My life has been a lot like Liverpool’s recent performances and results lately; I’m not sure which each day will bring or how it will end up. But, much like the team, I’ve ever hopeful that an incredible purple patch is right around the corner that will lead both the club and my life back where it belongs.
In unrelated news, I’ve had a slight cold the past few days, but I donned the jersey (which I hadn’t worn in awhile) in hopes that a spectacular performance would make me feel that much better.
Sadly, it worked quite the opposite way.
Liverpool deserve all the criticism they’re going to get after this loss. But, I’m not going to get angry because I have better things to get worked up about. I’ll let everybody else do it — and rightfully so.
Let me point out a pre-match quote from John Arne Riise:
We have only four games left in this group now, so the time for mistakes is over.
Apparently, everybody didn’t get the memo.
A 2-1 loss puts qualification to the knock-out round in serious jeopardy (What is the result of reoccurring amatuerish defensive lapses, Alex?). Basically, there are now two schools of thought:
- The Pessimist: We’re fucked. Absolutely cooked. This team is butt-naked last in the group and has NO chance of digging themselves out of the abyss they’ve
fallenjumped into. The Champions League dream is dead and they should start focusing on the league immediately.
- The Optimist: We’re in a shitload of trouble. Qualification might happen if we can win out, get goal difference on our side, the stars align and the other results go our way. Oh, who am I kidding? We’re fucked. Absolutely cooked.
Frankly, I’m writing Europe off.
Rafa, this team better be ready come Sunday for Arsenal. Because a loss versus the Gunners and the knives will rightfully be out.
Get your shit together, lads. You have about half the equation worked out right now. You’re playing the ball quickly and intelligently, but the defending is woefully lacking and your passing and efforts tend to get lazy after an hour. Sort it out.
My thoughts on the match:
- Considering who’s available, the starting line-up was about as strong as could be. I’m sure there are those who would make the argument for Yossi over
John LegendJermaine, though…
- The second the official whistles for kick-off, we cut to a five-second blimp shot of the studio. Quality directing there, asswipes.
- Liverpool started with energy. Already an improvement from the last CL match.
- It looked as if Finnan(?) handled the ball in the box five minutes in, but it was after the ball sliced off Riise’s(?) foot and was obviously unintentional. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean bubkus to some officials. In that instance, the ref says, ‘Play on!’. Fortunate.
- Babel made a strong run up the gut of the field, only to have his shot blocked out for a corner after passing the 18. The kid does have speed in spades. I’d be interested to see him up top sometime.
- Both teams were up for this one early. The crowd too — They were incredibly loud, at least on my feed. Impressive in their voices. I wonder how boring the Chelsea game on ESPN2 was.
- I started counting touches and Liverpool aren’t settling on the ball. I didn’t made it past a three count for minutes. It’s settle-look-touch-pass. This is precisely the intelligent & quick play that’s been missing for a month.
- The Besiktas goal came from a silly Liverpool mistake. Carra tackled near the byline, won it, scooped it towards Finnan, who shin-trapped it to a Beskitas player who passed it to a teammate two yards away, who pinged it in off of Hyypia. Reina was helpless to stop it. At least he didn’t get megged — that would have been the cherry on top of that dogshit sundae. What a joke. Carra, Hyypia and Finnan all deserve a slap upside the head for that. Line them up and we can do it Three Stooges-style, just like their defending in that instance.
- It looked as if the Turks may have pulled the right thread to unravel the Reds, but minutes later they’re settled, back to their quick-touch football.
- Gerrard got through and produced a good chance eight yards out, but the ‘keeper saved it and made a meal of the contact afterwards. Liverpool defense may have been broken, but at least their spirit and drive were not.
- Babel looked industrious and sharper. I dare say he’s learning? He took the ball from the wing, cut in and fired one shot slightly over.
- I don’t think the crowd stopped singing after the goal, only changing from their constant clap/chant to whistle, gasp or applaud.
- Liverpool dominated possession the last 15 minutes of the first half, but real scoring chances were much fewer and further between. Frustrating that Besiktas were defending as well as they are, but encouraging that Liverpool were still taking the game to them.
- After a corner in the dying minutes, Kuyt was sporting a collar that miraculously doubled in size. How do you think that happened, Mr. Ref?
- I thought it a possibilty that Xabi could start the second half in Masch’s place, but Rafa was obviously not ready for such a tactical switch.
- Liverpool started the second half in a lower gear than they played the first. Besiktas was walking through them in between poor Liverpool passes and shoddy touches.
- Pennant got played through and immediately pissed the chance away, getting (legally) shoulder-checked off the ball by the defender. Once again, the ‘keeper mades a meal of contact (this time, with his own player). Pussy.
- Gerrard took a full volley off a Voronin flick on and goes an inch wide of the post. Starting to warm up…
- Pennant limped/jogged off right before the hour mark for Benayoun the Supersub.
- Too much dribbling and subsequent loss of possession from the lads in Red in the second half. Honestly, splitting defenders so you can run right at a third? Rarely works.
- Sixty-five minutes gone and Liverpool resort to the tried-and-true ‘Stand around and then boot the ball upfield’ approach. Inspiring stuff. Makes me want to go lay on the couch.
- Voronin was lazy getting back onside and canceled out a possible Benayoun goal.
- Carra got away with a cheeky armpull on the forward. Honestly, he needs to concentrate on his less-than-stellar defending at this point in the season.
- 70 minutes passed — Liverpool look incapable of finding a goal, let alone two. Yet, no changes from Rafa. Maybe he doesn’t feel he’s got better options on the bench. Maybe Xabi isn’t fit.
- Gerrard went through again and the goalie got it right by coming out to snuff it out.
- Benayoun and Voronin fuck up a Babel cross where they had time to settle and shoot. Instead, there’s no communication, they fumble it and three defenders swarm.
- Lucas on for Mascherano. Xabi must not be recovered — then why bring him? The young Brazilian slips on the pitch, giving away possession and Besiktas blows a sitter to close the game out.
- More shitty defending from Liverpool and the Turkish squad finish them off. Insult to injury, Reina gets megged.
- Hyypia gets pulled for Crouch. Good move, two goals down with eight minutes to play! As if we haven’t been chasing a goal, it’s more crucial now? Now they want to play with urgency, passion and real grit? What a bunch of donkeys.
- Gerrard pulls one back with a great header but I’m not getting sucked in. These fuckers are dead in the water and it’s their own fault.
- Besiktas throw a stick in the spoke of the Liverpool’s momentum by taking off the industrious Bobo. Shrewd move.
- Too much individual dribbling from Liverpool ALL HALF.
- It kills me when a team pours forward in search of a late goal. I realize the pyschological difference, but imagine if they channeled that urgency much earlier in the match?
- Can’t say I was impressed with Rafa’s management of the game. There was an obvious need for a change earlier, but it appeared there were not the right tools on the bench.