Saturday, January 26, 2008

False Alarm

Yossi Benayoun's natural hat trick propelled Liverpool from a 2-1 deficit to a 5-2 victory today in the 4th Round of the FA Cup.

Havant and Waterlooville jumped out to a 1-0 lead at Anfield after just eight minutes, and the Blue Square South side went back ahead 2-1 on a Martin Skrtel own goal just after the half-hour mark.

Benayoun then scored three in a row for Liverpool and Peter Crouch added an insurance tally in the 90th minute to put the game in the bag and send the Reds into the last 16 of the world's oldest and most prestigious cup competition.

Personally, I was hoping Havant and Waterlooville could pull off the stunner and win today. I wrote about how I believe changes need to be made at Liverpool just after their 2-2 draw against Aston Villa earlier in the week and to me, this is exactly the type of game that will hinder progress being made on Merseyside. Fans will look at the scoreline and say "Wow, five goals, our boys made it look easy out there" and proceed like nothing's wrong.

The reality of the situation is this. Liverpool were tied with a team full of part-timers at halftime. Yes, they ended up winning, but that's what they were supposed to do anyway and in impressive fashion. I know that the team Rafa put on the field wasn't exactly a full-strength lineup, but surely they're better than being outplayed by a team in Blue Square South for the first half?


Anonymous said...

I disagree with your interpretation - firstly as the score was 2-2 at half time, so Liverpool were not in fact losing.

Full credit to H&W they played brilliantly and closed us down all through the first half - in fact the whole game illustrated the magic of the Cup. A brilliant advert in fact.

We rarely got out of 2nd gear - and a brilliant tactical switch at half time by Rafa - moving Babel out wide and Yossi in the middle. Really stretched the H&W backline - not bad for a team you say plays compact all the time.

We just did enough and the day was enjoyed by all.

Oh, and before you slate Rafa - please do your research thoroughly:

Compact - is a defensive tactic when the team lose the ball.

Gerrard - is an asset to the team and is a great attacking midfielder (your summary is he does what he wants - Doh!)

Style of play - Rafa is well known for a 'pressing' game which is hardly what you call sitting back and defending is it?

I'm waiting for your article that says without Torres and Gerrard Liverpool would be nothing - same as Man Utd without Rooney, Ronaldo and Tevez!

I could go on but I know you have an agenda against Liverpool, and you are only interested in the results nothing else.


MJ said...

Mr. Onion,

I stand corrected, it was 2-2 at halftime, you're right.

I won't disagree with you either about Steven Gerrard. He's a world-class player and makes Liverpool tick. As he goes, so does his team. My only criticism is that he's all over the place on the field, especially when Liverpool is losing. He freelances a little too much and doesn't stay disciplined like Rafa wants his players to do.

As to your point about style of play, Liverpool's record is 10-10-2. This tells me they're an excellent defensive team, which they are, and that they're difficult to beat. However, they lack the cutting edge up front to win games. At home, they're 4-6-1. "Pressing"? I think not.

I've said on multiple occasions that Torres and Gerrard are important to Liverpool's success; I think the world of both of them as players. But the fact of the matter is that even with them, Liverpool are close to nothing. They're 5th in the Premier League right now in a season where their manager was hoping to win the title. They were knocked out of the Carling Cup pretty easily by Chelsea, have been fortunate to draw lower-league opposition in the FA Cup, and barely made it out of the CL group stage in a group they should've won without much trouble.

As I told you on EPL Talk, I have no agenda against Liverpool. My brother is a diehard Liverpool fan and I've seen them play enough times to criticize their flaws, and that's all I'm doing.

Anonymous said...

Again you misinterpret the figures. When Rafa took over, we were a counter attacking side in drift mode. Rafa installed a style of play that involves pressing the opposition, and the team being much higher up the pitch.

If you look at the draws at home this season - it is clear who the dominant side were - in terms of possession and shots. This does not make the team defensive, it makes them guilty of not converting chances.

Europe is a funny game sometimes. It can through up upsets, just like the PL, we still got through even if it went to the last game. Let us not forget a couple of years ago when Utd failed to get through an easy group! It does happen.

As for the FA cup, I suppose we may be a little fortunate with the draw but this is what makes the cup - the cup! Two seasons ago when we won it, we had to beat both Utd and Chelski on the way. Hardly what you would call lucky.

The carling cup we don't really take seriously over here, its a bit of tin pot trophy - and a second string Liverpool were knocked out by Chelski - the second goal coming after a red card, so it's not as big a deal as you make out.

Here's hoping for your first positive Liverpool blog. Or why not slag off these PR stunt owners.


Mr Onion