million against the possibility of losing millions should we go down. Panic selling is as bad as panic buying at this point in the season particularly after the hard work put on by the players over the past 6 weeks.
|SanMarco added 11:11 - Feb 4|
Yes Boondock, good point on the Lallana sub - it is something that Klopp shouldn't do. Managers need to be mature grown-up individuals and not play to the yobs clowns. Putting on subs at the end just to wind-up the opposition is tempting I am sure but these guys are paid enormous sums to behave responsibly. I don't like this new breed of clown manager (I fear Ralph is probably one too mind!!) I blame the introduction of the totally unnecessary 'technical area' + tv coverage. Tomorrow night, every time something happens the tv will make us watch Meurinho's reaction to it - who fecken cares...
|BoondockSaint added 17:44 - Feb 4|
Remember last year? With his team well out in front, late in the match, just needing to see the game out, he used all 3 of his subs to put ex Saints players on so that all 5 of our former players were on the pitch.
It was a nasty bit of business that I can't see any other manager doing (they usually have some sort of respect for each other). I can't recall him doing it to any other team.
Mind you, if the Skates did it, I would be OK with it, and have a laugh, since we like winding each other up. But this was just a rich club showing off it's monetary muscle and kicking sand in the little club's face.
One of these days he will irritate the wrong team, one that has a bit of pride, is losing, tired, and frustrated, and they will (wrongly) retaliate against his players-and then he will go crying to the media.
|underweststand added 17:46 - Feb 4|
I've had time to recap on "match highlights " and the final outcome, and think that the criticism of our defence - though justified - was not the real reason for our bad showing.
Stats. show we had 17 shots (!) ..(at Anfield) ..and whilst Liverpool playes (in all positions) have been scoring bucketloads of goals ..we have been relying too much on Danny Ings .. (now 4 games without scoring).. whilst all the others who played on Saturday have managed less than a dozen - between them.
YES - we still have defensive "frailities " but we are over-dependant on just ONE striker.
YES - I want to see a genuine class replacement for "Fonte/ VvD/ Yoshida ", but we also need strikers to show up - and do their bit - if we are to show any real progress.
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