I just knew the English club involved in the Champions League game that was under suspicion in the European Unions police match fixing investigation would be us!
Whenever there is a touch of controversy these days we seem, like moths to the flame, to be attracted to it, racial allegations, tapping up, diving, dodgy handballs. We’ll no doubt be blamed for the injuries on the recently discovered remains of Richard III next!
The game involved was the Group game in 2009 against Debrecan. No doubt there will be those who talk about guilty by association however, it we were unwilling and unwitting parties in this particular incident. Despite headlines using our name it appears that Debrecan’s keeper was the naughty boy involved. Liverpool have said they have not been contacted by Europol so surely that should be the end of that it? I cannot believe that announcement would have been made without at first investigating all these issues and bringing those responsible to book however, and wrongly in my opinion, that appears to be way of things today publicise first check and sort out later which, as UEFA are involved, one can’t altogether rely on!
I always wonder how, with eleven players in a team and eleven against, you can fix a football match. If you are a keeper then perhaps there is more scope however collusion would have to be on a wide scale would therefore be more obvious or prone to exposure? Despite this Asian betting syndicates have infiltrated many sports and I guess the lesson from this is that football should not consider itself immune. Liverpool are the only English club who were unwittingly caught in the cross fire and as yet there is no proof that corruption exists in The Premiership however, this is a world wide network so it would be foolish to be complacent? As for us we didn’t get through the group stage (Fiorentina and Lyon occupied the top two places) because of match fixing or anything else of a dubious or underhand nature, we just weren’t good enough!
So back to Sunday and there was a generally positive response to our performance at Manchester City. Despite this, and inevitably having taken the lead through Gerrard’s wonder strike, there was much disappointment levelled at Jose Reina for his “contribution” to City’s equaliser. As mentioned numerous times before keepers are an easy scapegoat. No one seems to give Reina the benefit of the doubt. Aguero’s finish was out of this world but he shouldn’t have been allowed to be get into that position anyway and, once Reina had charged off his line, who was covering his goal – no one? Furthermore there are the saves, from Silva for example in the first minute, that Reina made to keep us in the game. Moreover if we are to look at Reina’s performance then surely we also to cover the defences contribution as a whole? Reina had no chance with City’s first goal (and indeed both Arsenal’s last week) however Daniel Agger played everyone on side, failed to deal with the cross which should have been prevented anyway?
It is easy to criticise and be wise after the event but hopefully we will take all this on board and sharpen up which will help us to turn some sort of a corner? If there is a time for collective responsibility and getting behind everyone the team in the hope we can push on it is now?
And so to future football. Tonight’s international match has seen the usual spate of withdrawals. even though it is against Brazil. The timing of this game, just as we approaching the sharp end of the season, is terrible even though it’s the FA’s 150th Anniversary.
Daniel Sturridge is one of many who have pulled out through injury and if he makes a “miraculous recovery” in time for West Brom on Monday night then great! The game will give England fans a chance show their appreciation of Steven Gerrard who they voted England player of the season or, if they are feeling particularly benevolent, and can divorce footballing ability from personality, Ashley Cole’s hundredth cap. I suspect for most reds fans the main source of satisfaction will be derived from a safe, injury free return to L4 from everyone at the club be they involved at Wembley or elsewhere?