Monday, October 29, 2007


Liverpool flop at Anfield (again)

Rafa's expensively assembled side again failed to collect three points at home for the 4th time this season. Eight points dropped at Fortress Anfield and we're not yet in November is not the start Rafa expected after he demanded, and got, money to spend during the summer.

Put simply Liverpool had to win this game. Not because anything less would condemns them to another season as also rans. In the build up before the game much was made of this being Arsenal's first serious test of the season but this was also an examination for Liverpool's credentials. Credentials that have taken a battering this season with a poor start in the Champions' League and the Premiership where draws with the likes of Birmingham and Tottenham have done little to dispel the belief among many fans that Rafa's red revolution is all hype.

Liverpool fans won't be happy. There were spells yesterday, most notably at the start of each half, when Liverpool threatened to overwhelm their 'youthful' visitors in the manner of last season's 4-1 drubbing but it didn't last. This Arsenal have a mental as well as physical toughness added to their reportoire of movement and swift passing and at the end it was probably the Kop that breathed the heaviest sigh of relief.

Torres, whose goals against mighty Reading and Derby had pencilled him down as a 21st Century Ian Rush might as well have stayed in the dressing room first half. Indeed many thought he had. Liverpool are about Steven Gerrard and without him driving them forward they become just an average team. Peter Crouch came on and got off some useful efforts, indeed Liverpool created more chances than their visitors, yet still Arsenal will feel aggrieved at coming away with a single point.

Jamie Carragher again had a tug in the penalty area, last week Lescott in the Merseyside Derby, this week Fabregas, but again the referee chose to ignore it. When you are a 'model pro', like Carragher then, the perceived assumption is, you don't do such underhand things. 'Model pros' have acquired their spotless reputation over years of dedicated and thoughtless service to their club, it takes time to be seen as a snide dirtbag. Look at Shearer.

On the other hand, after extolling Eboue recently he reverted to type after he was hit in the face by the draught caused by a Liverpool defender's elbow brushing past his face. He fell like he'd been hit by a speeding train and rolled round the penalty area like a thing that likes rolling round. It was cringeworthy stuff and he well deserved the abuse that greeted his every touch once his pride had been bandaged.

I suppose neutrals will say it was a great game but I'm no fence sitter. I hated the first 80 minutes and was yelling at the ref to blow his bloody whistle for the last 10. For Arsenal the result was fine. If you win your home games, blah blah blah. For Liverpool that seems nothing but a dream at the moment.

After the match the model pro himself, surprisingly the man of the match, was interviewed and perhaps his comments offer an insight to the malaise hanging over Anfield at the moment. He said that 'being Liverpool we should be beating Arsenal.' What the? I would suggest Jamie you take your head out the clouds and get real. Liverpool may be the most successful side in England but they haven't won the title since 1990. Since then Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea, Leeds and Bl;ackburn have rained on your parade while, one Champions' League aside, you have just a nice collection of cups.

You're fooling no one Jamie, except perhaps yourself. Before you can even start saying you should be beating Arsenal perhaps you should start beating the likes of Birmingham, Tottenham. Portsmouth. Even Marseille.

Next week Liverpool are away. They enjoy playing away where they have collected 13 points so far this season. They may not enjoy playing Blackburn Rovers. Arsenal on the other hand host Manchester United who have been scoring goals for fun. I won't enjoy that game either.

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