28 July 2011

Liverpool 0-3 Galatasaray

Flanagan Kelly Kyrgiakos Robinson
Poulsen Shelvey
Degen Cole Insua

• 46' – Kuyt for Degen
• 46' – Aquilani for Robinson
• 46' – Jones for Doni
• 68' – Spearing for Shelvey
• 70' – Ayala for Kelly
• 82' – Coady for Poulsen
• 82' – Wisdom for Carroll

Baros 8' 39'
Elmander 85'

Almost exactly like Hull, except the third conceded came much later and was far sloppier, and without the wholesale halftime changes. Similar personnel (if a slightly weaker side), similar tempo, similar lack of possession, similar kamikaze defending, and similar impotency lead to the same result.

Despite my attempt to overvalue preseason results earlier this week, the sole conclusion to be drawn from this similarly disappointing defeat is that Liverpool are paying far too many inferior players far too much money.

It's once thing to see the likes of Kelly – in an unfamiliar role as center-back – or Insua underwhelm. It's quite another watching Cole, Poulsen, Kyrgiakos, and – somehow returning from whatever alley Liverpool attempted to abandon him in – Degen stumble aimlessly around the Ali Sami Yen.

Galatasaray's pressure was almost instantaneous, and Baros' 8th-minute goal felt a long time coming. Insua caught out of position led to Ujfalusi wide open and drew both Kelly and Kyrgiakos out of position, leaving Baros open at the center spot to punish his former club with a neat volley.

Liverpool slowly began to nullify the rampant hosts after the opener, slightly more secure than against Hull but not especially impressive considering they were playing with six nominal defenders. But having blown their lone real opportunity, when Kelly couldn't make true contact after Kyrgiakos knocked down Shelvey's free kick in the 36th, Liverpool again conceded thanks to an asinine individual error.

Poulsen, of all people, was ostensibly marking the dangerous Baros on a corner. The Danish midfielder, facing Baros, had absolutely no clue where the ball was when a Galatasaray player won the near post flick-on, and the striker effortlessly ghosted in behind for the header.

The second half, which saw Kuyt, Aquilani, and Jones replace Degen, Robinson, and Doni, unsurprisingly saw subsequent improvement, which you should get when replacing two out-of-position fullbacks with an attacker and midfielder; Cole moved out to the left with Aquilani behind Carroll. The Italian aided Liverpool's previously futile efforts to keep possession, continuing to increasingly blunt Galatasaray's attacks, but Liverpool remained blunt at the sharp end as well. Carroll threatened on a couple of set plays, while the Gala keeper smartly saved Aquilani's 65th-minute first-time effort after good work from Kuyt down the right.

Then, despite few chances for the home side, Liverpool completely lost the plot in defense in the final few minutes. Flanagan, Ayala, and Spearing were too clever in trying to play from the back, and Elmander blasted in a wonderful volley when Flanagan was caught in possession on the right. A fitting capstone.

I understand putting players in the shop window. Liverpool really need to get the likes of Cole, Poulsen, Degen, etc (even Aquilani, Insua) off the books, and by proving they're fit is one of the few ways to do so. I just worry that it's taking time away from players who Liverpool will actually need. But with another friendly immediately on the horizon, in Norway on Monday, we'll increasingly see more of the first team and it's unclear whether that lot are actually holding anyone back.

Carroll got a full 90 minutes for the first time in a long time, Kelly finally played at a potential position for the future (where he may well be needed next season), Flanagan did well until his brain lapse in the 85th minute, Shelvey had his moments (if inconsistently), and Kuyt and Aquilani clearly improved the side.

It's only preseason after all.


Anonymous said...

Why would you want Aquilani off the books ? He has been the one shining light in the pre-season game including tonight.

nate said...

Because I don't think shining in preseason is really a qualification or Voronin would still be around. The constant, continuing gossip suggests either Liverpool don't want him or he doesn't want to be here and whether it's either or both it's probably better to recoup what Liverpool can now.

