Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Plucky Reds Steals Win

Everton  0
Liverpool   2 (Yobo 12 og, Kuyt 80)

Football. Funny old game.

You just got to feel for Everton. They got the short end of the stick this time and despite putting in a fairly decent performance and troubled Liverpool well enough, still they slump to a undeserving 2-0 defeat to their bitter city rival.

With almost a dozen of players out injured, the patched up Everton side were firmly in control throughout the game and if not for some terrible finishing and Pepe Reina’s miraculous saves, the result could’ve been so different.

But I guess that’s what football is about. It’s not the amount of chances. Not how well or how beautiful the link-up plays are. It’s just putting the ball into the back of the net.

Everton had the chance but unfortunately, blew it. Liverpool, meanwhile, dared to try and twice they did, twice they scored. Fortunes, sometimes does favour the brave.

With Rafa Benitez’s men knocked out of Champions League, the Reds entered this week at all-time low. Everton must’ve thought it’s the perfect time for them to put one past their city rivals.

But lady luck decided to shine on Liverpool that particular day. I can’t remember any one with the red jersey actually testing Tim Howard or posed any threats to his goal. But still, he had to pick the ball out of his net twice.

Not known for scoring goals, Javier Mascherano tried a low drive which came off Joseph Yobo and Howard had totally no chance. You could tell how important that goal was for Liverpool from the Argentinian’s celebration. He went berserk. And it definitely lifted the away side.

 But still, Liverpool were very much pinned to their own half and were playing cautiously most of the time. David Ngog, the sole front man, was left isolated up top and had little support. His first derby game was probably a forgettable one as he was out-muscled by Yobo and Heitinga.

Steven Gerrard. Less said about him in this game the better. He looked totally out of form and provided zero support for the inexperienced David Ngog. A leader on the pitch in physical sense but I’ve never seen him this subdued for quite a while.

Did he miss Torres this much?

The Spanish hotshot’s absence meant that Liverpool’s goalscoring threat diminished. Other players have to step up and guess who? It’s always going to be Dirk Kuyt.

The Dutch striker, although a little over-enthusiastic sometimes, proves to be a reliable player and no wonder Rafa Benitez values him so much. It was his goal-poaching instincts that brought about the second goal which effectively finished the game off.

But before I go into the goal, I must say the introduction of Albert Riera and Yossi Benayoun did change the game in favour of Liverpool. The duo caused problems for the Everton defence, giving the Reds a little more width and creativity.

It was the presence of the extra attacker which Everton failed to handle and again, Joseph Yobo blundered, gifting Riera an opportunity to take a pot shot. Howard spilled the ball and Kuyt was at the right place, right time to slot home.

Despite not being a spectacle and in fact, a rather uncomfortable match to watch as a Liverpool fan, it was a very, very important win for Liverpool.

The team went through a really rough patch recently and the ugly and undeserved win was actually a welcoming one. It will definitely boost the morale and propel them to close and gap and fight for a top 4 finish this season.