Yesterday’s defeat against Spurs ranks as one of the worst emotional debacles I have endured as a Liverpool FC fan. Frustration and anger overcame my system and I was left wondering that someone “up there” must certainly hate us. My last column, “Cautious Optimism” highlighted how Tottenham move into top gear after half-time and have become the season’s masters at coming back from behind and beat their opponents. Nothing prophetic may I add and a quick look at results will only confirm this. Tottenham away was not an insurmountable target I concluded, but deep down I knew we had to be inch-perfect to come away with anything but a defeat.
I must say that both teams were ambassadors to the English Premiership and proved to me (not that I needed further confirmation) that this league is the most exciting sporting event in Europe. The ball was continuously played from one end of the field to the other and both teams sought to pass the ball precisely and indulge in one-touch football. The Reds entertained us to one of the best away performances in the last months and any sincere neutral fan will acknowledge that Liverpool should have at least earned a point after yesterday’s much improved away display. It was not to be and the Liverpool players and management have to pick themselves up after yet another set back.
Liverpool proposed a typical 4-4-2 line-up with Ngog partnering Torres up front, both supported by Kuyt and Maxi just behind. Lucas returned into the starting eleven after seeing out a one-match ban against the Hammers the previous week. The Brazilian proved to be a massive influence and was instrumental in breaking down attacks. Equally important was how Lucas muscled his way through Tottenham’s defense on many occasions reminding everyone that he can shoulder the great burden when Gerrard is absent. Liverpool’s game play was tremendously professional, well disciplined, accurate and made easy by a Spurs side impatient to score the opening goal many times failing to put Pepe Reina under notable pressure. In fact it was Liverpool that gained the upper hand in the first half and such was the positive effort that Spurs suffered a sucker punch just before half-time with an opportunistic but well taken Skrytel shot. Fair to say, Spurs had lost two men to injury during the course of the first period.
Minutes later and Liverpool failed to consolidate, first through Maxi and then through Torres, both taking advantage of a napping Spurs defense but ultimately failing to find the net. Two nil down, and Liverpool firing on all fours would have made it tough for Tottenham to come back, but with the game so tight and the lead minimal, the onus was for Redknapp’s side to come out fighting after the break. And so they did, although the Reds never bowed to pressure and kept on probing Tottenham’s half in search of the elusive second goal, which never materialized. And this is the crux of the whole game – Liverpool created many chances but only scored once, so with Tottenham riding their luck, it was always too much for Liverpool’s back four to keep Spurs at bay. Mid-way through the second half, the North London team were awarded a dubious penalty but Defoe fluffed his shot wide, and, boy was I elated. Moments later, elation turned into despair as a bulldozing unchallenged run by Modric saw his shot blatantly deflected goalwards by Skrytel who suddenly turned villain after cunningly giving us the lead. Good to note that Skrytel’s “second” goal meant that this weekend’s Premiership round saw all teams score, at least, one goal, apparently a record in it’s own right.
It was not an onslaught from then on and Liverpool had penalty appeals turned down when Kuyt was amateurishly tackled inside the box. The match official wasn’t eager to hand Liverpool any favours and seemed to enjoy extracting the yellow card and book Liverpool’s players in a game that warranted less involvement of the referee. The football maybe great in England but English referees leave much to be desired. With a few minutes on the clock remaining, Liverpool were forced into a sudden change after Carragher signaled arm trouble and the only option was to bring Krygiakos on. As a side-note, any experienced armchair fan would have recognized the injury as being a dislocated shoulder, and it was to my surprise that a popular website came up with the mad conclusion that Carragher had sustained a broken arm! Deep into injury time and Konchesky was found dormant the moment Lennon latched onto a well struck pass and the England man showed great confidence to beat Reina and make it 2-1. Tottenham could have scored a third but failed to capitalize on poor defending.
