Let's see, how can I write this wrap and make it sound any differently than the other numerous times I've had to recap a frustrating draw at home? Well, I could start by saying this wasn't a case of whiskey dick finishing, but a case of whiskey dick creating. Actually, that's just whiskey dick. So that's where it is.
As we thought, Liverpool came out with the three at the back system. But with Glen Johnson and Enrique as wing backs, it seemed that Johnson spent way more time inside instead of wide. Liverpool got lopsided. And yet, without that width, they found ways to send crosses into a box that was less populated than a Tori Amos show at a frathouse. I think that makes sense. Maybe it was the midweek exertions that left Liverpool so toothless. Maybe it was something else, like the mish mash of Adam and Gerrard in the same midfield. Maybe it was Kuyt's lack of touch or pace. Maybe it was Downing utterly anonymous again. Or maybe it was all of that and more. Maybe it was a useful Stoke side that had no intention of doing anything other than holding the Reds out, and did it dutifully.
It doesn't matter. It's another two points tossed away at home, and they're becoming a bigger and bigger pile that Liverpool might not be able to overcome in the chase for fourth. I don't think I want to sit through any more of these, it's a lot of time I won't get back. It's been like a whole day combined now.
-I know what the plan was with starting Kuyt, and perhaps Andy Carroll was a bit fatigued after being all alone for so long up top against City. The thinking was probably that Stoke are set up to deal with a brute of a striker in the air, and might not be able to combat one with a high IQ making tricky runs. But Kuyt isn't that guy right now. He doesn't have the touch, feel, or pace after an in and out season. It seemed like a lot of moves broke down when they got to Kuyt, and then Kuyt would chase down the ball and win it back immediately, only for the next move to break down in another way. This is harsh on Kuyt, because he hasn't played much and can't be expected to have a full game in his arsenal. He's played even less up top. But still..
-That would have been ok if he weren't so isolated in the box. How many times did a player look up for a pass only to see just Kuyt in the 18? A midfield of Downing, Henderson, Gerrard and Adam should have had guys pouring into the box after Kuyt. It's what Henderson and Gerrard do. But Stevie has to cover for Adam, Henderson as well, and Downing was trying to stay wide because no one else on the other side was. It just didn't work.
-Which is why I think a lot of us felt that Carroll should have been brought on for one of the central defenders. Stoke didn't care about attacking, and Crouch could have been nullfied with two. A straight 4-4-2 was called for, and yet Keny opted for a straight 3-5-2 with Johnson only occasionally wide.
-Also, Carroll still made a splash against a defense that Dalglish thought he wouldn't be able to from the start. He didn't score, but could have earned about six penalties.
-It's sad that a midfield three of Gerrard, Adam, and Henderson that I feel most comfortable with Gerrard as the defensive shield. But that's where we are at the moment.
Ok, that's enough.