November 11, 2014

Liverpool going into the Reds

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

Hey Liverpool: What’s wrong?

This has been a weekend of disappointment for many contenders as Chelsea continues to build its lead in its run to an eventual championship.

But perhaps the most disappointing is Liverpool, who fell to the Blues at Anfield for the second time in a row. This is the third loss in a row for the Reds including their Champions League loss to Real Madrid.

The midweek loss was nothing unexpected and Liverpool actually did better than expected in spite of resting many of its players.

And there’s why this weekend’s result matters: Liverpool was preparing for Chelsea much more than Madrid.

Emre Can opened the scoring for Liverpool on a deflected goal that was more luck than anything, then it was mostly Chelsea on the attack.

What happened to the free-scoring team of yesteryear? There were rightful shouts for a penalty against Gary Cahill near the end of the game, but that’s a call that’s hard to make without the proper line of sight as the Chelsea defender did make his handball block look innocent enough.

With the international break on now, Brendan Rodgers has some time to sort things out for his club. If he can’t though, he might join the sack race.

HOW GOOD IS SERGIO AGUERO?

With another two goals this week in Manchester City’s disappointing draw at QPR, Sergio Aguero now leads the Premier League with 12 this season.

The question that should be asked but rarely is, is if Aguero is the best player in the EPL and where does he rank among the all-time greats?

He has already stated that he will see out his entire contract with the Sky Blues and will even stay until the team wins the Champions League – which at this pace means he’ll be staying forever.

On a goals-per-minute basis, he is the best in the league by a safe margin, but that leads to the only negative in his case as the best in the league: He gets hurt more often than you’d like.

He is always a safe bet to miss a game or two every few months and isn’t built to take a beating like some other Premier League strikers.

What he does have: Amazing ball control, a good eye for passing, a solid penalty strike and an overall amazing nose to finish around the net.

You also can’t forget his clutch goal to win City the title a couple of years ago at QPR.

When Aguero’s career comes to an end, he should be mentioned in the same breath as Thierry Henry and Alan Shearer. And you won’t be able to argue that Wayne Rooney deserves to be there ahead of him.

AROUND THE LEAGUE

Arsenal picked up its second loss of the season, slipping in the hard rain at Swansea. It’s games like this that Chelsea hasn’t blown, which is why it is putting so much distance on the field … Callum Chambers was abused out wide by the Swans. You have wonder why Arsene Wenger did nothing to adapt … 10 yellow cards were shown in this game, which didn’t actually look as chippy as you might expect from a disciplinary total like that … In a week with a few amazing goals, Gylfi Sigurdsson had one of the contenders with his outstanding free kick … Swansea and Southampton will be fighting for spots in Europe for sure. I’d be shocked if neither of the two weren’t playing in Europe next season … Another week, another three points for the Saints … Playing Crystal Palace will usually make anybody’s defence look good, but the Red Devils are lucky that Fraser Campbell didn’t put home that attempt when he was let in unmarked … Who the heck is Marnick Vermijl and what is he doing on Manchester United’s bench? … Whatever happened to Ander Herrera? He was one of Louis van Gaal’s big summer signings and now he can’t get any run at all … Congrats to Burnley for picking up its first win of the season. Too bad it is still at the bottom of the table after QPR’s draw … It’s not looking good for the three promoted teams so far: Leicester City, QPR and Burnley are all sitting in the relegation zone … Newcastle has now won four straight games, somehow giving all-but-sacked Alan Pardew a new lease on life. How long before the Magpies start slumping again? … Another candidate for goal of the week: Ayoze Perez’s cheeky backheel … In a somewhat surprising outcome, West Ham didn’t score this week.

THE LAST WORD

How good of a manager is Mauricio Pochettino, really?

This is the narrative that has come up now that Spurs have gotten off to a struggling start – again – and losing to Stoke City on the weekend.

Pochettino, as you may recall, walked into a pretty good situation at Southampton last season and managed the team to a solid finish.

But he did so with a group of under-rated players that have since shown to have more class than previously thought. He also had little work to do with transfers, as the team didn’t exactly

At Tottenham, he has been put in the opposite situation. He had a big budget to bring in whatever player he wanted and had a team that was good enough to earn a Europa League spot last season.

But success in Europe aside – even if it’s just in Europa League – this has been a disappointing season for Tottenham and fingers will likely start to be pointed at the manager.

Could we be in for another Andre Villas Boas disaster? Time will tell, but Pochettino needs to start picking up some wins or his time at a big club will be very short.

Follow me on Twitter @danbilicki

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