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Sunday, April 10, 2005

Liverpool step back (again) as Man Utd step off......

A Saturday afternoon and evening that contained two demonstrations of capitulation, the source of displays being the City of Manchester and Carrow Road football grounds, the capitulation shown by the respective away sides, sides who have history of red in their colours but not enough, it seems, in their own blood vessels. These are the very same vessels Ron Atkinson spoke of when he formed the opinion of how a player should look when he is seeking, with full commitment, to be in the right place at the right time to help score, or indeed score himself. Mr Atkinson would say 'he should be bursting blood vessels to get there.'

If only that kind of commitment could have been shown yesterday by Liverpool.

Harsh, some may say, as they had endured a Tuesday match where one half they'd entertained the home fans with a striking display and then allowed Juventus to come at them in the other, conceding a possibly troubling away goal. However, that was some three days ago from their meeting with Manchester City. Liverpool still had a strong enough side to beat Man City but again sat back and allowed themselves to be dominated. City deserved the win, they put in the more effort, though that alone never grants one a win. It is something like the puzzling enigma, like the question 'which came first, the egg or the chicken?'. My question is 'a goal is scored, is it because one team are too good or the other team are too poor?' Liverpool had their moments coming forward, Biscan and Gerrard could have scored, Le Tallec deciding to stretch a flailing leg after the ball rather than the better option of going in with a header.

But City seemed to have more urgency in their play, and with Stuart Pearce preparing to bellow from the vicinity of his technical area at his players, they needed to. Their need was more than Liverpool's, and fittingly City scored. Four Liverpool players, three City players, one of the City players is free running with the ball, leaving effectively 4 Reds to defend 2 Blues. The ball comes across and no Red player picks up either of the 2 Blues players emerging into the box. One of them is Musampa and his first contact scores. Finnan turns in disgust but he is one out of four guilty of ball watching and not being aware. The additional point about Liverpool is they failed to score. If they wish to stand a chance to win, much less gain points to hold down 4th place, they need to score or attempt to far more than they did yesterday. It takes a minimum of one goal more to win. I hope not to rue those words come Wednesday night/Thursday morning coming.

Why is it Everton get to play their game against WBA and today with Crystal Palace the day after Liverpool play theirs, at a time when points are crucial for 4th place? Now Everton have an incentive to aid them seek a win.

On paper, Utd should have beaten Norwich. What happened? No Rooney Ronaldo (both on bench), VNR, Keane, Giggs not picked at all. Ferdinand was skipper, which is wrong in my opinion as Gary Neville holds the armband behind Giggs when Keane is absent. Saha and Smith were upfront but the Frenchman had to leave through injury, replaced by Ronaldo. Rooney grabs the headlines for giving away the freekick from which Norwich scored, and giving away possession that lead to Norwich's attack and subsequent second goal. Again, like Liverpool, four Utd players defending, two Norwich forwards, the ball is played through for Ashton and he turns to pass to McKenzie, who scores a simple tap in. Very poor defending.

To have to concede to finally not being in a position anymore to win the title is one ting, but so badly to the bottom team? Again, were Utd poor or Norwich too good? Norwich fans don't care and the score is what counts, regardless of how teams play.



Blogger Skippy said...

Indeed, Liverpool take another step back, They have been so inconsitent, and that is why I predict them to beat Juve. There is no logic in football.

4/11/2005 9:44 pm

Blogger T said...

I will now make a comment that I have said for the last few years and will certainly say again:
As long as Alex Ferguson in manager of Man Utd, fans of Arsenal- and now Chelsea- will be happy.

The Norwich defeat should be setting off alarm bells about his continued position.

4/11/2005 10:18 pm

Blogger Abdul said...

Good article Redsman. On United, we have simply not been the same side since losing both legs of the Champions League to AC Milan. We have been a toothless parody of the heights we reached in December and January this season. Pschologically, the Milan defeat really hurt us and the gap at the top of the league grew more in our minds rather than in the league table - and we just have not been able to deal with that.

Alex Ferguson has annoyed me in the past couple of seasons by not playing the best 11 available to him at every available opportunity. When we have lost in the league, it has invariably been because we have been "resting" players or rotating our squad. The fact is that Chelsea and Arsenal always play their best team and the players thrive on it - ask Thierry Henry or Frank Lampard.

Next season will be crucial for Ferguson - because three seasons without the title would be considered by most United fans as unacceptable.

4/12/2005 3:18 pm


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