Monday, August 06, 2007

Pre-season Friendly?! Pardon?

Gerrard Turns From Hero To Zero, Nearly

Port of Rotterdam Tournament

Feyenoord 1 - 1 Liverpool

FEY - Drenthe
LIV - Gerrard


A pre-season friendly tournament that was supposed to prepare the team for the upcoming season nearly became a free for all wrestling match as Liverpool could only carve out a draw at the De Kuip stadium to hold home side, Feyenoord to a draw.

The incident erupted after Royston Drenthe made a harsh tackle on skipper, Steven Gerrard, in the middle of the pitch but the foul was not seen by the referee. Then Javier Mascherano impulsively flew in with a rash tackle to floor Drenthe right after that.

Then it was a real 'handbags' match that involved almost everyone on the pitch. For a sign of respect, Gerrard was 'substituted' for Sissoko but should've been sent off in an actual match.

The game was highly competitive in some ways and that even though it was only a friendly, the referee wasn't afraid to pull out a card or two. Liverpool had 6 players booked and that sort of summed up a pretty frustrating evening for the Reds.

Despite dominating large periods of the game, it was Feyenoord who took the undeserving lead just before half time, with Royston Drenthe scoring from close range.

The Dutch winger, who bore resemblance to a young Clarence Seedorf, gave Liverpool defence a runaround and was a pain in the neck for Alvaro Arbeloa, who looked out of sort throughout the match. He conceded some silly fouls while not looking sharp and ready for the season at all.

Dirk Kuyt, who made an emotional return to his former club, should've scored in the first half but the linesman adjudged that his shot didn't cross the line. Video evidence was pretty inconclusive but we've seen instances where it is given.

But Gerrard was once again, on hand to score the all important equaliser as he powered his way into the heart of the Feyenoord defence before slotting it home from an acute angle.

It epitomises Gerrard's importance in the central midfield position and that Rafa have promised to give him more appearance in the middle rather than on the flanks.

While searching for the winner, it turned into frustration and contempt as the referee made a terrible mistake by rewarding Feyenoord a penalty kick after Drenthe's cross was adjudged to have been blocked by Arbeloa's arm.

Slow motion replays show it hit his head rather than his arm. Even if it did, there's nothing Arbeloa could do to withdraw his hand in time. It was a harsh decision.

It all evens out eventually, even from the penalty spot. Spot kick expert, Pepe Reina, dived to his right to save from the spot.

With the referee making some erroneous and puzzling decision throughout the game, he lost control of the game and soon emotions boiled even though it was only a friendly.

The competitive edge was there and that it was a disgrace that it soon turned into a very un-football-like circumstance.

Liverpool will be disappointed to lose out on another pre-season silverware but it's not important as the kick off for the new season is only 5 days away.

Are we ready for the new season yet? I'll cover it on my next article. To be honest, I was quite disappointed by last night's performance We need something extra to give us the edge next week or it's going to be yet another long season of nothingness in terms of the domestic league.

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