It was a typical David Ngog goal which secured Liverpool FC a wispy 1:0 win in the Europe League clash against Unirea Urziceni on Thursday evening. A victory at home and a clean sheet are nice, albeit they weren’t achieved in a typical Liverpool style we got used to.
David Ngog has this ability to score goals out of nothing, in moments of great chaos and gallimaufry.Those goals often aren’t pretty but they are important and, in matches like the last one, the prettiness doesn’t care. We just want to see the ball in the net!
Once again David Ngog made a totally unexpected intervention and didn’t fail. Till that moment more disappointment in Europe had seemed the most likely outcome and the teams performance wasn’t getting better at all. For whatever reason … In fact, there might be a few.
With no Champions League theme tune to serenade them before the game, an unfamiliar Thursday evening kick-off, an extra pair of match officials and the potentially demoralising psychological effect of knowing that this was not the place they wanted to be, there were genuine fears that Liverpool would suffer a collective hangover. This could be only one reason but maybe it’s the biggest one. Well then? Let’s just accept this and rock the pitch! That’s what ought to happen but – with all respect – didn’t at all.
The players kept on making simple and stupid (!) mistakes which weren’t expected, especially against a team like Unirea. And then there was this … motionlessness. Dirk Kuyt was the only one – again – who was moving, trying and running … for life. Like he was the only who really cares about a (possibly) win. (?!) The others … Well … Stevie was where he was needed, and his despair and desire to win was more than apparent.
“Unirea were very stubborn tonight,” he said after the match.
Hmm… I think they weren’t only stubborn. They were better organised, they were concentrated, they were … everywhere! The white players stuck to the red ones as if they were glued! And, for whatever reason, our lads weren’t able to run away from them.
So what was wrong? Motivation was not an issue. Quality, or more accurately the lack of it, occasionally was, however. Even against opponents of such limited pedigree, there were times when Liverpool’s lack of a cutting edge in attacking areas, a problem that has plagued them throughout the season, resulted in promising moves breaking down just as it seemed that they would result in something tangible.
There was nothing glamorous or easy on the eye about Liverpool’s display, but at least they got the job done and succeeded. Though, till the 81 minute I got so angry about the lack of quality, motivation and the numerous mistakes, that I could not really enjoy the goal and the victory, respectively. I still can’t.
Let’s give our lads another try then. Next week in Romania.