The game provided a preview of what Liverpool might offer when the ship is finally stabilized and yesterday’s performance suggests we’re not far off from reaching this goal. It’s a fine line nowadays between victory and defeat; every team will provide for a stern test but the approach and mentality adopted by the Reds yesterday is welcome and helps tone down the consequences of earning zilch from a game which could have easily been won.
The defeat boiled down to errors which are a result of the team still trying to gel but the players seem to understand Hodgson’s tactics much better now. For once, there was nothing the manager could have done to change things for the better. The game was lost when Liverpool provided, on a number of occasions, a life-line for Tottenham to hang on to by failing to score that all important second goal. It is a boosting psychological factor when one’s opponent is not ruthless infront of goal and buoyed by the home crowd, Spurs were in no mood to throw in the towel early and pressed for an equaliser even after failing to convert a highly debatable penalty.
Torres was uncharacteristically shy at shooting goalwards and may have felt somehow lost playing alongside Ngog. The latter was a nuisance all throughout but needs to improve on his ball retention skills as many times he is shoved off far too easily. The next game against Steaua Bucharest will be important for us to get back in good shape in time for the home tie against Aston Villa which is another must win and one which I am confident will see us secure three points. Three home games and two visits to Newcastle and Blackpool offer a relatively straightforward end to 2010. No use crying over spilt milk (after losing to Tottneham) – it’s important the team recognizes the good achievement albeit the loss, build on this and improve on the few but determining negative aspects. Good luck Roy, Liverpool.
See you next time.
Well this is my first Review on this site so please go easy if I’ve said something you wouldn’t agree on, I’ll be writing a review on 2009/2010 Liverpool season,
I’ll start with Lucas Leiva started almost every game this season for Liverpool in all competition, been criticised a lot my many critics and I have no complaints “ Want to Teach A dog how to pass the Ball back just show the dog Lucas videos” I won’t go too hard on the kid as I don’t put entire blame on him, I just about hold Rafa Benitez responsible for lack of performances from Lucas he says he has faith in him but what he failed to realise that Lucas came into play every game for Liverpool knowing the likes of Tottenham, Manchester City and Aston Villa would bring Strong Challenge to Claim that 4th Spot and playing a player who hadn’t played much of premier league football last season into games were we had to win, I mean it’s okay if Rafa played him against the likes of Chelsea, arsenal, Manchester United but to play him against stoke, Portsmouth, hull, where we should be Attacking rather than Defending is just Bad Management Skills from a very high profile Coach, his at times played 6-7 defenders in a team he also not used up all 3 substitutes, I mean what’s all that about we sold Xabi Alonso Fair Enough but buying his replacement an injured player is just pure ridiculous, he played Lucas throughout with Mascherano so why not play them two and spend £20m on striker who could have helped out needs when Torres was injured.
Okay enough of Lucas, Rafa and his team selection, what went wrong for Liverpool this season, well Game 1 against Tottenham Hotspur lost the game 2-1 and I don’t think Liverpool deserved to even get the 1 goal, what went wrong against teams like spurs we don’t go all defensive we should go all-out Attack Rafa went with 2 defensive midfield with lone striker, Game 2 Stoke won 4-0 yes Rafa played 2 Defensive Midfield there but I believe Team actually performed well probably home advantage, Game 3 Lost 3-1 at Home to Aston Villa year for challenging 4th spot who let us down Lucas against teams like Spurs and Villa and City Lucas I don’t think is the call for that Xabi Alonso place we didn’t perform well losing home was a big blow, okay only 3 Games gone long way to go, then came run of four straight win starting away at Bolton ended with thrashing of Hull 6-1 at Anfield, then came 2-0 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford bridge and the infamous Beach Ball goal that was proved to be the winner against us, then came 2-0 win over our arch Rivals Manchester united and we might think just the foundation we needed time to build on this and go on a long run and we lose to Fulham again no disrespect to Fulham but a Game we should be winning, but we never really got on a winning run win and draw next game even lost games Rafa never changed a damn thing, it came to the point where Riera went to press criticising Rafa and he didn’t like it got himself suspended and won’t be playing for Liverpool again, I won’t go on as everyone knows this anyway.
