13 November 2010

Liverpool 0-2 Stoke

Reina
Carragher Kyrgiakos Skrtel Konchesky
Meireles Gerrard Lucas Maxi
Kuyt Torres

Goals:
Fuller 56'
Jones 90+1'

Just when you think it can't get more embarrassing.

As against Wigan, Liverpool sat back and allowed Stoke to dictate terms. And as against Wigan, the tactics made Stoke look like bloody Brazil. 2-0 actually flatters Liverpool. All of this is completely deserved, which makes it even harder to take. Is it clear that Chelsea was an aberration, that normal service has been resumed? Is it clear that Hodgson isn't even trying to win away from Anfield? How about that Hodgson needs to go as soon as possible, is that clear?

It's impossible to do justice to the complete and utter awfulness on display today. Indescribable and indefensible excrement. It was a car crash so horrific you actually want to turn away. Stoke could have scored four within 20 minutes: twice from Delap long throws and twice from free kicks. Liverpool retreated as deep as possible, allowed Stoke all the possession they could want, and left Torres completely isolated, complete with deck chair and umbrella-laden drink.

Yes, Liverpool actually improved over the subsequent 25 minutes – there was nowhere to go but up – registering not one but two (two!) shots on target, but soon regressed back to form. And Stoke scored a typical Stoke goal 10 minutes after the interval, finally taking advantage of Delap's long throws. Defenders hilariously tried to clear, missing multiple times, before Etherington's deflected shot fell to Fuller, who twice hit the hapless Konchesky before toe-poking in.

The goal finally brought Liverpool out of its shell, which begs the question why the manager thought it clever to play Stoke's game, waiting until Liverpool went behind before pressing the opposition and actually attacking with more than two men. Kuyt presented Maxi with an opportunity in the 64th, cutting back from the byline only to see the Argentinean's shot saved, while Skrtel prodded a wide following Kyrgiakos' knockdown from a free kick. Hodgson tried to make changes by bringing on Ngog for Meireles and Babel for Maxi, but the complete disconnect remained. Too little, too late.

Already ahead, Stoke's big defenders could protect the edge of their area, continue bludgeoning attackers with Halsey happy to 'let them play,' and Liverpool offered next to nothing. Tactical simplicity, tactical ineptitude. Babel's blast two yards wide after cutting in from the left was the only chance of note in the final 15 minutes.

Stoke piled on more misery in the first minute of injury time. Gerrard's hopeful Hollywood ball was easily intercepted, Konchesky couldn't close down Pennant, and Jones found acres of space between a static Carragher and Skrtel for an easy strike. To add insult to injury, Lucas picked up a second yellow a minute later, ruling him out of next week's match against West Ham. Just what Liverpool needs... more Poulsen.

The team's now taken all of three points off of Birmingham, Sunderland, Blackpool, Everton, Wigan, and Stoke. That's humiliating. Two of those six – one draw, one loss – were at Anfield. Continuing the process started by Hicks and Gillett, Hodgson's succeeded in making Liverpool a laughing stock. That's the only thing he's succeeded in.

Stoke had 64% of the possession today. Sixty. Four. Percent. Making the comparison is as depressing as this result, but even when Liverpool were absolutely dire under the previous manager – as in this fixture last season – they at least attempted to keep the ball. Today, Liverpool let Stoke do whatever they desired. Eleven players stood around and waved Stoke towards their own goal, while the manager stood complacently on the touchline. Watching this was cruel and unusual punishment.

NESV needs to put this regime out of its misery as soon as possible. The same tactics time and time again, and the completely frustrated body language from every single player suggests it's not getting any better.

11 comments:

Son of Anonymous said...

Surely, surely, this cannot be allowed to continue. Clearly the players are not inspired, motivated, or convinced by Roy's system, and why would they be at this point? They're looking up the table at Bolton and Newcastle, level on points with West Brom, and on course for a 50-point season. This is worse than I thought it could get, honestly. The current Liverpool squad, even with its limitations, is worthy (and capable) of a hell of a lot better than the shit that Roy sets them out to do.

Anonymous said...

well said son, it was Pathetic to see how we played which makes me wonder
1. are we really a 12-15 placed team this year
2. a chilling transfer period with players like Torres/Gerrard/Reina deciding to quit :(

Anonymous said...

"I thought we did very well for 55 minutes but once we conceded the goal, their tails were up and we had to take risks..."

-Roy Hodgson

Says it all, doesn't it? His attitude is so unbelievably out of touch with the fans, and more importantly, reality.

Would like a clean slate. Everything that has H+G's stink on it needs to ride off into the sunset. (Except you, Ayre)

-jp2

Anonymous said...

Hopefully, Roy doesn't drive all of our current talent away and keep future talent from coming. It is damage control at this point. As long as Roy is here, the season is lost. He has shown how one-dimensional he is, and at this point it is damage control. Keep Torres, Gerrard, and Reina. Keep the heart and soul of the squad and hope and pray that NESV wises up.

