Taking Care of Business (Kinda, sorta, not really)


A nil-nil draw wasn’t shocking. Maybe slightly disappointing, as once Torres and Gerrard hit the field, the balance seemed to shift back in Liverpool’s favor. I’m sure there will be an argument about starting them regardless of internationals played (considering they were spaced out just like league games), but I’m not up for another rotation discussion.

I have supreme confidence in Liverpool’s ability to break down a stingy Pompey backline, maybe even a few times. But, just in case, you may want to mentally prepare yourself for the possibility of a scoreless draw.

A point at Fratton Park is a respectable result. I know, we’re chasing a title, not respect, but I wouldn’t really label this as dropping points. That said, Liverpool are going to have to find ways to walk out of matches like these with the lion’s share.

Unfortunately, I’ve got to short on today’s musings as I’m entertaining out-of-town company. I hope you understand…

Read the match report here.

Watch Reina’s penalty save.

5 Questions Answered:

  1. Can Liverpool continue scoring and keep up the away successes? Sadly, no on both fronts. But, um, at least it wasn’t a loss?
  2. Will Carra suffer any lingering effects from his rib and lung injuries? Not by the looks of it.
  3. Can David James continue to repress his Calamity alter-ego? Liverpool didn’t give him a chance to. He really needed to be tested much much more.
  4. Will Rafa continue to stick with the 4-4-2 away from Anfield? Sure did and I see no reason to change. However, the starting personnel, on the other hand…
  5. Does anybody other than Bambi actually believe a preseason match halfway across the globe has any real bearing on Saturday’s result? Meh.

My thoughts on the match:

  • Mike Riley is a cunt. The next time a Liverpool player gets a chance, they need to unleash a broadside with the ball right upside his cranium. I wonder if Riise could be that accurate? Six games in, the refs (or Turdbubbles, as he’ll be called around these parts from now on) have made their claim as one of Liverpool’s biggest obstacles for the Premier League crown.
  • Momo seemed to have problems staying on his feet. At least, however, he was drawing fouls. But, it’s a nasty habit to pick up, son. Cut it out now.
  • Whatever fouls Momo drew were canceled out by Crouch, who is physically unable to challenge a defender for a ball without putting his hands on their shoulders.
  • I wonder if there’s a certain criteria for wearing the white socks with the red kit? Does the kit manager ask Rafa if they can or is it wholely Rafa’s idea?
  • What to say about Pepe? While I was incensed with the linesman’s penalty call (for an Arbeloa shirt grab which had no bearing on the player’s progress or movement), my nerves were oddly relaxed when Kanu stepped up to the spot. With Reina, penalties are no sure thing.
  • The more I think about the penalty call, the less outraged I am. The argument call be made that it’s encouraging to see the ref keep the defenders honest, but if you watch the replay of the incident, Arbeloa has superior positioning on **, who has no chance at receiving the ball unless Arbeloa misses it completely. The little Spainard had no chance at impeding **’s movement with a fistful of jersey.
  • The first 15 minutes were spend almost exclusively in the Pompey half, but the home side were able to sort themselves out and get forward.
  • Crouch is going to have to step up his efforts if he doesn’t want to play fourth fiddle. From being pushed off the ball like a second-grader to the incessant fouling on every 50/50 header, he’s clearly going to have to work harder to play and produce in this revamped Liverpool attack. Right now, he just gums up the works.
  • Voronin almost scored on a lovely piece of work nine minutes into the second half. Taking a ball from Crouchie, he aired the ball into the box for himself and almost chipped James from 16 yards out, only to have the ball hit the crossbar on its descent.
  • Torres for Crouch after an hour was a welcome move. Not a horrible 61 minutes for Crouchie, but more a passenger than a driver today.
  • Why Glen Johnson thinks it’s alright to try and tackle the ball when he’s on the ground is beyond me. His incredulousness when Turdbubble showed him yellow was amusing — “What do you mean I can’t trip players dribbling by me when I’m lying on the pitch?”
  • Stevie G entered the fray at Pennant’s expense. While a team like Pompey have to be somewhat happy not to see them in the starting line-up, how does it feel to see El Nino and Captain Fantastic trot out as subs when you’re fighting for a point?
  • Gerrard immediately made his presence felt, striding onto to a ball and feeding it to Torres in the box, who wastefully skied it over.
  • Portsmouth had their share of chances in the second half. I think Liverpool were lucky to dodge a few bullets.
  • Finnan’s knee seems to be in fine shape.
  • A problem with Xabi’s foot introduced Babel to the action for the last 13 minutes.
  • Reina, by far, was the busier ‘keeper. Liverpool didn’t do enough to test James, lest give him the opportunity to gift us something.
  • Voronin was inches away from slotting home an inviting Torres ball that went across the goalmouth. El Nino’s ability to seemingly create a quality chance where none looked to previously exist fills me unspeakable confidence over his future.

