Monday, November 05, 2012

Dreamboat dazzles but victory denied

Liverpool 1 - 1 Newcastle Utd

A 1-1 draw away from home with Dreamboat giving us the lead, only for us to hand an equaliser and a man advantage to a poor side - sound familiar? This time Sideshow Bob - the undisputed hero against the Mackems - was the guilty man, though the otherwise impressive Spidermag should also hang his head in shame at the wayward distribution which ultimately allowed the Scousers to score. This is the worst Liverpool side in living memory and their usual talisman, Phil Collins fan Steven Gerrard, was woeful on what was his 600th appearance for the club, so it's disappointing we weren't able to bring our miserable 18-year winless run at Anfield to an end.

The Silver Fox opted to make three changes to the starting line-up, with Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson and Big Lad the trio who can consider themselves a little unlucky to miss out. In came Saylor, Vurnon Anita (at right-back) and last weekend's unwitting last-minute goalscorer Papiss Cisse.

Liverpool kicked off as though determined to perpetuate our search for maximum points from this particular fixture, Raheem Sterling in particular raiding down the left and floating inside to dangerous effect. From the other flank, Suso tried his luck a couple of times, while there was a laughable penalty appeal after six minutes, Sideshow Bob neither handling the ball nor clipping Luis Suarez's foot before deflecting the ball to safety.

Having weathered the initial storm, we then started to get a grip of possession, stroking the ball around neatly without fashioning much in the way of opportunities. Simpson made an early entrance when Perchinho had to come off with a thigh injury, and Anita, pushed into midfield, set about having one of his most effective games to date. Just as it looked as though the game would be goalless at the break, we scored with our very first effort on target. Andre Wisdom was penalised for a foul throw in our half, and we were able to work the ball to HBA on the right, who left both Sterling and old boy Jose Enrique standing. His cross found an unmarked Dreamboat at the back post, who controlled the ball before smashing a spectacular shot past Brad Jones from a tight angle.

Liverpool looked dazed and lame efforts in response from Suarez and Nuri Sahin failed to trouble Tim Krul. The disappointment of being behind at the interval was then compounded for some home fans by a faulty sprinkler that gave them a half-time soaking.

Our injury problems worsened shortly after the restart, Demba Ba leaving the action - hopefully not for a long spell in the treatment room. That his replacement was Little Big Lad rather than his older brother suggested a marginally more conservative approach to try to hold on to our lead and attack on the break.

Suarez forced Krul to tip a skimming shot behind for a corner, but we didn't look to be in too much danger until Spidermag's error, gifting possession to Enrique. His hopeful punt forwards was expertly controlled by the Uruguayan striker, who cheekily rounded Krul to tap in. It might have been irritating to watch our defence caught out by such a direct tactic, and Suarez is a thoroughly detestable individual (once again overacting, moaning and waving imaginary yellow cards in the direction of the referee), but I can just about grudgingly admire the quality of the finish.

Our goalscorer went off with a knock to be replaced by Shane Ferguson, a move which left us looking somewhat shapeless and unbalanced, the Northern Irishman seemingly keen to occupy the same territory as Little Big Lad. But it was a Scouse substitute, Jonjo Shelvey, who took centre stage shortly after Saylor's superb block from Sterling's shot. The bald-bonced ex-Charlton midfielder fluffed a glorious chance from Suarez's cut-back and then squandered two great headed opportunities.

We were carving out chances of our own, Cisse going close and HBA beating two men and driving his shot into Jones' midriff after Little Big Lad's speedy gallop out of defence. But it became backs-to-the-wall stuff when Sideshow Bob inexplicably lunged in on Suarez with six minutes to go. Contact was minimal, but, as an initially incensed Silver Fox later admitted, the replay looked nasty and suggested plenty of intent - completely out of character for a player who is usually the personification of calm authority and whose moment of madness has now most likely deprived us of our captain and best central defender for the next three league games.

Thankfully, though, the closest Liverpool came to snatching the win they misguidedly seemed to think they deserved was in stoppage time, when a shot deflected off Cisse and was misjudged by Shelvey with his back to goal but nevertheless bounced up over Krul and onto the top of the bar.

A point at Anfield would have probably have been palatable pre-match, but in hindsight - given we were leading against a side lacking in guile and cutting edge with just over twenty minutes to go - it was definitely more a case of two points dropped. Nevertheless, our next few fixtures all look winnable so if we can finally find some form it won't matter quite so much.

A Liverpool fan's perspective: The Liverpool Offside

Other reports: BBC, Guardian

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A point at Anfield would have probably have been palatable pre-match, but in hindsight - given we were leading against a side lacking in guile and cutting edge with just over twenty minutes to go - it was definitely more a case of two points dropped."


Liverpool Newcastle
1 Goals 1
0 1st Half Goals 1
6 Shots on Target 3
8 Shots off Target 8
9 Blocked Shots 0
14 Corners 3
11 Fouls 14
1 Offsides 1
0 Yellow Cards 1
0 Red Cards 1
83.7 Passing Success 76.9
27 Tackles 26
77.8 Tackles Success 76.9
65.6 Possession 34.4
59 Territorial Advantage 41
523 Total Passes 273
36 Total Crosses 9
172 Lost Balls 152
61 Recoveries 56
60.3 1st Half Poss. 39.7
72.7 2nd Half Poss. 27.3

12:45 p.m.  
Blogger Ben said...

Thanks for that. Very helpful. Remind me how all those stats emphasising your dominance disprove the fact that you lacked guile and a cutting edge?

1:11 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was the 2 points dropped thing I was on about. You were lucky to get away with a point. We had plenty of cutting edge, just couldnt finish.

8:23 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“It was a good point from a very hard and difficult away game,” Cabaye said.

8:24 a.m.  
Blogger Ben said...

In the end we were a bit fortunate, maybe, but I thought we were pretty comfortable until Suarez scored. Your late flurry of chances only came once Coloccini had got himself sent off.

12:55 p.m.  

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