Liverpool’s nightmare of a start to the new campaign of the Barclays Premier League seemed to rub off in their cup tie as well. After failing to grab 3 points at home against Norwich City, Liverpool welcomed Carlisle United a League 2 team to Anfield for a Capital One Cup fixture.
At the full-time whistle, Liverpool and Carlisle were tied at 1-1 and the game travelled the distance with both sides failing to score in extra time. Adam Bogdan was the hero on the day for the Kop as he saved three penalties in the shoot-out to take his side into the fourth round. Here are 5 talking points from the Liverpool vs Carlisle United game.
1. Rodgers staring down the barrel!
Brendan Rodgers did no good to his managerial position with the display the team put up in the Cup encounter. The manager named a strong squad with not many first team players missing. This change from last week’s Bordeaux match shows how Rodgers is feeling the pressure. In spite of the talent in the squad, Liverpool struggled to score more than once yet again and Rodgers may well pay the price with his job if this kind of results continues till the next international break
2. Danny Ings, the answer?
Benteke injured, Sturridge not fit to start his second game in 4 days. Danny Ings had to step up for the team in red and he did. The former Burnley striker was one of the few players in red that came out of the game with his head held high. He scored the only goal for the home team and slotted his penalty home nonchalantly. He was full of energy and stretched the Carlile defense whenever possible. Two goals in two games will give him loads of confidence he may just be what Rodgers was searching.
3. Lack of creativity, AGAIN
Carlile United came into this game having conceded more goals than any other team in English domestic football in the new season. They let 4 past in their last league game, but none of those stats was evident when the Liverpool side was struggling to get any clear chances at goal. Liverpool took as many as 46 shots on the day with only 4 on target. It was clear in the latter stages of the game that the team lacked a Plan B. Taking shot after shot from outside the 18-yard box when the opponents have 9 players inside the box is not going to give the team many goals. Rodgers should quickly start taking the team in a positive direction; else Liverpool will continue their record of not being able to score more than once in the last 9 games in all competitions.
4. Injuries, Injuries and more injuries
Brendan Rodgers’ job is getting tougher and tougher as Liverpool are facing the wrath of a compact schedule. In last night’s game, Firmino was substituted in the first half and Dejan Lovren left the team to play with 10 men in the final stage of extra time. Lovren will be out for at least 2 months as per reports and Firmino’s injury is still to be assessed. Jordan Henderson the skipper of the team is still in the US for a treatment. The injury list will only get longer with the games coming thick and fast and this is the last thing that the Liverpool Manager needed especially when under fire. However, these injuries will test the man management skills of the manager who often fell short of the required standards in the previous seasons.
5. Carlisle United unlucky, Bogdan an unlikely hero
On the day, Carlile United never looked threatening but were sound in defense. They gave space at times but on the whole never let Liverpool dominate the attack. They were set up to defend and did it almost to perfection and the Carlile manager will be proud of his League 2 outfit which dragged Liverpool to a penalty shoot-out. If it wasn’t for debutant Adam Bogdan, Liverpool may well have been on the losing side and Rodgers may have already been sacked. However, the visitors can have their head held high and can build on this for the rest of the season.
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