West Ham 0
One just wonders what goes on inside the mind of a footballer, or any top level sportsman.
Sport at this level is ultra competitive and the pursuit and achievement of excellence is surely everyone’s goal? Chances are few and far between and need to be taken. Even though there is a long way to go, here we were with one of these chances, a golden one to make a significant move in that direction. A win and we are three points clear in the race for the Premiership. All we have to do is to beat a side that hasn’t won at Anfield for 45 years. The crowd is behind you, goodwill is tumbling down the terraces, you are better than the opposition, but you blow it AGAIN! Seize the moment? Nope, like our finishing it was missed! Do we actually want to win the league? What does go on in the minds of footballers – I’m baffled, I’m worried!
As expected Rafa moved Kuyt into the middle with Robbie Keane and bought in Benayoun. There was a minor surprise with Agger being replaced with Sami. However, the line up was strong so the fact that we managed to turn in yet and another listless performance, bereft of ideas and inspiration will give Rafa, despite his positive spin after the game, major cause for concern.
The first chance of note was an Albert Riera punt at goal after Green had committed himself however Collins was on hand to clear. Next Sami grazed the roof of the net from Gerarrd’s corner. Then Gerrard then had his free kick deflected away after Benayoun had been bought down by Mullins. We had another cleared off the line, this time by Carlton Cole, from Sami’s header. Gerrard then drove into the netting after Benayoun’s pass.
And on and on and on it goes….
Kuyt firing wide wastefully when he should have passed to Gerarrd. Keane blazing wide and then Green producing a superb tip over from Benayoun’s volley. Sami had another header which went dangerously across the face of goal. Kuyt’s desperate lunge failed to connect. Kuyt again going for accuracy by trying to slide it under Green when he might have been better off lamping it. Finally Babel hitting the West Ham stanchion after a mazy run. Gerarrd’s air shot and Robbie Keane visible frustration and desperate anguish at being substituted for the umpteenth time, summed up our evening.
That we were in control goes without saying but the paragraphs above tell a story. An old, old story that is, frustratingly, very very familiar. However, it could have been worse. The ever popular Bellamy, who hit a post, Carlton Cole and the hapless Boa Monte had chances to make us regret our misses.
As it we are top but, thanks to a poor evening, by one point instead of three. Nonetheless top is top but one can’t bring oneself to celebrate. It’s a pity. We should make the most of it while we can because if last night’s evidence is anything to go by, we won’t be there long?
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Hyypia, Dossena, Benayoun, Gerrard, Alonso, Riera (Babel 78), Kuyt, Keane (Ngog 66).
Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Agger, Mascherano, Leiva Lucas, Insua.
West Ham: Green, Neill, Collins, Upson, Ilunga, Faubert (Boa Morte 86), Parker, Mullins, Behrami, Bellamy, Cole.
Subs Not Used: Noble, Lastuvka, Tristan, Davenport, Collison, Di Michele.