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Gerrard Testimonial: Liverpool 2-0 Olympiacos

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RedRiot

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Good run out for the team although the opposition didn't present much of a challenge. Thought Aspas, Allen, Lucas and Sterling all had very good matches, and Coutinho was great even at half intensity. Would have been nice to see Gerrard get the goal, or Robbie, but all-in-all an enjoyable match in honor of a legend.

Henderson really has that chipped goal down. Scored a similar one with his other foot last season. He certainly adds some competition to what looks like a set midfield 3 of Gerrard, Allen and Lucas.

Suarez didn't do much and his play did seem a bit vacant, but not sure if it means anything. He thrives on competition and this was pretty far from being competitive.
 


ScouseConnor

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RedRiot said:
Good run out for the team although the opposition didn't present much of a challenge. Thought Aspas, Allen, Lucas and Sterling all had very good matches, and Coutinho was great even at half intensity. Would have been nice to see Gerrard get the goal, or Robbie, but all-in-all an enjoyable match in honor of a legend.

Henderson really has that chipped goal down. Scored a similar one with his other foot last season. He certainly adds some competition to what looks like a set midfield 3 of Gerrard, Allen and Lucas.

Suarez didn't do much and his play did seem a bit vacant, but not sure if it means anything. He thrives on competition and this was pretty far from being competitive.
I've been really impressed with Henderson since the last half of last season. Looks committed and full of confidence, he'll be a key player this season.
 

steveee

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it's good to see that Mignolet looks comfortable with the ball at his feet as well...
 

SirBillShankly

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steveee said:
it's good to see that Mignolet looks comfortable with the ball at his feet as well...
yeah, the fella is all-round class, could turn out to be better than Pepe.
 

gingerbread

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Another clean sheet. Another comfortable win. Feel like we were playing this season friendly on easy mode.

CB aside, we seems to be fairly balanced all over the pitch. So would be a bad idea to sell Suarez and replace by two or three 20 mil players. It's better to invest on a world class which can step up our games
 



indianscouser

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Allen was good. He got into good positions. So was sterling. Lucas was formidable. Cant wait for sturridge to return. He will provide that directness and goal threat we have been lacking. Aspas is similar to tevez... runs, neat tricks, gets into scoring positions. Mignolet seems to be adjusting well. Good signs. But still not top 4 material.
 

i_still_miss_fowler

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RedRiot said:
Good run out for the team although the opposition didn't present much of a challenge. Thought Aspas, Allen, Lucas and Sterling all had very good matches, and Coutinho was great even at half intensity. Would have been nice to see Gerrard get the goal, or Robbie, but all-in-all an enjoyable match in honor of a legend.

Henderson really has that chipped goal down. Scored a similar one with his other foot last season. He certainly adds some competition to what looks like a set midfield 3 of Gerrard, Allen and Lucas.

Suarez didn't do much and his play did seem a bit vacant, but not sure if it means anything. He thrives on competition and this was pretty far from being competitive.
To be honest I expect Coutinho to make the central position his own next season with Henderson as backup. Coutinho is just too good to keep out wide especially if Suarez leaves.

Allen I feel has been a victim of Rodgers changing his system to accommodate Gerrard. Unless he gets injured (and Rodgers changes his system back to a 1-2) I feel he no longer ideally fits in the team, nor good enough to warrant a "linking" role over Coutinho.

This leave Allen for me more as a midfield utility man, filling in for Lucas, Gerrard, and perhaps certain games against top 4 when Rodgers wants to try win the midfield battle by flooding the center of the park.
 

gingerbread

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I think it was Shankly who said a team is like playing piano, need 8 to carry and 2 to play it. If we keep it up like this, we would already had the 8 which can get the job done. But for the two who could bring something sensational in, we only have Suarez (in the whole squad). Coutinho and Sturridge got real potential to make goals out of nothing. But they need time to prove that they can get up to that level


i_still_miss_fowler said:
To be honest I expect Coutinho to make the central position his own next season with Henderson as backup. Coutinho is just too good to keep out wide especially if Suarez leaves.

