Less than “perfect”

Portsmouth 2
Belhadj 33, Piquionne 82

Liverpool 0

Before this game Rafa lamented the Premier League’s decision to hold this fixture at lunchtime after a mid week game on Wednesday. Clearly the difference between a 12-45pm kick off and a 3pm o’clock kick off was too much?

In fairness Rafa suggested it wasn’t right for Liverpool fans who, because of the kick off time, would face difficulties getting to the match. All very true but one couldn’t help harking back to Fratten Park in April 2007 when Rafa fielded a weakened side before a mid week Champions League game. We drew 1-1 and, leaving aside the fact that not all Liverpool fans live in Liverpool, one wonders how those who made the effort to travel to Portsmouth felt about that? Let down feeling they’d had a wasted journey? No doubt some of those fans who also went on Saturday must have had feeling of déjà vu, however on Saturday there were no excuses, in terms of line up we fielded what was a strong side.

After the game Rafa repeated at least a dozen times, to questions relating to Mascherano’s sending off and other decisions, that “the referee was perfect”. Again all very well but perhaps his comments would have more resonance had his team managed to produce some kind of performance and if Mascherano, who was sent off, had been hard done by? As it is we turned in our seventh defeat of the season. Any sympathy one might have for his post match comments were was more than outweighed by the disappointment of the result. All Rafa’s comments did, together with his earlier assertion that he would guarantee us a top four finish this season, was make the day even more annoying not to mention embarrassing. Sometimes when you a get a result like this the best thing you do is to take your medicine and, as Rafa always says these days, “think about the next game.”

Thinking about the next game is not the appetising prospect it used to be. Who knows what we are capable of now we’ve lost badly to a side that is bottom of the Premiership? This game, along with next one against Wolves, were “pick up points” opportunites. Already three of the six have been tossed away. Let there be no mistake, Portsmouth deserved to win and the sending off was immaterial. Rafa’s side was strong enough if little on the defensive side with Dossena playing and Benayoun and Babel on the bench.

Although we had most of the ball there was little in the way of genuine chances. Portsmouth kept their discipline and shape and worked extremely hard to deny us space. Torres twisted and turned, around on his own in an attempt to fashion something but was limited to one shot, a wafted effort that cleared the bar. By far the best chance was Agger’s header from a Gerrard free kick however before that Pompey took the lead with needless goal. Yet again the defence was at fault allowing Yebda a free cross. The cross found Kevin Prince-Boateng, Reina blocked the shot and then Johnson, with all the urgency and competence of a Eurostar Rescue Team, headed away tamely. Belhadj seized on it and blasted home an excellent volley from an acute angle.

The Mascherano incident was deserving of a red card. His tackle on Ben-Haim was high, late and nasty. To add insult to injury The Argentine will be out four weeks with suspension and probably longer because of the injury he sustained in the tackle. After that we huffed and puffed, Gerrard had a weird effort that took about three deflections before being clawed away by Begovic. However Piquionne was allowed to turn and volley home from another acute angle when during the build up we had plenty of opportunities to clear the ball.

So more pressure on Rafa and more pressure on the team. Many thought this would be the week when we would start to turn it around however, there were absolutely no signs of that happening. Where does the problem or blame lie? Injuries, the owners, Rafa, the finances? However, when push comes to shove only the players can put this right by performing on the pitch. Saturday’s was a lifeless and cold as the weather. The fans may have left Fratten Park frozen but surely if this continues someone somewhere might start to feel the heat, it’s only a question of how damaging it will be?

In the meantime all one can do is to get behind the team? What else can you do other than join the baying packs that are after this club? That is not “The Liverpool Way” but sadly neither was this performance?

