Monday, August 14, 2006


Crouch Heads In The Winner As Reds Triumph Over Moneybags

The Millenium Cardiff, Wales


LIV - Riise (9min), Crouch (80min);
CHE - Shevchenko (43min);

Liverpool - Reina, Finnan, Carragher (Capt), Agger, Riise, Pennant (Gerrard 63), Sissoko, Zenden (Alonso 63), Gonzalez (Aurelio 56), Luis Garcia (Bellamy 66), Crouch (Sinama-Pongolle 89);

Chelsea - Cudicini, Geremi, Carvalho, Terry (Capt), Ferreira, Robben, Ballack, Lampard, Essien, Drogba, Shevchenko;

Bloody hell, I typed this whole thing once and everything just went awry and disappeared. I'm pissed, but I'll still type it anyway. Give me some bloody credits, will ya.

Another trophy in the bag and another victory over rivals, Chelsea. Community Shield might not mean much to some, but this victory over the so-called 'best team in the world' is more than just a victory on the pitch, but it's a way to build confidence, belief and also a bragging right for the fans. This will also send a clear message to Chelsea that we are NO PUSHOVERS and will be serious contender for the Pemiership tite, that had been eluding us for the past 16 years. You can write us off at your own peril.

This will also be an encouragement for the other 18 Premiership teams that Chelsea ARE BEATABLE on any given day. They are not unbeatable and hopefully, this will make the upcoming season more interesting.

Liverpool came to this match with odd selection choice for the first eleven, considering that they'll be playing in a crucial Champions League qualifer match against Maccabi Haifa next week. Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso and Sami Hyypia were relegated to the bench while Pennant, Gonzalez and Zenden start for Liverpool.

There were also surprise inclusion of Daniel Agger and Fabio Aurelio in the squad. Both were thought to be out with injury, but made it in the list. Chelsea meanwhile, started both their superstar signings, Michael Ballack and Andiry Shevchenko. Gallas was missing and Ferreira played in the left back role.

Liverpool started brightly as they gained the control of the game while Chelsea players struggled to hold on to the ball and organise attacks. The opening 10 minutes of the game were not as cagey as everyone expected and it didn't take Liverpool too long to find the net.

Shevchenko had a great chance, but he was well-watched by Steven Finnan and a corner was given. The resulting corner fell to Riise, who found himself in an unfamiliar position down the right. As a left-footed player, he took the ball from his own box and ran almost 40 yards towards the Chelsea defence, who kept backing off. The midfield anchorman went missing as Riise took the ball nearer and nearer to the Chelsea goal. He then blasted his trademark cannonball shot and it went in like...a cannonball! Went past Carlo Cudicini and nearly broke the net from 30 yards out.

Ballack, who had a pretty poor game for his standard, limped off with an injury and a pretty bad debut compared to his counterpart, Shevchenko. The Ukranian showed why he's currently the best striker in the world by latching onto Lampard's long ball, and beautifully placing it past Reina, who had nothing to do until then. So Chelsea back on level terms and I feared that it might have been the turning point of the game and Chelsea might just nick it, but the Liverpool defence fended off Chelsea very well and stifled them successfully.

To be honest, a lot of Chelsea players just went missing and were pedestrians at the match. Robben, Drogba and Lampard were all annonymous as Sissoko and Zenden kept them at bay.

Chelsea came out the second half a tad stronger than they did in the first. They controlled the tempo of the match and had the slight majority of the possesion. But you always feel that Liverpool were in control despite handling the initiatives over to the Blues. They actually didn't do much with the ball while Liverpool had a pretty easy job defending.

After a pretty uneventful second half, Liverpool threw on the big guns and Rafa thinks it's appropriate time to have a go at Chelsea, who had tiring legs out there. On came Steven Gerrard, Alonso and Bellamy.

Bellamy, treading on his home grown in Cardiff, made an impact after coming off the bench. He was lively and operating behind Crouch looked effective. He was unpredictable and his running off the ball was decent.

The then found spaces down the Chelsea's right, before sending a perfect cross for Peter Crouch, who had no problem heading home from 6 yards out. Where was John Terry then? Right infront of Crouchy, BALL-WATCHING.

