Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Reds Take It Out On Baggies As Title Bid Comes to an End

Liverpool 2 (Gerrard 28, Kuyt 63)
West Brom 0

There was no thrill but plenty of emotional spill as Liverpool’s victory over West Bromwich Albion sends the Baggies down to the Championship. The Reds’ spirit were dampened prior to the match as they saw the Premiership crown being lifted at Old Trafford once again, equaling their 18 league title record.

Yet they were able to conjure up a spirited and determined performance to see off West Brom away from home. It was a make-or-break game for the bottom-placed team as anything but a victory over the league runners-up means relegation.

It was as if inevitable that West Brom would go down as they stayed cemented on the foot of the Premiership table. Yet the previous 2 games suggested otherwise and the Baggies fans were hopeful of yet another great escape just like the one in 2004.

No doubt they were determined to make it count and even the presence of a full strength Liverpool side did not derail them of their original game plan.

The away side, on the other hand, was like a wounded animal. Seeing their title bid gone up the smokes without even a kick of the ball, they had nothing to play for. Perhaps only pride and a hope to finish the season on a high note.

Of course, Jamie Carragher would beg to defer as he his altercation with fellow Reds, Alvaro Arbeloa came under the spotlight. Seeing the Spanish defender’s lackadaisical defending for much of the game, the born and bred Liverpudlian gave Arbeloa a earful and it nearly turned into a Bowyer and Dyer-esque fight scene.

It was uncalled for and Carragher should have dealt with it behind closed doors. But on the other hand, one could see Carragher’s spirit and attitude of a man who gives his all for the club.

Perhaps, it was brewed through pure frustration of yet another barren year for Liverpool. Seeing the Premiership crown whizzed by, a ‘so near so yet far’ feeling was by far worse than the ‘out of title bid by November’.

But despite with so little to play for, Liverpool put up a professional performance to see off West Brom. A 2-0 victory all but sealed West Brom’s fate but they only had themselves to blame.

Steven Gerrard’s opener was totally against the run of play. Despite having a decent start to the game, West Brom decided to play Father Christmas as a lapse of concentration gifted Liverpool the vital goal.

Its mistakes like this that gives you the idea as to why they are in the mire. Yet the defenders were not the only one that should’ve been blamed.

Despite being presented with decent chances, all credits to their hardworking midfielders, the strikers were unable to put the ball in the onion bag. It doesn’t help having Jamie Carragher on the opposing team, either.

Dirk Kuyt then doubled the lead as he secures his best scoring record since arriving in England 3 years ago. The striker turned winger was given time as space as he fired home from 25 yards out.

The goal all but buried any hopes that West Brom fans harbored. Yet the home fans were still singing at the top of their lungs in appreciation of their efforts. As many fans could point out that it’s never easy singing in defeat.

Liverpool, on the other hand, can take pride in one of their finest ever domestic campaign, despite actually not winning it. The win took them to 83 points, one of their best ever and it would’ve won them the title a few years back.

Unfortunately, the bar was raised higher in recent years and despite only just 2 defeats throughout the whole campaign, they just fell short. It must be utter disappointment for the players who truly, gave their all.

With this pain and disappointment, they’ll probably strive harder next season. It’s the closest they have came in over 20 years and with a couple of shrewd signing this summer, the hunt of the title could be over in the next few years.

It couldn’t be any closer, can it?

No comments: