Wolverhampton Wanderers 0
Nil nil draws never seem to the best or memorable games. Although we moved up to fifth place it will probably be regarded as an opportunity lost and therefore hardly an outcome to have any Reds fan walking down the road with a jaunty spring in their step tomorrow!
This was another game in a series of hard working but scrappy performances we seem to be stringing together. Both sides seemed very wary of each other and boy did it show in the play, it was rough, tough unproductive stuff. However, although I hate the phrase it was another game unbeaten. Green shoots, even thought none of our detractors will be convinced and in all honesty I’m not sure I am?
Rafa made two changes from the Spurs game, Gerrard and Rodriguez for Aquilani and Degen. However it was not the match that hogged the Liverpool headlines before the game. Of more interest to the scribes was Juventus’ alleged interest in our man – for some of Rafa critics the Old Lady courting the Old Woman? The story, inevitably, has been denied but I guess costly contractual issues which would be solved if Rafa voluntarily walked off to Turin? However I don’t think for one minute he is likely to do that in the middle of a season. Above all however, it is a reminder that for all the criticism Rafa has taken this season, he is still in demand, especially in Europe.
The first half was hardly rip roaring stuff. Doyle went close for Wolves after a good build up but his shot was just the wrong side of the post. Other wise it was sorry series of broken down moves, poor passes and innocuous fouls. To say we lacked a cutting edge would be a massive understatement. We rarely threatened as both sides struggled to make an impact against the respective defences, both were full on party pooping mood. Although there was all to play for neither manager would have been particularly enthused as they went in to give their half time team talk? More football, more confidence and, above all, entertainment please!
Sadly in the second half we were “treated” to more of the same. It was, to be frank, poor stuff. The game was crying out for a goal but neither side had the wherewithals to deliver. It sounds like a pointless “what if” argument but we needed someone like Torres to create a goal from nothing, to make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear as it were?
So what are the positives? Another clean sheet and with a back four that, let’s be honest, would have been no ones first choice a few weeks ago. More signs that we are becoming harder to beat, five games now. However, Wolves are a side we would have easily overcome last season. The 0-0 draw will only highlights the backwards steps we have taken this season and, in this instance, the lack of options we have up front. Kuyt, for all his industry, cut a lonely ineffectual figure. Ngog, when he came on, also displayed the symptoms of “forwards block”. Gerrard and Maxi, for different reasons linked to fitness which were both understandable, didn’t have one of their best nights.
Towards the end we cranked the pressure up. Carragher drove a shot that went about ten meters wide. It summed up the quality of the game and both team’s night.
Wolverhampton: Hahnemann, Craddock, Ward, Berra, Zubar, Mancienne, Foley, Henry, Jarvis (Guedioura 88), Milijas (Jones 73), Doyle Substitutes: Hennessey, Stearman, Guedioura, Jones, Mujangi Bia, Vokes, Iwelumo
Liverpool: Reina, Kyrgiakos, Insua, Carragher, Skrtel, Gerrard, Riera (Ngog 66), Maxi, Mascherano, Lucas, Kuyt Substitutes: Cavalieri, Degen, Darby, Aquilani, Babel, Ngog, Pacheco