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Sunday, April 05, 2009

Liverpool’s title credentials under my examination Part 2 from Craven Cottage (Fulham v Liverpool)

Back in December I made a trip down to Anfield to see Liverpool take on Hull. Yesterday, I made a trip to Craven Cottage with my little brother and some friends to see If Liverpool could continue their recent resurgence and pile the pressure on United.

Craven Cottage is a lovely little ground, which is situated on the banks of River Thames. From the Putney stand if you look through the gaps, which appears in the corners of the Riverside stand you can see people enjoying a bit of sailing. We were supposed to be in the neutral area in the Putney stand, absolutely no chance, the entire stand was packed with Liverpool fans. It was my brother’s first time going to a football patch, he definitely enjoyed the experience.

NOT since February 8 have Liverpool topped the Premier League. After 90 minutes it looked as if they would do so only by goal difference, leaving Manchester United with two games in hand. Then, substitute Yossi Benayoun gathered the ball in the penalty area, sped around the slipping Paul Konchesky and shot past Mark Schwarzer, breaking Fulham’s resistance and leading to wild celebrations in the Putney stand. Fulham, who came within seconds of thwarting another Top Four side. They defended stoutly, rode their luck after Liverpool had hit the woodwork four times in the first period.

The lateness of the goal should not hide how deserved the victory was. Liverpool were not as fluent as they had been in rattling in 13 goals in their previous three games, but they were comfortably the better side, and had more than enough good chances to have won emphatically.
It was Benayoun’s introduction quarter of an hour from time that saved Liverpool. Suddenly there was a guile to their desperation, and Benayoun had twice gone close when Babel’s ball, aimed initially at Gerrard, fell for him 12 yards out. He struck a crisp angled drive, and this time neither Schwarzer nor the woodwork could intervene. As the celebration in the Putney End attested, Liverpool’s dream of a first title in 19 years is still very much alive.

Liverpool need to continue as they are and hope that United slip up. In truth they could have been well clear of United by now if they did not throw away so many points at home. However, there is no pint looking back in anger but focus on what’s ahead. The title race is definitely on.


Blogger RedsMan said...

Excellent account, of course. The game was crucial to show a reaction after the international break and to gain the points to not only raise us back above Chelsea, but to put pressure on man Utd by virtue of top spot.

I sense the game provided the kind of entertainment and thrils one looks for as standard from a top league game, much less a game in itself. Sorry for the Fulham fans as their side kept us out, and the woodwork, but we had to get that goal. Had to.

Now, for those who said Liverpool have not improved under Benitez, they must be having a big re-think now.


4/05/2009 5:50 pm

Blogger T said...

Ditto Redsman on the match report Skipper, and I'm happy that your little brother was also there to witness a superb finish for Liverpool.

For me Benayoun is a fighter who is not phased by occasions and has a fantastic technical ability. He is an excellent player to have in a squad and to call upon either from the start or off the bench. His goal reminded me of his fantastic precise finish away at Wigan which looked at the time to win all three points. To do it at the end of the match with so much at stake shows his ability and nerve is very good.

I thought this was a good Benitez acquisition when he bought him from West Ham: a player with great temperament and technique will rarely be a bad buy.

4/05/2009 11:38 pm

Blogger SKG said...

I have never been a big fan of benitez and have oftened questioned whether liverpool can win the league under him.

I am still not a massive fan as I am still not convinced that he makes the correct decisions, especially with his player selections.

lately benitez has not been rotating as much and i think this had paid off.

liverpool are in a rich vein of form and can win all their remaining league games. i don't think this will be enough though to beat man utd, but at least liverpool are putting up a decent fight.

i hope i am eating my words come the end of the season when liverpool win the league . . .

4/06/2009 1:19 pm

Blogger Abdul said...

Nice write up skipper. I have always wanted to visit Craven Cottage and must try and do that soon. Liverpool certainly have the bit between their teeth. If Macheda had not scored that magnificent goal yesterday then I would have made Liverpool favourites for the title. As it is, I think its still in the balance.

4/06/2009 9:10 pm


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