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Melbourne Victory vs Liverpool FC (Wednesday: 24th July)

gingerbread

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Have to admit that Suarez looked pretty half ass. But then he sprinted and make few good runs also. And that final assist is decent enough.

Still it's his first game back so have to wait how it goes. After all, he has 5 extra weeks comparing to the rest to get his fitness back
 


SirBillShankly

Joe and Holly's Dad
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Because we had 3 clean sheets out of 3 games so far?
No. I just think Toure is capable of playing a lot of games alongside DAgger as our first choice pairing and with Kelly and Wisdom, along with Coates and Skrtel we actually have 6 cb's that are decent.
 

Bleech

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I think the comparisons to Torres are very wide of the mark. Torres, if I remember correctly, stood around up front, not dropping back to get involved, not really exerting himself at all, whinging to anyone who would listen... and that was in competitive games. Suarez was dropping deep to get the ball, constantly involved. So he wasn't at full power... it IS a friendly and he has only been back in training a few days. If you remember the friendlies from when Benitez was here you'd have thought the whole team was looking for a transfer, the intensity was so low. I think people are reading way too much into this and need to maintain an open mind - the press will read enough into him for us.
 

Hope in your heart

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People slagging off Suarez after 20 minutes of a pre-season friendly, telling us that 'his body-language isn't right' (urgh...), and that he should smile to the cameras after shoving the ball to Aspas.

Jeez lads, get a grip... talk about getting one's knickers in a twist over nothing... :wacko:
 

OhYaBeauty

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[SIZE=10.5pt]Alrighty then, our third preseason friendly is done. Melbourne turned out quite the crowd, the atmosphere looked fantastic, and the Victory were very enthusiastic. Didn't sit back and let us dominate; they took the initiative, held possession, and got forward well.[/SIZE]



[SIZE=10.5pt]Liverpool in the first half (left) and after 70 minutes (right). There was more interchange of positions in the second half, with Alberto, Suarez, and Aspas interchanging far more than Ibe and Sterling. [/SIZE]

[SIZE=17pt]The Midfield, and what comes with it[/SIZE]

[SIZE=10.5pt]We started with quite an interesting midfield, once more something of a blend between a 2-1 and a 1-2 style. It was quite clear that Henderson started further up the pitch than his fellow central midfielders Gerrard and Allen, but it became clear as the first half progressed that Gerrard was actually the deepest of the three. Essentially, we had two different systems going on at the same time. Gerrard played most of the first half as the volante-type lone defensive midfielder(1-2); he dropped deep between the central defenders to pick up the ball and spray passes forward and stayed in a defensive position when out of possession. However, he also made several forward runs (one of which resulted in a goal) that are characteristic of more freedom that comes with a 1-2 midfield. Allen occasionally dropped between the central defenders but for most of the match seemed stuck between two roles; he played as a sort of box-to-box midfielder that just barely fits into both the 2-1 and the 1-2. Henderson clearly played further forward, stuck in a way between the systems as well; he was not quite a number ten, nor was he necessarily a box-to-box player as would be seen in a 1-2 midfield.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=10.5pt]Henderson[/SIZE][SIZE=10.5pt] had a bit of a rough match in a role that should not have been entirely unfamiliar to him. He seemed to lack options with the pass with Ibe, Sterling, and Borini all trying to make runs rather than offer an option to release the ball to. Because he was frequently rushed by the Victory's energetic midfield and defense, he didn't offer that much in an attacking sense, and [whether by Rodgers' design or Henderson's own initiative] we did not see the tracking back that we normally see from Hendo. I think this match is particularly noteworthy for Henderson because of his role. That Rodgers would play him in attacking midfield shows that he does not see Henderson as a prospective defensive midfielder. If he did, he would undoubtedly use the preseason to mold Henderson into a new role.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=10.5pt]Joe Allen[/SIZE][SIZE=10.5pt] played well; he showed the qualities that frequently made him man of the match last fall. What I like about Allen is his first touch and general ball control. When he receives the ball, he frequently turns into a good passing position or lets it run across his body so that he's set up to distribute. He assisted well to Gerrard and was generally good in link-up play. I'm excited to see what comes of him next season.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=10.5pt]Gerrard[/SIZE][SIZE=10.5pt] was the most interesting tactical dilemma for me in this game. He seemed to play in a Pirlo sort of role, distributing the ball almost entirely from behind a midfield of two box to box players and kick-starting attacks. His passing was strong, although he did make a few mistakes and his goal was well taken. This performance didn't say much about the quality of his performances in the coming term, although it did suggest that he might perhaps see himself playing deep like Pirlo does for Juventus. I know for a fact that he's got all the necessary talent, I only question whether or not he has the discipline to stay deep rather than making frequent forward runs like the one that got him his goal. Such a run is fine in a friendly against lower quality opposition, but if it becomes a regular occurrence in the league it will leave holes in defense.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=17pt]Youngster Watch[/SIZE]

