Stoke City 0
Firstly I would like to apologise to all Liverpool fans. In the last blog I wrote about the Saturday this time last year when I went to scout camp to pick up my son and we blew an opportunity against Birmingham. This Saturday? Same task, same camp, same opportunity blown. I’m going to ask someone else to pick him up next time!
A disappointing result failing to build on the momentum gained from the Mancs game. It was also a grim reminder of last year? Another draw that should have been a win? Let’s hope this is not the thin end of the wedge, a sign of more to come?
At least we cannot blame rotation this time. Rafa fielded a strong line up with most of the big guns present. If the statistics are anything to go buy it could be put down as just “one of those games”. Twenty four chances it seems! Even allowing for poor finishing surely, in normal circumstances, the law of averages would dictate that at least one might go in?
Of course things were not helped by Stoke’s tactics. Although lacking in ambition they were rugged, determined and resolute. Who can blame them for approaching the game in this way and if we were worth our salt, we should have been able to find a solution to the puzzle they presented us? On top of this there was the issue of the disallowed goal, from Steven Gerrard’s free kick, because Dirk Kuyt was deemed to be offside by the third official. Rafa was understandably miffed
“Nobody knows why the effort was ruled out. The referee told Jamie Carragher that it had been his decision, not the linesman’s. It was a massive mistake.”
However all of these are excuses and poor ones at that. We created plenty of chances to render Andre Marriner’s decision academic. The frustration at what is a wasted opportunity is not tempered by the fact that on any other day we would have probably breeched Stoke’s lines. Perhaps it’s an early wake up call in the sense that if we really do want to improve, we need to nip these instances in the bud as they were root cause of our failings last season.
Although it’s early maybe it’s a warning to those of us who, after a good start, were being to get unrealistic ideas about our prospects. Over ambitious? We shall see, over to Rafa and the team!
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Skrtel, Dossena, Kuyt, Gerrard, Alonso, Riera (Babel 65), Keane (Benayoun 73), Torres. Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Agger, Mascherano, Leiva Lucas, Degen.
Stoke: Sorensen, Griffin, Abdoulaye Faye, Sonko (Cort 22), Higginbotham, Lawrence (Cresswell 66), Olofinjana, Diao, Delap, Kitson (Fuller 78), Sidibe. Subs Not Used: Simonsen, Whelan, Tonge, Wilkinson.