Riera 25, Torres 90
Football games are in the eye of the beholder or so it would seem from yesterday’s example at Deepdale.
Here we are facing a potentially tricky trip to Preston in the third round of the FA Cup all we want to do is get through it and on to the next round with the minimum of fuss and hassle. And so it was, we dominated for most of the first half but only had one goal to show for it. Preston had a good spell in the second half but we held out and eventually got the second goal we deserved.
Such is the case with many FA Cup ties the “lesser” side having their moment which either ends up in a nasty case of “giant kill” or them being wound in and then floored by the team from the higher division. For Preston it was the latter yet if ITV’s take was anything to go by it was an entirely different game. Liverpool progress, but according to them we will be counting our blessings a thousand times, and going “phew” a lot as we make our way home.
Quite how the decent half hour Preston had can qualify as “oh so nearly a shock” is beyond me. Every Preston move that got within sniffing distance of our goal was hysterically over hyped by Clive Tydelesy regardless of whether it was easily snuffed out or resulted in our defenders having to do a bit more work to stop them. Sometimes you have to credit your viewers with a bit of intelligence. We could see that Preston weren’t going to cause an upset so why try to make out they were and then, at the end of the game, suggest they nearly did?
Rafa named a strong side the only change of note binging Cavalieri for Reina. Preston showed no inclination to try and take the game to us. They allowed us to dominate, create plenty of chances particularly for Robbie Keane who missed three due to a combination of bad luck, the Preston keeper or poor finishing. Sadly towards the end of the half Alonso was taken off though thankfully the diagnosis, a cut instep, was not as serious as first thought. The one goal lead we had at half time didn’t reflect the amount of play we’d had. Alonso’s cross field ball found Gerrard who eventually found Riera who took the ball to the touch line bought it back in, when everyone was expecting a cross, and crashed an unstoppable shot into the far corner.
In second half there were more chances particularly from Gerrard who seemed to be enjoying the “distraction” of a game of footy. Preston had more about them and St Ledger had a goal disallowed because Parkin unsubtly hauled down Carragher on the goal line. Although it was worrying that we missed so many chances there was nothing to suggest that we would regret this by allowing them back into the game. As Preston pushed forward they left themselves open at the back. Lucas’ hoof was poorly dealt with by a Preston defender setting Gerrard free for a one on one with the keeper. Rather than make a point with a well deserved goal he opted to square for Torres, on for the last twenty minutes, who was left with a simple, “welcome back” tap in to open his FA Cup goal scoring account.
Finally one couldn’t help smiling at the phrase the cup sponsors used at the beginning and end of each commercial break “E-on bringing families and football together” humph, try telling that to my misses!
Preston: Lonergan, Jones, Mawene, St. Ledger, Davidson (Nolan 56), Sedgwick, Chaplow (Nicholson 81), McKenna, Wallace, Parkin, Mellor (Elliott 62).
Subs Not Used: Chris Neal, Brown, Carter, Whaley.
Liverpool: Cavalieri, Carragher, Hyypia, Agger, Insua, Alonso (Leiva Lucas 46), Mascherano (Aurelio 83), Babel, Gerrard, Riera, Keane (Torres 73).
Subs Not Used: Reina, Ngog, El Zhar, Skrtel.