Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Notes on the Liverpool-Thailand match

Read my match report here.

Notes on the Liverpool-Thailand match
Notes & pics by rick olivares

Steven Gerrard led LFC onto the pitch to massive cheers. The Reds got cheered a lot but the loudest ovations were for the Liverpool captain, Luis Suarez and Thai striker Teerasil Dangda.

The crowd cheered for both the home team and the visitors. But it was the colors of the English club that most wore.

LFC was successful as first because of the double pivot that they employed in the middle. Joe Allen to Philippine Coutinho. It was a diamond formation in the middle that maximized the short passing that when successful led to cuts inside the box or the wings by the wingers. At first it forced Thailand into packing the defense closer to the middle but when they did, the ball was sent wide.

Iago Aspas looked unable to latch on to the passes or even get a good grip on the ball. You'll have to credit the Thai keeper for making good reads on these crosses.

The creativity and industriousness of Coutinho paid dividends when he dribbled about 12 yards while dancing around four defenders. Ditching their with his sleight of foot before slotting the ball to his left while sending the keeper right. It was an exquisite finish and one wonders how he will partner with another of those deft of foot, Luis Suarez. That is he will be in Liverpool.

But that goal didn't break the backs of Thailand.  They packed the middle, marked Coutinho, and closed down the passing angles. The War Elephants also attacked forcing Liverpool to play deeper into their own territory. They should that two can play that game when Teerasil Dangda dribbled past Daniel Agger and Kolo Toure then fired. The keeper read it right and parried the ball out of bounds.

The Thais continued the pressure and the impressive attacks off designed build-ups while the Reds needed a great block from Toure to keep the goal advantage. They countered on occasion but had difficulty getting that ball into the final third.

That all changed three minutes into the resumption of the match when Coutinho's through ball was played well by Aspas. That greatly changed the tide of the game. It was as if the air was sucked out of the Thai team that gamely battled the visitors.

However, it was the War Elephants that threatened first. They took the first shot on goal for the match. They got off three shots from that area. Two were saved while one went wide left.

LFC supporters wave to the Liverpool team bus as it arrives at the Rajamangala Stadium.

At one point, several English Liverpool fans began to taunt the supporters of the War Elephants. The Thais responded by cheering, “Everton!” One even yelled, “Man U” but that backfired real quickly as the Thai LFC fans booed him.

The cheering from the Thai supporters was impressive. Not only was it non-stop but it was infectious. Those guys up there have my respect and admiration.

I am in this picture from the Bangkok Post. That's me atop the larger than life LFC replica jersey. In red beside all these guys in black ushering the jersey along.

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