Not. Good. Enough.
Simple as that. Liverpool were not good enough today. And, as of right now, they are not good enough to win the title. After two scoreless draws in the league, dropping four points that not only should have been, but have to be ours, I’m incredibly unhappy with Rafa’s team.
This crowd deserves much much more.
Title contenders find a way to win these games. Regardless of what’s gone on for the majority of the game, who’s on the pitch, where the game is being played, championship-caliber teams secure all three points. Liverpool do not have the look of title contenders.
‘Pretenders’ is more apt a label.
Liverpool don’t look sharp, lack a killer edge and quite frankly, don’t look up to the challenge. We should be sitting top of the table right now, with wins at Portsmouth and against Birmingham. While taking two points from those games isn’t criminal, I’m getting fed up quickly with these results. Two dropped points may be allowable. But then, it turns into four. Then it’s six, and so and so on.
I don’t want to hear excuses. Agger’s injury had no effect on today’s result. You might make a case for the need for Alonso’s sharp passing, but title teams aren’t build around one player. And even if they were, that one player isn’t Xabi (no offense). Injuries are no excuse.
Birmingham did a good job of defending today, but that’s not an excuse either. Liverpool had their chances, but they just didn’t grasp them with both hands. Liverpool had something like 19 shots today. While I’m happy to see them take more chances, they have to make at least one of those count. Close but no cigar isn’t good enough.
Once again, Torres came on late and looked dangerous, which is frustrating. I’m already tired of seeing him start on the bench. He’s 23-fucking-years old — start him Rafa! He’s not going to wear out with a few starts in a row. I’m not ready to blame it, but I’m one more draw away from withdrawing any more defenses of Rafa’s rotation policy and adopting a neutral stance.
I demand results. One point is not a proper result and surely the manager and team can’t be happy with it. They can make all the positive noises they want, but this squad should be held to a higher standard and they simply are not meeting those lofty standards right now (set and perpetuated by themselves, I will add). My patience is starting to wear thin. The sad thing is, it’s only September.
The only way these dropped points will be rectified is by beating the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea. In those matches, a point hasn’t been a bad yield. But now, I expect more. We’ve crapped the bed with teams in the bottom-half of the table, so now they’ll have to do it the hard way.
As for ‘highlights’… Highlights? Are you kidding me?
My thoughts on the dropped points match:
- Hyypia starts, which is no surprise. I’m curious to see how Rafa treats him; whether he’ll sub Sami out early if the game if beyond doubt, how he rotates the position or whether he rides Sami (who said ‘tiredness is no excuse’ earlier this week).
- Two minutes in, Riise sends a fierce ball across the goalmouth, out of the reach of Voronin. But what was best about the move was the build-up, which was at least seven one-touch passes to send Riise into the box.
- I like seeing the wingers (Babel and Pennant, in this case) switch sides. I’m not sure there exists any stat which would tell you how effective it is, but as a defender, I say seeing two different styles of play can certainly keep the fullbacks on their toes.
- Riise comes close with a side-footed blast off a corner. I’ll say this about the Norweigan; although he may have his shortcomings as a true defensive fullback, when his game is on, he adds a dangerous dimension to the attack.
- Birmingham adopted a cautious role (probably because of a talent gulf), so much that they allowed Carra and Sami to stride up the field with the ball. While I’m happy to see this, attacking Liverpool from the top pays dividends.
- I think Babel might be a bit shy to shoot from outside the 18. Maybe he wants to fit in and defer to his elders, but at least twice in the first half he could have had a pop but went for the extra pass. Yet, with his passing abilities, it wasn’t a terrible choice. But after that Derby goal, he should be a bit more selfish on occasion.
- Liverpool are at their most lethal when they’re moving the ball quickly, on one or two touches. Pass and move, boys, pass and move.
- Too many wasted, over-hit long balls in the first half. I almost expected to see Danny Murphy, Emile Heskey and Markus Babbel out on the pitch.
- There were a good amount of crosses put into the box in the first half, but rarely did the Liverpool heading threaten the goal.
- Rafa demonstrated good form when a ball rolled out of touch to him. He took one touch to settle it and immediately played it to the B’ham player for the throw-in. That said, my only criticism is that he stood in place afterwards and didn’t provide a return pass option.
- Pennant put a good chance on goal, having it tipped over after receiving a pass from a Gerrard set-piece. It’s promising to see some variety in the free-kicks ala the Chelsea CL semi-final.
- The first half was as to be expected; a glut of Liverpool attack, but the combination of commendable Birmingham defending and loose Liverpool passing kept the match scoreless.
- Thanks to SopCast for shitting the bed so I couldn’t watch the second half! With the Liverpool game vanished into thin air, I was forced to dial up the Arsenal game and watch Derby try to salvage some pride.
- Finally, I was able to resecure a feed after following along an uninformative text commentary. Sadly, I’ve missed no scoring.
- Torres put a sublime overhead scissor kick just over the bar from a Pennant cross.
- I like the idea of the three strikers (Kuyt, Crouch and Torres in this instance, with Kuyt drifting in from the left wing), but I’m not sure how effective it’s actually been.
- Torres put Crouch in with a cheeky back-hell and I’m not sure why Crouch didn’t go to strike the ball immediately, instead allowing the B’ham defender a split second to tackle him six yards out. Frustrating. Does Peter think he’s going to walk the ball in?
- Did Crouch have one productive touch on the ball with any body part today?
- Liverpool surged forward with urgency in the last ten minutes, but continued to piss away possession with sub-standard passing.
- I’m going to take my anger with this result out by bullying some poor motherfuckers at pick-up today.
Five Questions Answered:
- Will Liverpool gift another penalty this week? Thankfully, no.
- Can the attack get some shots off and refind their scoring touch? Halfway there. Lots of shots, no goals.
- Who will be the better long-term stand-in – the experienced Hyypia or the more mobile Arbeloa? My guess is that Hyypia goes until the wheels fall off.
- Can either Momo or Masch put themselves ahead of the other in the pecking order in the next month? I certainly hope somebody does.
- Do Chelsea seriously think Grant can successfully replace Mourinho? (sorry, had to sneak that in) I’m too angry with Liverpool right now to think about Chelsea.
Next up, at Reading for the Carling Cup, then at Wigan for the Premier League (another team with which a draw is just as good as a loss).