My take on yesterday's game.
Credit to Arsenal - It's easy to call them bus parkers and say they were negaitive. Yes there were long spells in the game where they played very deep and surrendered possession but hti sis a side that has had a soft underbelly for 10 years or so. Arteta has come in and got them very organised in a short space of time, i can't imagine players like Holding and Luiz will be in the side long-term but he has got them playing like a defensive unit. REminds me a little bit of the progress Houllier made early on at LFC. For all our possession, I don't think we really troubled them until the middle part of the 2nd half. There were also spells in the game where they got forward, played high and pressed our back four into long balls and giving up possession. Fairplay to them, they've beaten us twice, City, Chelsea and united since lockdown was lifted i believe.
As for our performance. I didn't like the team, no Trent is a huge loss, as many have said Milly needs to start at RB when Trent isn't available. Neco looks a million miles off it, particular when he's got Salah in front of him. With Trent missing we really should play either of Keita or Jones in the middle of the park. They played a back five and kinda strangled our effectiveness in wide areas. Others are beginning to cotton on to this so we need to be able to play through teams as well. We had some spells where we looked good, suffocated them and wouldn't them out, that's when we are at our best but clearly we miss Trent and we miss Hendo.
Positives were Robbo who had a good game, he wasn't great after we secured the title but looks best to his best now, fit, sharp, quick and competitive. Minamino has been getting brighter (not that that was hard!) steadily for a while now, again he was a livewire yesterday and you could see the relief when he scored, the goal will do him the world of good. I thought Milner had a decent game just a shame he couldn't put that header away. Apart from that the only thing we can really point to are the minutes in the legs, will benefit the lads ahead of the season. I think most of us wouldn't swap a chazza shield win for 3 points vs Leeds so lets hope we get them.
Negatives. Aside from Neco's performance i was disappointed in Klopp bringing Brewster in for the pens, nothing to gain and everything to lose for the lad in this situation. At least give him 7-8 minutes to run around first, it just wasn't the best of moves for such a young player imho. Our front players need to get themselves going, Mane did ok but some heavy touches, Firmino (bar that one run and shot) was largely invisible and Mo looked a shadow of himself yesterday, was a bit brighter when Klopp moved him inside. Last year we lost this on pens but i actually thought we played really well, yesterday it wasn't a great perforamace. I'm not massively concerned but Klopp has a bit of work to do.
As is usual, when we drop the ball, or in this case a pre-season penalty shoot out, threads erupt and judgements are made. Thankfully, there weren't too many in the past couple of seasons but last year, it was "could we close the gap to City" because one player missed a penalty, this year it's Neco Williams in the doghouse. This the same man lauded after conceding 5 goals at home to the same opposition last season. He sees a goal put past him from 25 yards, and now he's not good enough. He'll be off to play for his country next week. He's not even 20 yet. He's back up to Trent here, who himself has got the ring around by that opposition player in recent years. Yes it was a mistake, but that apart, I don't think he had much to do, or did much wrong. He's a decent back up, and that's what he'll stay.
At the end of the day, them wildly celebrating Charity Shield wins on penalties shows where they stand as a club atm. This game ended in a 1-1 draw. It used to mean holding the trophy for 6 months. Now it just means we have bigger and better targets in front of us to focus on.