It was a win for Liverpool but whether it will be enough to get us into the group stage of the Europa League remains to be seen. Roy Hodgson made seven changes to his weekend line-up with Steven Gerrard given a night off, and it certainly disrupted the rhythm. The only goal came on the stroke of half time: Ryan Babel finishing smartly from a Joe Cole fine delivery. The second half was better. The introduction of Fernando Torres lifted the crowd performance on the pitch, but it didn’t lead to more goals. Joe Cole had a penalty saved after a foul on Lucas, and Christian Poulsen was denied a debut goal by the referee. All in one it means: decent, we take that, but it could have been better.
Or like our gaffer said: “I think we probably deserved more but can only blame ourselves. We missed a penalty and if do that you can’t blame anyone else. With the second-half performance we deserved a second goal, which would have made the trip to Turkey more comfortable. Now it won’t be comfortable at all.”
True. There were chances enough. First the early header by Sotirios Kyrgiakos. Than the penalty. Then several chances by Torres and then Poulsen’s denied goal. Speaking of whom … Christian looks an intelligent player, with this nice, simple penetrating passes. The firts half wasn’t a smashing one by him, he didn’t look much mobile, but I take that as a warming up. In the second half he was noticeable better, and it could have been a perfect debut for him in the red shirt, but the referee crossed his plans.
In the first half Liverpool haven’t been brilliant in overall. There were few moments but they weren’t enough to capture the Turkish side. The impressive moments came from Soto, who really had a good day. The one who shined was Jovanovic: so powerful, so determined, outstanding.
Ryan Babel scored the goal after Cole’s cross. Very well then. It still didn’t convinced me about him and his staying at Anfield. I truly do not understand why so many keeps on backing him. He was disappointing in the past. He is disappointing in the present. He scored yesterday, fair enough, so what? I can’t notice any measurable development either in his performance or in his attitude. I think many are being unfair against Ngog as they keep on criticizing him despite his superb performance and development. Ryan keeps on disappointing, then he has the one moment and he already is a hero. How does that work? I don’t understand. He brought some fresh air? I’m sorry, when did that happen? Didn’t notice … This is also unfair against Lucas, who’s trying so hard to improve, and the pundits keep on moaning. Speaking of which … The only thing Ryan Babel keeps on improving is moaning. But when he gets the chance to play, and o to show his qualities, he doesn’t. The one moment yesterday? This is so not convincing me. Luckily Joe Cole was sticking around … Ryan needs to change his attitude first, then I’ll – perhaps – back him fully. I do support him, ‘cause he’s our player, but I do not back him.
The second half was much better by Liverpool. Torres replaced Babel and made an immediate impact on the Turkish goal. He must have learned from Kuyt, because he seemed to be everywhere. Fernando was sharp und very impatient to score, and as I mentioned, the team played better straight away but, unfortunately, it didn’t help us to score. The one who got it into the headlines again was Joe Cole. Poor Joey, ay. In my opinion he really did well yesterday, he only wasn’t that lucky with the penalty. A shame, but what can you do? We cannot change this. Just as little we can change the refs’ decision on Poulsen’s goal. What a shame. Trab’s keeper did the most, if you ask me … I liked what I’ve seen from Poulsen, and I’m looking forward to more.
José Reina got his costly mistake against Arsenal out of the system when he denied Umut Bulut a precious away goal with the Trabzonspor captain unmarked in the area.
So what did we learned from yesterday’s match?
That Roy seems to be the right man for us (so far). He seems to get us back on our route. That’s good. That’s very good. I like that. It makes me feel (realistic) positive. We’ve seen a good mix of young and experienced players on the pitch which worked, and I liked that as well.
We’ve seen some sweet moves by Joey. Oh, I love this lad! We’ve seen an outstanding Soto and a shining Jovanovic; my MOTM.
Furthermore we’ve seen our King Kenny in the stands, which always is a delight.
All in one it could have been better, but it always can, so I take the win, and stay positive. We still can do it, the door to Europe aren’t shut yet.
Let’s focus on Manchester City now.