I can’t remember where I heard this but someone, as a punishment for misbehaving at school, was once charged with writing a three page essay about the goings on inside a ping pong ball. That would appear to be doddle compared to saying something about this game.
I guess this is the sort of scenario that occasionally gets thrown up when competitions such as this and the Champions League are formatted in this way? We were assured of qualification to the next stage and top spot in the group. Utrecht could not progress so you a get a dead rubber and invariably a dead game, even deader than the first game in Holland?
Perhaps the owners saw this coming hence their revised ticketing policy which allowed kids in for free. However, even they could not have foreseen that such a lifeless game would be served up. Great PR it was to reduce the admission price but at the end of the day any hopes of recruiting some converts to the red course as a result must have slowly withered on the vine as the cold and general inertia took hold?
As expected HRH fielded a completely changed side – see line up at the bottom of this piece. Prior to the game HRH said Torres would play giving him the chance to build his confidence in a “nothing to lose” game however he was withdrawn on medical advice. A cynic might say that this was a plot to increase the gate however, I believe HRH was genuine over this….
“They (the medics) made me see sense, I listened to the reason around me and I changed my mind. I am a bit sad that, unintentionally, I tricked some supporters and a few journalists.”
I don’t know if Torres really wanted to play in this game and whether it was a good idea. Should he go out and get a few goals but pick up an injury then it’s been a self defeating exercise. And why just Torres? After Saturday there were surely a few other candidates in need of a confidence boosting game not least the defence who perhaps should have been forced out onto the pitch and told to get it right this time?
As it is the game was played out with the air of an exhibition match. Jovanovic displayed the only visible sign of urgency by cracking a drive from 30 yards or so against the bar and then, late in the second half, Joe Cole should have scored but his close range shot was blocked. The very fact I’m describing two incidents that took place over an hour apart tells you about the rest of the game!
However, despite the nature of the game one would have thought that some of the fringe players would seize this opportunity show a little more urgency to try and stake a claim for a regular place? However there was nothing doing for example Christina Poulsen was anonymous and Joe Cole still appears to be going through his own private hell. I guess the defence will be pleased with a clean sheet?
Despite this one wonders just what they do for fun in Utrecht as their fans, all 4,000, of then appeared to having a wonderful time which was capped by the appearance of former favourite Dirk Kuyt… er that’s it I’ve sat for around five minutes thinking of something else to say, now where’s that ping pong ball!
Liverpool: Jones, Aurelio, Wilson, Kelly, Skrtel (Kyrgiakos 46), Cole, C Poulsen, Shelvey, Jovanovic (Kuyt 73), Babel, Eccleston (Pacheco 56), Substitutes: Hansen, G Johnson, Kyrgiakos, Raul Meireles, Torres, Pacheco, Kuyt
Utrecht: Vorm, Cornelisse, Nesu, Keller, Silberbauer, Mertens, Maguire (Adam Sarota 84), Nijholt, Wuytens, Duplan (Oar 71), van Wolfswinkel (de Kogel 45+1), Substitutes: Cummings, Vorstermams, Van der Maarel, Adam Sarota, Oar, de Kogel