Sunday, March 04, 2007

Smash & Grab At Anfield

United Moves 12 Points Clear As Liverpool Stumble At Home

English Premiership

LIVERPOOL 0 - 1 Man Utd.

MANU - O'Shea (91min);

First of all, to all my fellow Liverpool fans, welcome to the reality of football. However gutted, disgusted or pissed you are with this result, understand that these things happens in football. They hit you right in the face like a sucker punch and as a fan, you've got to learn and take it and live with it.

Man United came to Anfield, nullified and silenced but a 'daylight robbery' act got them all 3 points and it was a magnificent result for them as they now move a step closer to reclaiming the Premiership title after the years of exile. They were battered by the Reds but showed resilience and had their keeper, van der Saar to thank.

Well, what to say? It's 'luck of the champion' as they call it. And the writing's on the wall, that Man United will now go on to win it. I'm so adamant because of the way they got all 3 points today and also, last week at Craven Cottage.

It also highlighted Liverpool's shortcoming in terms of applying the finishing touch and the lack of a real goal scorer. The cutting edge in the team is obviously missing and even when they piled so much pressure on United, they didn't find the break though and got hit right in the face. The goal was scored at such a time which Liverpool had absolutely no reply to it.

But looking back, just what if the referee had given Craig Bellamy the goal that is supposed to stand. It could've changed the game. But it's Bellamy again involved in the turning point of the game.

Rafa's decision to take out Bellamy when he's playing a blinder is shocking and I thought it was an abysmal decision on Benitez's part.

At the end of the day, Liverpool only have themselves to blame. For squandering the chances presented, not having the cutting edge in front of goal and honestly, bottled it.

It was an intense match at the beginning and Liverpool showed the initiative to have a go at United and although the Red Devils was pressurised, they stood firm and had a couple of chances for themselves as well. Rooney shot into the side netting while Ronaldo skies his shot after Henrik Larsson's backheel went in his path.

Daniel Agger was the man who fired the first warning shot at United as he once again uses his cultured left foot to power a shot towards van der Saar's goal but was just too high. Riise went the closest when his free kick swerved just wide off the goal. Half the ground thought it was in.

Liverpool gained the upper hand in terms of possession and had a whole lot of corner kicks but then again, it came to nothing most of the time. When Bellamy ran into the United box and centred the ball, Kuyt was a pace too slow to connect with it. It just underlined the lack of quality finisher in the squad.

Then the 'whirlwind' second half kicked off with Liverpool going one gear up and you could see United were stretched. Vidic had a torrid time watching Bellamy, who ran rings round him at times.

But even with Liverpool stepping up the pace and the Anfield faithful cheering the Reds on, the opening goal was to no avail. Craig Bellamy placed the ball in the net but was ruled offside. Replays showed that he was in an onside position and a refereeing decision that wasn't in their way.

Liverpool continued to get the lion share of possession but didn't really threaten the United goal further until substitute, Peter Crouch was found unmarked at the back post. He hesitated to head the ball goal wards and in lieu, he chested the ball and fired the ball but van der Saar pulled off a fantastic save to thwart the bean-pole striker's effort.

And by then, you could tell that it just isn't going to be Liverpool's day. Lady Luck was apparently smiling towards the side which have been favourites for the title thus far. Giggs won a free kick on the right hand side of Liverpool and Ronaldo fired the free kick into the area. Saha and Reina clashed for the ball but an unmarked O'Shea was on hand to finish the task of.

What an unbelievable result for United, as they marched on to the summit. Liverpool were made to rue those missed chances and the fans, with their hands on their head, going home with an empty feeling.

Reminisce of last season's fixture at Old Trafford came flooding back into my mind when it went in. It was a horrible feeling. Rio Ferdinand gave them all 3 points despite the Reds playing well. Now it's O'Shea that is here to haunt us.

That's football. How random and how unpredictable things can get in a match of 90 minutes. You could say we 'deserved' it but at the end of the day, it's probably the one that bury the once chance that deserves everything.

Chins up, my fellow Reds. Get behind the team once again on Wednesday for yet another titanic clash with Barcelona and hopefully, it wouldn't be the same deja vu feeling again. The feeling of blowing things up hurts. Give us something to heal the pain.


Rob said...

He should've never taken Bellamy off.



8ball said...

I couldn't believe it, i really couldn't.

With Arsenal victorious, it now seems inevitable they will leapfrog us into third, with two games in hand. 2nd seems way out of reach, and theres always Bolton up the rear.


I know it's hard to take. I was disgusted when it went in as well but football's cruel, so gotta move on with it. I'm sure someday, we'll have a day like that in that goes our way.

Anyway, yea, Arsenal should overtake us but they still had to play at Anfield....maybe we might nick the 3rd place though.

J said...

i didn't get to see the match....but i guess from what i've read is tough. but we have to be resilient! and keep winning other matches. and improve to beat the bigger teams *thinks positively*