Monday, 1 June 2015

A brief polemic about Stoke shambles

I know that it’s been over a week since the last game of the season, and I am aware that most Kopites wanted to instantly forget about it, but unfortunately the good people at EE have messed about with my broadband package recently, rendering me unable to share my thoughts about that Stoke shambles.

It was nice in a way, being away from the inevitable internet inquest in the immediate aftermath; more heat than light is normally generated in those circumstances, but, if only for the sake of completeness, I’d like to comment on the 6-1 defeat at the Britannia Stadium.

With that said, here’s my brief polemic about that Stoke shambles:

Selection shambles

Kicking off right at the start, what on earth was Brendan Rodgers doing picking six central midfielders and no recognised strikers or wingers?! Surely Lazar Markovic, Jordon Ibe, Jordan Sinclair, or even Mario Balotelli or Rickie Lambert, deserved a start.

They may not have performed much better than their teammates, but they might have provided more creativity and width and imagination. When you play four central midfielders across the middle and two attacking midfielders in the form of Lallana and Coutinho up front, you’re setting yourself up for a dire game going forward.

Dire defence

Things were far worse at the back, however, and, ironically, a central midfielder played out of position was largely to blame. Culpable for all three of the opening goals, Emre Can had his worst game for the Reds by far.

Arnautovic beat him far too easily down the wing for Diouf’s two goals, the second of which was admittedly a good strike from the edge of the box, but the first was purely a gift from Simon Mignolet, who, I think, could have dealt better with Diouf’s second as well. Then, inexplicably, Can headed a cross down perfectly for Walters to score the third. It really was woeful stuff from the promising young player, but he shouldn’t have been playing in defence in the first place.

Can clearly can't defend
It was the last game of the season and his future next season is clearly in his natural midfield position, so he should have been given a starting berth there and the frozen out Manquillo given a second chance at left back.

Sakho was rubbish for the fourth goal as well, giving away possession far too easily, while Crouch had a free header for the sixth in the 86th minute. Stoke were good, and credit to them for a great game and a fantastic season, but the only goal that they scored primarily due to their skill was Nzonzi’s fifth from the edge of the box on the stroke of half time.

Letting down Stevie

For Steven Gerrard to leave Liverpool on this shambolic note is shameful. Liverpool’s best ever player enduring the club’s most emphatic Premier League defeat in his final appearance is just awful. He scored a well taken goal in the 70th minute in the only bright point to take, but it wouldn’t have provided the skipper any consolation. He deserved so much better from his teammates, and it is disgraceful that neither Stevie’s final Anfield appearance nor his last ever match could motivate them to actually put a shift in.

Gerrard was let down by his teammates
They just looked like they were on the beach already and wanted the season over and done with, which is not acceptable. They’re paid over £50k a week most of them, the least they can do is turn up and put a shift in, for the fans who parted with their hard earned cash to come and support them once again and for Stevie’s final match.  

All in all, it was absolute and utter rubbish and the players and the manager need to take a long hard look at themselves over the summer.


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