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Anfield Agony......

Wednesday, 3 October 2007













Before I write about Liverpool's performance I would just like to say that I didn't actually get the best view of the game. I decided to watch the game in a pub in South West London with about 5 different screens but every time I got a good view either some outrageously tall person would stand in front of me or someone with a hair do like Marge Simpson would get in the way. I swear, do these people intentionally go to pubs to get in your way cos I am pretty sure that I never see them anywhere else.

Anyway, even though I didn't have the best seat in the house the general gist I got from the game was that Liverpool were absolutely terrible. In fact, I think the last time they were so abject was their first half against AC Milan a couple of years ago in the Champs League Final. At least then they were just genuinely outclassed. Today they were just absolutely woeful.

With Pennant suspended and Babel on the bench, Rafa drafted in Benayoun and Leto into the midfield alongside Sissoko. Crouch partnered Torres up front to complete the forward line.

The first half was a tepid affair with Liverpool playing with little or no urgency against a well organised Marseille side. Crouch looked well off the pace an no longer looks like the player who has got "good feet for a little man". He couldn't trap a bag of cement and he must have a trampoline in his chest because everytime he tried to trap the ball it bounced about 20 yards of him.

Liverpool appeared to have no real game plan and played with no tempo as Marseille controlled the majority of possession. They had a goal harhly disallowed for offside which would have given them probably a deserved lead at the break.

Liverpool got worse after half time as Marseille's high tempo pressing game continued to deny Liverpool time and space and the Reds increasingly looked for the long ball to get them out of trouble.

The visitors eventually got the goal they deserved as Valbuena curled in a delicous effort which Pepe Reina could only stand and admire. A flurry of late substitutions and a late rally resulted in Torres being denied a goal by a combination of post and defender. However, it would have been an equaliser that the Reds scarcely deserved.

A few weeks ago, after Liverpool trounced Derby, people said that we would soon see if Liverpool were the real deal. Well if tonights performance was anything to go by, then they most certainly are not. Without Pennnant and Babel, they seriously lacked pace in the final third and any meaningful creativity.

Momo Sissoko was all over the shop and needs to be taken out the firing line asap whilst Gerrard looked like he was still thinking about that kid he run over the other day.

I am not entirely sure why Babel and Mascherano were on the bench, perhaps Rafa underestimated Marseille. Mascherano is Liverpools best holding player, even when Alonso is fit. Rafa has stated time and time again that he is rotating to keep his players fresh for the last games of the season. That surely is the most ridiculous thing ever. What if Liverpool are out of contention by then? They are going to have the fittest players around but they could potentially be playing for sweet FA.

Its a bit like meeting a girl on a drunken night out who wants to sleep with you and then you saying "not tonight love, I am a bit too hammered to give you the pleasure you deserve, but I will call you in a few weeks when I am a bit more sober and then I will show you the time of your life."

So what happens in a few weeks? That's right, you give her a call and find that shes happily married and looking to have kids. And what are you doing? Holding your balls wishing you had banged her that night. Lesson? Don't plan too far ahead and live for the day or else you will be regretting those missed opportunities.

With some tough fixtures coming up this could be make or break time for Rafa Benitez. Jose for Anfield anyone?

Sunil

(I was pleased to see the team defending a 1-0 deficit, absolutely abysmal and probably the worst performance I have seen from a Liverpool side since Houllier was around. - Ed)

2 Responses to "Anfield Agony......"

Rotate This...... Says:

I hope you have singled out Leto (who?) and Sissoko for extra punishment.

As a Liverpool fan – if either of them play another game (other than Carling cup) ever again it is too soon. Momo was so bad we would have been better playing with 10 men, and Leto looked like his legs were made of stone and he was incapable of tracking back.

Martin Tyler and Andy Gray (who loves watching Liverpool struggle) took great pleasure in emphasizing the dominance in midfield of Marseille. That was because they were playing 5 against 2. I’m not counting Leto for Liverpool and I’ve put Momo on their side as he seemed to pass it to them every time he got it.

Why was Mascherano on the bench? He’s both a better holding player than Momo and a way better passer.

Benitez needs to turn this around really fast or the Liverpool faithful will turn on him very quickly. He has had the money, has the squad and the performances are getting worse.

Wunderkid Says:

I think you're both being exceptionally harsh on Mohammed Sissoko, as I watched the whole game at home on the T.V. and I have to say that he was one of Liverpool's better players. He gave the ball away a few times but at least was prepared to actually step in and win the thing unlike Gerrard. But yes, you'd rather have Alonso or Mascherano there.

And where on earth were Benayoun, Gerrard and Leto (who blew hot and cold, but mainly cold) to receive Crouchy's knock-downs? Nowhere to be seen. Liverpool were knocking the ball up to Crouch much too early in that first half before he even got a chance to get into the penalty area.

The question with that first half offside call for Marseilles is whether or not Reina would've saved that follow-up shot had the flag not already gone up, and you'd say that he probably would've so Marseilles shouldn't feel too aggrieved about that.

Fortunately for him, Fernando Torres has now made up for that dreadful miss by scoring the crucial equaliser against Spurs.

Benitez's rotation policy is a double-edged sword as although it genarally means that no player is completely left out, it means that most of the players end up playing half the season and may want to leave for a club where they can get regular games anyway, but he has to do it especially in attack and midfield because simply because of Liverpool's sheer depth in those areas.

Why did Ryan Babel and Andrey Voronin not start instead of Benayoun and Leto? And Riise who offers a great attacking option instead of Aurelio who doesn't? I think that Beitez will definitely look back at this game as a real selection clanger, and them, Alonso and Mash should definitely come back into the fold now.

Oh yes, it's a rotation policy but Harry Kewell really should bite the bullet and demand to be transferred to a club like Lyon where he'd most likely win the French title and get more opportunities as it's not good for Australian football to have him wasting away at his boyhood favourite club.