Analysis & Ratings: Wolves v Liverpool

Typical! First time I took a victory out in advance and Wolves reverted back to bad defending and an inability to score. Why?

Some friends say it’s because they had the wrong shirt or hat on or some other ‘Wear Wolves’ item – as they so canny are called now – but I believe it’s more about the player and the manager – and the opponent, of course. 😆

Wolves played with the team Paddytheflea had predicted, but that doesn’t comfort me much, as I thought they would play much better and grab three vital points from the former top club in our effort to stay in the league.

Fair play to Liverpool under ‘King Kenny’, they took the fight all over the pitch and out-tackled us, really. They were in our faces and seemed to be number one on each and every ball in the first half – especially those in the air, and there were many of them. Too many in my opinion.

Before the Liverpool goal it could have gone anywhere, but Liverpool had a little edge and with Wolves pushing on high up with many players, they created clear-cut chances.

Hennessey saved one, but with a defence unable to keep together and arrange an offside trap and mark Torres who could run in smack in the middle all by himself, there are no cures that Wayne could put in.

To be one down at half time against a team who knows how to counter attack and have the players to do it – and now also the confidence to perform – is not an ideal position. The inability to defend would also continue.

Meireles did have five free shots at goal from the 18-yard-line for a pound in the first half and Wolves gave him the pleasure in the second aswell. We’ve defended that area badly before – in the beginning of the season – and I’ve got a slight suspicion that the come back of Henry as our defensive middle-man has something to do with it.

That Meireles guy came close in the first half and it was obvious that Wolves had to do something about it, but we didn’t. Did not Mick have something to say about that at tea time? Unmarked he could fire a volley at goal – quite a number – but an act he should have been prevented from performing by closer marking.

After that Wolves played very well and pressured Liverpool onto their own area, but we were impotent in front of their goal and the crosses and passes too often came to a Liverpool player.

The third goal came late, when Wolves were desperate and pushed on hard, but it was another goal when the offside-tactics didn’t work – one of many defensive errors by Berra, but luckily the only one that resulted in a Liverpool goal.

Liverpool took us on in our own game in the first half and because of giving them too many chances and sloppy defending we lost this game. To the ratings.


Hennessey – 7 – One fantastic save in the first half and hone in the second gives him two extra points. But he needs to be better at distribution. Only 13 out of 43 (!) kick-outs reached the right addresses. Not at all good enough and maybe the wrong tactics to apply. Perhaps we should have played the ball up on the ground instead of giving Liverpool the ball? But that’s a management decision.

Zubar – 6 – Is often playing well going forward, but sometimes I wonder if we can afford to play him as a defender. His passes were good yesterday and that renders him an extra point.

Stearman – 7 – One of his better performances and our best defender on the day. Handled Torres well most of the time and did no big defensive errors.

Berra – 5 – I counted to four defensive errors that could have resulted in Liverpool goals, and that’s simply not good enough. With Craddock ready to play  my first thought was that it will be with Christophe, but after the Donny game and this one I would leave Berra on the bench instead of Stears.

Ward – 6 – How many players have played as a forward in the first game against an opponent and as full-back in the second? And he did very well in both positions. But his – as many others – crosses must become better.

Jarvis – 6 – Created a couple of attempts and had a couple of decent crosses in and a chance at goal. But he also miss to get the ball into the right places. Was better on the left than on the right, but often well taken care of by the Liverpool defence.

Henry – 5 – As always with Henry he passes the ball well, but always looks for the easy pass and not to go forward. I think I will call him ‘Play-Back Henry’ from now on. As I said above it should be partly his job to take care of the players using the 18-yard-line for shooting practise. We lost the midfield in this game and in part I blame Henry for it.

Milijas – 5 – But Milijas didn’t play much better. With Henry in a more defensive position he should have created more going forward. We didn’t see his left foot yesterday not on set pieces nor in play.

Hunt – 7 – Despite some misplaced passes Hunty was one of our best players yesterday. He fought well and was very successful in defensive positions on both flanks – helping Zubar and Ward out when they were put on the test with two forwards coming at them. Our by far best tackler and he won four balls – that’s very good.

When going forward he made some mistakes, but he always picks the right spot to be when the crosses comes in and he also had a couple of good set pieces, but also missed a couple.

He was substituted with twenty minutes left – not because of his play, but to give the new guy Hammill a chance to turn the game and play with two out-and-out wingers.  Hammill did well, but Stephen Hunt was the most useful and hard working player at Molineux yesterday and fully deserves to be Paddytheflea’s Star Man.

Doyle – 5 – A little low? I don’t think so. Doyler didn’t have a good day today and his key passes frequently went wrong. We couldn’t depend on him holding the ball up as we use to, so our spells in the vicinity of the Liverpool goal area were short-lived. Only one scoring attempt and it was not even on target. Not good enough!

