The reaction of the press to Saturday’s win probably failed to mirror the initial feelings of many Liverpool fans. Relief at a win secured in entertaining circumstances and goals from Gerrard and Torres just didn’t wash with the papers. It’s not often that a team wins and still gets and an almost universal b*llocking for their performance!
The Guardian, while not blaming Lucas for getting Sean Davis sent off, saw it as a key moment…..
“…..blessed fortune, not skulduggery, was the cornerstone of Liverpool’s recovery and put the gloss on their latest unconvincing show.”
The Observer was equally unimpressed…..
“Liverpool knew this was one they could not afford to lose if their title hopes were not to suffer irreparable damage. They professed themselves happy enough with the points, but their response was hardly irresistible.”
The Times was even worse…..
“Whether through willpower, talent or pure inspiration, in the recent past, Liverpool’s drive towards victory has often felt inevitable. This was a weak imitation, an echo, a stumble.”
I’m not so sure about any of these opinions. It’s easy to use statistics to back up an argument or hide a myriad of problems, we’ll come Rafa’s unique interpretation of this later, however those published on the BBC website, a first sight anyway, lend support to what I thought was a performance that deserved more credit that was dished up over the weekend.
We dominated for long periods and had plenty of chances 63% of match possession and 12 shots on target to Bolton’s 5 and we had more corners 11 to Bolton’s 5. Hardly signs that conjure up words such as “unconvincing” and “weak imitation”. Yes there are a few things that need ironing out. Yes we haven’t hit the ground running yet but hang on, its early days and I don’t think its stretching reality too much to confidently suggest that we can and will improve!
Two areas seem to be held up as evidence of our current shortcomings. The loss of Alonso which has been discussed to the point of boredom and our alleged inability to stop shipping goals from set pieces. I say alleged as Rafa has an entirely different view on this.
“How do Bolton score? Set pieces. It’s normal. But if you analyse the statistics for two years we only conceded six goals from set pieces and were the best team in the Premier League”
Now I’ll always try to see the good in everything Rafa says however I will criticise him if I think he’s wrong and surely he is with this one? Only six goals conceded from set pieces over eighty odd league games! I haven’t done this because I’m not that anal but this blog has reported on every
one of Liverpool’s premiership games for the last two seasons (OK maybe I am anal) and I bet if I read every report I feel sure I would be able to identify more than six goals conceded from set pieces. I guess part of it all depends on what you consider to be a set piece or whether a goal was directly the result of it. However, sorry Rafa I simply can’t believe it.
Regardless of this The Daily Mail picked up on this…..
“As is often the case, Benitez’s logic is flawed. He talks about the last two seasons when it is actually this one that matters.”
I can’t really argue with that. Perhaps Rafa is being his endearing bloody minded self? Would he want to admit any weaknesses publically especially when the media hounds are baying? Why should he anyway? May be there is difference between what Rafa says and what he and his team really feel behind closed doors?
On to today and the transfer window is due to snap shut this afternoon, a day late this summer due to the bank holiday. Will there be any Reds related activity? Rumours suggest not. Earlier targets previously earmarked for the exit door such as Voronin and Dossena look like staying although I suspect Charles Itandje won’t be so fortunate.
And what of new signings? Unless we are being uncharacteristically secretive about our deals it doesn’t look like there will be any major acquisitions. One harbours a deep but forlorn hope that we going surprise everyone and get someone such as Silva or Villa but I suspect that is all it is, hope and any money made from dealings so far this season will not be heading to Spain but to Scotland… The Bank of Scotland! In fact we’ve probably got more chance of getting a balanced, favorable match report!