Analyzing Liverpool's performance in the goalless draw against Bolton at Anfield
The FA Cup fourth round saw heavyweights Manchester City, Swansea City, Southampton, Chelsea and Tottenham all collapse to underdogs. Liverpool fans should remain upbeat following their team’s goalless draw against Bolton as a win at Greater Manchester in next month’s replay will mark the Reds as genuine contenders for the trophy.
It wasn’t an exceptional display from Liverpool on this occasion, with Bolton grabbing the headlines and taking plenty of credits for keeping a team that boasts the pace and trickery of Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho at bay. Here’s what we learned from the FA Cup fourth round tie at Anfield.
Lallana is not 100% fit
The England international looked surprisingly slow on the ball, and his movements confounded the Liverpool fans as he slowed down the team’s offence several times. As we could all conclude the fact that Lallana is still definitely not 100% fit, Rodgers’ decision to allow the former Southampton skipper to complete the entire 90 minutes on the pitch has left us flabbergasted.
Javier Manquillo is no right-wingback
After witnessing Lazar Markovic’s effectiveness in both attacking and defending in that role against Aston Villa, Javier Manquillo was drafted into the starting lineup to produce equal quality. However, the young Spaniard was frustrating yesterday as he looked like a shadow of his fellow Serbian teammate. Lacked pace and didn’t offer much in attack, Manquillo’s time on the pitch was up as he was substituted for Fabio Borini just after the hour mark.
Joe Allen not up to the mark
The Welsh international’s career at Liverpool did go off to a flying start back in 2012, when he was the club’s Player of the Month in August that year. He was promoted to the starting lineup to replace the in-form Lucas Leiva yesterday, but miserably failed to provide anything similar to the Brazilian’s recent excellence on and off the ball. Dubbed as the Xavi of Wales, Allen could not produce the class needed as the anchor of Liverpool’s attacking flair and was understandably brought off after 67 minutes.
Raheem Sterling should have been rested
After a tantalizing display plus a goal against Chelsea earlier in the week in the league cup, many would have preferred the European Golden Boy to be rested alongside the captain Steven Gerrard for this fixture.
As much as the fans were itching to see Mario Balotelli deployed back into the starting eleven, manager Brendan Rodgers brought an end to the Italian’s chances of netting his first FA Cup goal for Liverpool against Bolton yesterday by claiming that he has not been good enough on the training grounds to feature for the team. Still, many would have expected either Fabio Borini or Rickie Lambert to start against Bolton.