So target for next season well we need an striker that’s obvious who to bring and can we afford big name signings do we have the cash, things aren’t looking good for Liverpool, board room unrest we been put up for sale but not heard anyone showing interest despite our new chairman claiming persistently in media that Club could be sold within few months I only just recently got back from Australia so I don’t know what’s been going on I’ve only spoken to mates on the phone who said fans were protesting in favour of Rafa and Against American owners which is obvious, okay you guys must be bored half way through this so ill end it here, though I will name few signings I would like to see at Liverpool next season as I won’t be again in the country this time I’m off to America but will follow the site on twitter and write on site hopefully.
David Silva – don’t think it will happened but if we get in new owners and Valencia in trouble never know.
David Villa- again never know
Mata – Good player Question again can we afford him
I like those 3 players pricy I know but let’s hope,
Also hear there are few players linked to the club so hope it works out.
Players to Leave the Club-
Dagan- Good player not good enough for Liverpool FC
Riera- after the outburst don’t think he plays again so he is probably of to Spain or Russia
Ngog- I don’t rate this player to be good enough for league Football
Kuyt- I think it’s time for Kuyt to move on and Liverpool to move forward without him
El Zhar- if we can get £1m for him I say get rid of him
Plessis- Time to get rid of chip wood
Insua- I don’t think this lad is good enough at all played way too many games for my liking Championship football yes I say good enough for him.
Aurelio- I think his off to Spain or Italy
Benayoun- I hear swap deal with spurs for Pev I think that’s a good move lets go for it.
Anyway if you have manage to finish of what I typed then thanks if not then I don’t blame you, this is my first review on liverpool on this site and probably be the last while I’m in this country but will follow liverpool and premier league from America but before that I’m flying out to South Africa for the World Cup, Will write about England performance and life of South Africa in June
First the good news, Gerrard and Torres were named in the FIFA team of the year more…
(LOL Vidic is in the same team)
Glen Johnson might be in legal trouble more…
(I hope this is not true)
Aquilani flies to Belgrade for horse placenta treatment more…
(Whatever it takes)
Looks like Nando will have to be operated some time soon more…
(I just do not know when a good time would be. If Spain wants to win the world cup then here is my proposal; Silva& Villa can come on over to LFC for a few months while Torres gets operated, Deal?)
Dirk Kuyt joins John Aldridge and Brian Hall for a worthy cause more…
If you have not already done so please read the following blog post by Gareth Roberts more…
(He hits the nail right on the head)
More rumours about Senior players leading a Rafa mutiny more…
(I wish the players mentioned come out and deny it so we get over it)
Alan Hansen however predicts that if we lose against Villa, Rafa will be fired more…
(11 points behind for 4 th place, I do not even want to think about that)
Javier Mascherano will be out for two to three weeks because of his injury more…
(However he is banned for 4 games anyways)
Ian Rush, “Liverpool will miss Mascherano” more…
(without a doubt, hopefully Aquilani will be able to prove himself now)
Sami Hyypia’s team Bayer Leverkusen go into the festive break top of the Bundesliga more…
(It would be nice to see them win the whole thing maybe Sami can return back to LFC as a coach)
And Carew is confident that Villa can upset Liverpool more…
(How about Liverpool upsetting Villa?)
And here is more talk on the state of our finances more…
(We really need to get H&G out)
However it does not stop the transfer rumours from coming out, Aiden McGeady is the latest player linked with Liverpool more…
(I guess they saw Kenny watching a Celtic game and jumped into conclusions)
And speaking of Celtic, Robbie Keane is rumoured to be headed to Glasgow more…
(He does not like sitting on the bench)
And Rushie talks about his observations more…
(I agree with Ian, something is bothering them. They need to get out of it and start focusing on football)
And finally, former LFC golfer Craig Bellamy is rumoured to be leading a mutiny over the sacking of his compatriot Mark Hughes as Man City manager.