Premier League: Liverpool 2-1 Blackburn Rovers
01/03/2010 § Leave a comment
The temperatures soared and the tempers ran high as Liverpool went into one more of those ‘must win home games’ which we are getting very accustomed to.
A must win it was compounded by the fact that Manchester City quite unbelievably beat Chelsea and our dear neighbors failed to do us a favor and lost at White Hart Lane. A win was needed, nothing else would do.
And so we started off very lively and full of substance and purpose and drive. The starting line up look heartening and strange at the same time. Torres was back in the starting line up, after what has seemed like an eternity. On the other hand, Mascherano was playing at right back, given that all our good right backs are unavailable for one reason or the other. So it was a clear case of ‘you win some, you lose some’.
Among the ‘win somes’, we have that Rafa Benitez after a long, long time, somewhat buoyed by the return of Fernando Torres, played an attacking line-up. No holding midfielders whatsoever for this one. Lucas was perhaps a bit on the defensive side. Gerrard sitting wonderfully in the center, a favorite position of his, about which the commentator correctly commented that he can see the game better from the angle. Maxi and Benayoun on the wings. Aurelio on the left back, with Insua given a bit of a break for this one. Kuyt just behind Torres. Aquilani and Babel on the bench. Typically Benitez. For atleast the final part.
The early exchanges were promising for both sides. Gerrard for one looked extremely lively. And sure enough, he opened the scoring at 20 minutes. Perhaps the first touch was a bit heavy, but that slice of luck worked in his favor as Gerrard overcame some Blackburn player marking him and wrapped it up with class. Good, interesting celebration as well. 1-0.
A moment of freakishness followed though with Blackburn’s attack. One or the other Blackburn surges saw Jamie Carragher fall go to the ground for some inexplicable reason in the Liverpool penalty area and oh, horror of horrors, the ball had touched his hand. Penalty.
Now I don’t know whether the unintentional hand bit applies in the penalty box, and it is quite understandable that the fine line between intentional and unintentional is hard to tell, but this was quite ridiculous. Here you have a defender spread-eagled across the penalty box, and as a Liverpool fan, I surely thought Jamie Carragher deserved no more than an indulgent smile and a small little hand gesture indicating play-on. Optimistic, I guess. The referee who was pretty ignorant for the rest of the game, instead pointed to the spot. Andrews came and shot a pretty good, and presumably well-rehearsed penalty. 40 minutes gone, 1-1.
But any sense of injustice for Liverpool fans was set right in the 44th minute where Torres met a ball, Robinson was caught in a fairly wrong place. Simple finish. Almost a tap-in right there. 2-1.
The second half, or at least the second part of the second half was was pretty disturbing from the point of view of a Liverpool fan. Let’s admit it, we were rubbish. We hardly had possession. Blackburn launched attack after attack, threw their centerback forward, and kept kicking long balls into the box prompting some very good acrobatic defense-work from our team, most tellingly a very good, instinctive save from Reina. Liverpool kept going deeper and deeper, till we ‘parked the bus’ as Mourinho once famously said. We barely had possession, a point which peeved me to no end, and our attack lacked the bite.
Perhaps the referee would have been the wiser had he seen Pascal Chimbonda kick Maxi on the chest(with intent, mind you) and some Zonki chap almost strangle Lucas. Typical of a Sam Allardyce team one can say. Diouf was his irritating self as well, and lived up to his life-goal of inspiring hatred wherever he goes.
But as usual, we hung on till the end. 2-1 to the reds.
The match was followed by a war of words between the managers where each berated the others’ style, a fight perhaps spurred on by the media who wanted a bit more action.
Amongst other things Aurelio got injured again while Agger has injured his knee. But Kyrgiakos is thankfully done with his ban and will be back for the next game should Agger be unfit to play. Torres too will hopefully come back from the friendly for Spain-of no practical value-uninjured which Vicente Del Bosque asininely insists that he plays play.
Important win though. Wigan next away. Another ‘must-win’ game. Sigh.