Apologies for lack of contact but the Christmas festivities have meant that I’ve only really been at home to sleep since Tuesday! The last thing one wants to do when getting in at twelve at night after along session is to write. My amblings are incoherent enough when I’m sober so God knows what I’d come up with when drunk!
Perhaps the most important thing about Wednesday’s Wigan game was the three points. I didn’t see much of the action save, for a alcohol dazed glance at Match of the Day, but Scotland’s miss for Wigan was sobering, perhaps the defence played better and it seemed we created more than our fair share of chances to offset this. It was great to see Torres get a goal on his hundredth appearance even though it was a scrappy one and even more encouraging is that Rafa feels he could be ready to start this lunchtime. Aquilani? I just give up. When you’re ready Rafa?
Off the pitch it was also great to see the fiftieth year since Bill Shankly’s coming to Anfield honoured. Many people have commented on Ian St John being close to tears on Sky, after the Arsenal game, when asked what Shankly would have made of our current predicament. It is easy to take the pi** but it shows that St John cares about Liverpool, it’s traditions, reputation and history. This is something Shankly was always keen to emphasise and something that the fans have taken on and always kept close to heart. Even today Shankly’s influence still governs many the attitudes the fans show towards the club and its current manager. They are wholesome, decent respectable attitudes. Sadly there one or two individuals in positions where it matters where this is lost!
Suggestions that we are meltdown or are on a downward spiral haven’t been helped by our exit from the Champions League and it was weird to see us excluded from yesterdays draw. We now play Romanian side Unirea in the knock out bit of the UEFA Cup and, if we win, will then face Lille or Fenerbahce. Unirea dropped into the competition from the Champions League group stage but were good enough to defeat Glasgow Rangers and Sevilla so should not be underestimated however the first game isn’t until mid February so a lot can change? Said Rafa
“It will be a tough game because they were in the Champions League. I was following their group because I have some friends in Sevilla and so I know it will be difficult. But we are Liverpool and we have to have confidence. The main thing for me is that the game isn’t until February so we have plenty of time to prepare and analyse the other team.”
Hopefully we will go into the Unirea tie in better shape than we were for the Champions League games. With Portsmouth and Wolves next we have a good opportunity to finally get some points under our belt and boost the confidence which Rafa seems to think has taken a denting recently. We need to take closer order and with everyone else slipping up, when they look like taking the initiative, who knows what might happen? For today’s game Torres is fit and it also looks like Glen Johnson and Ryan Babel will also be available. Portsmouth players will no doubt be keen to please new boss Avram Grant however, it is a game that, if we are beginning the uphill climb to the form we know we are capable of and that everyone is used to, we need to win?
Prediction? I’m loath to mention the “turning a corner” phrase but hopefully Wednesday’s result will have facilitated that. Let’s hope this progresses the journey and that, over Christmas and the New Year, we move on to brighter things.
Onwards and upwards, 2-0 to us.