Portsmouth: Begovic, Kaboul, Hreidarsson, Finnan, Ben-Haim, Belhadj, O’Hara, Brown, Boateng (Mullins 89), Yebda, Piquionne (Kanu 90+3) Substitutes: Ashdown, Mullins, Utaka, Hughes, Wilson, Dindane, Kanu

Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Agger, Insua (Aurelio 68), Carragher, Dossena (Benayoun 53), Gerrard, Mascherano, Lucas (Spearing 88), Torres, Kuyt Substitutes: Cavalieri, Aurelio, Skrtel, Benayoun, Spearing, Babel, Ngog

Att: 20,534

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7 Responses to Less than “perfect”

  1. rob says:

    Liverpool has to do a massive massive overhaul right from the top. u go no where with yankees who know nothing abt football apart from using hulky humans ramming against each other racing beyond the byline with a disfigured ‘ball’. Liverpool has lost its tradition as a football great ever since these americans treat it like a commodity. u need someone with traditional passion someone like roman at chelsea. The glasiers do no better at MU either if not because of Sir Alex’s depth of knowledge n experience. Rafa has to go at this point along with the yanks. Good players would still dream of playing in reds only if what happens to Liverpool now is seen as a blip. But over time, when the blip turns to rot Liverpool may even lose their best players because in modern football, money is not always the issue. Big players will be well paid anyway anywhere. It’s the challenge of honors that’s made available to them that attracts them playing for you. We see it. Fans all around the world see it. But how come the Liverpool board is doing nothing? Mark Hughes was dismissed for 2 losses. n Rafa survived 7? Get rid of the owners, allow someone with bucket load of cash n passion in football to come in as boss to first steady the finance. n then show the door to Rafa n bring in someone with credentials, Riikard or Mourinho r the kind of commanding magnets that will attract big names to Liverpool even if there is no CL next year. I am sad that Liverpool is slowly but looking surely to descend down the table. But that much as a fan can do. That much as a fan can take. The rest is up to Liverpool board.

  2. redfloyd says:

    Rob: Easier said than done. Whatever the behind the scenes stuff we still need to do it were it matters – on the pitch!

  3. Roxy says:

    I’m still firmly in “it’s the lack of funds” brigade. I agree with Balague when he said how can any one expect liverpool to win the premier league with the funds of a europa league team thus liverpool have been punching above their weight so Rafa must be doing a good job. BUT, and there’s a big but, the lack of desire and oh no, no xabi sulking, especially from the captain, shows a really stinking attitude that needs to be adressed and fast! If it wasn’t for Carragher(Captain in my opinion! who admittedly has only just started coming into form) and very few others, we would be in real trouble. This i must say is where Benitez may have to hone his man management skills and fire these lads up a bit, because while we understand you cant win all the time, what we wont accept is white flag waving from top class internationals before weve eaten our christmas dinner!

    • redfloyd says:

      Roxy

      The more this bad run goes on the more I’m wondering if this argument has a point. I’ve touched on in Tuesday’s post and it’s hardly encouraging when you hear stories about players arguing with each other on the pitch?

  4. sturon says:

    In my opinion its down to the manager . Rafa has had enough money over the years but has brought badly, give or take a few good players.
    His ‘trump card’ at the moment is Aqualini ,who he’s afraid to play until he’s at the peak of fitness because if he doesnt live up to the hype (which Rafa again has created by not playing him !) then there can be no more excuses !
    A far too defensive team was out on Saturday (as has already been said). A manager who needs to win, needs to be offensive , especially against the worst(apparently) team in the premier league .Where were the changes at half time to couter the fact that we had ten men ? Why wait for another ten minutes into the second half to make that change?Why is Benayoun , by far one of our best players this season ,on the bench ?
    Shankly must be spinning so fast in his grave that he’s moved to the other end of the cemetery !
    Unfortunately the ‘Liverpool way’ has now lost its way ………

  5. zicoinexile says:

    Rob, what a load of shite you talk.

    Whatever the issues are with the yanks, Benitez has continually bought crap players with the occasional exception like Torres and has had plenty of cash. I give you…..ah too many to list.

    Liverpool are now closer to the bottom of the league than they are to the top.

    See you sad hub-cap thieves in February at the Emirates where you will get a roasting! 🙂

    • redfloyd says:

      Zicoinexile

      Go back to the Emirates and talk about your own team. There should be plenty of silence in your oh so passionate crowd for you to make your voice heard.

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