Liverpool (0) Arsenal (2): Falling into Fall

Post-match reaction from Rodgers.
I’ve looked outside and it’s official: the sun is still shining. Fall is just around the corner and a 2-0 reversal at the hands of Arsenal left the Reds with only one point from three matches. Two defensive mistakes from Liverpool, two goals for the Gunners; there’s something going wrong here. Lukas Podolski opened the scoring after his hard work in his own half reaps rewards on the counter attack and another Pepe Reina blunder gives Santi Cazorla his first goal for the North London side and assures the trip back to the Capital will be a happy one. With an International Break on the horizon, Rodgers will have time to try and work this one out, but it shouldn’t take him all that long. We need to score, don’t we?

It’s not even that we played that bad or they played that well. The possession, the passing, the vision and the runs have all been clicking much faster than expected. Rodgers footballing philosophy is beginning to take root on Merseyside, but, despite the new faces in the boot room, our lack of sharpness in the final third continues to punish us. Completing passes and controlling the match — neither of which we did today — is all good and well, but if you can’t convert you can’t win.

Steven Gerrard, Fabio Borini and even Luis Suarez all looked off color. The Captain, usually a beacon of perfection, has had a poor start to the season with his touch in particular failing him repeatedly. Sloppy, directionless passes à la his sojourn at West Brom were on display and it would be a give away from him that would lead to the visitors go ahead goal. Podolski was tackling back and picked off Gerrard as he looked to find Luis Suarez. With the ball at the feet of Santi Cazorla and Liverpool caught flat footed, the German would sprint a good 60 – 70 yards to receive the through ball and slot home coolly.

Neither manager will be happy with their teams passing game today. Misplaced, careless, lackadaisical; for two managers that pride themselves on this aspect of their game, there will be words in training over the weeks to come. Nuri Sahin made his league debut beside Joe Allen in the heart of Liverpool’s midfield and both turned in performances worthy of mention with hardly a misplaced pass between the two. The rest of side? Certainly not as clinical.

I asked who was going to score. These guys, I guess…
With the Reds falling behind, you can queue up another round of opportunities for the home side before and after the break, followed by a period of near dominance; right before the expected capitulation. With Podolski breaking his duck, and scoring Gunners first goal the season, it would be time for Cazorla to follow suit.

There’s been whispers about the decline of Pepe Reina for some time now and with his mid-week blunder against Hearts, you wouldn’t be wrong to brush it off to a long summer hangover. Goalkeepers have their quirky problems, but when the Arsenal new boy whipped in a low shot with a sprinkle of pepper on it, you’d bet the farm on Reina getting down to stop it; and he did, but the ball would ricochet off his arm and up into the net. Problems at the front, problems at the back.

Uh-oh? That’s one way to put it.

We saw Downing come on for the still struggling Borini early in the half and Jonjo Shelvey make an immediate impact when subbed on for Sahin, but there was nothing else coming from the bench. No one to change the game or add even a hint of a new element. Like for like, fresh legs at best. When Joe Allen starts hoofing the ball into the box and hoping for the best, you know the match is well and truly over. Short in depth, short on quality, and now short on points.

Maxi, Kuyt, Carroll and Bellamy out; four attacking players gone and only two — Fabio Borini and the yet to be seen Oussama Assaidi — to replace them. There’s something going on here. Watching the Reds drag themselves out of the relegation zone has become a recurring Fall theme, though not one that anyone enjoys. Our next match is Sunderland away in two weeks time — will the sun still be shining by then? Looking out the window, it seems to be going down pretty fast.

-steven.

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Steven McMillan

Can’t find up from down or tell black from white, but doesn't care cause it’s all Red to him. When he's not pissing and moaning about all things Liverpool, he’s chatting nonsense with his multiple personalities — or his “entourage” as he likes to call them.

  • It’s a bad start but I’d question anyone who thought it would be different. Our best players are the ones who don’t need to change their game so much to adapt to the new system. It’s not a surprise that Joe Allen is our best for two games now, he’s got no problem doing what needs to be done. He knows the rules and knows where the opportunities are. He also knows where passes can not and should not be pushed. Gerrard doesn’t know that yet and why would he? He’s a great player but for the past 10 years he’s been someone who drives forward from midfield with pace and power, looking for the cutting pass to the running striker. That doesn’t work in this new system and Gerrard has to adjust. He hasn’t, but I can’t see too much reason why he would be incapable of getting there eventually. Suarez too. They’re lazy with possession and need to come to terms with a better way to attack. This will take time and anyone genuinely surprised by that perhaps didn’t quite understand what Brendan Rodgers was going to do. The fact that we are still capable of producing good football at all is the positive light in all of this. What the club is trying to do is very ambitious and even modest success in the first half of this year will be a bonus. Rodgers had an awful first 6 months at Reading and we should not be too upset to see the same for Liverpool.

  • Jem

    The fast food culture. Everything needs to be fast to be accepted.

  • Redsharp

    You must have been watching a different game to me. I thought Arsenal passed superbly, defended excellently and could have won by 3 or 4. ‘Period of dominance’ and ‘queue up a round of opportunities’……….not what I saw. We were beaten by a far superior team with better players, better subs and a better manager.

  • steven.

    by Arsenal’s standards, they passed poorly (84% team wide) ..
    we had more possession (53%), shots (19), and corners (10) ..
    Jonjo alone could have equalized and he was only on for the second half ..

    beaten by a far superior team with better players, better subs and a better manager……not far from the mark at all, but missing our chances killed us.

    again.

  • steven.

    we need more time in the oven and i’m prepared to give the squad, the owners and the manager just that….i’m not sure how many other people are…

    the very real prospect of being in the relegation zone at the end of September is a harsh reality…

  • steven.

    Gerrard is going to have find his way quickly, or he may find himself on the bench.