Liverpool: Sturridge Is The Best In The League But Rodgers Isn't In Control
Look, I'm getting greedy okay?
You'd think that, after the last twenty years of 'not quite there really but flashes of hope and success in cups (some of it incredible)' I'd be happy with Liverpool's current league form but I want more.
Is it too much to ask that, if you're 3-0 up after 40 minutes, you bang in 7 or 8 or 9 or the 12 that The Anfield Wrap's Neil Atkinson is demanding happen at least once per season?
It's not just me that wants that bit more; 2-0 up and cruising, a clearly concerned Brendan Rodgers was on his feet and out of his technical area, he doesn't want to just win games, he wants to control them and he wasn't feeling the control.
We're not 100% yet, still not playing the quality of football that we were (for the first 45 minutes of each game anyway) before the last international break but going into this next (Jesus, do we seriously need more international football? Can't we just abandon it altogether, it's not like it matters in the long run) set of England qualifiers we sit once again, for a day at least, at the top of the league.
Given that, let's focus on the positives shall we?
The penalty that Steven Gerrard converted to ensure that we were comfortable at the break and needed to do very little in the second half (and so did very little in the second half) placed him on 99 career league goals and ensured that he has now scored in 15 successive seasons. Which is a fairly impressive statistic when you think about it.
Rodgers' replacement of a possibly complacent Pepe Reina with a younger, hungrier Simon Mignolet looks a more inspired choice with every passing game; when called on G-d is always there.
Our three central defenders are creating an understanding, Sakho continues to grow, Skrtel has returned as the player that he was two seasons ago and Kolo... Well, Kolo's just Kolo isn't he? A folk hero of a Gary Mac level.
The midfield still needs to convince, still lacks a bit of bite, a degree of the control that Rodgers desires but upfront?
Upfront we are lethal. Suarez and Sturridge are operating on a nigh-on telepathic level, the movement of the two is exhilarating, the threat endless. Suarez converted the opening goal here from a position of slipping, stumbling and falling, Sturridge notched up his from a dazzling series of feints and turns on the edge of the Palace area, slotting home from a ridiculous angle. Sturridge is currently the best striker in the country bar none. I'm not interested in Roy Hodgson hanging his World Cup hopes on his ability, I'm more concerned about whether it will be he or Luis Suarez who bags the golden boot this season.
One negative; Palace's consolation goal came, yet again for us, from a dead-ball situation badly defended. A corner slung into the box saw Gayle slip from his position inside the net to ghost past his nominal marker and gain enough space to flick a headed effort into the corner of Liverpool's goal. That marker? Once again the hapless Jose Enrique.
So that's the targets for January decided on then, some bite for the midfield and a left back who understands the concept of defending.
But let's be positive shall we? Three years ago, Ian Holloway visited Anfield with Blackpool. He shed a tear as the Kop sang 'You'll Never Walk Alone' after witnessing his team humble Roy Hodgson's abject Liverpool side. It was the beginning of the end for the now England manager at Anfield. After the match Holloway left a dignified message on a wipe board in the away dressing room summing up how he felt about LFC.
There was no real chance for a repeat of that gesture this season. This is fast becoming a very different Liverpool.
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