Newcastle United 2
Cisse (19), (59)
No pre match review of this game due to illness which is just as well given the overall pre match build up which was enough to make anyone feel a tad sick.
Andy Carroll was signed for Liverpool in January 2011 however, fourteen months on, there is still this fixation with his return to his old club, his £35m price tag and his lack of potency in front of goal. Carroll has neither the skill or experience of Fernando Torres, the other surprise move on that day, however it has taken our ex man just as long to settle at Chelsea as it has Carroll at Anfield. Only now are we seeing fleeting signs of the Torres that regularly did the business for us.
For Carroll it hasn’t happened yet and, as a result, impatient pressure and expectation are being heaped upon him as if it was he that negotiated the £35m price tag and he should immediately live up to it and hit the ground running. Where is this sort of logic applied in any other field other than football? Footballers are not cars or computers or airplanes, they are human there is no “satisfaction or your money back guarantee” that goes with the fee.
With this sort of pressure Carroll can only get worse. Such comparisons, between Carroll, Torres and their fees are of course in the eye of beholder, intolerant or otherwise, just as are those between Newcastle and Liverpool, another pet theme in the pre match build up. If we look at the respective league positions we find ourselves well behind Newcastle after this game this weekends writers seized on that and painted Newcastle as example, something we should live up to. The last time Newcastle won a major trophy was in 1969 since that date we’ve won thirty six which is probably the amount of managers they’ve been through trying to achieve this! Always, tiresomely, going on about your past you Liverpool fans? Ok, this season, despite being eleven points behind, we already have one more trophy. What would Newcastle want?
Predictably Carroll, with Enrique and Bellamy, was booed by an unappreciative Cheap Trainers (few Staff and have to wait ages to be served) Arena crowd. Perhaps they should be applauding him as his fee has helped forge the side whose football they are enjoying! However, as later reactions would prove, it’s lost on some people.
Despite this, the defence for Andy Carroll ends here. He, along with the rest of the squad must be regarded as culpable for the poor run of form we are experiencing.. Although it is “work in progress” and we already have piece of silverware, there comes a point where mitigation runs out. QPR, Wigan and now this, one can get all intense and look at the various reasons but let’s sweep all that aside for now and just say “come on lads, for f*cks sake, just give us something!
The league form, “the bread and butter”, continues to frustrate if the players are just counting out time or Wembley. If this is the case then I hope Kenny calls their bluff and plays the kids they should not be allowed to get away with this, however perhaps there is something deeper?
Whatever the case, the whole situation was summed up by Carroll. Plenty of bluster and energy however, you never felt he’d produce an end product. The booking he received for diving when the goal was gaping was frustrating and embarrassing. It was 1st April and certainly foolish but not a joke. One can forgive his petulant hissy fit as he was substituted at least it showed some kind of frustration or desire that things aren’t as they should be. You can also, for the same reasons, forgive Jose Reina for snapping in the way he did, but what about the rest of the team? After game Kenny suggested everyone should stick together however, despite the good start, there was precious little of that yesterday everyone seemed in their own world?
Kenny made three changes from the Wigan game. Carroll was joined in the team by Bellamy and Jonjo Shelvey, We began well enjoying plenty of possession and looking menacing, Skrtel’s header, from Gerrard’s free kick, and particularly down the right from Bellamy who forced Krul into an early save. Aside from Carroll’s folly there was also a more convincing penalty appeal this time Simpson handling on the line from a corner
A good start so it was therefore no surprise that Newcastle took the lead! Ben Arfa did the damage getting the better of Shelvey and Enrique before crossing to Cisse to leap above Martin Skrtel successfully plant a header across goal. Our response was, well was there one? The second half, and a chance to take stock and savage something, was dashed almost immediately. We should have seen it coming after Williamson hit the post and sure enough, Ben Arfa, Cabaye and Ba exchanged pleasantries on the edge of the box. The ball ran through Enrique’s poorly judged attempt to intercept allowing Cisse, who was in an offside position, to convert.
The game unravelled with Newcastle now confident and buoyant. We looked as if we just didn’t want to be there. What effect this will have on confidence who knows. Reina’s sending off seemed to be a metaphor for the frustration, ennui and general boneheaded inertia that seems to be flowing through the side at present. Perch should be embarrassed by his cowardly, wimpy, unmanly reaction to the supposed “head butt” but Reina, when we needed him more than ever, most be wondering just what came over him. Me? After what I’d seen before I wouldn’t be surprised if the police invaded the pitch and arrested the entire team, what more could go wrong? Such was the resignation that when Kenny came on the pitch, to sort the keeper situation out, I was hoping he go in just to brighten things up, would he take his Adidas jacket off!
Reina now misses the Cup semi final now which probably means we’ll win it as we’ll dredge up some “backs to wall attitude” than we’ve not shown since I don’t know when, typical!
At the end the Newcastle fans, instead of cheering their team, and with a class that reflects their ground’s new name, sang the ”sign on” song and then the predictable “what a waste of money” at Carroll. I think X factor and Britain’s Got Talent is still a cutting edge novelty act up there! It was tiresome, predictable, cheap shoddy, stuff showing a lamentable paucity of imagination. However, sadly, on the strength of yesterday’s performance, who are we to talk?
Newcastle United: Krul, Simpson, Williamson, Perch, Cabaye, Guthrie (Gosling – 65′ ), Ben Arfa, (Santon – 90′ ), Gutierrez, Tiote, Cisse (Sh Ameobi – 74′ ), Ba Substitutes: Elliot, Santon, R Taylor, Ferguson, Gosling, Vuckic, Sh Ameobi
Liverpool: Reina, Jose Enrique, Carragher, Skrtel, Flanagan, Gerrard, Spearing, Shelvey (Downing 75′ ), Suarez, Carroll (Kuyt – 79′ ), Bellamy (Henderson – 79′ ) Substitutes: Doni, Aurelio, Coates, Maxi, Henderson, Downing, Kuyt