Shelvey (33), Cole (72)
Young Boys 2
Bobadilla (52) Zverotic (88)
An opportunity spurned and boy, are we making hard work of this group. Ahead twice and pulled back twice and, as usual, nice play but not a nice result.
The incentive of qualification to the knockout stages, and the opportunity to park this competition until the New Year, was a reward that we let slip away or were simply unable to take? I guess it is a difficult line to tread between resting experienced players, giving youth a chance and progressing in the group? As it was we got that particular balancing act all wrong. The big guns were eventually wheeled out, yet youthful naivety showed at the end to let Young Boys back into the game and we now face the tricky prospect of Udinese in their own back yard if we are to progress.
However, let’s be positive. Joe Cole had a long overdue good game which perhaps suggests that when fit BR, for all his cynically popularist criticism of him earlier in the season, might be able to get more out of him than either Kenny or Roy Hodgson could? Cole had a hand in most of our good things last night. He was involved in our first goal picking up the ball exchanging a one two with Suso and seeing his delicate cross cum shot find Shelvey who stooped to head over the line from a few feet out. Before this he fired across the goal after good run to pick up Shelvey’s through ball. After the goal he was at it again seeing his shot, from around the penalty spot, deflected goal bound by Skrtel before being cleared.
Cole was one of many changes BR made. Gerrard and Suarez began on the bench and in came the Europa boys Wisdom, Carragher, Downing, Suso, Sahin, Henderson, Assaidi. The most notable change was Jonjo Shelvey beginning up front but it was one of those musical chair nights Stuart Downing was at left back and later Wisdom went off injured to see Henderson replace him at right back!
Nonetheless Young Boys were not to be taken lightly. In the stands they were well represented, good natured and vocal they also displayed around halfway through the second half a “In Memory of Hillsborough” banner. The Young Boys were good boys and one could have almost forgiven them if they had knocked in their first chance of the game after only nine seconds however Zarate’s attempted overhead kick ended up high in The Kop.
There was no such messing around with their equalising goal in the second half. Farnerud, on the counter attack, found Bobadilla, with a high cross field ball. The resulting finish, a nice take and rocket left foot half volley across Reina (he had no chance) into the top corner, I would suggest will be as good as any finish we will see at Anfield this season. For us the move caught Henderson too far up the pitch and unable to close Bobadilla down. I could be harsh and say that Glen Johnson must have been giving him covering lessons however Henderson is not a full back. Come to think of it neither is Johnson?
Cue the arrival of Suarez who made an immediate impact exchanging some nice, neat, pretty triangles involving Gerrard, Suarez and Downing on the left. Gerrard eventually knocked it forward to tie in with Joe Cole’s run. Rather than lay back to Suarez Cole had the confidence to turn Wolfi and bang it home. Almost immediately after Cole made way for Sterling, keep them wanting more and with a good final memory? The crowd responded with an appreciative round of applause as he trudged off, The signs of a much overdue resurrection? Later we learnt that Cole is injured… some things never change!
The goal saw us visibly increase in confidence and then, just as quickly, we were deflated allowed the Boys back at us via a Zverotic long range effort. Rather than try and play percentages, see off the game and run the clock down we opted to play as if it was the first minute and thus gave Young Boys hope. Sure enough, as we careered up the pitch, we allowed Zverotic some space and this time, again from long range, he made it count with a viscous strike into the roof of the net. It was needless, naive and a harsh lesson to learn. We now have to go to Italy and work. Will we complete the job?
Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Skrtel, Wisdom (Gerrard – 31′ ), Sahin Booked, Cole (Sterling – 75′ ), Henderson, Downing, Shelvey, Assaidi, Suso (Suarez – 60′ ), Substitutes: Jones, Jose Enrique, Coates, Gerrard, Allen, Sterling, Suarez
Young Boys: Wolfli, Nef, Zverotic Booked, Veskovac (Ojala – 23′ ), Sutter, Lecjaks, Farnerud, Schneuwly (Vitkieviez – 82′ ), Nuzzolo (Frey – 77′ ), Bobadilla, Zarate Substitutes: Mvogo, Alexander Gonzalez, Ojala, Costanzo, Doubai, Vitkieviez, Frey