It's fantastic to see Crouch getting off the mark early this time round. He struggled to score goals early last season and took him a long while. This goal will certainly boost his confidence and self-belief. He had a rather quiet game to be honest, but when it mattered, he was there.

New signging, Fabio Aurelio had a run out as well and NEARLY putting Liverpool further ahead, but his reaction weren't that fast and probably miscued it but still got it on target, making Cudicini scrambling it away.

Memories of Chelsea being whiskers away from scoring the equaliser then came flooding in when the 88 minute approaches. Joe Cole and Gudjohnsen's misses from the last two meetings will always be 'haunting' us, but this time round, we ended the game in a more comfortable fashion and went on to lift the 15th FA Community Shield.

As a Liverpool fan, I'm pleased that we've beaten them once again. Bearing in mind that this match is just a start and what we will be doing in days to come will be far more important that this victory, but I feel that today, the winner was football, not money.

We've shown that under Rafa Benitez, we can build an excellent, balanced and organised team with lesser money. Whoever said that with money, glory and honour could be achieved. Yes, it can be done, but how long will these things last. Benitez has groomed a team of 11 players playing in ONE system, ONE unison. Each individual players understand their role in the team and gave their best. They complimented each other's shortcomings and brought out each other's strenth.

It's disaapointing to concede that goal, but players have just been reaching the uphill slope in term of physical fitness and players have just recovered from the 'post World Cup' syndrome. Give the lads some time and the offside trap wil be as effective as ever. A great win and certain a boost in the confidence for everyone. Hope this will bring a spring in the steps of the players in the forthcoming games and we'll maintain this standard for days to come.

The Premiership is NOT race. It's a marathon. Hope we can be consistant and the title that has been eluding us for years, will be back in our hands.

Drogballs' Man Of The Match: MOHAMAD SISSOKO

This guy has been immense, for this match as well as the last match against Maccabi Haifa. Is it me or do I think that he actually showed much more composure now and his passing is A LITTLE more accurate than the past. He's been a colossal figure in the team, breaking up the attacks and added some pace at the back as well. Being in the Patrick Vieira mould, the midfield 'destroyer' had Lampard for lunch and made several fantastic tackles. He deserves the praise.

Hats off Momo, you're still young and you can improve beyond this level.

Player Ratings:

Reina (7) - Was a virtual spectator throughout, but when needed, he pulled off a few stunning saves.

Finnan (8) - At fault for the Shevchenko goal, but his shackled Robben and kept him really quiet. Good job, Stevie!

Carragher (Captain) (7) - Also at fault, but commanded the backline fantastically. Given his all as usual.

Agger (7)
- Not really troubled by Drogba strangely, but had a good game. Nothing much to do other than making some clearances. Great to see him back!

Riise (8) - What a fantastic goal! An absolute belter from the Chelsea-jinx once again. Defensively OKAY, but nothing too spectacular. Was very hardworking and looks much sharper than he did few days back.

Pennant (7) - Didn't make much impression, but tracks back well and help defended against Robben together with Finnan. They have formed a great understanding!

Sissoko (9) (MoM) - Look above my comments.

Zenden (7.5) - Industrious, hardworking. Lack some technical ability, like miscueing that great chance, but made Lampard looked rather ordinary. Fought hard.

Mark Gonzalez (8) - A good game for the new signing. Made some run and put in one or two great crosses. He's pacy, but needs more maturity to go into the next level.

Luis Garcia (7) - After all his antics against Chelsea, they actually kept him pretty quiet. But still had good chances to put Liverpool ahead with his magic. Worked his socks off as well.

Peter Crouch (7.5) - Was poor for most of the match, but he was there when it all mattered. Running around to help out in defence as well.


rafalution said...

Sissoko showed what class he is , he ran and commanded that midfield in the first half and put chelskis millions to shame

Drogballs said...

hey, very true. I felt that most Liverpool players had a fairly decent game, but Sissoko stood out. Anyway Crouch >> 300million of superstars! HAHA

Anonymous said...

Great post lookin' foward to your match reports all season long. Momo is a monster! great performence


Drogballs said...

yea thanks alot mate. Should be an exciting season and looking forward to it!

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