Liverpool: United Are There For The Taking & We Might Have Lost The Chance

By not taking our chances to kill off Notts County last night (and losing Kolo Toure in the process) we have made our life extremely difficult ahead of the Mancs rocking up at Anfield...
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By not taking our chances to kill off Notts County last night (and losing Kolo Toure in the process) we have made our life extremely difficult ahead of the Mancs rocking up at Anfield...

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It's quite simple; if you don't take your chances you make life more difficult than it needs to be.

Liverpool could easily have been 5-0 up by half time in tonight's Capital One Cup tie against Notts County. At that point I'm writing a piece about how Brendan Rodgers got his game plan right, mixing a potent blend of experience and youth, keeping the spine of the team intact with Mignolet, Toure, Gerrard and Sturridge all present and dressing that spine with youth in the form of Sterling, Ibe, Wisdom and Luis Alberto and a full debut for left back Aly Cissokho.

If tonight's game had proceeded to script we would be talking about how Raheem Sterling had shown once more the potential that he displayed at the beginning of last season, adding strength to his trickery and his splendid opening goal, receiving the ball on the left wing, cutting infield and ramming a long shot home. We'd cover Jordan Ibe; strong, reliable, not flashy tonight, not as dynamic as we know that he can be, a solid rather than sparkling performance. Wisdom developing into the centre half that he seems destined to become, Alberto showing a sense of position and range of passing that indicate that we have purchased a player of some considerable style but who may require some time to adapt to the pace of the English game having been dispossessed too easily on several occasions.

Instead, on a night when it appears that the team were as convinced as the crowd that the game was as good as won at the break, we're talking about how we managed to jeopardise both this match and Sunday's forthcoming game against Manchester United, about how we allowed Notts County to push us to a sapping extra time period and what it may have cost us.

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Aly Cissokho was lost to us after three minutes of his full debut for the club, a clip to the ankle caused by a rash tackle ending his evening. Joe Allen, finally looking back to the form that he displayed at the start of his Anfield career stopped in his tracks by what appears to be a hamstring injury and in extra time, the extra time that should never have been allowed to happen, Kolo Toure's groin 'opens up', he leaves the field on a stretcher and Robin Van Persie wipes the sweat from his brow.

All three substitutes used, Wisdom moved back from the right back position that he took up on Cissokho's departure and suddenly we had a new right back in the rather too diminutive form of Sterling. No complaints, he acquitted himself well. As did the now ten man team. Suddenly becoming underdogs galvanised Liverpool, Sturridge adding to his excellently taken first half goal with a shot from a ridiculous angle that crept slowly across the County line before Henderson broke free, nutmegged a defender and finished with aplomb to seal the match.

All this was probably utterly thrilling for the neutral viewer but I'm not interested in the neutral viewer.

In one night we've managed to lose a left back, a midfielder, our most influential centre back and given Gerrard, Sturridge and Agger more game time than we would have wanted with a visit from David Moyes' new, exciting, vibrant Manchester United team on Sunday.

Yes, I saw the United/Chelsea game. Yes, I'm being sarcastic.

United are there for the taking and we're in a position to take them.

And we'd be in an even better position if we could just finish our chances and make life easy for ourselves.