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Warning Signs For Liverpool Despite Injury Time Winner Against Boro

steven gerrard Warning Signs For Liverpool Despite Injury Time Winner Against BoroIf Liverpool fans have dreams of winning the Premier League this season, they can kiss them goodbye. Today at Anfield, Liverpool escaped with a 2-1 win over Middlesbrough with a woeful performance that was rescued by an own goal and then an injury time goal by Steven Gerrard.

This was a cruel blow to Middlesbrough who played a strong defensive game for most of the match under a 4-5-1 formation. Despite creating far fewer chances in front of goal, Boro looked more dangerous after Tuncay spun around a Liverpool defender and his shot was saved by Reina. Then in the 70th minute, Middlesbrough took the lead after Mido struck the ball into the corner of the net.

Liverpool’s equalizer came later when Jamie Carragher’s shot took a wicked deflection off Pogatetz and into the Middlesbrough goal. Then, with the last strike of the ball, Gerrard popped up to rescue Liverpool by striking the ball into the back of the net to send the fans in The Kop into ecstasy.

While the result will go down as three points won for Liverpool, there were several major concerns about Liverpool’s performance today. After they were outplayed for portions of last week’s match against Sunderland, you would expect Liverpool to raise their standard of play for their first home league match of the new season. That was entirely not the case. Liverpool did create plenty of chances, but they were as wasteful as Arsenal are renowned for. Gerrard and Benayoun were practically invisible for most of the match, while Torres and Robbie Keane have still yet to strike up a good partnership.

But most of all, what was missing from Liverpool’s performance is their ability to strike the killer blow. For large portions of the match, especially in the first half, Liverpool almost put Anfield to sleep by playing at a slow tempo that was easy for Middlesbrough to defend against.

To me, that’s one of the major differences between Liverpool and Manchester United. With Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, you can often sense a goal when a goal is coming when they start their blistering attacks. With Liverpool, so far, they’re too predictable and will find it very difficult to outperform Man United, Chelsea or Arsenal this season.

Liverpool needs to improve considerably if they’re serious about trying to stay a top four club this season. Defensively they look strong as long as Hyypia stays on the bench, but they have issues in midfield and up front. The team is relying too much on Fernando Torres just as they did last season when they seemed to be waiting for Gerrard to create something magical.

This is going to be a long season for Liverpool based on their last two poor performances.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
View all posts by Christopher Harris →

46 Responses to Warning Signs For Liverpool Despite Injury Time Winner Against Boro

  1. If Boro gets Michael Bradley they will become my 2nd favorite team as I am dumping Fulham. Besides I like Boro’s young core of players and always liked Southgate as a player. Wasn’t sure of him as a manager, but he’s beginning to really impress.

  2. dan van blogger says:

    top of the table.

    end of.

  3. wilson says:

    Ye of little faith, Liverpool may be playing poorly but have won two in two games.That, my friend is the mark of a champion.

  4. james caruana says:

    true not d bestof performence, but to win d title we need these sorts of outcome, not playing good, win just d same. thats what man u, chelsea and arsenal have been doing. how many times have they got a last gasp winner???? whats wrong with us achieving it???

  5. Atom 79 says:

    Clueless !!!!

  6. Ragish says:

    You are talking bollocks. United last year started poorly, loosing games but then finished champions. The fact that Liverpool are playing poorly but are still able to win (especially against a team like Sunderland AWAY who won away against those who are tipped to be challenging for 4th spot) is a good sign, as then I cannot imagine how will they win when Liverpool plays good

  7. How many times in the last 18 years has Liverpool finished in the top two? ONCE. End of story. Why anyone would have any faith in them is beyond me.

  8. The Magnificant says:

    It will only get better and better…

  9. Lonnie says:

    Too much tinkering and playing people out of position for Liverpool but they pulled it out at the end.

    Why do they use Benyayoun on the left? He’s never seemed comfortable on that side of the field. And for the umpteenth time, Kuyt does not belong on the right wing…though thats no fault of the player…he works hard and does what the manager asks of him.

    Kartik, have my columns convinced you that Boro is the place to be? :)

    A very bright start for Boro, hard luck not to come away with at least a point.

