Well, I thought that was a very decent performance although we do still have some issues defensively. I didn’t believe we had much of a chance today and I’m actually quite heartened by that performance.
After a couple of scares, I thought we were on top when Mbiwa was sent off, and may well have gone on to win if we’d kept 11 on the pitch. At that stage Tiote and Cabaye were controlling the game from midfield without creating too many clear chances. Their control was reminiscent of our best spell two seasons ago, and it was great to see us dominating in midfield again.
On the sending off, I thought Mbiwa should have been able to clear the ball with his head. Once it dropped beyond him to the s****hawk we were in trouble. I haven’t seen a replay but the contact didn’t look much and I suspect Suarez, as ever, was looking for it.
With 10 men I thought we defended pretty well in the 2nd half, and the dippers probably created fewer real chances than in the 1st half. It was shame we couldn’t keep the lead after Dummett’s goal but it certainly wasn’t for any lack of effort.
Krul’s last minute save from the s****hawk looked fantastic, although it was perhaps a good height for him. However, to have lost after that nice Mr Mariner must have played about 9 minutes of extra time would have been hard to take.
Regarding the substitutions, taking off Cabaye was a strange one, but was probably down to fatigue and his overall level of fitness after playing in both of France’s internationals. Bringing on Anita was spot on – we needed additional legs in central midfield at that stage.
I might have brought on Shola rather than Sammy, as we needed to be able to hold possession when we were getting the ball forward, but Sammy did ok.
I initially questioned the taking off of Sissoko after the red card. However, on reflection I think it was a sound decision. I actually didn’t think he was playing all that well – he and Ben Arfa were giving the ball away too often.
I thought the front 3 worked really hard and played a full part in the overall performance. Gouffran took a couple of knocks, and ended up knackered, but he had a decent game.
While the thought of him playing in this one horrified me, I thought Mike Williamson was outstanding – he even had a bit of a hand in Dummet’s goal.
I thought Pardew’s tactics were sound, throughout. Interestingly, I thought Brendan Rogers got a lot wrong today. In fact, I thought the scousers were tactically all at sea today. Imho, Rogers took far too long to move away from three center-back’s when we went down to 10 and only had one man playing up front.
In addition, he persevered with Henderson and Gerrard in the middle when a more creative player like Sterling could have replaced Henderson.
Likewise, Sterling could perhaps should have replaced the rather ineffective Sissoko on their left wing. In the end, Sterling didn’t appear until the 82nd minute – far too late.
I thought Moses generally played too deep, and when we were under pressure both Suarez and Sturridge were looking for one-twos around the edge of the penalty area rather than getting in there and looking to hurt us.
A decent performance and a very creditable point. Now for another three next weekend when we will have only one center-back to choose from – unless Saylor becomes available. Enjoyed it.