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Saturday December 21, 2013 MYT 7:30:00 AM
Friday December 20, 2013 MYT 5:24:14 PM
by jagdev singh sidhu
Jordan Henderson's industry in midfield have given The Reds added thrust, especially in the absence of captain Steven Gerrard. Liverpool should beat Cardiff handsomely at home, if they play like they did against Spurs last week. - AFP
THE danger after a thumping victory, like the one against Tottenham Hotspur, is always complacency. Often the high from such a win can lull a team into taking the next opponent lightly.
Case in point was the match against Hull, where after a string of three wins and a draw against rivals Everton, Liverpool were outplayed and out-hustled by a hungry Hull team that, like the Reds against Spurs, played like a pack of “animals”.
With that in mind, Brendan Rodgers will now earn his pay when the Reds take on Cardiff at Anfield today. He has to tread carefully in rotating his squad ahead of two tough fixtures next week when Liverpool travel to Manchester City and Chelsea.
Watching the match against Spurs, fans surely will be carried away thinking another hammering will be in store against Cardiff. After all, since being beaten by Hull, Liverpool have won their last three games – scoring 14 goals and conceding just two.
The team against Tottenham played with a balance many have not seen for some time. The midfield of Jordan Henderson, Lucas Leiva and Joe Allen hunted as a pack – disrupting play and breaking forward when the opportunity presented itself, particularly Henderson whose hard running has been a pleasant plus point for the team.
In defence, Mamadou Sakho and Martin Skrtel offered steel and resoluteness. Jon Flanagan is steady at leftback while upfront, Raheem Sterling played his best game in the senior Liverpool team.
In fact, the way the team played was like poetry in motion, but that was also down to having the players execute the game plan.
Philippe Coutinho, while not scoring or assisting, was instrumental in setting up a couple of goals. The stars were aligned in that game.
But the brightest star has been Luis Suarez, and the form he is in. It’s unreal and the beauty with Suarez is that you don’t really have to rest the Uruguayan. The man wants to play and win, all the time.
Regardless of the balance and brilliance last weekend, keeping it going will be difficult. You can bet that Cardiff will come prepared, probably park the bus in front of their goal and try to hit Liverpool on the counter.
Rodgers might be compelled to rest a couple of players with an eye towards next week’s games. The danger in doing that is that Liverpool really don’t have the depth and luxury to rotate players. I can understand the need to do so, but Rodgers has to roll the dice with the winning 11 from last weekend. At most, Victor Moses can come in for Sterling and Luis Alberto for Coutinho.
It’s imperative that Liverpool do what they need to bag the three points today. With competition for the top four places so fierce, Liverpool need to make sure they look at the game in front and not ahead.
We would all like to see another Suarez masterpiece, but today is a game I will take an own goal in injury time to seal a boring victory for Liverpool.
Jagdev Singh Sidhu wishes all Liverpool fans a very Happy Christmas. And he will love Liverpool to secure six points in the two games after Christmas.
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