Thursday, September 21, 2006

An Assist & A Wonder Goal. Alonso Inspires Reds To Victory

While Kuyt Got His First Goal:

English Premiership

LIVERPOOL 2 - 0 Newcastle Utd.

LIV - Kuyt (29min), Alonso (79min)

An assist and a goal. The perfect way to shut the critics up that has been on Xabi Alonso's back for the past few weeks, claiming he's out of form and should be dropped. But he put up a BRILLIANT show last night to help Liverpool get back on track with their title ambition hanging by a thread after back to back defeats by Everton and Chelsea. Liverpool obviously were still not at their best, but this is the best we could hope for, that is effectiveness and killing the game off fast. They nearly failed to do that, but eventually finished it off with Alonso's record breaking 70 yards strike, a goal which eclipsed the previous record own by David Beckham.

In a match between two teams which often created classics, last night's one will no doubt be yet another one of those games where people will look back and then followed by a little smile. It wasn't a total demolition, but the results is just what everyone was looking for and of course, Dirk Kuyt getting his first goal for Liverpool with his first Anfield start.

But seriously, what a goal. The teamwork and the substance of the goal was of the highest standard. A through pass from Xabi Alonso 30 yards away, he threaded a perfect ball for Steve Finnan the over-lapping full back. That pass tore the Newcastle defence into shreds and all Finnan needed to do was place a wonderful cross into the penalty box and Kuyt slid in for his first goal since joining Liverpool last month.

Before that goal, Liverpool controlled the game well and basically dominated it without breaking much sweat. Luis Garcia and Bellamy both went close on couple of occasions but just couldn't apply the finishing touch.

Newcastle, being really poor in the first half, have to come out of their shell and attack Liverpool. To be honest, they did created several problems for the Liverpool defence in the second half, with couple of penalty claims while Martins and Ameobi did cause some problems for Carragher and Agger with their physical presence, but both stood tall and Reina was seldom threatened.

Bellamy and Kuyt SHOULD have killed the game off earlier in the game, but once again wasteful and the chances went by. Bellamy himself was put through on goal after Steven Gerrard blocked a clearance from Peter Ramage and the loose ball fell behind the line of defence. Using his demonic speed, he sped forward with the ball and could only hook the ball wide with Harper closing him down well.

Kuyt had two brilliant chances and could've grabbed a hat trick for himself if only he was more confident. Luis Garcia made his wait past two Newcastle defender before cutting in a cross from the left. Kuyt was well positioned, but placed his shot wide. Many fans must have had their hands on their head when Kuyt missed another sitter when Aurelio placed a perfect cross for Kuyt and he could not direct the ball into the net.

But the game was truly over when Liverpool got their second, from an OUTRAGEOUS effort from Xabi Alonso. He made a brilliant tackle on Scott Parker outside his penalty area and then promptly moved the ball couple of yards infront before hitting a long range killer that left Steve Harper red faced. He was back-peddling and slipped at the vital moment, letting the ball bounce and right into an empty net.

The Kop and Anfield roared into cheers and a collective sigh of relief. Now Liverpool will finally move into the top half of the table and will be on 7 points. Next up, Spurs.


Drogballs' Post Match Thoughts:

Let's put the wonder goal aside, the performance is not too bad for me, but I still feel there's much room for improvement. I missed the way we imposed ourselves in home games last season when we just basically, suffocated opponents and the free flowing football. I feel that the movement and link up play were there, but still need time to fine tune and gel with each other due to the large number of new signings in the squad.

Defensively we were alright although we were under much more pressure from Newcastle after half time. The ventured out an our midfield began to lose its shape a little, allowing the brilliant Scott Parker to run the show while Gerrard was subdued, lacklustre and tired. Xabi Alonso seemed like he has gotten back his best form once again after a rough patch with a wonderful assist and an amazing goal. Sissoko made a nuisance of both himself and Newcastle at times. He tackled and challenged the ball, but then let him and his team mates down with his usual poor passing.

Luis Garcia was another bright spark last night with a good performance. He was unlucky not to have a goal after he controlled a long pass wonderfully and smacking the ball past Harper but hit the post instead.

Kuyt and Bellamy worked really hard, but I still think they need to be more clincal than this. It might not do with their technical ability, but if we're to mount a serious title challenge, we cannot afford to miss like they did last night.

Creativity was there and we created lots of chances. until we actually finishes off those move, the chances are nothing. So Kuyt has finally gotten his goal, so he has no excuse about the pressure and lack of confidence already. It's vital we take our chances and kill teams off before it's too late.

Reina 7 - Not playing volleyball, eh. Nothing much to do.

Finnan 8 - Solid defensively, offered width with his runs and got an assist.
Carragher 7 - As solid as ever.
Agger 8 - The real deal, man. Real deal....
Aurelio 6 - Some poor crosses and control. Had a better second half.

Gerrard 7 - A few good passes here and there but went missing.
Alonso 9 - MAN OF THE MATCH.
Sissoko 7 - Worked hard, tackled and challenged, but lose possesion far too cheaply.
Luis Garcia 8 - Great game for the little lad.

Kuyt 8 - Good goal, but could've scored more.
Bellamy 7 - Offered the pace we lacked so much last season. Should've scored as well.

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