Liverpool pick up the pace
While some will bemoan another squeaked-out win, or the boatload of chances missed once again, or the failure to put a match away, I'm not going to do that. Because I thought the first half, which didn't bring the tangible rewards we'd all like, was as lethal as Liverpool have looked all year. I know it was against relegation fodder, but it's got to start somewhere.
And the reason it looked like that, to me at least, was Liverpool playing with better urgency and tempo. We didn't see any of that child-playing-with-his-spinach pondering outside the opponent's 18 that we've become so accustomed to. Part of it had to do with how open the Saints were at times, but Liverpool were also more determined to get the ball forward right after they won possession. Not with just hoofed long balls but with rapier passing. It was certainly pleasant on the eye for the opening 45.
I don't know that I want to put it all on the return of Lucas. While he was better than I thought he'd be -- even with the obvious rust in his passing and decisions but not his positioning -- his inclusion allowed for what really pushed Liverpool on. That's Gerrard and Allen further forward. Allen's harrying makes a big difference when it's ahead of the center circle, as does his simple yet quick passing. Gerrard's vision comes inn much handier when he's behind some of the other team's midfielders, and not dropped deep to aid Allen, It's only a 10-15 yard difference it platforms to launch his passes, but you can see the difference. It also keeps the defense shielded better.
So for the love of fuck Lucas, stay fit.
-Once again, the threat was carried mostly by El Pistolero and the fullbacks. I haven't mentioned it much here, and I should, but is there a right back anywhere in the world playing as well as Glen Johnson is right now? I can't think of one in the league. He's Dani Alves but with actual defensive responsibilities and none of the attitude bullshit. He's got boundless energy, and is taking on and passing defenders like we've never seen.
-Raheem Sterling is starting to lag, which is a problem because his final ball was always suspect, Now it's like, double-suspect.
-This was the first time Shelvey as part of the front three looked like it worked, but it came from all over. But I don't think Rodgers will mind his roaming too much as long as it creates as much as it did today.
-I'd been harsh on Gerrard, so of course he was going to demonstrate just what he can still do when given the chance. I'll always gladly take two fingers up from the captain.
-Yes, finishing remains a problem. That's just how that one's going to go.
-Oh, and I think we need to find another corner taker besides Gerrard or Shelvey, because that isn't working. But who could it be?
-Suarez's suspension next week assures that he will play in Italy, you'd have to think. Allen's sub just after the our was probably with an eye on Thursday as well.
-Anyone else sure Carragher was going to give away something when replacing Lucas? i sure as hell was.
-Did I mention it's awesome to have Lucas back? Because it is.
Still bottom-half, only one win, only one goal. But it's better than the past two, and a nice start to what is going to be a difficult week.