5 Responses to “Taking Care of Business (Kinda, sorta, not really)”

  1. 1 Johninho September 15, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    Hey, walk before you run, I guess.

    One point at Fratton Park is a damn sight better than NO points from Fratton Park, so this has to be construed as an improvement.

    But that said, I still think Crouchie is surplus to requirements. Sell him somewhere. You’ve got Torres, Voronin, Kuyt, and a metric assload of youngsters and extra midfielders who wouldn’t be too uncomfortable with a mid-week game up front against the Brummies, or away to Cheltenham in the fourth round of the FA Cup. Use them, and sit Crouch’s ass in the reserves if you don’t want to sell him.

    There’s too many combinations at Rafa’s disposal to suffer poor performance for long. Especially in the strike pair.

  2. 2 beingsven September 15, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    I still think Crouch can have a role to play, although it’s obviously he can now be recognized as the 4th striker. It’s not as if he’s useless, b/c he’s more than capable of finding a purple patch.

    But, if Rafa were to cash in on him come January and next summer, I’d understand.

    And ‘a metric assload’…. I like that.

  3. 3 nate September 15, 2007 at 6:43 pm

    The problem is, while I love Crouchy and ideally want him to stay as a fourth striker, he’s a confidence player who needs games to play his best, and I don’t know if he’ll get enough in the league. There’s still a place for him in Europe and the cups if he wants it, and Benitez has uses for him, but if that’s not good enough, I’m coming over towards the “cash in on him” side.

    Also, I’m being pedantic, but Liverpool always wears the white socks against Portsmouth because of their red socks with the blue kit. I really dislike the white socks.

  4. 4 bc September 16, 2007 at 6:43 pm

    Something odd happened yesterday when I saw the starting lineup Rafa had chosen. I was not as disappointed or shocked to see that SG was not starting as I was when I realized Torres was not starting. This is most likely a byproduct of SG’s injury and the midweek CL match against Porto, but there was also a part of me that felt as if the strike partnership lacked something.

    Now that we have four decent strikers (five if you include Babel) with individual talents, Rafa really has much more freedom in terms of determining his strike partnerships. However, it seems to me as if there are certain strikers that will only be effective when paired with another striker. When I saw Crouch and Voronin, I immediately thought that there was something lacking. With all due respect to Kuyt, Voronin and Crouch, it seems that Torres is really the only striker with that extra bit of talent and magic. To me, Kuyt and Voronin are both workhorses and are due massive respect for their efforts which will still bag them goals. Crouch is usually on the pitch for his height and unusually clever set of volleying and dribbling skills, but also lacks that bit of magic up front.

    To me, Kuyt and Voronin are the players that Torres need to play off of because you know he has the composure and consistency to place the ball in the net, especially on those half chances. Comparing with Crouch, he seems to be wasteful of his opportunities yet does not seem to be able to ‘create’ as much for his strike partner, (i.e., flick-on’s to his strike partner) although he does have the odd clever touch or pass to split the defense.

    In the end, I think Rafa will realize from this game that although he does have 4 strikers and many possible pairings, Torres is probably the most ‘versatile’ when it comes to who is playing with who.

    Here are partnerships that I would consider “effective”:

    Kuyt & Torres – Kuyt being the workhorse and provider to Torres. My first choice partnership. The combination of these two strikers can provide a wider array of “stiker ability”, contrary to being “one trick ponies”.

    Voronin & Torres – Similar to above. Tied for second with the next partnership.

    Kuyt & Voronin – Possible lack of creativity or ways to attack, but would provide more of a threat if combined with an aggresive/attacking midfield.

    Crouch & Torres – The last choice of my “effective” partnerships, I could see both strikers being the goal scorer, whether it be Torres setting up Crouch and vice versa, or a goal setup by the midfield. The “weakness” is that what happens up front is very dependent on Crouch’s play. If he is on a confident goal scoring run it could prove to be very beneficial. On the other hand, if he plays similar to the way he played against Portsmouth, he could be in for another 60th minute substitution off the pitch.

    Other partnerships, in my opinion, would be much less effective (comparatively). Kuyt & Crouch was seen quite a bit last year, and while we still got to the final of the CL with near the top of the scoring charts in Europe, it still did not convince me of a partnership to win the league. Similarly, Voronin, by now of which you have probably figured I believe to be very similar in style and skill to Kuyt, would have the same effect when paired with Crouch, as one could see in the match yesterday.

    Wow. That was a long comment, it was also my first here (I’ve been reading for some time now and I really enjoy it).

  5. 5 beingsven September 16, 2007 at 11:48 pm

    Great thoughts, bc.

    We certainly welcome more thoughtful voices to the party!

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