Kyrgiakos 48 Torres 53
Blackburn Rovers 1
Carragher 51 (own goal)
Last month Sam Allardyce said that he should be manager of Real Madrid.
The reason? He was implying that such is the set up and wealth of talent at the Bernabeu, that it is easy to manage those sort of clubs and much harder to get something of the clubs he’s been associated with. It’s a breathtaking statement, as arrogant as it is stupid. It insults those in his profession who have lucky enough to manage a top club and also suggests that the clubs he has managed have him to thank leading them to a new Jerusalem of… er well, not much really.
The real measure is that Allardyce’s sides have always been one dimensional and predictable, Reebok Stadium, St James Park, Ewood Park or the Bernabeu (in his mind at least) it is still a sows ears out of silk purse, lowest common denominator style of football. If anyone needs proof that Allardyce is talking nonsense one only has to look at Roy Hodgson’s situation. Perhaps Allardyce, based on our season’s story so far, still feels it would be easy to manage Liverpool as opposed to Blackburn? Whatever Allardyce might say I don’t think Real Madrid fans have any course for worry especially if yesterday’s performance is anything go by which in no small measure was the result of good, positive play from us.
HRH made the expected changes. Gerrard, Torres, Meireles, and Joe Cole were recalled after missing out in Naples. The first half was a decent affair and we began well with Robinson, in the visitors goal, doing well to stop Joe Cole’s shot after good work from Maxi and Torres. Meireles’ attempt to convert the rebound was less impressive failing to steer the ball into a gaping goal although in fairness time was short and the ball was travelling at a fair lick. Shortly after Kyrgiakos brought out another good save from Robinson from Gerrard’s corner. Next it was Gerrard’s turn forcing Robinson to punch away one of his trademark howitzers after a quick break. Then it was Maxi just failing to get a toe on Gerrard’s dangerous cross.
So no shortage of industry and a positive approach as seen in the number of chances. It was a refreshing change from previous performances were we’ve been tentative and erred on the side of caution. However, as the half unwound, and chance after chance was missed, you could feel the tension and worry beginning to crank up. Even the crowd was quiet and very witty of the PA to play Slade’s “Cum on Feel the Noize” as the teams trudged off for half time!
The second half finally saw us get the early goal that was desperately needed in the first. Gerrard’s corner found Kyrgiakos whose header, via a deflection off Olsson, did the rest. We were then unlucky not have a penalty when Givet pole axed Kyrgiakos but nothing doing. It is weird thing going in front. It should be a relief but in this case perhaps the pressure to maintain the lead creates more nerves? Perhaps that is why only three minutes later Benjani was allowed to waltz down the right side, beat two men and cross to the ever popular Diouf. His shot went through Reina’s legs, was cleared off the line by Konchesky only to hit Carragher and bounce back into the net.
Diouf celebrated like he just smashed a forty yarder into the top corner. Perhaps that might have been easier for us to stomach as this was very poor defending? As mentioned before, it might have been down to nerves leaving us kicking ourselves over our failure to make those first half chances count?
Thankfully, the riposte was immediate and cometh the hour cometh the man. It’s been a hell of a long wait but finally Fernando Torres pitched in, as he has done so many times in the past, to grant us deliverance and breathing space. Gerrard, after picking up the ball from our thirteen corner of the game, found Cole. Like Torres Joe Cole has been having an indifferent time so perhaps it was appropriate that his cross found the Spaniard in space on the six yard area. It was an easy task to knock it past Robinson.
After that it was a nervy end as we hacked and sliced the ball away and made really heavy weather of clinging onto the lead as Blackburn sensed that an equaliser was not out of the question. However, we hung on and demonstrated enough to make sure that, for the first league game since Arsenal on the opening day, there were more positives and negatives to talk about. HRH expressed relief at the win and no doubt Sam Allardyce blamed someone other than himself for his defeat….. probably Rafa or Real Madrid or both!
Liverpool: Reina, Konchesky, Kyrgiakos, Carragher, Skrtel, Meireles (Shelvey 89), Gerrard, Cole (Ngog 78), Maxi, Lucas, Torres Substitutes: Jones, Kelly, C Poulsen, Shelvey, Jovanovic, Babel, Ngog
Blackburn: Robinson, Olsson, Givet, Salgado, Jones, Emerton, Dunn (Hoilett 68), Pedersen, Nzonzi (Grella 33), Kalinic (Mwaruwari 46), Diouf Substitutes: Bunn, Morris, Chimbonda, Grella, Mwaruwari, Hoilett, Diouf