Allen I feel has been a victim of Rodgers changing his system to accommodate Gerrard. Unless he gets injured (and Rodgers changes his system back to a 1-2) I feel he no longer ideally fits in the team, nor good enough to warrant a "linking" role over Coutinho.

This leave Allen for me more as a midfield utility man, filling in for Lucas, Gerrard, and perhaps certain games against top 4 when Rodgers wants to try win the midfield battle by flooding the center of the park.
But Allen has made some great run today. When was the last time you see one of our midfield scoring goal by tapping in from the far post, or (almost) head in through a cross?

Probably since Meriles
 

ScouseConnor

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I_Never_Walk_Alone said:
does anyone have the FULL highlights?
I don't know, if you find out let me know obviously the 2 goals aren't enough for some people.
 



i_still_miss_fowler

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Allen did have a good game today, but it does not change my perception of him adding to the team in that linking role.

He offers a different skill set, but typically last season when the three played together we functioned poorly.

I believe they started 7 PL games together as a three. Our record in those games is (3W 1D 3L). That record is even worse if you examine the games. The loses to Villa and WBA stick in my mind. While I am sure most of us remember the West Ham game which we won by the skin of our teeth (after Rodgers changed the midfield)

The remaining 2 wins and draw they have only averaged 54 minutes together.
 

ChicagoRed

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SirBillShankly said:
yeah, the fella is all-round class, could turn out to be better than Pepe.
I said at the time when we got him that he'll be the single biggest difference in point total we'll bring in all year. I could see him making up 7-10 points on Reina. That would pretty much get us down to the 4th place race down to the wire by himself. Then add in all of our other signings and having Coutinho and Sturridge for a full season on top of. (granted Sturridge is out right now)
 

ScouseConnor

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ChicagoRed said:
I said at the time when we got him that he'll be the single biggest difference in point total we'll bring in all year. I could see him making up 7-10 points on Reina. That would pretty much get us down to the 4th place race down to the wire by himself. Then add in all of our other signings and having Coutinho and Sturridge for a full season on top of. (granted Sturridge is out right now)
I fully understand that your excited about the season and your feeling optimistic about us going down to the wire for a top 4 finish but I wouldn't say we have a top 4 squad just yet, but I think we will have to see we're we are in the league going into the second half of the season to see whether we have a chance at nailing 4th spot or not. A good start getting as many points as possible and building on the goal difference then ill questioning have we got a top 4 finish in the bag.
 

RJK

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Maria said:
Not sure if my eyes have gone looking at a small screen, but Aspas looks incredibly thin to me.
I thought the same. With an oversized head
 

daddydave

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Herb said:
Never realised how vocal he was, brilliant for the rest of the team.
mignolet will be a very important player for us this season. I watched the highlights from last season the other day and the amount of individual mistakes made by pepe last year was absolutely shocking. One of the worst seasons I've ever seen from a Liverpool keeper. Don't get me wrong, Reina was a legend however it was the right time to move on.
 



mattyhurst

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rivers7 said:
Mignolet is giving me serious Schmeichel-vibes.
I wasn't going say it but I was thinking that against Melbourne.

Impressed with the team today, Toure especially in the first half was a monster and Allen and Aspas seem to link up well.

That Fowler lad needs to get in the gym mind ;-)
 

OhYaBeauty

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Great. Right after my sketchy full match download finishes somebody posts it conveniently in the thread.
 

Clive

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The link is not bad, although the second half is in French!

Must say he game was slow of pace, noticeably dropped a notch or two once Carra and Fowler came on. Unlucky for Robbie in the end.

I thought the 1:2 midfield with Joe and Gerrard ahead of Lucas worked well in he first half. They seemed well organised and Allen in particular made some nice forward runs.

