Big home following, full strength side and a team with confidence, surely we could win. Yet the Pie Eaters that turned up at the weekend were bitterly disappointed to see their team not only lose, but lose in such a bad and poor manner. None seemed to care and if they did they showed it in a very bad way.
All that is to come, but first to the reason we lost this one; Martinez’s tactics. Normally I would say Roberto is spot on, he normally knows how best to set the team up, we don’t always win but he sets them up well. This time round it failed and failed miserably.
The usual 3-5-2 was replaced by a more standard 4-4-2 and that was our undoing. Two at the back of Gary Caldwell and Paul Scharner didn’t have the pace to be able to keep up with Luis Suarez, nor did they have the skill to keep Philippe Countinho quite. Yet when you have a back three there is always one player available to mop up the mistakes.
There was none there on Staurday. No last gasp Maynor Figueroa challenges, no charging Gary Caldwell tackles. It was sloppy and poor, none seemed to know what to do and Gary wasn’t able to hold his head up and lead by example. He himself was struggling.
In the midfield our two were over ran by the tireless legs of Steven Gerrard, Luca Levia and Joe Allen. The two James couldn’t be everywhere at one however much we wanted them to be, usually in such a situation Shaun Maloney would drop deep, but Shaun was stuck our wide on the right and when he did come inside he left Boyce exposed. None could do right and that was how it was easy for Liverpool.
We had no unity, we had no buzz and the players looked disheartened and out of it. That was even before we were 3-0 down.
The only positive we can take from the defeat was how well Arouna Kone played alone up front. He ran down every ball and he chased every lose end. He was turning their defenders left and right and kept hold of the ball. The only shame is that none else was there to help him out.
There is one more positive to take from the game, and that is the appearance of Antolin Alcaraz. The defender played 20 minutes at the weekend and was strong and confident on the ball and in the tackle. He will be important for the run in, and will possibly feature in the quarter final at the coming weekend.