Sunday, November 4, 2007

Liverpool's Woes Continue

If you didn't watch the game yesterday and only saw the 0-0 full-time scoreline between Liverpool and Blackburn, you would most likely credit Liverpool for going on the road and getting a point against one of the up-and-coming teams in the Premiership. Yes, it was a game that if Liverpool truly believed themselves to be title contenders, they should've grinded out a victory and taken full points, but there's nothing wrong with earning a draw away from home.

However for those of us who watched the game, you have to question (once again) manager Rafael Benitez's tactics and squad selection. He gave Dirk Kuyt the start again even though it's been forever and a day since Kuyt scored from anything other a PK in the Premiership and left Peter Crouch on the bench until the 71st minute. He started both Sissoko and Mascherano instead of going with a more attacking mindset (Kewell on the right wing, Benayoun and Gerrard in the center, Babel up top with Crouch, Riise at left wing instead of left back, and Aurelio at left back). Sissoko and Mascherano are good players in their own right, quality holding midfielders, but Benitez had to know that Blackburn was going to park the bus and he needed more creativity and skill than those two provide in the midfield. Kewell wasn't fit to play the whole game and neither was Aurelio, but starting them and playing them for 60 minutes probably would've given Liverpool a lead and then they could've been subbed out for a more defensive-minded formation.

When Crouch finally entered the fray, he linked up multiple times with captain Steven Gerrard for Liverpool's most dangerous chances of the day. Blackburn keeper Brad Friedel was up to the task though, and the game ended 0-0. This isn't the first time Crouch has been brought on late and still made a contribution; he did the same against Besiktas in the Champions League last week. Dirk Kuyt is completely off-form right now. He can't hit the broad side of a barn with his shots, his finishing is awful, and he doesn't give you any speed or aerial ability at all. I guarantee that the next Premiership game Crouch starts, and not Kuyt, will be won by Liverpool.

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