Analysis & Ratings: Liverpool v Wolves
They didn’t stand a chance, and they took it! Those who read my pre-match article knows what I’m babbling on about.
Theoretically everything looked to play in the favour of Liverpool before the game, but football is not played out with pen and paper beforehand, something that we more and more tend to be reminded of nowadays.
The attacks on the boards on our manager Mick McCarthy went totally crazy after the Wigan game and I bet that many fans believed that the picture painted of him and the team was in the realistic school, when in fact it was a caricature.
McCarthy himself said to the press after the game:
“Isn’t it funny you can be a tactical genius or the complete opposite? There is no in-between. If they’d got that goal early on it might have been different and I’d have been here chewing but it’s great when it works.“
The papers today are of course full of analysis on the lousy play of Liverpool, not taking into account how well Wolves succeeded in containing them and make them look inept when the desperately tried to play their game.
The teams that use to be on the upper half of the Premier League often finds themselves in trouble against lower team opposition this season and the Wolves game last night is a perfect illustrations on why.
We pressed them up high from the beginning – often with Ebanks-Blake, Ward and Foley – not giving them a square yard of space to build up their play and work their magic. That’s why Liverpool looked like a Championship team at best on occasions.
It’s a very energy-consuming tactics and every player must be in on it and in their faces if it’s going to work, and everybody was yesterday. It’s a game we are strong and skilled enough to play now and Wolves have been very unlucky – or sloppy – in several games giving away early goals, not being able to apply this tactics.
But against Liverpool it worked wonders because the middle of defence was brilliant. It was like the turn of a hand compared to how they played against Wigan as they all covered for each other and took very good care of the Liverpool stars Ngog and Torres.
Towards the end of the game – after Sylvan Ebanks-Blake brilliant pass to Stephen Ward who scored his first Premier League goal – Liverpool got a ball behind Hennessey. My heart went up my throat for a second, but there was nothing to worry about.
On the contrary. The incident only proved to be a perfectly pursued offside trap by our defence, imprinting to everyone that the back four was very well-coordinated and lead to form a perfect base for Wolves play at this wonderful, enchanted night up north.
What joy! 😆
Hennessey – 7 – It’s a clean sheet and he did no mistakes. And his delivery is even better than that of Hahnemann. According the stats he reached SEB five times and Ward seven. that’s very good!
Zubar – 5 – A tale of two halves. He was terrible in the first and looked nervous and sloppy in his actions, like against Wigan. But he was much better in the second. Maybe McCarthy and the team managed to give him some confidence at tea time. Clearly not in form, but we know how good he can play.
Stearman – 8 – I must confess I hoped that recalled youngest Danny Batth would take his place. I’m glad he didn’t. Stears was excellent, especially in the first half. Together with Berra and the two full backs they took care of every threat from the Liverpool forwards. I hope that this remarkable turn-around is permanent.
Berra – 8 – The same goes for Berra, really. But I was a little worried – looking at a rerun – when he pulls his tricks in the penalty area. Liverpool had at least one call for a penalty because of Berra’s actions and he got to watch out not to give away a penalty in the future.
Elokobi – 6 – Looked a little weak – ah, maybe not weak, but a little out of touch – in the first half, but played very well and was more involved in the second. He is not in full form and I expect him to have a bit more to give. But he did his part in a very good defence.
Milijas – 8 – Yesterday we had an engine room very well oiled and shining. It was clearly a V8 with many horse powers. And Ned was a vital part of it, both in defending, marking and chasing and of course providing attacks finding those through passes with his sensitive left foot.
Foley – 8 – And his companion had the same drive and energy through out the game, working relentlessly up and down and left and right and never seemed to get tired.
The captain pushed his team to perform at the highest level, carrying out the orders from McCarthy. And he had more ball than anyone else on the field. And he handled it well and was only a blocking toe away from scoring a goal of his own.
But the most impressive part of it was when he lead the team in the tactics of not letting Liverpool get an inch of space to build up play. Kevin Foley was – together with his partner on inner midfield, our two central defenders and our two strikers – the best player on the pitch yesterday. And as Foley was their captain he is Paddytheflea’s Star Man.
Jarvis – 6 – Did his usual running on the wing and also some excellent defending, but when it came to crossing in he didn’t do as well as in previous games, but he drew a lot of attention from the Liverpool defence, letting other players off the hook.
Hunt – 7 – He has an excellent work rate and becomes somewhat of an extra power in the inner midfield aswell, helping Milijas and Foley out in their shores. Today he showed that he was worth waiting for.
Ward – 8 – although he did his excellent taken goal with his foot, his presence in the air in the Liverpool penalty area was what added most strength to the Wolves play. And that and his passing skills makes him a very good partner to SEB upfront. And then it’s of course his work rate and determination to get something out of it. His performance must have silenced some critics – I know at least twenty of them.
Ebanks-Blake – 8 – Very close of getting my star. Already in the 4th minute I noticed how very fast he is when he ran forward trying to snatch the ball from a Liverpool defender. And he worked hard like that when without the ball all game through.
He was even better in the second half than the first and showed no signs of getting tired. He went very close of getting through himself and letting Ward get through on several occasions, causing the Liverpool defence lots of trouble. And the through pass for the goal was of course excellent. I think it will be a treat to watch Sylvan in the coming years.
UP THE WOLVES!
Link to highlights in right margin as usual.