Stoke City 2
Fuller 56, Jones 90
What a difference a week makes. From the optimism of last Sunday’s result against Chelsea to taking one point from matches against Wigan and Stoke, a “nice” accompaniment to the one point we took from Blackpool and Sunderland. What a pair of sorry bookends!
At least the latest two games were away from home but that to me is the point. I seem to remember when Roy Hodgson was at Fulham they went for ages without an away win. Perhaps this has influenced his approach to games on the road? Once more we were negative to the point where I was shouting “for Christ sake give us something!” I could understand if we had the players that weren’t equipped to take the game to home opposition but we do. So why don’t we? One can talk tactics all day but to put it bluntly, come on Roy loosen your corsets, we have nothing to lose and what are you, the fans and the players getting from this approach, apart from a whole heap of misery?
HRH rang few vital changes. Kyrgiakos returned after illness however Skrtel was retained alongside him at centre half meaning that Carragher shuffled along to right back at the expense of Martin Kelly. A bad decision in my book, Kelly has done nothing wrong so why not keep him? We might be need him more often in the light of Glen Johnson’s unconvincing, untimely, childishly petulant, self important outburst in the papers over the weekend.
The TV highlights were full of Delap’s throw ins. It is lazy and easy to just put things in boxes and Stoke are pigeonholed as the route one side that chuck it into the mix to hopefully get a break and prod it home? After the game HRH rode on this bandwagon describing the result as a
“… a triumph for Stoke City’s way of playing”
It is a comment that is neither convincing nor helpful and one that certainly gives us no excuses for the result. Even though many want us to believe otherwise, there is more to Stoke’s game. Whatever they eh hem “throw” at us we still have to deal it and many other ways of playing. We should be able to deal with it, we couldn’t and it is down to our own inadequacies and limitations on the day and not Stoke’s.
It is ironic that whilst many talk about Stoke’s lack of sophistication we were lucky not to concede two penalties. The first was Maxi clumsily barging into Fuller and the second involved a prolonged “grapple” by Skrtel on Huth. The “move” wouldn’t have looked out of place down the road at Twickenham, in WWF or on Strictly Come Dancing! How the referee failed not to notice it is beyond me
We had our moments Gerrard from distance forcing Begovic to dive low to his right and tip round the post and then later from Maxi. However, as if on cue, Delap’s throw in caused chaos in our area. It was, well I don’t know if you ever did this at school but remember the “scrambles”. Someone would throw say five pence into the playground and shout “scramble one two three”. An almighty ruck would ensue until someone got the coin. In this case it was Fuller. There’s no point in going on about the quality of the goal, even if Fuller had beaten seven men and chipped it over Reina into the top corner the feeling would have been the same?
Once Stoke had got their foot in the door they always going to slam it shut especially as we seemed averse to barging it down let alone knocking. The only surprise is that it took them so long. Gerrard’s ball was cut out and eventually, via Pennant, found Jones who outmuscled Skrtel (3 out of 10 for that routine Martin) to fire home. All that remained was for Lucas to be sent off for two reds, ho hum.
At the end some chanted for Kenny, if only it were that simple. To suggest that the removal of HRH will immediately cure things is a knee jerk reaction and once we show signs of turning in on ourselves, like other clubs have done in the past, and openly criticising our own folk, then there is no hope. HRH remained philosophical, at least on the surface, but must have felt that last Sunday was an age ago.
“That seems to be a part of Liverpool life at the moment. We are trying to do the best job we can. I don’t know if that kind of singing and chanting helps anybody but I didn’t hear it and I am sure there a lots of fans who sympathise”
There are, but sometimes it is really, really hard to divorce yourself from reacting to results, look at the wider picture and put them in the context of the overall situation. When we play like this it makes it even harder.
Stoke: Begovic, Huth, Shawcross, Collins, Wilkinson, Pennant, Delap, Whitehead, Etherington, Fuller, Jones Subs: Sorensen, Higginbotham, Whelan, Gudjohnsen, Wilson, Walters, Sanli.
Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Kyrgiakos, Skrtel, Konchesky, Meireles, Lucas, Gerrard, Maxi, Torres, Kuyt. Subs: Jones, Jovanovic, Babel, Ngog, Poulsen, Shelvey, Kelly.