Rafa plays Russian roulette as reds still search for killer instinct!

Wigan 1
Mido 83 pen

Liverpool 1
Benayoun 41

Yet another draw, our fifth in eight games and here we are, about to go into February and still no Premiership win in 2009. The fact that we went into the New Year top and are now third, albeit on goal difference, says it all. From making the pace to playing catch up to limping along and, perhaps, looking behind us?

I guess the frustrating thing is that our record against the two clubs that lead us has been good this season however, it’s been too many draws against so called “beatable” sides. Stoke (twice), Hull, Fulham, West Ham and now Wigan. Too many draws mainly through not being able to kill sides off. Stop me if you’ve heard this before!

Last night was another case in point going one up just before the break, a great time to score. However, in the second half rather than kill Wigan off, we let them back into the game. Rafa, in a post match interview, described the second half as “crazy”. He inferred that this was something to do with Wigan or the referee however, many Liverpool fans will be using the word “crazy” to describe some of Rafa’s substitutions?

The removal of Torres after 70 odd minutes was understandable, he looked tired and out of sorts however rather than bring on Keane, Rafa switched Babel to the centre and threw on Riera. While Keane was still smouldering Rafa dealt him a further blow by wheeling on Kuyt for Benayoun who was one of our most effective players until then.

When Wigan equalised, all things pointed to Steven Gerrard. Would he dig us out for the umpteenth time? Cometh the hour cometh the man? Nope, he was putting his tracksuit on having been hauled off in favour of Keane! Rafa’s excuse? Gerrard was tired. Clearly with only six or seven minutes to go Gerrard was so spent that he couldn’t go on! Unable to rise to the challenge of hauling us back into the game as he has done so many times in the past! We all know what Gerrard’s like don’t we, quitting when the going gets tough, just as you need him, scared of a challenge? I don’t know who is more disappointed Gerrard for being subbed or me with Rafa for him thinking everyone should believe his explanation?

As write it’s difficult to fathom what Rafa was thinking or what we need to do next. Something needs to change? A more positive, less cautious attitude but is this in Rafa’s nature? I guess had we won it would not be an issue. We certainly had plenty of possession and created enough chances as seen in Torres’ back header that hit the post and efforts from Babel and Gerrard. Familiar words that could be applied to so many games this season just insert the name of the opposition?

Our goal, converted by Benayoun from a tight angle after he had rounded the keeper after collecting a defence splitting ball from Maschernao, set us up nicely. Gerrard could have put the game beyond doubt in the second half but fired a half volley wide. We hummed and arghed and fiddled around and then Kumas, running into the penalty area, received the ball from Brown and then a tap from Lucas, over he went. Mido converted and “Walk like an Egyptian” cheesily blared out from the Wigan PA? However, it was us who put in a mummified performance!

So in the space of two league games we see another late equalising goal conceded due to a careless, needless, avoidable challenge. All that was left was for Rodallega to hit the bar which, after this result, was what I felt like doing! Perhaps Rafa could do with loosening up as well?

Wigan: Pollitt, Melchiot, Boyce, Scharner, Figueroa, De Ridder (Koumas 63), Brown, Cattermole, Taylor (Camara 80), Zaki (Rodallega 77), Mido.
Subs Not Used: Kingson, Edman, Watson, Kapo.

Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Skrtel, Carragher, Aurelio, Benayoun (Kuyt 75), Leiva Lucas, Mascherano, Babel, Gerrard (Keane 84), Torres (Riera 72).
Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Dossena, Agger, Alonso.

Att: 21,237

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