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Liverpool 0, Hull City 0: First Thoughts

I'm not sure what was worse today: the refereeing, the commentating, or Dejan Lovren.

Alex Livesey

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Liverpool 0
Hull City 0

  • Liverpool spent an awful lot of the first half with their fullbacks staying higher up the pitch, allowing tons of space behind them for Hull's wingers to get in to to cross. No way that could come back to bite you against a "good ol Engerlund" style team, right? ... right?

  • Mario Balotelli had kind of a weird performance. He'd make a really good run in to space one minute, then he'd have a clownshoes touch on a pretty ball in the next. He'd bust ass trying to get to a loose ball behind the defense (while actively being criticized by the announcers for "standing about waiting for things to come to him"), then dawdle around on the ball a few minutes later until Steven Gerrard literally comes over and takes it off his foot. The signs of promise are great, but could we maybe get rid of the other stuff?

  • There was a bit of controversy in the first half after Adam Lallana went on a slaloming run through the box. He sent in an admittedly poor cross from the near post, but then got wiped out by a very, very late tackle. While the ball was out of Lallana's possession by then, it was still in the box and a challenge that late isn't just a foul, it deserves a booking. It should have been a penalty, but it didn't even get a second glance from the referee.

  • Liverpool went on a run of sustained pressure after making changes in the second half, only to be thwarted by the ref on a pair of questionable calls by the ref on Balotelli. He was whistled for two fouls in quick succession, one for clipping a defender while diving to head in a cross (which he missed anyways, so no loss), and one for... well, the other was for Ahmed Elmohamady taking a dive in his own box. Balo was understandably annoyed about the second call, and frankly it was frustrating to see a patently obvious (and really rather poor) dive go unpunished.

  • Dejan Lovren continues to be very, very bad at being a center back. Especially in the air, and especially especially on set pieces at both ends of the pitch.

  • Balotelli gets no respect from commentators or referees. Late in the match he was barged over from behind by Alex Bruce (who should have been sent off long before given how many hard fouls he was committing), and not only did the referee literally look away, the commentators actually suggested that he dived. "It sure looked like he went down awfully easy under insignificant contact." Yeah, a forearm shove at your shoulders from behind is "insignificant". Right. Sure.

  • Balo had a chance at the death, but it was well saved, and Liverpool staggered out with a hard-luck draw. Liverpool could have and should have won this match, but stodgy defending kept them out when they had the upper hand. Better tactics and earlier changes would have helped a lot today, and this could be one of those "if we only had those two extra points" matches come the end of the season.

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We'll be back shortly to take an in-depth look at everything that happened in today's game with the full recap. Until then, let us know your take on the ups and downs of the match in the comments, and if you haven't already, join the community on the Liverpool Offside, where we'll have full coverage and lively in-game discussion for every match this season.

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