Another clean sheet - no goals conceded in all 5 preseason games so far. Albeit it must be said, a pretty toothless and disappointing Olympiakos. Melbourne Victory created more against us!
 

jayrrardno8

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Seeing all our pre season games im very confident we have plenty of goals in our squad now all over the pitch.
Players are looking really sharp BR could make himself a club Legend.
Mignolet is looking the perfect goalkeeper.
Allen made some descent runs ,
Apas is looking a very good buy creates and gets goals to ,
Gerrard enough said ,
Coutinho is going to get a fair share and assists
Suarez (if he stays) ,
Sturridge (when fit)
Sterling is looking sharp Depending on appearences hope he gets game time instead of Downing
Glen Johnson always gets shots in
Enrique gets into good positions.
Agger and Toure in set peices.
Add to this there is a month left in the transfer window a couple more quality additions looking forward to lots of Goal celebrations.
 



tesh

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jayrrardno8 said:
Seeing all our pre season games im very confident we have plenty of goals in our squad now all over the pitch.
Players are looking really sharp BR could make himself a club Legend.
Mignolet is looking the perfect goalkeeper.
Allen made some descent runs ,
Apas is looking a very good buy creates and gets goals to ,
Gerrard enough said ,
Coutinho is going to get a fair share and assists
Suarez (if he stays) ,
Sturridge (when fit)
Sterling is looking sharp Depending on appearences hope he gets game time instead of Downing
Glen Johnson always gets shots in
Enrique gets into good positions.
Agger and Toure in set peices.
Add to this there is a month left in the transfer window a couple more quality additions looking forward to lots of Goal celebrations.
Fingers crossed.
 

OhYaBeauty

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Left: Liverpool's starting formation, with a very fluid front three. Coutinho also frequently dropped deeper and inside, while Allen sometimes went left to fill the space left by the little Brazilian. Right: What Liverpool played most of the second half with (sort of), with Henderson out left to accommodate Coutinho's genius centrally. When Fowler came on, Suarez played on the left in a support role.

Tactical notes

For the first half and much of the second Liverpool clearly set up in a 4-2-1-3 formation. Not to be confused with the more familiar 4-1-2-3 or the 4-2-3-1, the 4-2-1-3 clearly uses two wide forwards further up the pitch from the solitary advanced midfielder. This particular formation is generally a bit weak in that it gives the opposition's midfield plenty of time on the ball in the areas of the pitch that their holding midfielder(s) tend to operate. This weakness was mitigated due to two notable Liverpool tactics. First, the two deeper (Gerrard and Lucas) got forward to apply pressure to Olympiakos' midfield when they were on the ball. With just Joe Allen marauding the space between Olympiakos' defense and midfield, they should have had more time on the ball in deep areas, but for Lucas and Gerrard stepping forward and forcing bad passes. Second, the entire three man front line dropped back with pace to pressure defenders and midfielders. Aspas and Sterling were especially impressive at this, but Coutinho wasn't poor by any means.

One continuing tactical trend from last season was the tendency to have our left forward and attacking midfielder interchange. Towards the tail end of last season we saw it frequently: Henderson would move wide left to offer width in order to facilitate Coutinho's genius in attack. But then the attacking midfielder (Henderson) would move back inside when the ball was lost to use superior defensive and physical skills to win the midfield battle. We saw it again today with Allen moving wide left quite a few times to facilitate Coutinho's moves central.

I've spoken several times about how I want Coutinho to be used in a central role this season as I think we need his quality to have as many touches as possible. However, I can understand playing him on the left in order to fit other players into a more fluid team. When we do that, though, we need to look to have this sort of LF/AM interchange occur. In my opinion, as impressive as Allen was in performing that interchange today, Henderson has to be preferred. He's more versatile which makes him more comfortable on the left, he's quicker and has more stamina, and he offers a more powerful presence through midfield. Allen is a calming presence on the ball and will be used as such, but I think if Coutinho plays wide, Henderson needs to play centrally to act as a foil. It’s a partnership that we (and Newcastle) know works.

My last tactical note concerns the forward line. While Coutinho, Aspas, and Sterling played together, we saw a very fluid attack, with Coutinho playing left and center, Sterling playing on both sides and Aspas playing all over the place. I have had my doubts about whether or not we could play with three very fluid forwards (or even if we'd want to) but it seems to be an experiment that did work in the first half. I'm still not sure how it'd work with Suarez and Sturridge in the team (although it should in theory work the same) but this does show that Rodgers is considering it for next season.