[SIZE=10.5pt]Rodgers opted to start Sterling and Ibe on the wings and Wisdom in central defense.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=10.5pt]Sterling[/SIZE][SIZE=10.5pt] and Ibe both came up against energetic, pacy, youthful fullbacks who didn't leave them with much space. This allowed us to gain an appreciation for each of their decision making, as the lesser amount of space afforded to the young wingers forced them to make quick decisions. Although they didn't always make the right decisions, they did show a more cerebral side to their respective games that we've not seen as much. Solid performances from each, but nothing outstanding. Alberto seemed to come on and play the left wing role that he excelled in at Barca B, and had some neat touches and link-up play. There was little end result, but you can't expect too much in a 20-minute cameo.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=10.5pt]Marquinhos, who? Wisdom was magnificent in central defense; time and again he gained possession either by precision tackles or interceptions, and he looked like a defensive midfielder when he passed or moved forward with the ball. My man of the match, Wisdom was just fantastic. I wonder whether the extended run he's gotten so far in central defense will mean he's thought of as a genuine option for that position, or if he'll leave on loan.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=10.5pt]Flanagan[/SIZE][SIZE=10.5pt] got twenty minutes at left back, but wasn't troubled much. It seems to be accepted that he's not going to make it here as a senior player (sorry Nikola) but he might be worth keeping around as an option at left back. He can certainly play better than Enrique when he's off form (like today) and keeping Flanagan around as cover would allow us to loan Robinson out in order to get starts week in, week out for a Championship level club.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=10.5pt]Borini[/SIZE][SIZE=10.5pt] had an interesting game. His first half showed industry as always, but poor touch and, surprisingly, a lack of sharp movement as well. He didn't look comfortable, which could also have something to do with the lightweight support which left him a bit isolated. His second half looked better as he seemed to calm down and just play, and he was unlucky not to get something for a strong volley and an ambitious scissor kick.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=17pt]Fringe Player Performance[/SIZE]

[SIZE=10.5pt]Skrtel[/SIZE][SIZE=10.5pt] played a good game. For me, it was slightly reminiscent of the 2011/2012 season where he was Liverpool's player of the season; he was in the right place at the right time and he looked a classy player when on the ball. It remains to be seen if he can maintain that sort of performance and avoid making errors, but he played well enough. I still think he can play well here, but I also think Rodgers won't give him the chance.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=10.5pt]Enrique[/SIZE][SIZE=10.5pt] isn't necessarily a fringe player, but maybe he should be. I thought he was awful against the Victory, giving the ball away for fun in the midfield in addition to his usual trick of offering nothing in attack. With rumors of other left backs being targeted (Bertrand, Cissokho) I wouldn't mind Enrique being replaced outright by a player like Oczipka or supplemented by a more attack-minded Kolarov. I remain unconvinced by Cissokho, however.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=10.5pt]Downing[/SIZE][SIZE=10.5pt] in a sweat suit is a happy sight for me. I don't think he should be anywhere near the pitch for us. That being said, he was ever-so-slightly more positive this week in that he actually had the audacity to try to shoot once. Coates and Kelly weren't troubled in their 20-minute cameos in defense, nor was Spearing really in central midfield. Not sure that you can read too much into Coates' cameo other than that Rodgers is evaluating him. Same goes for Kelly, who I'm beginning to believe will be kept as right back cover this season for some time in order to remove pressure while he recovers from his injury. Spearing is almost certainly off; he showed again that he's not bad but won't make it here. He's better than Blackburn, though and I hope he gets to go to Bolton or some other club not managed by Venky's.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=10.5pt]Aspas[/SIZE][SIZE=10.5pt] tried to take one on the right wide to get around the central defender when he probably should have taken it on his left foot, although did much better with a right footed effort in the dying stages before eventually tapping in after good work from Suarez. Might have been a tap in, but you still have to be in the right position to do that, so credit the lad for that.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=17pt]Suarez Watch 2013[/SIZE]