  10. Beto says:

    Kartik-
    I don’t know what your sources are, but they are inaccurate. Liverpool last won the league in the 1989-1990 season, second place in 1990-1991, and second place in 2001- 2002. That would be three top 2 finishes in that time span, along with other silver ware in Europe and elsewhere.
    Many , like I have followed Liverpool since childhood for whatever reasons. That is loyalty, something that in this day and age seems to be fading away. Faith in our teams , the Forrests, Swanseas, Derby, Man U (yes I mentioned them) – no matter what. It was wonderful in Istanbul in 2005…I know some long time Chelsea fans that stuck through the thick and thin and here they are with a golden Mourinho era. I respect that- that is faith.
    http://www.premierleague.com/page/Home/0,,12306,00.html

  11. Django says:

    Isn’t it the mark of a good team that they are able to win despite being clearly off form? For 85 minutes there was little to cheer, but they were pulled it out in the end. And why would people have faith in Liverpool? I don’t know, how about being fans? Isn’t that the point of cheering your team, believing and hoping they can win? Obviously room for improvement for Liverpool, but as others mentioned, how many times do you see Manchester leave it late and win or save a draw with a last gasp effort? In the first two months of last season, Man U won 4 games in league by only a goal, and drew twice. Don’t remember a column dismissing their chances…

  12. james caruana says:

    c what i meant earlier? sorry!! this time no big guns for wenger!!!!

  13. Chris says:

    Granted Liverpool played poorly, but it’s only two games. To say that Liverpool fans can kiss any chance of winning the Premiership after two games, maximum points (while two of their main rivals have started off with worse results), and sitting top of the league (granted Chelsea will probably hold that honor after Sunday) is absolutely moronic. This site is becoming an absolute waste of time.

  14. Matt says:

    Funny this, if Mancs or Chelsea had won their 2 opening games in similar fashion, everyone would be telling us how they have the mark of champions, how winning ugly is part of what champions do and the never say die attitude shows great team spirit. Winning when playing poorly is a sign im happy to see for this season, as a Liverpool fan.

    As for the mong who commented on why Benayoun was playing left midfield… Maybe because there’s no one else? Aurelio isnt a midfielder, Babel was only just back from Olympics and we have nobody else. Hence Benitez wanting to sign Riera and/or Barry.

  15. Joe Perrick says:

    20 million on Keano was a waste of money. We need some creativity on the wings and midfield. Alonso couldn’t hit a decent corner to create chances in the box
    How many times will we be relying on Torres, Gerrard and …………………………….LUCK

  16. United4life says:

    gaffer your a bloody moron. liverpool have two wins. 6 pts and are atop the league standings. sure they were outplayed but the teams that win know how to overcome a bad day or bad play and still come out with 3 points. do you not understand sports? teams are supposed to be somewhat rusty at this point in the season, they are not supposed to hit their stride until probably the later 1/3 of the year.

  17. Chris says:

    This is the same ole clap trap that was bunced out last week when you said Chelsea were gonna win the league on their display against Pompy.

    No we wont win the league on the basis of todays display.Neither will we GIVE UP on it.

    Wot moronic writing !

  18. Raatzie says:

    “But most of all, what was missing from Liverpool’s performance is their ability to strike the killer blow.”

    Good to know that the 94th minute screamer from Stevie G. doesn’t count as a “killer blow.”

    The fine writing staff at spurstalk.com is (understandably) getting a bit bitter, very early.

  19. Raatzie says:

    “Here are my predictions of how I think the Premier League will finish at the end of the 2008/2009 season. . . . I believe Spurs have the talent and determination to break into the top four knocking Liverpool into fifth place.”

    Well, this prediction’s sure looking spot-on, Gaffer.

  20. Lonnie says:

    Matt, your personal insults are unnecessary.

    I think it is possible that David Ngog could be used as left-sided attacker. He looked good against Rangers & others in pre-season. If you want more of a defensive-minded player than Aurelio has filled in on the left-side of midfield on a few occasions.

    I think if Liverpool keep a consistent starting XI and ride them through the season that they have as good a shot at the title as any of the other top 4.

  21. I stand corrected. First or second once in the last 17 years not 18 years. Shoot me, obviously a 17 year span is more palatable and Liverpool has been dominating the league since I has the time frame wrong.

  22. Gaffer, now you understand why so many of us are almost scared of liverpool fans. It is the way of the bully: anywhere anything is posted that in anyway is critical of the side and their fans sense of entitlement bombs start flying and personal insults become the norm. The fact that half the British media is in the tank for liverpool is lost on these people.

  23. Davebaku says:

    Who ever “The Gaffer ” is has obviously no idea what he is talking about. Poor displays yet being able to grind out a win are marks of championship wining sides chap!!!! And as for your next quote,
    “But most of all, what was missing from Liverpool’s performance is their ability to strike the killer blow”.
    What the fk was Gerrard doing in the 94th min? Looked like a killer blow to me mate………….