Fletcher – 7 – By far the better of our two forwards yesterday. Had one attempt on target in the first half and one in the second. Two attempts off target in the last ten minutes of the game. Ran a lot and helped out defending high up Actually he was more active than Doyle in this aswell. With a goal he would have been my star man.

Paddytheflea

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~ by paddytheflea on January 23, 2011.

21 Responses to “Analysis & Ratings: Wolves v Liverpool”

  1. It’s simple! You thought that Liverpool were finished and you would walk all over them to give them a “stuffing”. You know little.

    • O-k. Chambers. Just keep it coming. You’re on the right. You were better than I first thought. Especially your fighting spirit and the long passes to turn play. But we should have done better defending.

  2. Any thoughts on Hammill’s cameo appearence? And do you think he will get 90 mins against Stoke in the Cup? He looks a fine crosser of the ball and scores a few albeit in the Championship. What I have seen is that he mainly plays on the left and cuts inside often to whip in some good shots on goal..maybe we will keep switching the wingers to keep defenders guessing?

    • I really believe he will play from start against Stoke, yes. And I think he looked good. But he should have scored one, got a little nervous and stumbled upon himself when he had his chance. Statistics say he made five passes in the short time and all got to the right direction.

      And I believe that we will change sides of the wingers, yes.

      • I believe that Hamill is cup-tied and so won’t play against Stoke but should start against our next Premier League opponents.

      • Ah. What a pity. But I don’t think he has shown enough yet to start in the prem. Instead of who. My Star Man today or Jarvo? My guess is that he will get playing time – up to about half an hour to start with – and then in a month or two maybe a start. But it’s good to have a back-up if Jarvo or Hunty gets injured. And Hunty could very well be played as an inner midfielder.

  3. 7 goals conceded in 2 league games, that surely will be the prompt for action at the back! We were either going to catch the Reds with or without confidence, sadly the former in the end. I suspect Torres cost as much as our entire team, so what did we expect given the return of their confidence. We move on and hope three teams are worse than us, we expect too much too quickly don’t we.

  4. i knew we would revert back to negetive play as soon as i saw henry on the team sheet. we play alot more attacking football without him and he as no vision with the ball as shown when mark hamill was in acres of space on the right and he decided to pass to jarvis in a crowded area. also, whats the point of a subs bench if mick ain’t gonna use them? and where was munjangi bia after his two decent performances???

    • I believe that Mujangi Bia is far from playing in the first team in Premier League, and rightly so. He’s simply not good enough or at least not better than Jarvo, Hunty or Hammill.

      But I do agree about Henry. Just hoping that Mick will see that we donnt play the same game with him in the team and that he is not good enough when we play a 4-4-2-formation. In a 4-5-1-formation he may have a role. But we all have our blind spots and Henry seem to be one of McCarthy’s, I’m afraid.

  5. 1. Jarvis caused more trouble down the left and was anonymous down the right. He seems to have faded since Hunt arrived and I guess because is playing on his weaker side rather too much.
    2. Hammill crossed the ball better than either of the starting wingers.
    3. Milijas may not have been outstanding but he at least always plays the ball forward and usually hits a man in space.
    4. Fletcher and Doyle played well individually but are not a Dougan/Richards style unit, i.e. they do not play off one another effectively.
    5. Like the look of Hammill but we need reinforcements in defence. Stearman played pretty well but the lapses of concentration on occasions were dreadful. There does not appear to be a natural leader in the defence. Someone who organises and coordinates. New central defender needed urgently.
    6. Not sure either full back is up to the mark.
    7. Hennessey surely must have been under instructions to punt the ball down the centre of the pitch all the time. It was soon clear that Fletcher did not have the beating of Skrtel or Agger in the air and there should have been a Plan B.
    8. Liverpool had too many midfielders making runs to support Torres and they were not picked up. Sometimes you have to adapt your formation to what the others are doing and Milijas and Henry were overrun in midfield.
    9. Yes, where was Mujangi Bia? First goal for the club and he is dropped. Not good for morale.

    • Bill, I agree with most of your points,but I think our biggest problem is midfield ,even greater than defence.Mick got the tactics wrong by being out numbered in midfield and not making any adjustments to stop the runs of Meireles.It was also wrong to expect Henry to complete two games in less than a week,Henry went missing for the killer second goal.I went to Doncaster and I don’t think Bia is up to Prem standard.Also if you are going to thump high balls to the front men.it would help if thet could actually win some headers.

  6. When I saw the team sheet, I was reassured, that would’ve been my preferred team. When it came to the actual game we really were inept in front of goal. We had a lot of good pressure after both the first and second goals, but it was ultimately pointless, and we got caught on the break a lot.