[SIZE=10.5pt]The crowd and indeed the world today had all eyes on Suarez. After being the subject of a £40,000,001 bid from Arsenal (and a hilarious tweet from JWH) Suarez started on the bench, his every facial movement scrutinized by television cameras looking for hints of discontent.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=10.5pt]On 70 minutes though, Suarez gave them all they could have wanted. He looked almost completely apathetic, which was very surprising for someone of his competitive spirit. Comparisons were drawn between him and the shell of a player that took the field in Fernando Torres' last few months as a Liverpool player, and they weren't entirely unwarranted. He didn't run about when out of possession like he normally does and he didn't get forward quickly, either. Granted, its only preseason, but he seemed to be sulking.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=10.5pt]I still don't think he'll move, but that's something else entirely, and I'll stay off that topic just as I've done my best to stay out of the train-wreck we call the [/SIZE][SIZE=10.5pt]Suarez - Looks like he is off thread on TIA.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=10.5pt]As for his actual play, he still can't resist dribbling his defender even when he's supposed to be sulking and his quality was evident as always. Those who think we can sell him for any amount and get away with buying decent replacements take note: despite putting on quite a sulk, Suarez still was so much better than everybody else that his half-assed dribble and pass resulted in a goal. He's one of a kind, our Luis, and we need to get rid of the idea that we'd be fine without him. It'd be a massive setback, one that might take years to recover from.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=17pt]New Vice-Captain[/SIZE]

[SIZE=10.5pt]Lucas[/SIZE][SIZE=10.5pt] came on to receive the armband from Gerrard with a half hour remaining in the match--only to give it away to Agger ten minutes later. You can read what [/SIZE][SIZE=10.5pt]Gerrard and Rodgers have said about the role so far this week with those links, but the gist is this: Rodgers will choose before preseason concludes and he seems to be considering Lucas and Agger, while other outside bets (Skrtel, Toure, Johnson) are not outside the realm of possibility.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=10.5pt]For my part, I would prefer Agger. He's already Denmark's captain and he's shown in recent years for Liverpool and Denmark that he can be a vocal leader on the pitch and a diplomat with referees. Although Lucas clearly loves the cause, I don't see the same vocal leadership in him that I do in our Dane and his place in our squad is certainly not so nailed down as Agger's.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=17pt]Notable Omissions[/SIZE]

[SIZE=10.5pt]Toure[/SIZE][SIZE=10.5pt] and Coutinho didn't figure due to a mild hamstring issue and a knock in training respectively. Not much to it, I would imagine, being that this is preseason. However, I wonder if Toure's observation of fasting during Ramadan has taken a bit of a toll on his body. I was impressed by his physical shape in Indonesia despite his lack of nourishment during daylight hours but it could be that it has started to catch up to him. No worry, its only preseason and it allowed us to see more of Wisdom, Coates, and Skrtel. I'm also glad that we're being careful with Coutinho.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=10.5pt]Robinson[/SIZE][SIZE=10.5pt] played a blinder in Indonesia, so it was a bit of a surprise for me to see him miss out. We don't know whether there's a knock or if Rodgers was resting him or if he's not been as good as Flanagan in training, but he wasn't preferred today, which surprises me. Based on his performance in Indonesia, I would like to see him push for a regular place or leave on loan. He could have been much better than Enrique today. [/SIZE]
 



Tetteh_Dalglish

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Good to see Luis back in the side, but from the body language though, I suspect Suarez wants to be gone. He didn't really try that much in his 20 minutes - granted it's his first 20 minutes since the confed cup, so I'd cut him slack for that. But he gets an assist with a bit of creativity, and seemed to TURN AWAY from the celebrations. Didn't even smile. Then when the final whistle blew, he put a Melbourne shirt on on top of his own. Weird. Didn't swap shirts (nobody did), but he was the only player to put one of their shirts over his.

Maybe it's paranoia, and I'm sure it will fuel speculation, but he didn't look like he wanted to be there.

