Wolverhampton vs Liverpool – “For Every Negative, There is a err…Positive”

It was not pretty. It was not classy. It was, however, a win. Liverpool bounced back from a dreadful 4-0 thumping to Tottenham with an important away win and an even more important 3 points.

However, this game seemed to cast doubts with many fans on Liverpool’s tactical execution. I found myself reading for what seemed like hours the hundreds of tweets from fans complaining about Kenny’s decision making and tactical awareness. While I support a fan’s right to speak out and voice their opinion, I can get quite frustrated when those opinions are naive and near-sighted. Perhaps after being poisoned by Hicks and Gillette, Liverpool fans have gotten used to never being satisfied. We’ve become content to voice our disgust at the slightest hint of slowed progress, even when it is glaringly evident we are improving every week.

Let me take a minute and share three positive observations from the Wolves game:

1.  Steven Gerrard is coming back at just the right time

It was a massive lift to see our talismanic captain return for his first Premier League game since last March. Although he is aging, Gerrard’s mere presence can change the outcome of any game. While the Reds have often looked quite comfortable without him – especially with new signings Adam and Downing making significant contributions – there have been moments when Liverpool have lacked the necessary moments of brilliance it takes to win games. Moments of brilliance we will most certainly need to beat Everton and Manchester Utd in the coming weeks.

2.  Kenny Dalglish has a plan and is sticking to it

Many fans, myself including, were very surprised to see the starting line-up used against Wolves. With Carroll mirroring Torres’ goalscoring drought and Henderson continuing to amaze us on just how invisible a player can be, one would have thought the former would be replaced with Bellamy (perhaps a reward for his goal midweek against Brighton) and the latter replaced with the working class hero of Dirk Kuyt. However, this was not to case. Kenny decided to stick with the Suarez and Carroll partnership upfront, and while Carroll did not score, he perhaps put in his best 90 minutes of the season.

3.  We can win away from home

After a lively opening 30 mins, Liverpool seemed to exponentially lose their cohesion and fluidity as the minutes ticked on. Many fans will look at this performance with plenty of negatives. However, last year Liverpool did not win away from home until November 13th against Stoke City. With this game the Reds proved they can win ugly – and more importantly – win ugly away from home. They have the quality needed to pick up 3 points when playing subpar. Refer to observation #1 for further hope and confidence.

It was important for Liverpool to bounce back from the defeat to Tottenham and earn 3 points away from home. Fixtures against Everton and United will show whether Liverpool can show they deserve to be back in Europe.

 

Follow Jimmy K on Twitter @Jim_Kostecki

Photo by Vincent Teeuwen