Anonymous said...

Injury's have really held back his development. Last season for the first time in years he finally went a full season relatively injury free. The operation he had finally seems to have cleared up his injury problems. With a full season behind him I think he will finally start to show why Rafa paid so much money even when he was injured. With better players around him I think he could be a star next season and turn out to be the best "signing" we made this summer. Obviously if he does want to go back to Italy then its a different story.

Hectorious said...

I smell a firesale coming in January. Aquilani seems to be the only player with value, yet no Italian teams are willing to pay anything near his market value. I don't see the club handing out severance packages to Degen, Poulsen, Cole, Jovanovic, Insua in the next month.

One curiosity I have is with Nabil El Zhar. Even Degen gets to play and train with the first team, but El Zhar is about 24yo and back with the reserves lately. For a team crying out for wingers and willing to give most anyone a shot, I have to wonder who he pissed off?

Mike Georger said...

Having space against non English teams is nice. Being weak on the ball under pressure is the reality. Only reason I'm sketched about AA leaving is that I have zero faith in Gerrard to play more than half games or so. String of 4-6wk injuries seem the norm anymore. Almost willing to take the chance just to be rid of his agent.

Still say if we don't bring in two defenders this window is a failure. How am I supposed to mock arsenal for not addressing their needs when we're two weeks out without addressing ours?

ğůñthëř.fůřÎőñğ said...

Any thoughts on how Arda Turan performed? Would love to see this guy at LFC!

We should keep Aquilani!

Anonymous said...

Kelly-KK should ask Kelly to maintain his weight.He looks too heavy during this preseason matches.
Flano has lost a bit of his flow we saw last season and should improve.
We should keep Aquilani till Jan,maybe he will be the one to uplift us just as Alonso did when we tried to sell him and failed and he subsequently triumph.
Cole,Poulsen,Insua,Degen,Ayala,Shevlev should be sold or loan to give space for new recruits.Their salaries should be all re-examined because their output doen not match what they are earning.Thanks

psm said...

I have figured out what LFC are doing in these matches. Deliberately creating an imbalance & therefore a challenge for those that are staying. Every player in defence for LFC is definitely staying. By putting out that team they guaranteed that the defence would be tested. What do you reckon?

Anonymous said...

Aquilani doesn't just shine in pre-season. He being classy since he made his debut vs arsenal in the league cup where i remember to put a memorable 6O yard pass to put degen thru arsenal defense. I don't think he put a foot wrong when he played. I just felt if he is giving a chance to shine, he is marvelous. Tell me who is the classier pass of the ball then aqua man in the team? All i can think of is our beloved "Alonso".

During this pre-season, he is stronger & fitter as he was my most dangerous player on the pitch. If you study thru the Malaysia game, he was involved all the goal 5 goals score especially the split passing pass that put insua thru..where he cross n maxi score. He even out perform meirless/shelvey down the middle.

Reality. Why we need to sell him for 10 where he worth 15. If we can get 13/14 for meirless, where still have the aquaman around to offer us creativity. Shelvey is good but too raw, he just need 2 full season of top flight loan to help is maturity. Poulsen need to go. Cole needs to go. Maxi needs to go. Spearing, i doubt he will b substituting Lucas place when Lucas is not playing, i believe henderson will fill the role. Where does he future lies?

We just to b in a win & win situation. If we can sell meirless/aquilani in a good price..we still have good cover for them to step in especially "A" where i think meirless can't influence the game as Aqua do.

Anyhow, i just hope we can clear up the middle group with lesser player to make it competitive. Whether Aqua still b here is remain to b seen. If you believe he is a major flop, I believe you dunno how beautiful football is played.

Love Liverpool.
Chris L

Earl said...

I'm much more worried about losing Meireles than Aquilani. I'm actually an Aquilani fan and would like to see what he can do, but Meireles has already proven he can do it. In total agreement with the Gerrard fitness worries, so keep both.