A flop in Florence but the end of the world?

Fiorentina 2
Jovetio 28, 37

Liverpool 0

Apologies for the lateness of this but I didn’t see the game until last night due to being at a wedding on Tuesday. Then it was the other half’s birthday yesterday – I’ve a thumb print on my head!

They say things come in threes but sadly there was no third celebration, it was a disappointing result. Losing is one thing and we have done in the Champions league group stages before and will no doubt do so again. We can make the points up however, I guess what is more worrying is the nature of the performance. The discipline which characterised so many of our performances in this competition was, after a reasonable start, lost for a mad twenty minutes or so. Normally you save the criticism of your team for behind closed doors and after such a defeat Rafa goes on the defensive however not this time.

“There were too many mistakes and problems. Our mentality in the first half was not right, we were bad all over the pitch. I cannot really recall a performance like that. We certainly will never be as bad again”

Fabio Aurelio, who has probably played under Rafa the longest confirmed this

“The manager was really angry. I think that was the most annoyed we have ever seen the manager. But we were all angry. We all felt like that after the first half and I think that’s why you saw a better performance in the second”

Having not seen the full game before the goals and the reports, I was expecting a total calamity – keystone cop defending, running as if our bootlaces were tied together and tackling as if we didn’t want to mess up our hair or damage our nails! However, although it was hardly inspiring stuff, the first half hour was not nearly a bad as I thought it would be. Sure we didn’t really test Fiorentina and although they, as usually befitting the home side, had a go they didn’t unduly test us? Then of course came the goals. The second, if I’m being generous, was perhaps unfortunate however the first in which Jovetio saw a parting of the back four waves aka Moses ..…. well you saw it!

By the time we had got something resembling our act together in the second half the damage had been done. I don’t believe Fiorentina are that invincible and we can still finish them off at home however, boosted by the goals it was clear we weren’t going to stage a comeback despite an improvement in the second half.

Inevitably thoughts will turn to the team in trying to work out what went wrong. Firstly one has to pay tribute to Fiorentina they looked bright and sharp. They also snuffed Gerrard and Torres effectively, every time one of them got the ball there they seemed to be engulfed by a “flash mob” of purple. Perhaps they exceeded just as must as we let ourselves down? Let’s hope so.

Re the team, was Rafa right to field Aurelio, just back from injury, in the holding role alongside Lucas instead of Gerrard who was put in his more offensive role behind Torres? Our midfield was at times non existent perhaps we should have started off more cautiously and used Gerrard’s experience in the position where he, and not Aurelio, has been played for much of the season? And the defence? Suggestions are that we were too reckless? Should Johnson and Insua have reined themselves in a bit and with Daniel Agger close to reigning fitness Martin Skrtel must be worried? However, it is easy to be wise after the event and personally I don’t blame Rafa, we’ve been averaging around three goals a game this season so why shouldn’t we play to our strengths?

It’s easy to wail and gnash teeth however, we’ve still four games left in the group which is more than enough to make up things. In general terms a good performance at Stamford Bridge on Sunday will change things and that, judging from some of the players angry post match quotes, is what is wanted more than anything else now.

Here’s to it!

Liverpool: Reina, Insua, Carragher, Skrtel, Johnson, Benayoun, Leiva, Aurelio, Kuyt, Gerrard, Torres. Subs – Spearing, Babel, Cavalieri, Kyrgiakos, Riera, Plessis, Voronin

Fiorentina: Frey, Gobbi, Dainelli, Gamberini, Comotto, Vargas, Zanetti, Montolivo, Marchionni, Jovetic, Mutu. Subs – Avramov, Castillo, De Silvestri, Jorgensen, Donadel, Pasqual, Kroldrup

Att: 33,426

Champions League Group Position: 3rd

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