Friday, February 12, 2010

vs Arsenal

I just finished watching the replay and decided to blog about it since my view of the game is yet to be corrupted by internet pundits, I just read the match report on after the game.

Reina and Almunia didn't have much to do, except for the superb save from Babel's shot by Almunia.

Skrtel and Agger had a great game. One of the best from Skrtel I've seen so far this season.

Insua had some nervy moments, but he's alright.

Carragher had to be substituted due to adductor injury halfway through the game. His substitute, Degen, was absolutely abysmal.Our backline went haywire when Carra got off. As far as cameo apperances go, I think Degen's probably the worst. Was to be blamed for Diaby's goal (I think).

Mascherano was alright, did what he had to do. Lucas gave away a few balls and made some unsuccessful passes but won an awful lot of headers in the midfield. Surprising, actually, even for me, given the size of him and my status as a Lucas lover.

Gerarrd's great. One of our best performers. Dropped back to defend, moved forward to attack. He should be playing alongside Masherano in the central midfield in big games. I mean, he's dangerous when playing further forward and attacking the ball inside the box too, but he only is so when there is actually someone supplying the ball to him, and neither Mascherano nor Lucas is capable of doing so. So, for now he's better off playing around the box, that's where he got his reputation as one of the best central midfielder in the world, isn't it?

Kuyt and Maxi were both disappointing, enough said. Ngog was poor too. Can't expect a goal when 3 of your attacking players were poor.

The important decisions didn't go our way. Maxi's shot was blocked by Vermaelen's raised arm in the box, and that shot was bound to enter. Gerrard's free kick, out last effort, was stopped by Fabregas' raised arm on the line, it should have been a penalty and second yellow for Fabregas. But I guess Howard Webb just didn't have the gut to make the correct call. Perhaps he should consider other profession.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Liverpool 1 Everton 0

I called in sick today and was supposed to get a bed rest. But the thought of last night's derby win is keeping me up since before Subuh till now.

We started the game alright. Carra wins the first 50-50 challenge of the game and the crowd roars in appreciation. The derby game between two fiercest rivals in the country is starting to get hot and sweaty.

And yes it is a hot and messy affair. Pienaar's challenge on Mascherano should be awarded a red card instead of a yellow, and the referee Mr. Martin Atkinson has a good view on it. It is even worse than Masch's tackle on Ben Haim at Fratton Park. Liverpool players are getting battered up all over the pitch by a 'good' Evertonian side who looks more interested in playing rugby than football.

A series of crunching, leg-breaking tackles follows. Dirk Kuyt is kicked in the face by Fellaini, who escapes punishment. Halfway through the first half, Lucas loses possession in Liverpool half and Fellaini steals the ball. Lucas tries to get it back but Fellaini manages dodge his challenge. At this moment, Kyrgiakos comes lunging toward Fellaini in a two-footed, studs up manner. Fellaini, realising that a massive Greek centre back is coming to get him, plays his part well by stamping on Kyrgiakos' leg. Both boys are in trouble there but only Kyrgiakos is punished. Straight red, and so he's off for an early shower.

All downhill from here? Not for us. Playing against a team with a one man advantage is always difficult, but we've done it before. In 2006, Steven Gerrard was sent off only after 20minutes after the starting whistle, yet we managed to claw our way back in the game to win it 3-1. So why can't we do it today?

The answer comes in the 54th minute in the form of a certain Dutch forward-turns-winger. Maxi Rodriguez lobs the ball toward Ngog upfront, Ngog controls and puts in a deflected shot. Corner for Liverpool, nothing comes out of it but Gerrard wins another corner. Captain Fastastic swings the ball with all his might, Howard flaps at thin air, Phil Neville fails at his man-marking, Kuyt heads the ball in. 1-0 to Liverpool.

And right after scoring, Kuyt stops Everton from scoring. Donovan manages to glide past Insua on the left hand side, puts in a cross to Pienaar to head in at the right hand side, and what a good cross it is by Donovan, and a good run it is by Pienaar, but Kuyt is there to clear the ball away.

In a vain attempt to penetrate Liverpool defense, Moyes makes two substitutions simultaneously. Anichebe and Yakubu on for Saha and Osman. These two big thugs are supposed to cause problems to Liverpool makeshift backline with their strength and power in the air. But Reina, whose mistakes are non-existent these days, is certainly too good for them. He blocks a Yakubu shot, then makes another easy shot from Anichebe. Anichebe outmuscles Agger, takes one too many touches, then he shoots but Lucas is there to block, and Reina makes an easy save.

Lucas has been plain in the first half, but makes at least 2 good blocks in the second half. Good choice by Rafa by putting him in instead of the delicate Aquilani. If Aquilani had played, we would have to ship him back to Italy in pieces. And yes, STEVEN GERRARD is back, and stronger! Kuyt at times looks lost and has no idea where to run with the ball ot what to do with it, but his excellent workload and intelligence in positioning cancels out all his mistakes and headless-chickenness. Mascherano plays well as the makeshift right back too. In short, everybody in Red is awesome. The boys defend well and in an organised manner and also get forward to attack. It's a har fought victory, literally. So proud of you Redmen. So proud indeed. =)