At least the season will start pretty soon, but IF he doesn't care (and again, only 20 minutes back, so maybe a bit premature to conclude that), but if he wants out, well, better to cash in and use the money wisely. Of course if the club doesn't feel there's enough time to buy a good replacement for good money then fuck it - keep him and let him mope around a bit. It's not like he'll be playing the first 6 matches anyway...
 

mattyhurst

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Cheers for the review Oh Ya Beauty.

Yeah I thought it was more of the Allen I remember at Swansea, really hope the lad can push on as I know he is good enough.
 

Arminius

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steve10 said:
Suarez has trained for 2 days- what do you expect him to be match fit?
His last competitive match was 3 weeks ago - that was not match fitness.
 



soberphobia

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enjoyed the game for what it was. A glorified practice match but we were pretty good on defence both as a defensive unit and also our midfield pressing. our final third work was a bit naff. As for Suarez it was pretty obvious he is off somewhere by the manner of his approach and by the fact we didn't start him. A player who is out for a while and coming off a break needs more than a 15 minute cameo.

It is what it is and the game was an event more than a game. Some good signs but our lack of chance creation and finishing skills against what are little more than part time footballers was telling.
 

Hope in your heart

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soberphobia said:
(...) Some good signs but our lack of chance creation and finishing skills against what are little more than part time footballers was telling.
Now let's see how our resident Aussies react to that... ;-)
 

AussieLad

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Hope in your heart said:
Now let's see how our resident Aussies react to that... ;-)
To be fair, calling a-league players part-time footballers is a massive complement.


Most would struggle to get any game time on the hackney marshes
 

TassieRed

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Just back from the game. What an amazing experience.

Started off in the lift at the hotel. Accidentally got into a lift going up not down and who should pop in two floors up? Little phillippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson. Had a quick chat to them. Wished them luck. They grunted thanks back. That Coutinho fella is bloody tiny! And he looks about twelve years old in the flesh. Henderson was proper big.

Federation square mania was followed up by an inspiring walk to the G with thousands of crazies, singing and shouting. The start of the match was amazing. Our local rendition of YNWA was as good as you could expect outside of Anfield. Sent shivers up my spine.

Game was quite entertaining. That Ibe fella is something eh? He was everywhere. And no fear as well. Is he really 17?

Suarez looked disinterested but even so he caused a lot of problems for the opposition. And set up the goal. A lot of worried talk on here about his body language. Dunno what everyone is getting upset about. We all know he wants to go. So what I say. He's our player and we can tell him he's staying. Or going. Depending on what suits us best. That's how I see anyway.

Finally, I know it will never be as good as being at Anfield but I think Australia put on as good a welcome as we possibly could for the team. Very very proud of the local support that was on display.
 

Amateur Hour

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@OhYaBeauty

What did you think of Lucas's play? I know it was only a half hour but in my opinion he looked superb, never stopped running and seemed to be in the perfect position all night as usual. That being said he did run away gingerely after one of his tackles (I'm very paranoid given his injury history).

After he came on and before the rest of the subs it was obvious the team struggled to get forward, but he still bossed the midfield and Victory really never got any decent offense the rest of the game. I agree Wisdom MOM, but I thought he was the best of the subs.
 



104TOSH

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Only saw the final 15 mins so can't really say anything! Apart from Suarez looking really uninterested! Not a good sign, so lets see what happens next in the circus life of Mr Suarez. Quite a panto this is turning out to be! On ESPN Beglin said Suarez was doing a Torres - couldn't disagree with him either!

I say if a decent offer comes in sell the Magic Imp, couldn't watch another sulking footballer for a season or until January 2014; but I think he'll be gone before that!

2-0
clean sheet
95,000 fans.

I'll watch the highlights later if their are any!
 

TheSweetSilverSong

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Respect for a great coverage of all friendlies so far, makes me look for it every time we play a game, one more reason to visit the site!
Quality judgement, without seeming to be biased or looking only for positives or negatives, a fair share of both.

I have watched the game, and when I was reading your report I thought most of the times it was describing what I was thinking during the game! Also had some great insight to several issues, and you are monitoring important factors and topics that matter before our season begins!

Keep up the great work and thanks for a great read!! :)
 

redbj

hurry up, July 1st, let's get the show on the road
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ill try and get some pics and footage on tomorrow night aussie time.

decent game, thrilled to bits to watch the lads.

stevie g doing a few party tricks was the highlight, ibe looks good.

bit of a negative they took so long to get suarez on the park, shame coutinho couldn't play.

all in all, if your gonna sell these pre season junkets, I think you've got a bit of a duty to throw on a bit more of a party, I know its a pre season game, and that's the be all and end all, but just open up a bit and go for it.
 



