Shanks Grandson Chris Carline on the positives behind those derby day blues for the Reds fans……..
As I made my way home following yesterday’s (almost) high noon showdown with our neighbours; the feeling of disappointment at our 1-1 draw with Everton was tinged with some philosophical positivity.
We dominated the game and deserved the three points. The most hardened of Blues fans could never dispute that. Everton looked fairly toothless and the only way they were ever going to score was via something quite out of the ordinary. Phil Jagielka’s 92nd minute strike was just that.
For me, this was our best, most balanced performance of the season, and CRUCIALLY, finishing aside, is the most we have resembled the Liverpool of last season.
We looked solid at the back, something, that has scarcely been able to be levelled at Liverpool this season. Lovren and Skrtel always looked in control and I think Moreno has an absolutely fantastic game at left back, where he absolutely nullified the threat of Lukaku, who seemed to be pulling to the left of the back four for the majority of the game, quite why, I am unsure of; especially given that every time he came up against the young Spaniard; he came out second best. Moreno excites me and looks like he potentially has it all; the only thing he lacks at the moment is experience and the occasional overly enthusiastic lunge linked to this needs to be harnessed but the Belgian wont relish coming up against Moreno again any time soon.
Praise once again, should be lavished on Adam Lallana. He was Man of the Match for me. I was always an advocate of his genuine quality on the ball and have spoken about in recent blogs; but almost equally impressive is his work rate. He hasn’t stopped running in any of the games he has played in a Liverpool shirt and his tenacity was key to a good performance. He is going to be a quality player for Liverpool; and clearly, as I have conveyed in past blogs; is the man to re-establish the link between the midfield and the front three.
And then there was the Captain. Who has set message forums and social media on fire this week in the debate as to whether he should or shouldn’t warrant a place in the Liverpool 11. I made my own comments on the matter in my last blog and will re-iterate them here. Steven Gerrard is one of the best footballers I have ever seen in my life. He is Roy of the Rover incarnate. A hero. The best player to ever wear a Liverpool shirt. Is his age catching up with him? Of course it is. If it wasn’t; he’d still be playing an advanced midfield role. It happens to us all, nobody escapes it and my point was that he should be used more tactically by Liverpool in games, and rested for others depending on the opposition and the circumstance. The problem is that some ‘fans’ make their point on him in a completely disrespectful manner, in a way that disregards what he has done for the Football club. He shouldn’t be picked on what he has done in the past; that is backward and he wouldn’t want that either. He should be picked by the manager when he assesses what is the best team for each game; if he is indeed that best option. ‘Fans’ however should always broker the subject with respect, and not speak about a player who has carried many Liverpool teams for years as if he is someone who has come through the revolving door of the football club and no sooner left than he has arrived. There can be no doubt that the Captain was the best man for the job yesterday, his free kick goal sublime and his celebration fraught with the sentiments I convey above. He isn’t ready yet to step aside and quite rightly so.
Raheem Sterling continued where he left off last game. And the game before that. He crucified Everton all game, in particular Tony Hibbert who must have unusually been cursing Seamus Coleman for being injured. He was the pick of the front three, with Balotelli and Markovic both having indifferent performances; and what was most positive from this game, and what in my opinion led to this being our best performance so far; was that the link between the defence, midfield and attack was restored, allowing for a much more fluid transition up the pitch that troubled Everton, and Lallana’s presence and performance was key to this in the final third. We should have been out of sight; and Everton can thank Howard for that not being the case, plus a woeful finish from Balotelli which should have made it 2-0. When Sturridge return to the fold; I hope that we can build on the positive performance that fingers crossed should see us firing on all cylinders once again!