That wasn’t a drab match, even if it ended 0-0. There are some signs that our attack might be improving, but that could also be because we weren’t pinned into our own half by Hull, who were pretty much useless attacking.
The first half started with quite a bit of pace and energy, with Liverpool looking to press and start attacks high up the pitch, and Hull intercepting balls and going on the counter. It was a pretty rushed affair from both sides, and nothing concrete ever emerged from the early minutes.
Then, we started to dominate on the ball, with good periods of possession. But our final ball was missing today, with plenty of opportunities going begging because of a poor pass or touch. Allen was particularly criminal today, his usual sure touch deserting him every time he was near the ball in the final third.
The game then dulled, and settled into a what was akin two boxers just testing each other out with jabs. The only highlight came from Lallana and Moreno’s one-two that ended up in nothing, and Hull getting two shots off that just about threatened our goal. Diame also did a Messi impression in our box, but that ended up in nothing too.
Balotelli looked up for it today, with some decent hold-up play, good running, but as is his norm, he drops deep at times. Sterling looked to run past him, and had some bright moments, but was otherwise quite well shackled. Lallana too, wasn’t that stand-out. Can was pretty good in midfield though; he doesn’t have the speed of Henderson, but he can run, and is pretty handy nicking balls and powering forwards in attack.
Allen harasses, but just isn’t getting that final ball right, while Gerrard has been quiet in his deep role, with barely anything to do except deal with counters. Moreno was a good attacking outlet, and Manquillo was solid enough against Diame. Skrtel and Lovren weren’t too challenged, so at least there’s nothing much to say about them. Mignolet had his palms stung once, but had nothing else to do otherwise.
But spending our energy chasing the ball earlier might lead us to tire earlier. We’ll see if we can play a more patient possession game in the 2nd half, with better penetration. Probably Coutinho for Allen, who’s been a little hapless this game.
It started off a bit slowly, but we gained momentum in the game as we continued the football from the first half. Early substitutions of Coutinho and Lambert for Allen and Lallana changed the game, as we started to really impose ourselves. However our final ball was not to be, as once again we continued to fluff our lines.
Lambert showed both his ability and his rustiness as he played some really good link-up stuff with Sterling, but a through-ball from Coutinho ended up being nothing when his touch was too heavy. Balotelli had a shout for a penalty, and had more space to play now that Lambert was on the pitch. Coutinho showed again why he’s such a brilliant flair player, but even as we cranked up the pressure at the end of the game, Balotelli failed to smashed a ball from right outside the goalmouth.
That’s not to say he’s the only one who failed. Lovren was set up by Balotelli right outside the goal after the corner, but he did an airshot. We came close with a few shots as everyone but the CBs pushed up to attack, and finally tested the Hull goalie as the game reached a pretty frenetic climax, but it was too little too late.
Can’t say we played magnificently, but the performance was a damn sight better than that QPR match. Our defence came under little duress, but Manquillo showed that he probably should be ahead of Johnson no matter what. Can is proving pretty handy, which gives us options if Rodgers would just rest Gerrard once in a while. Sterling was again our biggest attacking threat, but even he couldn’t get that final ball right today.
We really should have beaten Hull, who failed to take advantage of our aerial weakness. But we can only look forwards, and hopefully we can actually score in the next match.