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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Liverpool fortunate but deserving overall

Liverpool began well and looked to score early as Rafael Benitez wanted, yet again we were left to rue chances in the first 15 mins as Sofia stepped up and took command of the half. A lack of concentration that could finish off an entire game, and Liverpool were behind to a well taken Valentin Iliev goal over Scott Carson. Moments after we could have been two down, as the central defence opened up and allowed Guillame Zadi to run onto a through ball, superbly denied by Carson but the ball came out to Yordan Todorov, who sent an effort just over with the goal open.

Sofia were the quicker, better passing and more creative team out of the two and they made Liverpool chase and retreat on occasions. Their passing was controlled, accurate and allowed them to advance threateningly, while our passing tended to be overhit, uncontrolled and without insight as our attacks would break down too often. The second half was much better and we had the Bulgarian side under pressure much more, the only thing missing was the killer instinct for goal. Fernando Morientes could have scored after entering the box and turning skillfully past Dejan Maksic, only to be thwarted by a few Sofia players in front of the goal. Riise delivered a poor free-kick and then immediately followed its rebound with an effort that Maksic tipped over.

Dieter Hamann was very good in central midfield but he needed an alert Mohamed Sissoko, who had a tough time making passes and productive tackles as Sofia passed and moved around rapidly, but the signs are the Mali man can improve. He was unfortunate to have hit the crossbar. Luis Garcia came on for Darren Potter and should have used the wing for crosses but decided instead to cut in. Zenden came on for Stephen Warnock, Riise going to left-back, and added more pace and attack on the left. Florent Sinama-Pongolle made a return for Djibril Cisse and looked eager, having impressed in the reserves. The worrying thing for me is Cisse's contribution is becoming questionable but we will see by Christmas.

Resting a few first-team players, and Gerrard's injury, put the team through a testing 90mins+ and at least Benitez can see clearly areas where strength and depth is important. With such a selection for Liverpool, Sofia were the ideal team to face. They have a fit, pacey squad who, perhaps with more European football, can emerge into the group stages and they deserved to win. Liverpool are comfortable that what counts at the end is that we are in the group stages.



Blogger T said...

Yes, Redsman, the most important thing is that Liverpool have not slipped up in these qualifiers.

I'm interested in finding out what Pool fans think about Owen desperately seeking a return just a year after he turned his back on the club?

8/24/2005 2:51 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

I am sceptical, I am of the understanding that a contract was there for Owen to sign and then Real Madrid came in and away he went. Half of me doesn't blame him, because we were quite mis-shaped in terms of where we were going. Yet he has the prowess for goals that Liverpool could well do with, for our strikers still lack that killer instinct. Is Owen wanting to come because interest from other particular teams have waned?


8/24/2005 8:15 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope MOMO improves FAST..we cannot afford to have him passing "nicely" when only when he is NOT under pressure... and we cannot afford to lose players due to CARDS collected....sigh... someone please tell him to tackle cleanly without gettting entangled

8/26/2005 11:32 am


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