Player notes


Defensively we were relatively sound but then again, the opposition isn't of the highest caliber. Still though, Olympiakos is better than what we've faced so far and we came away with yet another clean sheet. Mignolet apparently thinks that he's got Pepe Reina's feet and he might. He had a nice little moment where he tricked an oncoming attacker and another first time long pass that was very well placed. I heard some comparisons to Schmeichel in the way he organized the defense and although those are far, far premature, it is clear that Simon is good at being a vocal leader at the back. The central defenders did well enough but were largely untroubled. Toure showed a bit more aerial prowess on both ends of the pitch. I'm starting to think he's good enough to be our starter going into this season, but for how long he can keep up high level performances on old legs I don't know. Agger was good and played some very good balls out of defense. Scared me shitless too when he went down in stoppage time. Jose Enrique seemed to have one of his good games. Half the time every short pass he tries goes to the opposition, the other half he finds Gerrard or Lucas or Coutinho easily and reliably. Today we had an other half. He still has no end product in the final third, but we might be looking at another left back to be that sort of player, while JE simply plays as a defensive powerhouse. I'd like it if he either added an offensive side to his game or got much smarter in terms of defensive positioning over the course of the season. Glen Johnson looks to be back on form after a pretty poor tour, but still didn't have too terribly much end product. A fierce left footed drive reminded us he still has that in him, but as cardiffpete notes, a wingback of his caliber and style really ought to chip in with more goals and assists than he did last season.

The midfield had quite a strange shape as was mentioned in the tactical notes section of this write up. Joe Allen played very well. I was impressed by his positioning in both attack and defense; he made several good runs off the ball to get in goal scoring positions, and was rewarded with a goal (although he could have had three). Defensively, he always put himself in spots where he could get interceptions and kickstart quick attacks into the box. His passing and first touch seems to have returned to their impeccable former form and he was able to interchange with Coutinho, showing he can be comfortable out on the left if he needs to move out there to make space. He also had a bit more pace than I remember at certain points.Lucas seems to have gotten his mobility back to the point that he almost looked like a midfield destroyer in the Masch mold. He was all over the place making tackles and I think he can become even better as the season wears on as he becomes more comfortable with his improved mobility. His distribution was good, as always. Like so many others have said, I don't think there's a player I want success for more than Jordan Henderson. He tries so hard and you can see what it means to him when he celebrates a goal. His goal was well taken, his linkup was good as always and I'm always impressed by how well he gets back into the midfield to support the defense, even when used as a sort of left winger. Luis Alberto came on and played for a little bit but didn't have enough time to do much.

The forward line was very interesting as it lacked a bit in experience and they interchanged in a way I didn't expect (see above section). I didn't think Coutinho was all that great by his admittedly very high standards. A lot of his tricks and passes really didn't come off but of course the one or two that did were spectacular (like his through ball just before he was subbed off from deep). MOTM, though? I think not. Aspas had some very neat tricks and Suarez-esque turns. I don't think he's good enough to lead the line unless its simply due to Suarez' suspension and Sturridge's injury, but he played very well today. An assist to Joe Allen and a couple of neat flicks (including his backheeled flick over the top to Allen before the goal) were a very good showing and prove he fits like a dream in a fluid front three. Sterling didn't dribble as much or as successfully as we're used to but showed a more mature passing side to his game, looking for through balls and embracing the passing style. Could be learning that side of his game from Suarez and Coutinho, and its nice to see him picking up other skills to supplement his pace and tricks. Nice through ball to Gerrard and then minutes later to Coutinho in the first half. In the second half he had a neat outside footed ball out to Coutinho and another outside foot ball to assist to Henderson. Watch this space, his newfound passing skills will see him used far more this season since he's no longer just a speed merchant. What's more is that him picking this stuff up early will hopefully prevent him panning out like Walcott or Aaron Lennon.

Suarez Watch 2013

Suarez came on after an hour to rapturous applause and was cheered on most of his touches. I'm sure he would have appreciated the reception and I hope that it weighs on his decision to stay. He certainly won't get that at Arsenal (who booed their team off the pitch in a friendly against Napoli) and knows he won't be as loved at Madrid, either.

In terms of match fitness, he didn't run about like a maniac as we're quite accustomed to but it is only preseason and he won't be figuring for the first team for more than a month anyways. I don't think much was to be understood from his body language, but I might be blind.

