Liverpool FC – Steven Gerrard Still Great, Pepe Reina Far From It

Still no win against a team in the top 10 of the Premier League, but another match to show that Liverpool are pretty much going in the right direction. The right kind of approach in a match against a stronger team, led by Steven Gerrard in the middle and Luis Suarez up front, while the defense, and especially Pepe Reina, couldn’t handle the opportunity given to them.

Brendan Rodgers has started with both Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge before, but the approach was so different than in the loss to Manchester United or the midweek draw with Arsenal, giving Liverpool two 2-2 results against higher ranked teams in five days. Instead of falling back, Liverpool kept pushing forward, looking the much more dangerous side against the champions who no longer feel and play like title holders.

But we’ll begin with the bad, or worse, in Liverpool’s mostly optimistic outcome from the match. Pepe Reina has been adding big mistakes to his resume this last couple of seasons, and the time of looking to find another goalkeeper isn’t too far away. It’s always a symbiotic relationship – a goalkeeper and his centre backs, and while Daniel Agger, not to mention Martin Skrtel who is out of the lineup at the moment, isn’t playing well, Reina’s lack of confidence and lack of judgement is costing Liverpool goals. Sergio Aguero’s goal from the tight angel was a rare one, but Reina should have never allowed himself to be caught in that position.

The opening goal from City was a text book attack from them, but also text book for how not to defend, as Daniel Agger both kept James Milner onside and failed to cover Edin Dzeko the right way. The Dane is usually the better performer in the Liverpool defense, but he has been making mroe than a few marking mistakes in recent matches.

But on to the front side, where things look very promising. Daniel Sturridge refused to celebrate after scoring a wicked shot, enjoying the fact that no City player approached him to try and block his long range attempt. Joe Hart, just like Reina, has seen better days, and could have done more than just diving towards a corner. It wasn’t his only mistake of the match, but there was Zabalete in an early incident to save him.

Liverpool’s second goal was something Steven Gerrard had coming for him a long time. There’s been quite a lot of talk about Gerrard no longer able to produce those long range crackers he’s been known for, but since Lucas has returned, the never ending Liverpool captain has vastly improved, freeing him up to play a more forward role. Physically, what can you do, he’s not as he was three and four years ago. Injuries and age always get you at some point, but Gerrard has tons of football left, and as long as he doesn’t have to chase wingers and faster players, leaving that to Lucas and Jordan Henderson, much better than Joe Allen in the middle, Liverpool get the better of him.

Two points for the finish: I’m glad to see a team carrying on with play while a player is feigning injury. The decision to stop a match shouldn’t be up to the players. The good sportsmanship tradition is usually abused by cheaters, and the only reason to stop a match is if one of the refereeing crew signals to stop.

Three seasons ago, many believed Liverpool “helped” Chelsea win the title by gifting them a match at Anfield. It was good to see rivalry calculation weren’t taken into account, and they didn’t think about how this match would affect Manchester United.