  24. Raatzie says:

    Kartik, you appear more scared of logic than of LFC fans.

    Had Gaffer writen that LFC, despite taking 6 out of 6 points, has not played well and/or has had some issues their first two games, I doubt anyone takes issue.

    Saying LFC can kiss their dreams of winning the Prem goodbye, when they’ve taken 6 out of 6 points and reside atop the table, is ludicrous.

    As ludicrous as saying LFC’s locked it up.

    Long season to go, peeps. Christ.

  25. Dominic Mather says:

    Come on Gaffer, I think you’re being slightly unfair; I thought it was a sign of a champion to be able to play badly yet win!

    And by the way – congratulations to Carragher for scoring his 5th Liverpool goal!

  26. J. Rossi says:

    kartik, go whining to mama- leave the gaffer alone.

    I am one of the loyal Chelsea followers that beto mentioned- Thanks by the way.

    Have you ever been to Anfield? That is passion and loyalty- they sing even when they are loosing supporting their team. By the way- stick to a team. Oh tonight its Fulham tomorrow’s Boro- no respect for that.

    Gaffer- cheers from cardiff via toronto. keep up the work but some of these lads need to grow up.

  27. Django says:

    Not exactly a shining example of maturity Kartik…most of the comments, save for a couple in poor taste, have been based in fact or personal opinion. It happens to be my personal opinion that winning despite playing like shit is more a positive than a negative. I don’t think it signifies doom for a title bid, and I’m optimistic as a fan of Liverpool. I’m very critical of Liverpool’s performances, however, and while I’m happy about the win I am more than aware of some glaring holes in the side, some that could be fatal for title hopes. I am certainly not entitled to anything, other than being able to support my club and have an opinion about that team. I don’t expect someone writing for this site to immediately write off someone’s opinion as simply being bullying fanboys, or to take optimism as blind faith in the side. A sarcastic response to someone correcting you because they care about their club is not very impressive. One of the reasons I love football so much is because of the passion and commitment of fans; to mock that seems in poor taste.

  28. Django honestly if you go back and compare the comments on posts related to Liverpool on this site compared to posts related to any other subject we have this sort of visceral reaction. I agree with the above post about 3 points as opposed to style points. I’ve made that very point today on another thread with regards to those criticizing the US after the massive WC qualifying victory the other night.

    I also agree that what makes football, football is the passion of the fans. That’s why American sports are for the most part a joke. The fans do not pay attention to the games and spend maybe 3 hours a week worrying about their team and use at as an occasion to take their kids to get popcorn and hot dogs rather than getting into the match and paying attention to the pitch. Again that’s why the US can never compete in any sport that more than 5-7 nations are passionate about and american footballers are at such a disadvantage when playing in football cultures. Culturally, the USA is a sporting wasteland.

  29. Django says:

    Insulting my country and nationality is not a great way to get me to agree.

  30. Django, do you follow the US National Team or are you just a liverpool fan? I’m not insulting anyone, I’m super yank in a way but bemoen our lack of competitive spirit in sports that matter. So yeah, maybe I am insulting us, but how can you argue otherwise when Americans are so peculiar in their sporting tastes based on our isolation thanks to the big pond(s) and a simple arrogance of many especially our media.

    Even the Olympics aren’t that big a deal in most countries: trust me I’ve traveled all over Europe and 90% of the people would watch a random football match over ANY olympic event.

  31. I exempt College Football and Basketball fans from my general commentary about American sporting culture. Maybe that’s why I still follow college sports as closely as international football but have written off every professional american sport. In my mind when guys leave college and go to the NBA or NFL they’ve retired like for those in Mexico who assume players have retired when they come to MLS! (True stories, about C. Lopez, and J.M Abundis!)

  32. Chris says:

    Kartik, just out of my own curiosity, what sports, other than soccer, do you think matter?

  33. Soccer? You mean Football? Okay we can call it Soccer although I’m becoming more and more anglicized as time goes on realizing that the term soccer also implies different rules and priorities around the game than the term football implies.

    Within the US they all matter. I’m a season ticket holder and lifetime (going back to the early 1980s) College Football fan. But worldwide, no one cares.

    Worldwide here is what matters:

    Rugby is massive in some nations. Cricket matters. Golf and Tennis matter. Formula 1 matters. Basketball doesn’t, because people aren’t passionate about it outside the US. Other nations may produce good basketball players but most don’t care. They made such a big deal about the woman’s basketball gold today beating the Aussies, and I was thinking, does anyone in Australia even care? Likely not.

    Ice Hockey matters but since the Olympics became a professional and massive event in the sport the US hasn’t fared as well as we’d like.

