England - FA Cup
The minute our match ended against Villa, I whipped my laptop out and began to write my preview/review. It was extremely scathing, so I decided to immediately delete it.
To give myself time to calm down, and watch the match a second time so I can be more objective. It has been five days…and I am still livid.
I will always, always, advocate that the most important attribute to a top footballer is not skill, pace or strength, but football intelligence. The ability to read the game. To anticipate your opponents moves. To see when it is time to speed the game up, or slow it down. When to take a player on or when to pass the ball off. Of course, if you combine skill, pace and strength to football intelligence, you have a great, great player. But you can also have a great player without two of the above three. You just have to look at Xabi Alonso.
But then you have Cissokho, who showed against Villa that he has no footballing intelligence at all. Look, I have said before and I still believe you should never isolate a single player in a team sport for not performing well, but in this case, I can not help but single him out. He singled himself out. I mean, with seconds left in the game to try and get the winner, he takes half a minute to take a throw in. He has no footballing intelligence whatsoever, and I hate to say, he is not good enough for Liverpool. And to be honest, (and while we on the subject of left backs) Jose Enrique is not the most intelligent footballer either, but what he does have is determination, stamina and aggression, which (for me at least) goes someway in making up for his lack of a footballing brain.
Another player I would like to single out for a poor performance is Kolo Toure. On at least two occasions, I watched him get beaten by a player or a pass, but then take an evening stroll to get back behind the ball. I sang his praise when he first joined us, but of late, he just does not seem interested.
Steven Gerrard had a shocker of a first half. I don’t believe I have any seen a worse forty five minute display from our skipper in my life. He certainly raised his game in the second half, but the first was still superbly poor. Same with Coutinho. And as for Johnson, for the last 18 months at least, Johnson has been poor. His streak continues.
But lastly, the person who I believe got it wrong the most was Brendan Rodgers. He was like a kid who wanted to play with all his favourite toys at once. He sacrificed defensive cover for more attacking options, which I think is a mistake. A solid defence and keeping a clean sheet means you are three quarters of the way to winning the match. Coutinho has had a poor run of form, and I would say give him a week or two off, to play in the reserves and to get his touches in order. Lucas should have started and he and Gerrard should have screened defence. With the ability of both Suarez and Sturridge up front, they are bound to convert chances more often than not.
Everton did us a huge favour. We cannot keep messing up.
And as for our match against Bournemouth, respectfully, our reserves should be good enough to beat them. I would like to see Suarez rested completely for the game as well as Gerrard, Skrtel, and Henderson. I would like Sturridge to be on the bench if needed, with Aspas up front and Coutinho playing behind him. Midfield of Moses, Luis Alberto, Coady, Ibe and a back four of whom ever we have available. This match should be an easy win for us. Let’s hope we don’t mess it up.