    Hennessey was very good, but you’re right about his long-kicks, I got tired of them just going to waste, either going straight to the opposing keeper, or to an opponent, perhaps we should have built it up from the back more.

    Liverpool did deserve the win, their attacks were classic, our attacks were unorganised and never looked threatening.

    A big disappointment given our Man City performance, it’s one of our bigger losses this season, if I’m correct.

  7. Henry 4-5-1 is a role where he can be effective and I am certainly not one of these people who thinks he does not have anything to offer the Wolves team. Also, the guy is coming back from injury, so we need to give him a break. However, it must surely be clear to all, that he does not operate well in a 4-4-2 formation. I also still feel that variations in form aside, we should have enough quality on the wings and up front to keep us up this season. What is going to kill us, however, is if we don’t get some changes to the back line this transfer window. Unless something changes, I just cannot see us avoiding the drop. Not sure it if it is a lack of available funds, or whether we just can’t attract the players, but I am getting seriously worried.

    • With Stears and Craddock in the middle and Zubar and Foley on the flanks I believe that we have a back four that can compete better and make us stay in the Premiership.

  8. Zubar – 6? are you on drugs man… he was an absolute clown, couldnt clear, track back, kick, run, anything – send him back to France. a 6? Are you serious Paddy?

  9. Too many had an off-day, it’s as simple as that. In the 3 previous matches we didn’t let the opposition get any space, against Liverpool the players seemed a bit tired. Karl Henry didn’t follow up his FA-cup performance, and I’m not surprised. That’s how it is when players returns from injuries. We’ve got four quality wings, two quality players per position (the policy of all of the biggest teams in premier). I think the rotation system will be an advantage. It’s positive on both the form and that everyone must perform. Zubar, Ward, Henry, Doyle and Milijas should all, after a weak performance, be replaced by other players.

    • I believe it’s more complicated than that, Karlir. Firstly that we should play the ball forward on the ground and not kick it up to our strikers from Hens. But they looked a little off aswell. Pool tackled better and were more in our faces and were first to the ball. It should be the other way round, especially at home.

  10. hi, paddy.. good review as usual, but would like to add a couple of things if i may??? is it just me, or does anyone else realise that jarvo, cant and i mean cant, be as effective on the right as he is on the left!!!!! whenever he plays right, he never ever gets a kick, soon as mick changed it sat, we looked much more effective from both flanks?? Henry as good as defensive midfielder as he is, just cant play that role in a 4-4-2!!! if we play 4-4-2 we need legs to get up and down the pitch and in henry and milijas we aint got that!!! edwards may not be the best player we have(also injured i know at present) but at least he is a box to box player, also guadilora(sorry bout spelling) is also a box to box but with also a goos passer also, so will be interesting too see who plays when they all fit!!! with henry he covers a 20 yard box game in game out and does that job great, but when in a 4-4-2 formation u need to close down higher up pitch and unfortunatly that isnt his game and also it doesnt help our weak back four either. if youe saying hammell will eventually end up on the left, where are u putting hunt and jarvo????? or will mick surprise us and go 4-4-1-1 and mayb play hammell off a loan striker????

    • I have to agree with you, reedy73, Jarvo seem to be better on the left.
      But I don’t agree that Guédioura is a good passer of the ball. Foley is much better at that and I would prefer him to Henry in the middle cause Foles is very good at taking the ball up the pitch and be the spider in the web. He can also defend. But we need to sign a good inner midfielder.

  11. A Red here. Nicely, and very honestly written. Kudos. My observation about Wolves might be the same one I have about all promoted teams in the PL this season. This has truly been an awful, topsy turvy season for all teams. None is playing well at all. It too has been a season for the promoted. You thoroughly outplayed LFC at Anfield (of all places), and beat Chelsea at the Molineux (no mean feat).

    McCarthy has clearly inspired belief, fighting spirit and sheer stubbornness. I like that. With a continued stay in the PL there’ll be funds for quality buys and then that pressing game the pack plays will improve. A defender or two at the back will also protect a good keeper more.

    It’s a competition and someone has to come out on top. This time it just happened to be what I hope is a resurgent Liverpool. Hang in there. You still have a fantastic playing spirit, more to me like Jack Charlton’s Ireland in USA ’94. All the best as you seek to say in the EPL.

    Once more good post. Well written, honest and sober too. YNWA!

    • Wolves is not a team that got promoted to the PL this season, Sam. But we do need to defend better and I hope we will when our best and most experienced defender Jody Craddock will be back in the team after injury. He will probably play against Stoke in the cup and have the same stabalising effect as he had against Doncaster latest. And after that he will be ready for the league and we will gain some clean sheets.

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