Judging from Liverpool’s performance yesterday, I see a very similar Liverpool FC to last season. Lots of possession, a long pass here and there, and that defensive lapse to allow our opponents to score.
It has almost become a trait of Liverpool FC.
But it is unwise to draw such quick conclusions from a pre-season game. For one, the first team players were split apart, mentoring the younger ones in either half. We didn’t see our internationals such as Steven Gerrard, Fabio Borini and more importantly Luis Suarez (who won’t be part of the pre-season tour) in action yesterday, so the academy players should take heart from a spirited display against the Toronto selection.
Brad Jones looked really solid in the first half. He made a superb save when he was called upon, and stopped Toronto from having the lead going into the interval. Chances were premium for both sides, although Liverpool had the lion’s share of the possession. Youngsters such as Wisdom and Sama had their chance to prove themselves to Rodgers, and they both put in solid displays.
Strangely, Liverpool started off with a 4-4-2 set-up, with Eccleston and Pacheco essentially starting up front. Eccleston looked eager to impress, but just wasn’t having the ball or any luck on the day. Pacheco looked the more potent threat, as he surged up the wings and got past his markers well. His crossing was slightly disappointing over the course of the match, but it was otherwise a strong performance from the Spaniard.
Aquilani also played a role in the first half, as he looked impressive spreading and maintaining the ball in the middle of the ball park. I honestly think that the midfield trio we should use next year should be Gerrard-Lucas-Aquilani.
At the interval, both teams ran the changes.
Joe Cole, Adam Morgan and Shelvey came on amongst the changes, as the shape of Liverpool shifted to more of a 4-3-3, with Joe Cole and Raheem Sterling supporting Adam Morgan up front from the wings.
Raheem Sterling’s pace proved to be very bothersome for the Canadian outfit, as he combined with Adam Morgan to score the equalizer in the second half following Amarikwa’s goal off a rebound.
Suso showed me why comparisons were drawn between him and Spanish counterpart David Silva with impressive ball control and passing from the midfield. He got in between players and played his teammates through on a number of occasions.
What Rodger must identify in this Liverpool team is that we require goal scoring wingers. Whilst Raheem Sterling, Jordan Ibe and Dani Pacheco look promising, they still lack that bit of technique and physicality required to succeed in the Premier League. Meanwhile, Joe Cole and Stewart Downing are not players who can get that goal.
Look at Barcelona. Whilst they have Messi doing most of the magic in the middle, he also gets lots of goals from other players. With Alexis Sanchez and Pedro on the wings, he has two providers and finishers to help his team onto wins. If too many people are marking Messi, this will allow Barcelona to search elsewhere for goals.
But otherwise, a decent start to pre-season. Could have been better, but it will do.
Published with permission from Two Liverpool Fans.