Thursday, October 25, 2007

Red's Champions League Shambles

3 Games Without A Win In Current Campaign

UEFA Champions League

Besiktas 2 - 1 LIVERPOOL

BES - Hyypia (og 13min), Bobo (82min);
LIV - Gerrard (84min);

In a group which consists of Besiktas, Marseille and Porto, 5 times winner Liverpool should probably have no problem going through and qualify for the knock out round. Anything less could be a nightmare.

But just last night, the nightmare turned into reality and their hopes of advancing into the knockout phase is hanging on a thread.

It could've been the same mentality that I had on my opening line that explains ineptitude and abject performances for the past 3 games. Probably Rafa and his Reds underestimated their opponents?

Nevertheless, after having to force myself to sit through the entire 90 minutes, I have to be honest. It's shameful. It's utterly embarrassing. What has became of the Reds? We're often monikered as a 'good cup team' and now we can't even qualify for the knockout phase.

In front of a fanatic Turkish crowd, Liverpool huffed and puffed their way through and they totally deserved what they got. Saturday's derby was already a wake up call and nobody heeded it. Without Mark Clattenburg, it was always going to be difficult.

Though Liverpool started off decently with Ryan Babel and Andriy Voronin going close, the passing was horrendous especially in the central midfield area while Dirk Kuyt looked especially isolated upfront.

The horror show continues when Sami Hyypia scored his second consecutive own goal in a week following the derby victory.

The own goal just epitomizes Liverpool's downfall this season as the miser and ungenerous defence of past seasons were found wanting. Bobo broke through the line and although Jamie Carragher expertly executed a sliding tackle, he panicked and lashes his clearance right into Steve Finnan.

A penalty box scramble ensues and with Liverpool in sixes and sevens, Ozkan mis-hit the shot and seemingly off target but Hyypia, at the wrong place and wrong time, deflected it past a wrong footed Jose Reina.

Utter nightmare for Liverpool. A must win game now turned into an uphill task. Who would've thought that Besiktas, a club that is inferior in every way to Liverpool, could've scored first?

Just when Rafa needed a response from his men, all he got was a hollow silence. Movement was poor and there was a total lack of penetration and the profligacy of Liverpool's forwards were apparent.

Steven Gerrard, berated by the press for his recent poor form, did trouble the Besiktas defence with his usual timed runs into the box but goalkeeper, Hakan Arikan, is always up to the task.

Liverpool then started to show some urgency after the introduction of Israeli playmaker, Yossi Benayoun, and that was when they started to move the ball around more swiftly and accurately. The following 5 minutes after Benayoun's substitution is by far Liverpool's best phase of play.

Being totally impotent upfront, Liverpool defence deceived to flatter as well and warning sirens sounded when Bobo squandered a wonderful chance from a wonderfully engineered Besiktas move.

But the Brazilian striker turned from zero to hero in the next minute after jinking past the seemingly lost Sami Hyypia before slotting the ball under the legs of Reina and into the net. It sent the Turkish fans into raptures!

Although Steven Gerrard once again, headed a goal into the net in Istanbul, it was all too late for Liverpool to rescue anything out of the game. It was a game that the Reds didn't deserve anything out of it.

Were Besiktas anything special? From the way they play, not at all. Is that a cocky comment from me? No as well, because I'm honest. Players struggling to trap ball, goalkeeper who couldn't direct his kick at all and many other flaws.

But what happened to Liverpool? Used to be conquerors of continental football and dispatched team after team, from Barcelona to Chelsea. Now Besiktas looked to be a goliath to them. Where is the confidence and the fear that they used to impose on teams?

A long hard journey ahead for the Reds as we all know. Qualification is theoretically still possible but there are severe problems beneath this defeat. Arsenal is up next and how we're going to cope with a team that has gone on a 12 games unbeaten run and a recent 7-0 route of Slavia Prague?

Rafa needs to do something. We're lucky at the derby. But lady luck can't be with us all the time.


Is this betting said...

I think you have been a little harsh on the performance. WE did not play that badly and they did play quite well. It was an intimidating place to go to and was always going to be difficult after going a goal behind.

Without that goal I always thought we were going to score but things did not happen. Games like this can turn on moments of luck and that is what happened.

On another day that would have been a comfortable victory. I don't see whay we can't qualify still and I'm hopeful rather than confident.

They will be three cracking games though - especially the last game if we win the next two.


I think it was an unacceptable performance though I might be a bit harsh.

We can't even string a few decent passes and only managed to threatened and showed urgency in the last few minutes when all was too late. What's the point?

On another day, comfortable victory? I think not.

Is this betting said...

Yes, maybe I was a bit over the top by saying 'comfortable' victory but still feel these games change once a goal is scored...and it did. They became more defensive and it was hard to break them down. I thought the overall performance was better than the Derby.

Besiktas played well. There's no arguing with that but I don't think we played SO badly.

I've always beeen a defender of Liverpool though -it's just my style.

Anonymous said...

hmm, i just don't want us to play in uefa cup. either 2nd round or bottom place.