Ken said...

I don't know what to say any more but this fellow from RAWK sums up exactly how I feel: All I feel is sadness.
No rage, no anger I'm beyond that.
Broken inside, now he is just pissing on the grave of this season.
Mr Roy Hodgson has robbed me of the complete catharsis after getting rid of Hicks and Gillet and I will never forgive him for that. Sure this and that, bla bla bla not to blame, is to blame, bla bla bla.
I can stand being heartbroken after losing, God knows every supporter gets heart broken sooner or later.
But this is different, he is making me numb inside, he is singlehandedly destroying my fire and desire for LFC.

Sorry if this is not about football, I just haven't seen any football to talk about.

Time for me to move on, I can't take it any more.

winnie said...

Well said.. Do we have any other words for describing this situation except for depression? I cannot believe my eyes. There were only two teams on the screen, the red and white stripes are the one and the black are the other. There were no LFC.

Roy, you should go now. After all, he's never deserved to take this job. It's not matter of patience, but of determination. King Kenny, Frank, Leonardo, Jesualdo, Dunga.. There are so many options if we had some will to improve.

Anonymous said...

Come leonardo, or we could gamble on lippi.

Anonymous said...

What worries me even more is the Chelsea result(v Sunderland).Now Roy will have something to stand during his supposed meeting with NESV this week, can say that most teams can beat anyone in this league n blah blah,hopefully theres someguys with EPL knowledge for the meeting.And also the fact that Roy was watching the Auxerre game..that also probably means he will be round till the end of the season atleast!

drew said...

Would think the Sunderland result substantially undermines what till now had been his lone "signature" win.

Not sure why he's out scouting, the man seems bent on destroying creativity in the side, almost as if technique is the opposition rather than any of the other teams in the league.

In defense he exiled Insua and has alienated Agger and Johnson, and limited the appearances of Kelly, constantly preferring the hoofing of Skrtel and Carra (the Greek, admittedly, is having a great season but could still do that paired with a healthy Agger).

In midfield Roy sent away Aquilani, who has been scintillating at Juve, and he bought Meireles only to stick him out wide, despite every sign that he could form an excellent partnership with Lucas. This is not even to mention the purchase and continued usage of Poulsen, so far one of the biggest donkeys in recent memory.

Up front he has left Torres absolutely isolated, and then bitched about him when he doesn't manage to save the damn day. Guess what Roy: world-class players still require support! Even Messi needs someone to pass him the ball once in a while! And the one game he got that sort of support (Chelsea, naturally) is probably the last we will see Kuyt "risked" so high up the pitch again.

Worst to my mind, Hodgson has spectacularly mismanaged Pepe Reina, who is the best all-round goalkeeper in the world when he's not being coached by stegosaurs. Pepe is a hell of a shot-stopper, but his true genius lies in his distribution and his reading of the game as a sweeper-keeper. He allows the defense to play a higher line because you trust him to mop up behind them; with the defense further forward, the rest of the team can press higher up, and possession can be maintained or won back easily, etc.

In short, Reina is that rarest of players: a goalkeeper so good you can build your team from him forward. (Chilavert is the all-time great here, but think Schmeichel in his pomp too.) But if you sit the flattest of back fours on the 18-yard box and allow the opposition to form a firing gallery beyond; if you tell your defenders to whack the ball up field whenever it comes near; if you set one solitary player in the other half of the pitch and expect him to chase down and maintain the ball till all your other players can get there to help him out—well, it all goes to shit, doesn't it.

And to top it all off, what we get out of him are a constant stream of gaffes and naivete in his media statements. I get that some of that is selective, but a) this is Liverpool, it's a big job and part of that job is handling the press vultures, and b) a big part of why Roy was hired was the love affair those vultures had going with him.

The Guardian MbM guy (forget which) said that Saturday's game was the worst he'd watched all season. And we expect that out of Stoke. But no one, not even the Mancs at the Guardian, look for that out of Liverpool. Roy has Stoke-ified us and I'm dead sick of it. Hope NESV are too.

Anonymous said...

I'm worried that John Henry and NESV really are siding with Roy in this situation. They're still finding their way in English football and don't want to screw things up by acting rashly. They probably see the fans' discontent as a temporary issue that will settle itself once the team starts winning again. The thing is, in this case the fans are right and Roy is wrong. Am afraid NESV won't figure that out until it's too late to save this season.

regnaD kciN said...

Unfortunately, agreed on that last point. As someone from the same side of the pond as NESV, I've observed that, although they have never been shy about pulling the plug on disappointing managers (Grady Little, anyone?), their style is to not rock the boat during the first season after acquiring a team, preferring to do any house-cleaning after season's end. A few more matches like the last one, though, and they might find themselves not following the usual NESV playbook.