Thursday, October 19, 2006

Reds Hung On For Win

UEFA Champions League

Bordeaux 0 - 1 LIVERPOOL

LIV - Crouch (56min);

It was scrappy and it wasn't pretty at all. But Liverpool maintained their unbeaten start in Champions League group C with a 1-0 win over French side Bordeaux. Peter Crouch scored from a Craig Bellamy corner to give Liverpool side a much needed boost and hopefully he can carry on his good scoring records against ManYoo this Sunday at Old Trafford. The defence kept a clean sheet as well, albeit a few nervous moments near the end.

After a disappointing start to the season, Liverpool came into the game like a car with punctured tires. Struggling to kick into any sort of rythmn or form, the Reds struggled on the domestic front and a win in France was a much needed one. We had a poor record playing in France and it's most definitely a concern for Rafa Benitez as he set out a team which was without Steven Gerrard, who had a minor hamstring problem.

The game started off well and with good tempo. But as Bordeaux drew energy from their home support, Liverpool were forced deep into their own half and were forced to play counter-attacking football. But surely Rafa forseen it and the inclusion of Mark Gonzalez proved so. His pace and energy was needed to break down the Bordeaux defence which left spaces behind for the speedy players to exploit.

Craig Bellamy nearly put Liverpool one up but his indecision costed a wonderful chance. That was about it for Bellamy in the first half as he was isolated up front with Crouch operating very deep and never really provided any support for the Welshman.

Although Liverpool were pinned back most of the time and Bordeaux having a lion share of possesion, they seldom threaten Reina's goal. But they did manage to put in a few decent set pieces and Liverpool were nearly punished on two occasions.

Peter Crouch's third Champions League goal came as a surprise as the chances Liverpool had were scarce and didn't force Ulrich Ramé into any sort of saves. Bellamy's corner was headed in from Crouch, who had Hyypia doing a smokescreen right in front of him and all he needed to do was to place it beyond the 'keeper's grasp.

The tempo did picked up a little after the goal, but Liverpool were unable to capitalise with the panic in the Bordeaux team. Soon the rythmn dropped off and the Reds were again pinned back and have to do a lot of defending. They conceded far too many free kicks at the edge of the area and were giving the Liverpool fans a hard time watching.

Near the end, homegrown Liverpool player, Stephen Warnock nearly doubled the scoreline with a wonderful run into the penalty box. But his finishing was poor and placed the shot straight at the 'keeper. He did so well until the finish to be exact.

It wasn't a good performance from the Reds, but the Liverpool fans surely can't complain much after a rather disappointing weekend. It's understandable that they got pinned back due to the nature of playing an away game and hitting them on the counter-attack was the initial plan. The loss of Steven Gerrard didn't help as Zenden was playing in the central role with minimal impact.

The positives points are there to be taken note of especially Sami Hyypia rising to the occasion. He has been criticized previously as 'pass his sell out date' but he showed us tonight that he still has something to offer to the club. His form had been patchy at best but he was strong tonight and did no wrong.

A clean sheet will be an encouraging one as Liverpool seeked to gain momentum and will look to build on this vital win in France. But first, they must overcome ManYoo this Sunday and we all know how difficult that match will be. The performance isn't convincing enough to suggest we will be able to beat them. But who knows, this is football and everything is possible. That's at least what Liverpool fan can hope and pray for.


1154 said...

See VDO Clips of Perter Crough here


thanks champ. :)

SoccaCritics said...

Can i take your review and post it on SC? :)

Anonymous said...

I'm not complaining, a win is a win and we needed as PSV got theirs after being a goal down. We need a win now to go through and hopefully we can cement that with Bordeaux at home. Crouch has to be established as our striker, and with the current form Kuyt. But I suspect Bellamy will start with Kuyt on the bench.


I think we did pretty alright in the Champions League so far. The away games are tough and the toughest one still to play, but that's the last match and I'm sure we would've qualified then.

Yea, looks like Crouch and Bellamy are the first choice for now..