I was away for the weekend so didn’t have much time to write on what was an eventful few days for Liverpool, mainly surrounding the FA Cup.
The game against Oldham on paper looked a comfortable enough win however if you look at the timing of the goals and the fact the first was Oldham’s, our equaliser was a deflected shot and second a penalty then perhaps the score line doesn’t reflect the balance of play?
Nonetheless it was good to see Jonjo Shelvey get off the mark as well as Andy Carroll gaining a boost to his confidence by also scoring what looked to be the best Liverpool goal of the night. Stuart Downing also scored his first goal for us and will hopefully show the same robustness and commitment as he did in taking his goal, and then later at Cross Key’s Club later that weekend, for the rest of the season! Contesting against a member of his own sex might present a more challenging problem!
The game was of course overshadowed by the racist comment shouted from The Kop at Oldham’s Tom Adeyemi. Linkage to the recent Luis Suarez Patrice Evra saga was inevitable and the papers made plenty of copy. However the only connection is that the club’s less than contrite approach over the Suarez affair may have been interpreted by some as a green light that racist abuse at Anfield is somehow acceptable. To believe that you would need to be a moron of the highest order which is clearly what the 20 year old fan who allegedly made the remark is?
In every walk of life you will always get a moron, be it in your office, your street, on the bus or, as in the case of Friday, any place were crowds congregate. Sadly the club has to deal with it, and other than co-operating with the police, condemning and giving the person a life ban what else can they do, it would clearly be impractical to positively vet everyone who decides to support Liverpool or applies for a ticket? It worries me that because of this, and the botched handling of the Suarez Evra thing, that Liverpool fans will be seen rampaging bigots in white hooded tops when of course nothing could be further from the truth.
No doubt the FA will be rubbing their hands thinking that this might give them the ideal opportunity to castigate the club and thus reap some revenge for the belligerence it showed over the Suarez affair? I don’t make excuses the club way behaved over this but it doesn’t excuse any further punishment from the FA, the club has done the right thing with the incident, which also extended to apologising to Tom Adayemi. What more could it have done?
Then to pour oil on potentially troubled waters we go and draw The Mancs in the fourth round. Fergie has slated us for trying to instigate so called “peace talks” after the hearing stating that they are not necessary and adding that we shouldn’t have done this through the press. I agree it with Fergie even if he did say this through the press!
I’m not entirely sure why we decided to call for talks, would The Mancs have done the same if Evra was found to be crying wolf again? Anyway it will make no difference even if The Mancs accepted I can’t see both sets of fans walking hand in hand to the ground on fourth round weekend, making daisy chains for each other, putting flowers in each other’s hair and having picnics in the car park!
So to tonight’s game against Manchester City in the Carling Cup semi final first leg. It seems odd that the semi is decided over two legs when they’ve cut the rest of the competition down but there you go. It’s hard to view this game without referring back to the recent league game. Although we lost 3-0 there was still a fair bit to take from it. We had plenty of possession, made City work hard and began to frustrate the crowd. All we need to do is maintain concentration and cut out the gaffs which admittedly is a bit like saying to Mo Farah all you need to do is run faster! There was even more to take from the league game at Anfield (remember this is over two legs) which we would have won had Joe Hart not performed so well. Normally one might question the approach of both clubs to this tie however with Crystal Palace or Cardiff waiting at Wembley, City’s 2012 European hopes diluted and ours non existent, I would expect both to go for it who wouldn’t at semi final stage anyway?
Team news and perhaps we will jump on the bandwagon for bringing back old players and resurrect Tommy Smith and Roger Hunt not exactly Paul Scholes or Terry Henry (aka Issac Hayes) but who knows! Whilst we contemplate that one assumes that those first team regulars who were rested against Oldham will be restored to the line up. So I guess we’ll see Skrtel and Agger reunited and defence along with Enrique? The City line up is more interesting with Balotelli, Dzeko and Silva doubts and Kompany beginning his suspension after Sunday’s dubious red card, a chance for us to make it count?
Prediction? Despite the long queue of people lining up to pay respect to Manchester City I still think they are not as invincible as everyone seems to think they are. We’ve been a tad unlucky, and careless, against them so far this season but if key players are out I think we can make our mark. A 1-1 draw and hopefully the chance to finish the job at L4?