It was hardly a game to keep everyone talking long into the night!
However, one should try not be too negative. It is after all a point away from home which keeps us top of the group. However, there were some areas for concern regarding the performance which was more likely to see viewers recline into their seat and contemplate a quick catnap rather have them excitedly moving to edge of it!
Even though Gerrard was missing HRH fielded a strong side. Kelly was drafted in at left back to replace the injured Konchesky. Lucas and Poulsen were the holding midfielders with Cole, Meireles and Kuyt, retuning to his old club, lining up behind Torres.
The first twenty minutes were uneventful. Although we had plenty of the ball it was all in midfield. The closest we got to testing their keeper was two harmless efforts from Meireles. Torres tried hard but sluggishness and lack of service meant he was again a largely ineffectual threat. During this period the best part of the game was a great one touch move which sliced through the heart of Utrecht’s defence only to find Torres having the door slammed shut in his face. The Dutch side also had slim pickings. Perhaps the closest they got was a cross from their right back which was spilled by Reina however Skrtel, complete with black Ninja headband, was on hand to tidy up.
As the half progressed Utrecht became more confident. Mertens went close after sluggish defending from Kuyt only for Reina’s legs to save the day. All in all despite a good start it turned out to be insipid, uninspiring stuff.
The second half saw Utrecht continue to make their presence felt. Meireles headed off the line from a corner when Reina came to claim it but missed. Then just as the game looked to be running away from us Kuyt, having collected a route one Reina clearance, squared to Torres, on the edge of the six yard area, who missed a guilt edged chance allowing the keeper to somehow get something the way of it. It was a better half for the Spaniard who worked hard to make most of the few opportunities that came his way. Hopefully such endeavour will be rewarded soon?
At the other end we were unlucky not to concede a penalty after it seemed Carragher pulled Wuytens’ shirt. In the same move Silberbauer had a half decent chance which he fired straight at Reina. Later Mulenga fired wide after nipping in between Carragher and Kelly who both seemed to think the other player was going to deal with the loose ball. In the end I think we were glad to hear the final whistle.
Back in the good old days a 0-0 away from home in Europe through soaking up the pressure and keeping the crowd quiet was always welcome. However although the score was the same and we can take some solace from a clean sheet, that is where the similarity ends. It was, to be frank, unconvincing. Utrecht made us work and exposed us at the back in terms of organisation and lack of confidence? Better teams will take more advantage however everyone knows we can, and will, do better than this
FC Utrecht: Vorm, Cornelisse, Nesu, Schut, Silberbauer, Mertens, Lensky (Nijholt 82), Wuytens, Duplan (Maguire 69), van Wolfswinkel, Mulenga, Substitutes: Sinouh, Keller, Vorstermams, Van Der Maarel, Maguire, Nijholt, Demouge
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Kelly, Skrtel, Meireles, Cole (Maxi 81), Lucas, C Poulsen, Torres, Kuyt Substitutes: Jones, Kyrgiakos, Maxi, Spearing, Jovanovic, Babel, Ngog