Wolverhampton Wanderers 1
I know that Christmas day was five days ago but this game was equivalent of getting a nicely wrapped present and thinking it was a nice watch or a pair of cuff links only open the box and find it was freshly evacuated dog turd!
Let’s consider Wolves. No insult to them but with one clean sheet all season the poorest way record in the country (not just the Premiership but the country), hitting the bottom of the table for the first time after their last game and tired after playing three days ago while we have been resting for eighteen. Surely there was only one team in this game? And we thought the games against Northampton and Blackpool were low points, at least things can’t get any worse…. can they?
HRH made one change from the Newcastle game, the fit again Gerard replacing Maxi in the centre of midfield. Again it was a side that looked potent with Torres and Ngog upfront with Kuyt and Gerrard supporting. Daniel Agger, out with injury for around three months, was also fit but only got as far as the bench. Before the game both teams respected the memories of Avi Cohen and Bill Jones (father of Rob and Liverpool player from 1934-54) with a minute of applause.
Wolves began by trying to deny us space and pushing up but we had the first chance. Torres found Meireles with a quickly taken free kick but he lost out to Hennessey, the Wolves keeper, in a one on one when he really should have scored. However for the first fifteen minutes it was not anything special Wolves were tenacious and hard working and were successful in denying us any rhythm, time on the ball and in fact, Meireles’ chance excepted anything at all! Perhaps one could put his down to rustiness after not playing competitively for so long however, with Wolves having played Wigan on Boxing Day one might have expected more in terms of effort and result? As it was it was a poor half.
The second half began with a weak header from Ngog that was easily collected by Hennessey however, it was desperately disappointing as we laboured to contain the opposition. Zubar forced Reina to save easily from a shot on the turn, this was a prelude to the inevitable. On fifty six minutes Ebanks Blake threaded a threw ball that beat Srktel’s and Kyrgiakos’ pathetic attempts to deal with it. Ward ran on to it and prodded it past the oncoming Reina. It was no more than Wolves deserved.
HRH responded by hooking Ngog and bringing on Babel and shortly after cries of “Dalglish” echoed round the ground. Ngog was subbed but in all honesty it cold have been anyone, and I include Gerrard and Torres in that, such was the lack of ideas and meaningful contribution throughout the entire side. More changes followed, Cole for Meireles and then Aurelio for Konchesky yet while all this was happening and the crowd were descending into a trough of depression Wolves continued to put us under pressure and we continued to offer nothing.
So what excuses or explanations, from players and HRH, will we be expected to swallow this time? Whatever we get I suspect we will have heard it all before. Patience has been plentiful while the side beds down but I’ve a feeling it will be in short supply after this shoddy effort. Sometimes excuses just don’t wash. The fact that we inherited some problems this season is irrelevant, the fact that some players are out of sorts is irrelevant, the fact that we’ve had off the field problems is irrelevant. What ever the circumstances we should still be capable of putting up a better performance. Points are one thing and sometimes they are lost unluckily but how do rationally and honestly explain such a poor, gutless show? Where was the effort? Where were the ideas? Where was the footballing intelligence?
One could try and make light of this and say for example that football is a perverted beast so I’m putting my shirt on us to win at Old Trafford, but I’m too angry for that! Poor, poor, poor and very, very poor. Come Roy and the team, please give us something, a little bit of effort and nous for a start. You can do better than this. Sorry, Wolves thoroughly deserved their victory last night just as you and team deserved the boos.
Liverpool: Reina, G Johnson, Konchesky (Aurelio 73), Kyrgiakos, Skrtel, Raul Meireles (Cole 73), Gerrard, Lucas, Torres, Kuyt, Ngog (Babel 62) Substitutes: Jones, Agger, Aurelio, Cole, Maxi, C Poulsen, Babel
Wolverhampton: Hennessey, Elokobi, Stearman, Ward (Fletcher 78), Berra, Zubar, Foley, Hunt, Jarvis (Edwards 89), Milijas, Ebanks-Blake, Substitutes: Hahnemann, Batth, Edwards, Jones, Mujangi Bia, Fletcher, Bent