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First half we were caught in the headlights - total shellshock, but with some perspective Liverpool's first two came from complete lucky bounces. 3rd and 4th were not brilliant defending, but we won't come up against players with the movement of Origi or the sheer strength of VVD every week (although I do question the logic of Jamal marking their biggest and strongest player man to man). 

I watched the game on a delay due to time difference making this a 3am kick off for me. At HT I questioned whether to watch the second half, skip through it or just check final score. I chose to watch it all without checking score and really glad I did, 

The way we played second half was brilliant - we really grew into the game. 9 PL debuts, youngest starting 11 in 25 years - it's going to take us a few weeks to get comfortable in this league. We came out, played our own game and looked miles better. We looked competent and slick, and lesser teams than Liverpool would have found us a difficult prospect to stop. Pukki is off the mark and we had some really good performances.

Overall, I'm most pleased with the manner of the defeat. I would rather get beat 4-1 after putting up a fight and playing our own football, than park the bus and lose 1-0 (or even park the bus and lose 5 or 6 nil like we did under Hughton). I would also rather go down playing our own way than sell our souls to stay in the PL by playing boring, negative anti-football like Allardyce or Hughton. We faced Liverpool down and probably had the better of the second half.

Krul - Thought he was brilliant. A number of decent saves and nothing he could do for the goals. He commanded his box well, distribution was largely decent - bit wobbly at times but Liverpool forced that issue by pressing us on the box to stop us playing out from the back.

Back 4 - Number of errors (and to be fair to Liverpool, just moments where their attackers outclassed us) first half, but looked a much better unit second - Aarons looked overwhelmed first half but was brilliant second. Jamal had a decent game apart from VVD outmuscling him for the corner (however VVD will outmuscle most defenders, hence I slightly question the logic of giving that assignment to Jamal who is about half  the width of VVD). Thought Godfrey was excellent, Hanley looked way out of his depth for me. He tried hard and the own goal was unfortunate, but even so, there's a reason he's our 4th choice CB. 

Midfield - Buendia cut a frsutrated figure for much of the evening but assist for Pukki was brilliant - we all know his class and it will take him a bit of time to adjust, but he'll be fine. Trybull and Mclean were over-run and for my money I want to see what Amadou and Leitner/Vrancic look like there.Stiepi didn't have the greatest game and really needs to find his shooting boots. Had a couple of decent chances that were wildly snatched at - we need him to be more clinical if he's going to keep his place - Drmic is 6'0 and capable of winning the flick ons, and really quick which would help us on the counter etc - not sure if he gives us the same physicality that Stiepi does as I've not seen much of preseason - but I would wager he might get a run at the number 10 spot over the next month or two to see if he can cut it. Cantwell impressed me, his game has massively developed over the last 12 months. I don't think he's the finished article, and think Roberts will get a shot to make that spot his own (which I anticipate him taking tbh) but Cantwell is definitely in the plans for the future. I think this is maybe a season too soon for Cantwell to be starting every week but he has an important role in the squad.

Pukki - Brilliantly taken goal, looked a bit overwhelmed in first half but caused Liverpool all kinds of problems with his movement and got free of their back 4 three or four times. I thought he'd be good for 10-12 goals this season but I think I may have sold him short on that. Would not be surprised to see him get 15, maybe even more. Thought he looked really sharp and in really good shape, give him a few games to get up and running and adapt to the league, and he will do well - we'll need him this season!

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Without reading all the above [sorry its late] 

Ben was outstanding tonight. 

First two goals had more than a touch of luck. 

3rd no idea why Jamal is marking VvD, that's poor planning. 

4th pretty much summed up by our biggest issue, Grant Hanley. Never been a Premier League defender. 

Thought all the young boys Max, Jamal and Todd were brave and positive. 

Proves again we need that steel in midfield, let's hope Amadou provides it. 

Leitner is a must, surprised to see him on the bench. 

Emi needs to stop the strops, he's not a big time Charlie yet. 

Chuffed for Teemu, great finish. 

All the negatives we already knew, conceding made it very very tough, but all the things we hoped we'd to going forward, we did. 

Overall, we'll certainally take some positives from tonight. 

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1 hour ago, CDMullins said:

First two goals had more than a touch of luck. 

Sorry, didn't mean it to come across as them being total flukes - the first was good play but Hanley should have cut it out easily - he sliced it, it happens, not even really his fault, happens to every player once in a while but obviously unfortunate for him and us it ended up in the net.

The second was a ridiculously lucky bounce but absolute masterclass in clinical finishing and punishing teams.

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Morning Kick it Off!

We've had our disagreements in the past but you write an excellent article and I pretty much agree with everything. Maybe a tad over optimistic about us but that's splitting hairs.

However, Farke must show more flexibility and positivity both in team selection, substitutions and style of play if we are to really adapt to this league. For most of last season it was simply a case of .........'the ends justified the means' with the same team being wheeled out week after week. That won't be enough this season. For example there are times when we need some classic wing play with crosses 'stood up' for a traditional centre forward to actually head the ball, an art we seem to have lost. You can't keep trying to walk the ball into the net. Great example of 'overplaying' was late last night when a fabulous move ended with Buendia having a great shooting opportunity but he tried to do a Messi and dribble past everyone and of course lost the ball!

All in all though I thought last night had some really positive signs but the defensive frailties persist. A point I alluded to in my post 'Vital areas not improved'. Hanley should have been moved on in the summer and a 'quicker' option acquired.      

 

 

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