Liverpool 1-2 Manchester United: A Post-mortem

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Photo: Jon Super/AP

Originally published on Premier Punditry.

After a week spent watching film of the great triumphs of the past in this fixture, in preparation for what felt like the most important match of the season, so came the inevitable gut punch. I should have known better: it’s stupid to tempt fate, especially when these two giants of the game are involved and things rarely, if ever, go according to plan. Continue reading

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Liverpool’s Goalkeeper Conundrum, and Other Thoughts from Manchester United 3-0 Liverpool

Photo: David Rawcliffe/Propaganda

Photo: David Rawcliffe/Propaganda

Originally published on Premier Punditry.

Liverpool went into this season with a revamped squad that, from a depth perspective at least, appeared to have been bolstered in virtually all areas over the course of the summer. On paper, the only real question mark was the goalkeeper position, where Simon Mignolet was backed up by a 32-year-old journeyman who the manager barely trusted to start domestic cup matches last year. What was the worst that could happen? Continue reading

In Praise of Lucas Leiva

Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Originally published on Premier Punditry.

Lucas Leiva has been confined to the pine of the Liverpool bench for much of 2014, after Brendan Rodgers decided earlier this year that Steven Gerrard would best serve his side as a deep-lying playmaker whose legendary distribution abilities could springboard the likes of Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling up front. Continue reading

Why Liverpool Need Daniel Sturridge

Photo: Phil Noble/Reuters

Photo: Phil Noble/Reuters

Originally published on Premier Punditry.

Forget the premature reports of Liverpool Football Club’s demise — the sort of reports my fellow contributors, and a good deal of Premier League pundits out there at large, are all too willing to revel in. Liverpool will persevere as it always has; whatever the current travails on the pitch, they are nothing we won’t overcome, because this is a massive club that has success ingrained in its very fiber. Doomsayers can doom-say all they want; we survived Hicks and Gillett and the Roy Hodgson era. We can cope with a 0-3 defeat at home to the champions of Europe. Continue reading

Football Eats Its Young

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

Originally published on The Anfield Wrap.

No outfield player at Liverpool Football Club has played more minutes through the first eight weeks of the season than Raheem Sterling. Not the inexhaustible Jordan Henderson, nor the preferred centre-back pairing of Dejan Lovren and Martin Skrtel. At the age of 19 – when most of us were sleeping in through class and making all sorts of mistakes we’d rather forget – he’s become an indispensable asset to one of the biggest sporting institutions in the world. Continue reading

Save Our Lads: Coping with the Bane of Hodgson

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images

Originally published on Premier Punditry.

I used to admire the England national team. It’s my duty as an American soccer fan to provide unequivocal backing to the USMNT every time a major international tournament like the World Cup rolls around, but, until recently, England could always claim second place in my allegiances. Continue reading

World Cup Diary: It Hurts Because It Mattered

Photo: Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports

Photo: Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports

The night was ripe for the taking — another beautiful June night for America. The oppressive conditions had been overcome, as had a horrifying opening 10 minutes that saw the U.S. Men’s National Team outclassed in every sense. A stroke of sheer brilliance by Jermaine Jones showed the world the quality within this squad, and the captain — bruised, exhausted, playing out of position — had appeared to seize a most improbable victory. Continue reading

World Cup Diary: A Night For America

Photo: Mark J. Rebilas/ USA Today Sports

Photo: Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports

They were dying out there — all of them, save perhaps the indomitable Michael Bradley. For all the talk of taking the 23 best athletes available, they were all on the verge of death past the hour mark in Natal. Conditions in the high-70s reportedly weren’t even that bad by kickoff, but no matter. This was an effort that required painstaking fortitude from all involved. And that is exactly what they gave. Continue reading