Friday, April 11, 2008

Rovers routed

I think that we are getting over the Euro hangovers, at last. This game was the equivalent of two solphadine and a glass of water. Did the job but you wouldn't be over the moon about it. 3-1 is about as good as we could ask for, given the exertions during the week and the fact that Blackburn usually make it hard on us, as they did for 45 mins here. We would have lost or drawn this game a few years back.

Gerrard was probably the best player on the day. He caused the defence no end of problems and scored a lovely goal to make it 20 for him this years. He looked for a few penos in the first half but the ref gave him nothing. I don't think that they were dives, as there was contact. But he did go down easier than he might have, especially for the first shout. I'm not mad on seeing our players do that but it's common practice in the league now from all of the top players like Ronaldo, Rooney, Drogba etc. Doesn't make it right but some call it streetwise.

Torres had a quiet match and looked a big tired but he still managed to score his 30th of the season and 20th in the league. An amazing achievement in his first season. Andre Voronin came on and managed to nick one at the death. He's been poor enough after a bright start this year and I wouldn't be surprised to see him leave this summer. We did concede in time added on which didn't matter but I'm sure that it pissed Rafa off. He does like the clean sheets.

Lucas did well, slotting in for the suspended Mascherano, especially in the second half. His one two with Stevie led to the first goal. I'm hoping that he gets some more exposure over the last few league matches so that he has a solid base to build on next year. Xabi had a much better game than his recent form had suggested was possible. If Xabi does leave this summer, which looks likely in my opinion, Then we might see Lucas coming in as the regular partner for Mascherano in the middle. Rafa may also bring in somebody like De La Red or Martinez and rotate them with Lucas. I'll be sad to see Xabi go, if he does, but he hasn't been as good over the past 18mths. Sure he still has time and games to make a contribution between now and the summer.

There was a minutes silence for the 96 as the Hillsbourgh anniversary is on this Tuesday. The players stood and presented a united front in the centre circle. If only the board could do the same.

This is great news. Modric is only 22 and was awesome against England a few months back. I think that he could be incredible in our current system, with Gerrard dropping back or moving to the right.

This is also great news. Hopefully Highdale can make a full recovery ad go on to play for the academy team again.

Henry Winter has a great article on Parry v Hicks, the latest boardroom PR disaster. It's as disappointing as it is tedious. Even the normally silent David Moores has been chipping in with his two cents. It's a shambles. But it's a credit to Rafa and the team that they've managed to get to a euro semi final without letting it bother them, as this article by Brian Reade attests. I'm a big fan of Wenger but his whinging since Tuesday is unedifying.

I saw this on the bbc rumour page and I have to say that it would cheer me up no end if true.

After Diego Maradona has been handing out lavish praise to fellow countryman Javier Mascherano, the Liverpool midfielder is set to invite the Argentine hero to watch him play at troubled Anfield. (Mail on Sunday)

Maradona at Anfield, imagine that. He's a big fan of Monster Masch.

Next up is Fulham away on Sat. I can see Rafa rotating the fuck out of the team for this one. Fulham are fighting for their lives but are shit. Even our B team should be able to win. We only need around 2 more wins to be sure of fourth. If and when that happens, Rafa will rest all his big players and give the kids a run out, as he did last year. While I want us to get as many points as possible and finish as near to the top as possible, I suppose we should look at the bigger picture and focus on the champs league semis and a possible final where we might have an edge if our players are fresher.

I wonder if we can make it to Saturday without any more shots across the boardroom? Somehow I doubt it. Talk then.


JJ said...

heya mal, kinda disagree on the first penalty shout for stevie as i think he overdid the dive, if anything he's just not as good at it as guys like ronaldo or even fernando (who should certainly have got a pen in the second half too by the way). So good to have a 20 league goal a season man at last though, after the years of false hope since lil mickey owen left. Dirk; Djibril; even bloody Diouf... it's been a hard road.

That would be great news about modric and between him, barry or johnson at city it looks like one quality midfielder is heading to anfield this summer even if I have a distinct feeling rafa might be heading elsewhere in a few months. God I'd even take mcmanus and magnier at this stage over the shower that are currently running the show at boardroom level.

Mal said...

The Gerrard dive was unedifying JJ. He needs to have a word with Didi Hamann about how to crumple convincingly at the slightest contact, while making it look like he never expected any. Top man Didi.

Modric would be superb and could fit into any of the three attacking positions behind Torres, from what I hear. I think that he'd give our attack what Hleb gives Arsenal, albeit, with a few more goals. I think he be class and would love us to sign him but I fear it'll be Bentley who'll be good, but not great.

Boardroom situation is an absolute joke and gets worse by the day. It's gotten to the stage where I dread going online for fear of what's happened now. You could be right about Rafa. While he loves the club and the city, he may decide that he doesn't need the hassle and eff off to Spain or Italy. I wouldn't blame him if he did.