A period of inactivity due to work, a wedding on Friday and then my internet provider letting me down. Actually it might not have been them it could have been Joey Barton clogging up the system through accessing the numerous internet quote websites to “cut and paste” into his Twitter account!
Over the last few weeks or so we’ve had George Orwell, the Dalai Lama, Nietzsche and Charles Darwin clumsily used by Barton in attempts to score points over his club which, as far as I can see, hasn’t really done him any major wrong. I don’t know who Barton is trying to kid. After everything he’s done does he really feel everyone will be taken in by his attempts to pass himself as some kind of wronged, leftfield thinker or the footballing equivalent of Stephen Fry or Oscar Wilde. Although they all been in prison I suspect the similarity ends there. Hopefully a journalist or someone will ask Barton to expand on this apparent knowledge of Orwell, Nietzsche or Darwin. Perhaps they won’t though as they’ll probably get their head kicked in!
Anyway I belatedly watched the Valencia game yesterday afternoon, a far better option then the Mancs v City charity “love fest” at Wembley although I regret missing out on Gary Neville’s’ insightful punditry for Sky still, there is more fun to had there as the season unfolds! There was something uplifting about seeing Anfield in the sun and full of fans. Perhaps I appreciated it more as changes are afoot re the ground or simply because it’s near the beginning of the season? Seeing Kenny touch the “This is Anfield” sign as he went out on the pitch (he seemed to touch it for longer for than the others) sent a shiver down my spine was just as it did seeing him back on the touch line at Old Trafford last January. Perhaps the elongated touch was an acknowledgement that for him this is an important season personally and professionally. He had a good run when he took last season however I guess the real test begins now he is permanently in the post?
Earlier in the week Kenny had said that our pre season games shouldn’t be regarded as a “barometer” of form for going into the Premiership campaign. As a fan it’s difficult not see it as that so Saturday’s win will have soothed some worries, if nothing else a clean sheet was welcome. I guess people will also see the line up for the preseason games as a “barometer” for who Kenny will pick for his first game? I don’t think he can win, the midfield is big however in the past the club has been slated for not having enough strength in depth. I guess the trick is to impart to the players (save a few automatic picks) that they won’t play every game. This is inevitable as with European Competition gone opportunities to ring the changes will be less?
Did we get any indication as to Kenny’s first pick on Saturday? Not really, he named a strong side building on the one that drew in Norway. Nonetheless I suspect there were still a few teasers namely Aurelio at left back and Aquilani in the middle. No Lucas or Suarez yet and of course Gerrard waiting to come back? I don’t actually see why we should think like this anyway, how many times does the manager have the luxury of being able to field a full strength side? Everyone will probably be tapping the “barometer” with a questioning look but why should we, after Rafa we should all be used to rotation albeit at a less vigorous way!
For the record, or my records when I read this back in years to come, it took just six minutes to make our mark. Valencia seemed fairly slack at the back unconvincingly trying to knock it around. Eventually they were caught as Carroll seized on Albelda’s attempted back pass. His shot hit the keeper and then the post however the rebound fell kindly leaving him to turn in from an acute angle.
The vigorousness of Carroll’s follow up and general play suggested he was certainly fitter than in previous games however, one sensed it was slightly frustrating for him he was on his own up front and received sparse support. This all boiled over when he had a set too with Rami which earned himself a yellow card. Elsewhere Downing continued to provide the width and service Carroll will need, Henderson was on the opposite flank, is this his natural position?
The game was ended with a second from Joe Cole’s free kick which went right into the danger area. Ngog, Kyrgiakos and Kuyt tussled for the ball with the Dutchman given credit for the final touch.
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson (Kelly 7), Carragher, Agger (Kyrgiakos 78), Aurelio (Robinson 46), Downing (Rodriguez 59), Spearing (Lucas 46), Henderson (Kuyt 59), Adam (Flanagan 74), Aquilani (Cole 59), Carroll (Ngog 59).