Round Table: Burnley 0 v Liverpool 1

Posted by Corkboy on December 28, 2014, 01:52:37 AM

I watched this game in two different bars along the coastal esplanade of a resort on an island off the coast of Africa somewhere. The two pubs involved had both opted to show the Liverpool and Manyoo games on various screens but both also elected for the Mancish sound. It was a bit surreal, largely on a fairly simple dissonant basis, watching one game while being forced to listen to another but made more unsettling by having to listen to Michael Owen's retail park drone on the topic of Rooney just being a top, top man while wondering why that Burnley 6 was winning every single header of the game. And I was sober.

So, I think it's fair to say we slightly robbed that one. While we dominated a terrible game, we also brought our by now customary accommodating nature in defence. All Boyd had to do to Sakho was glance at him and our French WC star promptly sat on his arse, and he was one of our better players. The same Burnley player also seemed to have the Indian sign on Markovic, although I think our boy won out in the floppy hair stakes. Our goalkeeping conundrum took another twist with Jones walking off and Mignolet jittering on. He punched a few alright and made his tv save but also provided a head in hands moment involving a goal line and a quite astonishing failure to grasp simple physics.

Happily, Burnley took our welcoming acquiescence as an undeserved elevation in status and pushed up the pitch just a bit beyond their means, meaning it was only a matter of time before someone would eventually poke the ball beyond their pedestrian centre halves to one of the fastest players in the game. I could be generous and say that our manager pulled an Ali style rope-a-dope on them. 

On the other hand, Lallana is looking like the player Southampton had last season, a latterday McManaman. He has gorgeous balance and touch, and ceaseless movement, in attack or defence but what has come back to him is the arrogance, the confidence of accepting the ball and making the opposition wonder what he's going to do, rather than worrying how to keep the ball. It's a perceptible change in his playing demeanour, he is more relaxed, more fluid and carefree. I like him.

I still haven't heard why Touré went off but his replacement caught the eye. Emre Can turned in a bullish and bullying performance in a position he was never seen or heard tell of, indeed one that few players get to play that often. Coutinho looked good in spurts. But our nuts and bolts, Gerrard and Lucas, were too often overrun and more frequently circumvented in an effort to bamboozle our new back three/five right where that / is, get Sakho or Touré isolated and hope for chaos. Dyche's tactics weren't sophisticated but they were effective enough against us to deserve something from the game.

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