Liverpool FC: Lessons Learned in 1-0 Win over Reading
Liverpool claimed only their second Anfield win in 10 games after Raheem Sterling's first Premier League goal gave the Reds three points for only the second time this season. The game somewhat typified Liverpool recently—so many chances, yet so few goals.
However, a win is a win, and Brendan Rodgers can be proud with his team's performance.
Here are a few lessons learned from the clash.
Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez Represent the Spearhead in Liverpool's Attack
For most of Liverpool's clear-cut chances, Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling were prevalent. For the only goal of the game, Suarez's flick on to Sterling tore the Reading defence apart. On other occasions, Sterling set up Suarez, or vice versa.
If anyone was going to score, it seemed to be Sterling or Suarez.
Sterling's pace, determination and ability seemed too much for Reading, who also had to cope with runs from Sahin, Gerrard, Johnson and Allen.
Not to mention the threat of Suarez.
Yet no matter how many runs Liverpool players made, the chances always seemed to role to Sterling or Suarez. For the most part, the latter was guilty of missing.
Suso: Not Quite Ready Yet?
Andre Wisdom, Raheem Sterling and Suso have all broken into the Liverpool first team this season. Today, however, only Sterling had an effective game.
Wisdom made a few potentially game-threatening mistakes while Suso, dubbed the next Kaka, was completely insignificant. For a while, I forgot the Spaniard was even on the pitch.
Deployed in the right-winger role, Suso found it difficult to influence proceedings and was taken off early in the second half. Whether Suso prefers a more central role or he just had a generally bad game, Suso has a point to prove in the coming fixtures.
The First Team Is Decided on
The Liverpool lineup appears to look like this:
Reina (Jones today), Wisdom, Skrtel, Agger, Johnson, Sahin, Gerrard, Allen, Sterling, Suso, Suarez.
The lineup looks very strong, with Suso replacing Downing and Sterling finally getting a regular starting spot. Wisdom, Allen and Sahin have also earned starting spots in a side that has vastly changed from Kenny Dalglish's group last season.
For me, Kelly should replace Wisdom at right-back.
Apart from that, the lineup looks pretty strong.
Liverpool Fans Need to Stop Heckling the Referees
While some decisions in the past have been absolutely ridiculous, they have been made and cannot be reversed, however wrong they were.
Liverpool fans, though, seem to have made it their job to ironically cheer the referee whenever a decision goes their way—and particularly Luis Suarez's—and boo whenever a decision goes against them. It's admirable support, but a line has to be drawn.
Some of the referees' decisions are right, believe it or not. Referees aren't out there to try and rob Liverpool of points, however much it can seem that way.
Booing and jeering the referee doesn't even help. It gives fans a bad reputation and will probably annoy the referee, making decisions go against the Reds even more.
It's crossed the line. Once a game, sure. But not repeatedly.
The Frustrating Liverpool Hasn't Quite Left Yet
Liverpool had 27 shots.
They scored one. One.
It's the kind of stat that has typified Liverpool for what seems like an eternity. Liverpool just can't seem to score the amount of goals they deserve, and somehow, the opponent always seems to score the goals they don't deserve.
I don't know what the problem is.
Actually, I do.
Liverpool have no striker in the side. There's no Torres, Owen, Fowler or Rush.
Suarez can't finish. That's the issue. That and the fact that the opposition goalkeepers seem to reserve their best for Liverpool fixtures.
Solution: Sign a proven goalscorer in January, or promote Adam Morgan or Samed Yesil to the first team.
Steven Gerrard Is NOT Past It
Rival fans have been keen to pick up on a Steven Gerrard playing as a shadow of his real self. Liverpool fans had been worried—is Gerrard actually past it?
The answer is a categoric no.
Today, Gerrard was immense, tackling well, and passing brilliantly. Gerrard has been granted his favourite attacking role, able to bomb on and attack the opposition goal at will.
Today, he proved he is not past it.
A Struggle Awaits
Liverpool's next three fixtures consist of the small matter of the Merseyside derby, Newcastle at home and before that, a trip to Stamford Bridge.
To put it bluntly, if Liverpool play like they did today, we'll be lucky to have a point from the next three league fixtures.
An improvement is needed. A drastic one.
No more giving the ball away cheaply, no more lacklustre individual performances and, for God's sake, no more missing.
Overall, Liverpool were unlucky today.
However, three points were finally picked up at home, a huge positive. Well done to the lads, especially Sterling for his goal.
What did you think of the game?