Dhoff3

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To be fair I only watched the Aspas goal, missed the game and Suarez's performance but I really think people need to calm down about his body language. You can try to analyze it all you want, we know he'd like to play on a better team, the fact that he didn't freak out after the 2nd goal in a friendly doesn't really change anything. Also, no one really celebrated, I didn't see Aspas smile, it was a subdued goal, as it probably should be. Save it for the regular seasons when it counts.
 

lightdrizzle

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Massive shout out to the Aussie fans tonight, turned out in huge numbers, great colour, songs throughout, and an amazing rendition of You'll Never Walk Alone which gave me goosebumps.
 

lfc.eddie

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Dhoff3 said:
To be fair I only watched the Aspas goal, missed the game and Suarez's performance but I really think people need to calm down about his body language. You can try to analyze it all you want, we know he'd like to play on a better team, the fact that he didn't freak out after the 2nd goal in a friendly doesn't really change anything. Also, no one really celebrated, I didn't see Aspas smile, it was a subdued goal, as it probably should be. Save it for the regular seasons when it counts.
To be fair if you didn't watch the game you can't be asking those who traveled to the stadium to calm down about what they saw. You've only watched a goal out of two and didn't catch Suarez's performance even though he created that goal.

While I think it is unhealthy for him to sulk like this, but half arsed Suarez, I repeat, is better than full spirited Borini and Downing. So fuck it. Keep him and let him sulk. If he acted up, just send him to reserves. Or keep declaring him unfit to play. Mess him up. Show him who is the boss. What's he gonna do? Bring a semi-auto and say "Say hello to my little friend" and sprayed everyone in Melwood?
 

ptt

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Can we buy the MCG and move it to Anfield please? Same way the yanks did with London Bridge. Superb performance by the fans, utterly spine tingling, hats off to you all.
 

AussieLad

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ptt said:
Can we buy the MCG and move it to Anfield please? Same way the yanks did with London Bridge. Superb performance by the fans, utterly spine tingling, hats off to you all.
I've been saying for over 10 years, next stadium upgrade needs to be reaching capacity of min 100K.

Tonight has proven, we are big enought to fill a stadia that size
 



Arminius

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AussieLad said:
I've been saying for over 10 years, next stadium upgrade needs to be reaching capacity of min 100K.

Tonight has proven, we are big enought to fill a stadia that size
..if we could play our home games in Melbourne, which is about 5x the size of Liverpool and half again as wealthy on a per capita basis.
 

therealkeano1

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Today showed that we missed coutinho and if we can keep saurez we will be challenging as the two of them will open up any team. I will say that Luis Alberto will have to pick up his performances as to me Suso looks like a better player. Aspas could be the find of the year. I really want the season to start.
 

lovepool

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lfc.eddie said:
To be fair if you didn't watch the game you can't be asking those who traveled to the stadium to calm down about what they saw. You've only watched a goal out of two and didn't catch Suarez's performance even though he created that goal.

While I think it is unhealthy for him to sulk like this, but half arsed Suarez, I repeat, is better than full spirited Borini and Downing. So fuck it. Keep him and let him sulk. If he acted up, just send him to reserves. Or keep declaring him unfit to play. Mess him up. Show him who is the boss. What's he gonna do? Bring a semi-auto and say "Say hello to my little friend" and sprayed everyone in Melwood?
I was at the game and I think you should calm down a bit before criticising a fan who is only giving his opinion on the body language of Suarez.
 

gingerbread

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So magical. Just the sight of red shirts walking around the city was enough to put a smile on my face. Making me want to scream YNWA at every corner of the street.


Hope our players/youngsters realised a bit more on how much hopes and dreams they are riding on and just put that extra bit of efforts into their game. So that next time we gather up, it will be in front of the big screen for CL final.
 

lfc.eddie

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lovepool said:
I was at the game and I think you should calm down a bit before criticising a fan who is only giving his opinion on the body language of Suarez.
I wish you'd read the other post I quoted before jumping in like a hero. If you are looking for "likes", like some, just let me know, I'd be happy to click your post.