The Man of the Hour (and his pals)

Ah, Gerrard. Apparently I've wanted him sold for the past year so that the far superior Allen could institute Brendan's passing game. I just wish somebody had told me that's what I wanted earlier, and I thank lfceddie for finally notifying me in Gerrard's thread.

Seriously now, it was a great day for Stevie and although I'm a bit sad that there wasn't a goal in it for him, he performed well. He had those beautiful passes that he's become known for and really controlled the midfield. Once again he's really a key player to our system and I don't know what will happen when we don't have his calming presence and vision in the engine room.

One thing that impressed me today was his mobility. He's still apparently very quick and agile and although he might not have it in him for an entire season, he can absolutely play a high pressure midfield to get us the ball back, which I doubted he'd be able to do last season. His forays out of his deep role to pressure Olympiakos' midfield were a bit unexpected.

Fowler's still got it, eh? Too bad he didn't do better with his half-chance, but it was great to see him out and in a Liverpool shirt again. Aldo enjoyed it, too:

Aldo enjoys Fowler's attempts at closing down and tackling.


Seeing Carra on the bench at the start of the match brought back the same exact emotions it did on his last day in May. God I'm going to miss seeing him in a Red shirt and I'm hoping he'll stick around in some way even if its just showing up for stuff like this. Enjoyed "team of Carraghers" as well and it was good of Stevie to give him the armband like he wasn't retired when he was subbed off.

Miscellaneous

Spearing came on the pitch for Stevie in the dying minutes. For whatever reason I got the feeling that wee Jay might have been holding out for this occasion, hoping to just be around for Stevie's testimonial as his last Liverpool match before he moves on. Wish him all the best in his future, which I hope for his sakes isn't in that shitstorm of a club controlled by Venky's.

The camera crew was a refreshing change from the shambles that was the Thai company's attempt at broadcasting. They did very well finding good angles and I was delighted by the little bubbles that showed important figures (Rush, Hodge, Ged, Aldo, Suarez, McAllister, etc.) while the game was in progress.

Ibe didn't feature today, which is odd considering how well he's been playing, but we get to take the bad with the good: Downing didn't see the pitch either. He looks good on the bench.
 

canucky008

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Did everyone see how excited Henderson was when he scored

You gotta love this kid. He really wants to be at LFC and in today's game you don't see that often

I have backed him last year and always felt he was going to improve but his attitude is something as valuable especially in the dressing room

I think he is going to surprise a lot if us this year especially those that have written him off

A real coaches player and a team leader of tomorrow

Hendo's the man!!!
😄
 

SoueysTash

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Only just seen the highlights.

Sterling looked on fire! Joe Allen scoring one and missing a sitter and Hendersons goal...those three players are going to be massive for us this season.

Honourable mention to Aspas who showed some fantastic touches, really impressed with his little flicks and dinks as well as his ability to pull a trick to get out of a tight spot. Very Classy.
 



Carheex

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SoueysTash said:
Only just seen the highlights.
Sterling looked on fire! Joe Allen scoring one and missing a sitter and Hendersons goal...those three players are going to be massive for us this season.

Honourable mention to Aspas who showed some fantastic touches, really impressed with his little flicks and dinks as well as his ability to pull a trick to get out of a tight spot. Very Classy.
I haven't managed to see very much pre-season at all. Is this Aspas chap looking like he might be a decent purchase? I've heard good things.
 

SoueysTash

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Carheex said:
I haven't managed to see very much pre-season at all. Is this Aspas chap looking like he might be a decent purchase? I've heard good things.
I think so, very lively and shows some nice touches, question marks over his ability to get the ball in the net as he's had a few decent chances that he's not put away. Cautiously optimistic is how i'd judge him so far.
 

SoueysTash

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MarkMcC said:
Yet still scored three in preseason
Indeed but he should have had more - that's the worry, in tight games where we'll only get a handful of chances those goals can make the difference between a mediocre and a good season

Not fair to judge based on just that though, as I said in my original post - he looks like a classy player with clever interplay. I've picked him for my FF team based on pre-season...
 

mattyhurst

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I think the second chance he had was one of those play on to the stumps chances that avoid the stumps the save was very lucky.