Video by FootballSupremo
In the wake of Liverpool’s disappointing 2-0 loss to Chelsea on Sunday, it’s hard to listen to anyone — even Reds legend Jamie Carragher or eternal hate figure Gary Neville — talk too much about it. Pre-historic football and large vehicle parking was certainly the order of the day, but even as it was playing out and the supporters in the stands and on social media were growing more irate by the minute, those of us with a memory longer than most didn’t miss the irony.
We’ve seen this before, haven’t we? What we would have called a defensive master-class during the Rafa Benitez era, we’ll now call anti-football as the beautiful game — for us anyway — has taken on a whole new meaning with the positive, attacking play that we’ve grown accustomed to seeing under Brendan Rodgers.
As Carragher rightly points out, we’ve played these very tactics, sometimes to great effect, on many occasions before the Northern Irishman took charge. Preventing the counter-attack by forcing their opponents to play direct, slowing the match to a crawl, avoiding square balls across the middle and, of course, the dark art of time wasting were all hallmarks of our not so distant past.
Chelsea came to Anfield and did a job — pure and simple. Jose Mourinho knew exactly what he was doing and we played right into it. Sitting at the top of the league, it’s hard to criticize Rodgers for not adapting to the situation to having something in his locker to breakdown the visitors. Considering how well we’ve done this season, it’s easy to forget how young and relatively inexperienced both the Northern Irishman and large swathes of our squad are. Where someone like Sir Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger may have been able to make adjustments on the fly to nullify the threat — or in this case, lack thereof — Rodgers doesn’t quite have that next level quite yet.
If his advancements and tactical growth this season are any indication, he’ll be finding it in the very near future.