  34. Django says:

    It just seems like there is an underlying assumption that there is something wrong with the American view on sports–a tired argument, sure, but what exactly is wrong/peculiar about our sporting tastes? It’s basically negative American exceptionalism. I have a hard time being shamed into accepting being American means I am inherently naive/incorrect about my views on sports. In the same way that other cultures follow cricket or rugby, Americans like the NFL and MLB. No crime, just different tastes. Incidentally, I do follow the USMNT, admittedly not as closely as Liverpool, but I watch when I can and enjoy it as a fan of US sports in general.

  35. The Gaffer says:

    If Liverpool keeps on playing like they did against Sunderland and Boro, there’s no way they’ll win the Premier League title.

    Sure, they won both games but they could have easily lost both matches. Yes, there’s a long way to go in the season.

    Liverpool desperately needs to improve. Otherwise their Premier League race could be over by the end of October.

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer

  36. Raatzie says:

    “If Liverpool keeps on playing like they did against Sunderland and Boro, . . .”

    . . . they’ll get to 114 points and win the Prem easy.

    Should they stop winning, however, they could have a problem.

  37. Bobby says:

    Sorry mate, you have obviously have just started following football, how can two games determine a season? These are games Liverpool would have lost or drawn last year, that is in fact an improvement. Last year when UTD started with two draws and a defeat I'm sure you were here telling everyone how they would never win the league??

    I'm also surprised there is a EPL site based in Oram, Utah

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  39. Glad to know you follow the USMNT. Will lay off you then :)

    My issue is with American Premier League fans who follow England and not our national team!

    These people think england is the US team.

    You make an interesting point about American exceptional ism. Hofstadter many years ago wrote about this as an immigrant from europe in terms of individual behavior and societal norms and I must admit I had never heard that argument but you may have won me with that.

  40. Noon says:

    Liverpool got some way to go. Yes the lethality is missing, the tenacity is missing. Only the will is trong but spirit lacking. This was how Liverpool flopped when they met ManU last season and was walloped 3-0. Liverpool has got to be ruthless.

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  42. Blue Evertonian says:

    Kartic said:

    “Gaffer, now you understand why so many of us are almost scared of liverpool fans.”

    Ahhhh …. so true Kartic. Perhaps scared is the wrong word though.

    Being from Merseyside I have some very strong opinions but realize I may be somewhat prejudiced in my comments . Like any club Liverpool have a percentage of supporters who cannot take ANY criticism (or even non positive discussion) of their club (usually ones who couldn’t show you Stanley Park on a map) but truly Liverpool FC do seem to have more than most.

    I grew up in the midst of the Liverpool – Everton rivalry in the 70′s and 80′s. Both sets of fans are passionate but Liverpool’s (perhaps because of numbers) tend to be less tolerant of ANYTHING said against the club.

    I know Everton are having a terrible time this year on and off the pitch but if you said that to me Kartic (and gave me your opinions as to why), I would probably agree with you and have a conversation about it. I think most Evertonians (at least the ones I know) would react somewhat the same way.

    Like I said, I have found that most of these Reds who react that way have never been to England let alone Anfield.

    Keep up the “criticism” please Kartic! (On any team)

  43. Raatzie says:

    So all those Liverpool fans throughout Europe and Asia, as well as the US, who have never been to England are just clueless, huh?

    What an ignorant point of view.

    Oh, wait. You’re an Everton fan.

    So I’m being redundant.

    Enjoy being the New York Mets of the Prem for the next hundred years.

  44. Blue Evertonian says:

    See!! I was hoping for a discussion, instead I get abuse …. sigh. I rest my case.

  45. Raatzie says:

    I don’t know how to have a rational discussion.

    I don’t live in England.

    P.S. If non-Englanders are clueless, release Tim Howard.

  46. Blue Evertonian says:

    You know what Raatzie, you are completely off base. READ my post twat! Did I say
    “Non-Englanders are clueless”?? I most certainly DID NOT! Where the hell did you get that? You are clueless for sure. Stop making up sentences and then accuse me of saying them! Your arguments are just plain silly. You must be around 12 by the sounds of it. Grow up!

    OK … I am done with you … I will not argue anymore with someone who reacts irrationally to anything remotely criticizing HIS beliefs concerning LFC.

    Say anything you like about Everton. I may or may not agree with you but whichever way you go I will not put words in your mouth or make idiotic statements and then accuse you of saying them.

    By the way “clueless”. I am not an “Englander” …. I am Canadian.

    Gaffer why don’t you close this post ….. it is getting a bit silly!

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