Manchester City 1
So is that it then? From being top on New Year’s Day we’ve crashed and burned. Five home draws out of the last seven. Many have said it from the first game of the season well presumably it’s time to start saying smugly “I told you so” Liverpool’s 2008-09 Championship obituary can be written?
Of course this is premature nonsense but who on the strength of yesterdays performance, would dare to disagree? It’s doesn’t look good however, some of the piffle that’s been spouted since the final whistle blew yesterday defies belief. Because we have dropped more home points and didn’t play that well that’s it. As if we are incapable of raising our game and going on a run. As if the Mancs performances have been so convincing that they won’t drop any points eh? Yep that’s it, it’s over, even with a further 36 points up for grabs and another game with the Mancs coming up? Why do people talk in this way? Every game seems to be given a misplaced short term significance even when, in the overall scheme of things, it may not?
I didn’t see the game yesterday so had to content myself with the brief evening highlights and Radio Five Lives’ ludicrous commentary. When is someone going to have a word with Alan Green? What a pompous, arrogant, self centred, self righteous man he is. Green’s job is to describe the action, to paint a picture of the game in the minds eye as it were, and give a degree of opinion. However, the “opinion” side is overdone and done in such a verbose, crashing way that it becomes painful and irritating listening. I don’t think for a minute Mr Green will read this but if he did I can hear him saying “tosh” but belittling players as he did with the likes of Dossena and Lucas is not “honest, telling it as it is” commentary it is simply snide, cheap, verbal, bullying.
Then we have the cowardly laughing of Mark Lawerenson in the background in a manner that suggests that when all is said and done, nothing can hold a candle to the football he played. He should know better but seems to have forgotten he was once a professional footballer or thinks he never had an off day. The lack of respect shown to players of the club he once played for is simply unforgivable. Implying that Dossena is overweight and that Lucas is no good because although he was born in Brazil, his parents are Albanian is simply crass ignorance. Did the BBC’s diversity section pack up after they’d dealt with Jonathon Ross? It’s very easy to slag players at the expense of insight, perspective, balance or even constructive criticism. Sadly however, the end result of such lazy, “cop out” behaviour is unpalatable, downright nasty, not to mention amateurish, “alehouse” commentary.
Rafa without Alonso and Gerrard drafted in Lucas and stuck Kuyt behind Torres. There seemed to be enough chances with Kuyt, Benayoun and Riera all going close however, perhaps the pressure of knowing that we had to win to maintain Saturday morning’s position got to us? Memories of the City game at Eastlands where we rallied and came back strongly were not rekindled.
Bellamy, after his deflected opener, turned around and made gestures to suggest that he wasn’t celebrating because of respect for his old club. Too little too late, you needn’t have bothered Craig. Kuyt’s equaliser from Torres’ scuffed shot gave some hope but on the whole we seemed to be bereft of inspiration. Benayoun crashed one against Given and the resulting action saw Dunne handle or did the ball hit his hand? Either way it was a struggle and what’s done is done.
So did we miss Gerrard and Alonso? Is the squad lacking creativity without them? Has Rafa got too many foot soldiers and not enough artists and not as much strength in depth as United? Has he himself made too many rash or curious decisions? No doubt all these questions will be asked as post mortems begin up and down the land but let’s hope rumours our demise are exaggerated? Perhaps I’m in denial and I agree, it doesn’t look good but remember, come backs have been our specialty this season!
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Skrtel, Dossena (Aurelio 76), Benayoun, Mascherano (Babel 83), Lucas, Riera (El Zhar 63), Torres, Kuyt.
Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Hyypia, Ngog, Spearing.
Man City: Given, Richards, Dunne, Onuoha, Bridge, Zabaleta, De Jong, Kompany, Ireland, Bellamy, Robinho (Caicedo 88).
Subs Not Used: Hart, Garrido, Vassell, Evans, Elano, Weiss.