Stoke City 0
Yet another stalling on the home front and another chance to make progress, as others falter, blown.
Although we are still unbeaten at Anfield this is our seventh draw out of eleven home games. It is a cold fact especially as many of the sides we’ve drawn against are ones you would expect us to beat. Once again we seemed to be wanting in the final third. In previous home games it’s been converting the chances, and there have been many, on Saturday it was creating them.
Stoke set us the task of trying to get through them and we failed being limited, for the most part, to long range efforts. It’s wrong to complain about the way Stoke set themselves up, they can do want they want and for them I’m sure the ends justified the means. It is clearly up to us to try deal with the problem they present us besides they were only doing what we did at in the final part of Wednesday’s semi final?
Much of the focus for this will, unjustly perhaps, be on Andy Carroll however, this is a “malaise” that stretches much further back to days when Carroll wasn’t in the team be either through injury or form. If goals are not coming from the front two them you look to the rest of the squad to chip in sadly this hasn’t really happened and too many of midfield, although putting in the effort, seem to have a frustrated rabbit in the headlights “what do I do now” demeanour every time they get near the goal.
The story of being one of teams with the most shots in the Premiership yet with the fewest goals says it all, hells teeth Blackburn and Bolton have scored more! There is only so much you can blame on one individual or bad luck before you start to look elsewhere for the reason behind this? Perhaps Kenny and Steve Clarke will sit back and look at the system. Kenny’s post match comments were as near to, dare I say it, criticising the team, albeit in a mild way, as I have heard from him in a very long time. The sad thing is that he is right…
“The responsibility was on us to be more imaginative to break them down and we didn’t manage to do it. The couple of opportunities we got we didn’t take and in a game like that you have to take them.”
One wonders what we will do? Perhaps we are already trying, Kenny’s choice of line up for this match was a talking point. A five man defence which in the absence of Agger saw Carragher recalled along with Coates which presumably gave Enrique and Johnson licence to push up and provide for Carroll however he was dropped to the bench in favour of Kuyt who has scored no goals since the end of last season.
You’ve probably seen the game now but if you didn’t it would be easy to conjure up a picture in your minds eye, as it is a familiar pattern. Plenty of possession for us, against a well organised Stoke defending stoutly and us labouring to cut through them with the anxiety, on the pitch and in the stands, growing as the clock ticked down. There were a few long range efforts, from Downing and Henderson, and at the death Kuyt and Skrtel had a great opportunities to win it but their respective headers were wide and at the keeper. Carroll, when he came on, was involved in number of penalty appeals largely it seems with Huth who a one stage had him in some form of Vulcan death grip or head lock! However, to use this an excuse to say we were robbed would be pushing things to the extreme. Yes, it’s churlish to complain in a week when we have made good progress in two cup competitions but its so dam frustrating that we can’t get right in the Premiership when we are more than capable of doing so?
Kenny describes the current situation as “work in progress” however, on the home front we appear to be stuck in a rut, unable to convert the undoubted promise and good play we are showing (most of the time) into results. It hardly needs saying that these draws could be difference between where we finished last season and somewhere higher. Surely things will turn around and the results will match the effort however, with the transfer window, open perhaps Kenny me might be tempted to give things a helping nudge?
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Jose Enrique, Coates, Carragher, Skrtel, Gerrard, Henderson (Bellamy 74), Downing (Carroll 58), Adam, Kuyt Substitutes: Doni, Aurelio, Kelly, Flanagan, Shelvey, Carroll, Bellamy,
Stoke: Sorensen, Huth, Shawcross, Woodgate (Wilkinson 78), Whelan, Wilson, Delap, Etherington (Fuller 87), Palacios (Whitehead 62), Walters, Crouch, Substitutes: Begovic, Wilkinson, Pennant, Whitehead, Jones, Fuller, Jerome