Friday, February 01, 2008

Keano crushed

I made my annual pilgrimage to Anfield on Saturday. It was absolutely freezing and I was with my dad so I didn't hang around for the protest afterwards. But I made sure not to spend any cash while I was inside. Better one DIC than two and all that.
Back to matters on the pitch. If I were Sven I would say "first half bad, second half better". Thankfully I'm not Sven and I still have my hair. But it was indeed a case of a poor 45 mins. We struggled to create a genuine chance. While we had the vast majority of possession, we didn't do much with it. But it was a win, three points, three goals and a much needed shot in the arm ahead of the Chelsea.

In the second half, Finnan came on for Aurelio who wasn't good at all. Even though Finnan was playing left back, he added a different dimension to our attacking play. But it was Carra, rampaging forward from the right back bearth who set up the first goal. He's played there in the past but not much since Rafa arrived. Rafa said that he wanted to have some good height at the back to counter Jones and co. It seemed to work as they didn't get too many headed chances.

Skrtel impressed me on his first league start. I know that he was a bit shaky in the cup but that was his first game in a few months since the Russian league eneded. He looked a lot fitter and compsed on Saturday. He looks to be quite fast and is a big lad. His passing was good but he did put a few astray in the second half. We've lacked good passers from defence so I'm hoping that he can help us in bringing the ball out of defence, like Agger does.

Lucas started on the left side of midfield, tucking in to support Javier and Gerrard. I think that Aurelio was supposed to provide the width, coming forward from fullback. But it didn't work for either player. Lucas has looked great in recent matches but looked out of place on Sat. We tried it, but it didn't work so I'm hoping that we don't see him there again. Yossi did well when he came on there in the second half.

Mascherano was superb yet again. I would go as far to say that he's been our best midfielder this season. He's a winner and a leader. If Gerrard or Carra aren't playing then he should be our captain. He's hoping to have a permanent deal sealed this week. I hope so too.
Crouch had a good match. He linked well with El Nino. He scored the first with a header and flicked on for Torres goal. He nearly scored with a scissors kick. I think that he did more than enough to warrent a start on Sunday. Torres did well with his finish. He now has 12 in the league. It would be great if he could get 20 for the season but he's done really well regardless. He wasn't at his best on Sat, or in recent games for that matter. But he still was sharp enough to take on his man and beat the keeper. Pennant had a decent match and put the left back under pressure. Gerrard struck a peno for the third to wrap it up. Could have been more but 3-0 is acceptable given how badly we've been doing recently.

Keane was pissed off with Rob Styles and felt they should have had a peno with the scores are 2-0. Style robbed us of 2 points against Chelsea earlier in the season with an imaginary penalty so maybe Keane has a point and Styles was trying to even things up. Rafa, unlike Keane, was happy with the result. Boss.

We face a daunting trip to Stamford Bridge this weekend. Finnan says he's ready. Chelsea haven't lost at home since Ranieri was the manager. The fact that Lampard, Drogba, Terry and Essien are out or away is good news. Given that, we should be able to get something from this but we're not in great form so I reckon the best we can get is a draw. I fear Joe Cole and his flukey deflected goals. They got the rub of the green with their Ref invented goal earlier in the season. Maybe we are due some of that back. I would gladly take an imaginary peno if it gave us the three points.

Lucas and co visit Dublin this week to play in Croker. I would have liked to have gone to this one but my bank manager advised against it what with my viist to Anfield for the Sunderland match last weekend and a trip to Paris for the Rugby this weekend. Two sporting trips per week is my limit now.

There was a hint of some good news on the investment front over the weekend. The Echo had a story saying that DIC could join up with Gillett to buy out Hicks. Wait and see. I don't expect anything to happen soon with this.

Let's give Chelsea the blues.


Duncan said...

Hurrah! Glad you got in, and sorry I was no help at all in the end...

Mal said...

Don't worry about it Duncan. Got sorted for tickets. Expensive but worth it as there was zero hassle with them.
Hope we can get a result on Sunday.

JJ said...

Chief I can only sympathise with the thought of blogging on Sunday's game. Even by Pool v Chelski standards it was horrific.

Thomas Kelly said...

I have to echo the previous comment, the game at the Bridge was absolutely awful. Neither side could keep posession of the futbol for more than four or five passes. The game frequently bypassed the midfield in favour of aimless punts to no-one.

What was most gauling was that a draw was of no use to either side and yet the attacking play from both sides, Babel excepted, was shocking. Liverpool are going to have it tough making fourth if they huff and puff like this. Plus they still have to go to Arsenal, Old Trafford and the Lane on the last day of the season.

Mal said...

Only got around to posting last night as I was in Paris for the Rugby until Monday evening.