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John

Player Match Ratings: Klopp’s boys lose to Villa!

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Alan Hansen once said, “You can’t win anything with kids.” Last night proved, that you certainly don’t win cup quarter finals with them!        

Liverpool could have chosen to play a couple of their first team squad, who would not be needed for tonight’s exacting game against Monterrey last night. Those players could have added a bit of first team experience to last night’s youngsters and then flown out to Qatar today. They chose not to do so. They gave the extra cash that their mid-season trip would give them, priority over a cup competition that they have previously won eight times.

By doing so, they undermined this cup competition and left their academy players facing the prospect of a demoralising defeat. Sprinkling their team with 2 or 3 first team squad members would have been unlikely to have won the game for them last night, but it would have made it look more of a match. As it was, the match lacked any real cup-tie atmosphere, the attendance was down on what it would otherwise have been and the result, if not the margin of victory seemed pretty much inevitable at the kick-off. Liverpool got what they deserved last night. An abrupt exit from the cup, their first defeat in 20 games and their heaviest ever League Cup defeat.    

This was a game that we were expected to win. Failing to do so, would have been an utter embarrassment. We made 10 changes ourselves from Saturday’s PL starting line-up, but this was literally a game of men against boys, no matter how much potential those boys may or may not have.      

We started hesitantly and it was against the run of play, when we opened the scoring on 14 minutes. There was an element of fortune in that goal and in the second that followed within 3 minutes, but once that 2-goal cushion had been established any contest that there might have been, was extinguished.       

Our young opponents fought gamely and didn’t let their heads drop, they also enjoyed plenty of possession and might well have scored one or more, had Nyland have not been so determined to keep them out. Having established a four-goal lead at half time, it seemed we were reluctant to press home our advantage in the second half. Perhaps, we had decided to not give the youngsters that had been put up before us as potential lambs to the slaughter, to that slaughter. Certainly, had we put away a couple more of the numerous opportunities that we created last night and moved from second into third gear more often, we might have had two, three or even four more goals last night.    

My player ratings from a game that left us just one tie from a third Wembley appearance in three seasons are:

Orjan Nyland – 9 – MOTM – Top class last night. Made a one handed save at his near post from Elliott on 10 minutes and then blocked a shot from Kane at the same post with his left leg, following the resulting corner. Pushed a 26th minute shot from Christie-Davies over the bar and made a terrific one-handed reaction save to keep out a 54th minute Kane effort from the edge of the 6-yard box. Kept out a 67th minute header from Kane at the near post. Made a smart one handed save from Elliott on 85 minutes and then saved at his left-hand post from Clarkson’s follow up header.           

Ahmed Elmohamady – 6 – Found by Jota and hit a 17th minute cross from the right-hand side of the box, which took a wicked deflection off a defender, that took the ball over Kelleher and into the net just inside the far post for our second goal.           

Ezri Konsa- 6 – A quiet evening.       

James Chester – 6 – So nice to see James back in the first team last night.                 

Neil Taylor – 4 – Didn’t particularly look over comfortable against the opponents he came up against last night.               

Jota – 6 – Had a hand in our third and fourth goals.  

Henri Lansbury – 5 – Had a 76th minute shot from the edge of the box parried wide by Kelleher’s right hand.       

Douglas Luiz – 6 – A solid all-round performance.               

Conor Hourihane – 6 – Gave us the lead with a 14th minute free kick from the right-hand edge of the box. Kodjia didn’t quite get a touch on it, but his close-range presence, hampered Kelleher’s ability to commit to the goal bound cross.         

Trezeguet - 6 – He was the first player to look like he wanted to make an impression on this game for us after 10 minutes. Got into scoring positions, but didn’t find the net, having done so. Hit a 57th minute shot harmlessly wide of the far post and another 63rd minute shot from the left-hand corner of the box into Kelleher’s hands. Hourihane played a ball for him to run onto on 63 minutes, he touched the ball past the onrushing Kelleher, but it was hit too weakly from just inside of the box, giving a covering defender the time to get back and clear it before it was able to creep inside the far post. Diverted a 64th minute cross from Lansbury over the bar. Ran onto a 71st minute ball from Douglas, his shot from the edge of the area was blocked by Kelleher’s right foot. Was just unable to get on the end of Wesley’s 75th minute cross and failed to make the necessary contact with his head to an inviting 86th minute Elmo cross to the far post.                        

Jonathan Kodjia – 7 – Played a role in Hourihane’s opener and added our second shortly afterwards. Jota played a nice ball for him to run onto, he ran inside the box and coolly side footed the ball past Kelleher’s outstretched left leg and into the corner of the net. Jota then brought the ball under control before finding Elmo on the right-hand of the box, his 45th minute cross was prodded home with his left foot from the edge of the 6-yard box. This was a real poacher’s goal and his goals made a case for a starting place on Saturday. He also made a well-timed run onto a ball from Lansbury and hit a 60th minute shot from the edge of the box, that was pushed past the far post by Kelleher’s left hand, before it was adjudged to have been marginally offside.            

Substitutes:

Wesley – 6 - Replaced Kodjia on 73 minutes. Made an opportunity for Trezeguet and then scored our fifth on 92 minutes to respond to the challenge that Kodjia’s brace of goals had made to his starting spot.  Made a nicely timed run onto a ball from Trezeguet, he ran into the box before calmly placing the ball past Kelleher and into the far corner of the net. This was an accomplished finish, that has brought a lengthy goal drought to an end and should give him some much-needed confidence.  

Kortney Hause – Replaced Chester on 77 minutes. Not on long enough to earn a rating.

Up the Villa!

John Lewis

 

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I have to say that the Liverpool lads showed very little after the first 15 minutes. I would be very surprised if any of them play much part in the first team in the future. Good players stand out even at their young age, none did even if the commentators tried to embellish their credentials. Hard work is a given, they didn't produce any goalbthreat after their opening spell.

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On 18/12/2019 at 16:00, Graham t said:

I have to say that the Liverpool lads showed very little after the first 15 minutes. I would be very surprised if any of them play much part in the first team in the future. Good players stand out even at their young age, none did even if the commentators tried to embellish their credentials. Hard work is a given, they didn't produce any goalbthreat after their opening spell.

Elliott will play for their first team. Others (such as the keeper) will earn a living either in the PL or outside of it. Not many academy players make it into their first teams. The chances of doing so, are reduced the further up the PL they play because they can buy whoever they want, rather than rely on their youngsters coming through. Would Tammy have become a regular starter had they not had their transfer embargo for example?  

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6 hours ago, John said:

Elliott will play for their first team. Others (such as the keeper) will earn a living either in the PL or outside of it. Not many academy players make it into their first teams. The chances of doing so, are reduced the further up the PL they play because they can buy whoever they want, rather than rely on their youngsters coming through. Would Tammy have become a regular starter had they not had their transfer embargo for example?  

I'd argue yes. They probably would have had him on the bench and played him against lower league teams and like most youth players do for quality teams would shine against the lesser opposition. He then likely would force his way into the starting 11.

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