Liverpool v Sunderland Observed: simply our best

Things have reached such a state at Anfield that Liverpool fans now hail as a “good start” an extremely dodgy early goal, in which the spirit of fair play was singularly absent whatever the letter of the law may say (and always leaving aside how far Torres was from the ball when the “free kick” was “taken”). On the other hand, Turner may just have been a prat! …

In any case, Stephanie Jones, an Observer-reading Red, saw it in a positive light – her team’s start, that is, not their overall performance – in her fan’s report for her Sunday newspaper of choice.

Salut! Sunderland was again called upon to give its own verdict, but let Stephanie speak first:

It wasn’t the greatest day. We got off to a good start but after that we weren’t dynamic and we had a terrible patch when they got their two goals. The performances are a manifestation of what is going on off the pitch. This has been threatening for a long time. Last year we had a manager who kept it together but now it’s like the damn has burst. The protests after the game were encouraging. As our manager put it “a group of people”, otherwise known as the supporters, are trying to do something about the ownership. We’ve been lied to constantly and we don’t know who to trust.

And her player ratings were: Reina 7; Johnson 5, Carragher 6, Skrtel 6, Konchesky 6 (Agger 28 7); Gerrard 7, Poulsen 5 (Ngog 61 6), Meireles 6, Cole 7; Kuyt 5; Torres 7

Our own Pete Sixsmith sent a series of texts from the game …

* 1-0 down, ridiculous goal
* Bent pen
* 1-1 at haf time and better side …; Liverpool awful
* 2-1 up. Bent with great header.
* 2-2. Undeserved.
* Drew … showed real quality and deserved to win (his Sixer’s Seven)

This was how he summed it up for The Observer:

It was by far our best performance of the season and we just about deserved to shade it. Cattermole and Malbranque were outstanding – tackling well and using the ball far more effectively than their allegedly superior counterparts. Their opener is still a mystery to me but we came back really well and showed a lot of character and inner-strength. At first there was confusion about what happened with the goal but we managed to piece it together. To me it’s a fundamental refereeing error. Overall, it’s a good result, but we need to turn worthy draws into wins.

Player ratings:

Mignolet 7; Onuoha 7, Bramble 7, Turner 7, Bardsley 8; Elmohamady 8, Henderson 7, Cattermole 8, Malbranque 8 (Riveros 88 n/a), Welbeck 6 (Gyan 81 7); Bent 7 (Zenden 90 n/a)

To take part in the Fans’ Verdict, email sport@observer.co.uk

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5 thoughts on “Liverpool v Sunderland Observed: simply our best”

  1. You make a fair point Dave regarding the names of potential signings, but you get my drift regarding the tactical improvement we need to make to our attacks from well-won clean possession. By the way, I’m not blaming any player at this point, I’m simply highlighting the players I feel have the responsibility to achieve the desired aims; I admire Richardson, and hope that he takes up the mantle along with the other players I mentioned.

  2. Completely agree that we need better delivery but I think it is unfair to have a go at Richardson who, to date, has made Bruce’s decision to move him to left back look a really good one. As for Figueroa, please NO. It is all very well having a left back who can cross but if he can’t defend at all then we would be a lot weaker. I watched him at Wigan and a few times on tv and he cannot defend at all.
    N’Zogbia is a good player but is so far up himself he could cause disruption in an empty room, let alone what appears to be a very united dressing room.

  3. Bramble under severe outside pressure was a tower of strength, he is by far our best defender and passes the ball suberbly with both feet, with him playing we don’t just hoof it anymore and the style of play out of defence is allowing us to keep possession and actually dominate against so called better teams. El Mohamody seems a reasonable player and is technically gifted but he needs to improve defensively. Tom you are absolutley correct in stating our final ball needs to be better we got into great positions at the weekend and then didn’t deliver that telling pass. We the the makings of a very competitive team and if luck had of smiled on us this season we could be top, ie 2 points thrown away at home to Brum, 2 points wasted at Wigan and we could and should have beat L’pool and the Gonnners 15 points up there with Chelsea ( Dream on) but we are well placed after 6 games and have played City, Arsenal, Liverpool and the surprise of The Season WBA. We now know we are capable of beating Man Utd can we achieve it. BELIEVE AND HAVE FAITH

  4. We were very good against Liverpool, in all departments, but there is an aspect of our play that bothers me and will prevent us reaping the full benefit of our strikers. That aspect is our final assault on the opposition goal; having won the ball well and worked it forward with good passing moves to within 30 yards of the opposition goal we (very predictably) end up hitting diagonal crosses into the box, or lofted balls up the wing for our strikers to chase.
    If we are to succeed this season it is imperative that we are able to have clean possession of the ball 18 yards, or less, from the goal line. This is the most effective way of turning defenders, and when practiced by the top four clubs, creates havoc in opposing defences when passes and crosses are played in from those positions.
    In order to achieve this, we need Elmohammady, Onuoha, Richardson and Henderson to be much stronger in driving forward and getting beyond the defensive wing play of the opposition. If they can’t, then the signing of players such as N’Zogbia and Figueroa will become essential in January.

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