Sunday, February 11, 2007

Wasteful Reds Rues Missed Chances

Magpies Win In Error-Prone Match

English Premiership

Newcastle Utd. 2 - 1 LIVERPOOL

NEW - Martins (26min), Solano (PEN 70min);
LIV - Bellamy (6min);

They say 'the ball is round'. It's used to describe the unpredictability of football at times. And that's the reason why we all love football. It's the beauty of it.

But ironically, sometimes, it just hits you right in the face. The lost at St. James' Park is just one of those games where the Liverpool fans must be scratching their head and asking 'how on earth did we lose this game?!'

Well, answer is simple enough. We didn't score the goals. When we were presented with the chances kindly, we didn't put them in the back of the net as well. Very generous of us. Once, BIll Shankly said "Don't discuss the options. Just put the ball in the back of the net first, then we'll discuss the options later."

Very clearly, the ones donning the red jersey didn't heed the legendary manager's words. With all those chances missed, you've just got the feeling there's something more than meets the eye in the match. Well, I was right.

But Liverpool started the game brightly enough. Considering the terrible conditions at St. James' Park, it was hard to fault the teams for all the mis-placed passes and mistakes. Liverpool were the first to pounce on a mistake by Steve Harper, and Newcastle old boy, Craig Bellamy was on hand to place the ball in after Pennant's good work down the right.

Steve Harper must've been unable to sleep after getting embarrassed by Xabi Alonso on the previous game. But then he put up an excellent show afterwards to thwart everything Liverpool threw at him.

Craig Bellamy had two chances to put the game in the bed after Sissoko's through pass found him but after rounding off Harper, his shot was weak and Bramble was able to clear. Then came the second wave and this time, Bellamy got his shot off the crossbar.

That's when we're punished. We failed to finish the game off at that moment and Newcastle hit back with yet another blunder by Pepe Reina. With Martins chasing the long punt, Agger was caught out and Reina sprinted 20 yards off his line to help out with his defenders but as they say "the more the cook spoils the soup", the clearance went straight to Martins, who only had to put the ball into an unguarded net.

The game was played at a fanatic pace just like any other Liverpool-Newcastle game and the battle in the central midfield was especially fiesty, with Sissoko back in the fray and Zenden back as well.

As Liverpool continued their hit and hope long ball tactics, in hoping of Bellamy to get onto one of them, Newcastle pressed on with Kieron Dyer and Obafemi Martins causing all sorts of problems. But the breakthrough came when Steve Taylor was adjudged to have been brought down by John Arne Riise in the box.

Indeed, he was clipped.

Nolberto Solano stepped up and cooly slotted the ball past Reina, who is famous for his penalty saving skills. No luck this time, though.

But at this time, Liverpool players seemed tired after yet another mid week international friendlies and were unable to get the equaliser. Kuyt's first touch let him down at times while they just didn't put Newcastle under too much pressure. There was a surprise lack of physical presence when the Reds attack and all those hopeful punts by Dan Agger don't help either.

Perhaps, the only positive out of this game for the Reds would be the performance of young Danny Guthrie and also the return of Momo Sissoko and Bolo Zenden.

Other than that, what a screw up again. With Arsenal just behind their back and also an almost guaranteed 3 points for them tomorrow, they might have to pay for their wastefulness in front of the goal. And next, it's Barcelona at the Nou Camp.

Again, how on earth did they lose this game?!

Drogballs' Player Ratings:

Reina 5 - A terrible blunder. But was quick out of the line a couple of times

Finnan 6 - A little slow and sluggish at times
Agger 6 - Got FAR too closed to Dyer and constantly caught out by his pace
Carragher 7 - Some vital interceptions
Riise 5 - His form has dipped to new low. He didn't provide the ammunition forward as well as cover at the back

Pennant 7 - Did well for the goal and generally, positive performance
Gerrard 6 - Not imposing enough for the skipper
Sissoko 6 - Gets the ball, gives it back to the opponent. Rinse and repeat
Zenden 6 - Good shot on target. Otherwise, never seen him around

Bellamy 7 - His movement caused a lot of trouble for Bramble. Scored the goal but missed 2 others.
Kuyt 6 - Ineffective


psychohare said...

just watched MOTD highlights.. pissed.. but o well... im gonna blame it on the pitch, and considering that Babayaro's younger bro died from TB the day b4 the match, i guess this win would help him swallow the loss better.

Poor finishing... what else can we say really... the poor quality of finishing has been the the main topic of improvement since Owen left... and this loss has once again proved that we desperately need that natural finisher.... i know we got the money, but is there gonna be a suitable goalscoring machine suitable for us, who's also available for transfer?

only thing that made me chuckle a little was Alan Hansen saying that "Newcastle were lucky" and then Shearer just went laughing away...

Owen should never have left, and because he did, i shall continue to hate him...


I think it was a very open game and it could've swing either way and it swung Newcastle's way because they took their chances while we didn't.

True about the lack of finisher. We bought Bellamy for that role yet I don't think he's in the Michael Owen mould. Looking back at Fowler and Owen, their goalscoring record are miles ahead of the current batch we have.

But it's hard to find natural finishers really. There seemed to be a lack of them in the market and I think that's why the Americans are on board. To give us the resources.

loveuamy said...

hey Americans, can i have a David Villa, please? lol


Along with ALVES!