This was a dreadful game and I’m not just saying that because we lost!
You get these sort of games in a season were the two sides, due to one reason or another, simply don’t spark off each other and the spectators are left wondering whether they would have been better off shopping in Sainsbury’s with the misses. Sorry if that contravenes diversity laws but you know what I mean, it’s too early to mow the lawn anyway!
Perhaps if we’d been in the top four we might have had the extra motivation to, as they say, grind out a result. It might not have been pretty or entertaining but it’s three points, be thankful and move on to the next game. As it is Sunderland fell straight into that category. They appear to be on the up whilst we appear to have those post Carling blues, three league defeats on the trot now and Everton await on Tuesday, if they win they overtake us in the league!
On the surface there is still talk about Champions League however, let’s be honest, on this form it is as about as possible as Torres wining this season’s Golden Boot! For all the talk one can’t help wondering if we’ve settled for what we have re the league? We’ve secured a European place and the FA Cup, if we go all the way, will give another piece of silver. This is more achievable and would represent something more tangible even if the owners smile nicely and bemoan missing out on the Champions League bounty! Better to concentrate on winning three games (sixth round, semi and final) rather than attempting to achieve something in the league which, if this game is anything to go by, is a dead duck!
Of course Kenny will never admit to that but perhaps, deep down, he’s already thinking about next season whilst altering the focus of things to Wembley again. Using the remaining games to see what needs to be done and giving the youngsters more experience isn’t a bad thing, I wouldn’t blame him. Perhaps he won’t do this now, whilst there is still a faint hope, but the thought is surely there and if we have a few more defeats?
On Soccer Saturday the morning before the game Neville Southall, through gritted teeth, said that the best keeper in the Premiership was Jose Reina. Southall was undoubtedly the best keeper in the old division one when he was in his pomp and Reina’s reputation is still safe despite the decisive goal. I don’t know what it is about Sunderland and Jose, there was the beach ball and now this!
However before describing the goal onto the first half…. we had the ball quite lot and Sunderland stopped us from trying to do anything meaningful with it er that’s about it! The goal occurred after Campbell’s shot hit the post and rebounded onto Reina’s head and then back on to the post (I reckon there was someone in the crowd with their hands on flippers and shouting “tilt”). Bendtner got to the lose ball first to fire home.
It would be easy to suggest that perhaps our defence should have been more alert and tracked Bendtner however it was such a bizarre incident that no one could have foreseen it, needless to say Reina, who was completely disorientated, also wasn’t to blame. After that it was more of the same, plenty of possession but no cigar the nearest being Gerrard’s lame long range effort and then a header from Kuyt which he should have done better with.
After he game Kenny said.
“If we could maybe get fourth spot, it would be fantastic for the football club, but winning the Carling Cup was fantastic, getting into the sixth round of the FA Cup is more than where we have been for a little while. I don’t think the performances that we have had, especially at home, have merited the number of points we have got. But we just need to keep going and do what we do well, keep our mouths shut, not feel sorry for ourselves and try to get as many points on the board as we can.”
You can’t argue with any of that however….. I’ve just spent about fifteen minutes at the PC trying to think of what to say next however you can’t argue with it! No one said everything would be sorted in a season and this is proving to be the case. Everyone feels down because of this game and nature of Sunderland’s win, not to mention the nature of Arsenal’s win last week, however, we have the best possible opportunity tomorrow to put things right and let’s hope we do.
Sunderland: Mignolet , Bardsley, Bridge, Turner, O’Shea, Larsson, Gardner, Colback, McClean, Campbell (Vaughan – 75′ ), Bendtner (Wickham – 83′ ), Substitutes: Gordon, Kilgallon, Kyrgiakos, Vaughan, Meyler, Elmohamady, Wickham
Liverpool: Reina, Jose Enrique, Coates, Kelly, Skrtel, Henderson (Downing – 79′ ), Spearing, Adam (Carroll – 69′ ), Suarez, Kuyt, Bellamy (Gerrard – 69′ ) Substitutes: Doni, Carragher, Flanagan, Gerrard, Maxi, Downing, Carroll