Hey, it can work!
Though I suppose it's easy when the other team does the scoring for you.
It's been a little while since Liverpool had a laugher to enjoy, and how welcome it was after all we went through the past week. While the jokes will be about three own goals, they'll be gladly accepted, and only one was of the high comedy variety. While Brighton's desire to play some stuff and try and be open played right into the Reds hands, it's a good feeling to be ruthless once again. Or to make the other team ruthless on themselves. Or something. But that shouldn't take away from Liverpool being lively and incisive, even if it was against a Championship side. Hell, they haven't managed that against some of the top league's bottom feeders, and with Brighton in the form they've been in this calendar year, I'm not all convinced they're that much worse than the Wolves and Boltons of the world.
-This was the first time that Liverpool tried something of a 4-3-3 and have it work. It's a formation a lot of us have called for because it gets Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez out there together without exposing a midfield devoid of Lucas with only two central. Certainly encouraging, and it seemed to free up Stewart Downing. While I've soured on Downing, and never liked him being on the right, I don't mind him having license to float on occasion while primarily sticking to the left. A good performance from him, and hopefully he can build off of it. Though you can bank on Bellamy taking his spot in this formation for the Final next week if Dalglish does indeed stick with the front three thing. It can leave Gerrard a little too deep, but outside of Lucas he's the only one I trust to do the work there, so I'll live with it. It also frees Henderson more, and while I'd like more goals and shots from Jordy, that doesn't mean I don't like what I see from him.
-Carroll's finish only makes it more infuriating when Liverpool only resort to hoofing crosses towards his scalp, because he can do other things. While the aerial game will always be his strength, he can finish on the ground. It was teed up for him by Downing, but a whipped ball on the floor aren't always the easiest to calmly slot home, and Carroll did that.
What I will say is the constant wailing for the ref to bail Andy out has to stop. I hesitate to return to my hockey roots here, but it wouldn't be the worst idea that next time he's being man-handled, instead of just throwing his arms in the air and looking for a call he should keep his feet moving and make the infraction even more obvious. I get his frustration, but sometimes you've just got to fight through it.
That said, at least Suarez and Carroll began to click a little. And am I the only one who thought Carroll looks a little thinner since the beginning of the year? Maybe that doesn't matter at all, but maybe it does.
-Three own goals and Carragher didn't have one? Didn't that used to be his thing? I thought it was harsh on Bridcutt because there wasn't much he could do on his two. Sometimes the ball just isn't going to bounce your way.
-Another note on the alignment. I think it allows Suarez to drop in between the midfield and front line, where he might do his best work, without losing manpower in front of him to work with. When Suarez drops deep or wide as a lone striker, Liverpool struggle to get people ahead of him. With Carroll and another out there, that's not the problem, and there's still three to cover if need be.
-Charlie Adam didn't kill anyone. so that's a relief.
-He was good before, but is Martin Skrtel the most improved player this season? Has to be in the discussion.
With a home tie against Stoke on the cards, not that they're a pushover by any means, but I'm starting to smell another Final. Fine by me, as long as it's accompanied by some scorching league form to lead into it.
Sorry for the delayed wrap, but work constraints got in the way and I had to get to the match on DVR. Thank god for that little invention.