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Friday, 30 April 2010
Hoping for another special European night at Anfield the supporters came out in force and once again what an atmosphere. The atmosphere was unbelievable, really makes you understand why European football is so important for this club.
Rafa chose a very attack minded team with a few surprises. It was great to see Aqualani, Benayoun and Babel all playing in the same team but to put Mascherano to right back and switch your right back Johnson to left back was very strange when Johnson can't use his left foot.
Liverpool nearly scored in the first minute when hit a shot in the first minute which the goalkeeper blocked for a corner, it really got the crowd going. It was a really good start from Liverpool keeping Athletico on the back foot. But then Athletico gradually crept into the game and started pass the ball about and make Liverpool wary of how dangerous they are with one or two attacks.
Then Liverpool got the breakthrough right on half time with a great goal from a quick throw in from Mascherano sending Benayoun clear down the right and he put over a low cross into the box which Aqualani struck low into the corner of the net, it really was a great finish and had the crowd in raptures.
The second half however was different, Athletico came out a different team and had Liverpool on the back foot for most of the second half and gave Liverpool a few scares with Liverpool struggling to make headway or looking like scoring a second goal the game went into extra time.
Beginning to wonder how Liverpool were going to score, then suddenly Benayoun suddenly was played into the left side of the box and hit a first time left footed shot into the corner of the net which the young Athletico keeper could not keep out, giving Liverpool the vital lead.
It was short lived Athletico kept coming at them and with Liverpool running on empty Athletico got their all important goal when a Johnson attempting a clearing header broke kindly to Athletico and a lovely cross was sent over to the unmarked Forlan at the back post and he made no mistake from six yards out.
Liverpool were sunk with this goal and were really shattered physically and mentally and unfortunately could not get a goal .
I felt Liverpool gave everything but were playing against a very good Athletico team. Tremendous support as always. Gerrard,Kuyt ran themselves into the ground, Aqualani was superb, Babel worked his socks off, in fact the whole team couldn't have gave any more. But Rafa's substitutions were questionable, taking Aqualani off when he was playing so well, then when we needed a goal he took Mascherano off and put on another right back, worse still best player on the park Benayoun was taken off for Pacheco, decisions very strange for me.
However proud to be a Red last night with the commitment of the players and the fans last night best club in the world.
Posted by james walker at 02:49
Wednesday, 28 April 2010
I think for everybody connected with Liverpool Football Club this season its fair to say this his has been a rollercoaster of a season, probably with more dips than highs but its certainly been an eventful one.
On to Monday night and Liverpool faced West Ham at Anfield in the League in what ended up a comfortable win with goals from Benayoun, N'Gog and an own goal off the unfortunate Green. It was a good game for Liverpool ahead of their Europa League Semi as West Ham didn't push Liverpool much and kept Liverpool's slim chances of finishing fourth alive.
Last week was chaos worldwide with travel plans disrupted due to the volcanic ash over Europe the Icelandic Volcano, and Liverpool were affected worst than most, not knowing if there tie in Madrid was going to go ahead or not, enentually it was given the go ahead and Liverpool had to endure roughly about a full day travelling over Europe to get to Madrid arriving on the Wednesday on the eve of the game.
Posted by james walker at 06:50
Monday, 26 April 2010
Still with hopes of finishing fourth place Liverpool had to win, always going to be a difficult game with Burnley fighting for their Premiership survival. The long hard week playing three games in seven days and with the travel disruption last week made this a harder week than most.
Quite surprised by the team selection, yet at the same time there has been a lot of injury problems recently and Rafa was obviously looking towards the massive game on Thursday. I was pleased to see Aqualani and Ayala playing as they have not had much game time this season.
From the start you could see Burnley were going to play this game like a cup final and put Liverpool under as much pressure as possible. Liverpool struggled to make any headway early on. Fletcher up front causing problems with his work rate to the Liverpool defence. Liverpool's best chance in the first half came when Gerrard swivelled and hit a shot just from inside the box but Jensen made a comfortable save. Fletcher hit the Liverpool post with a shot that looked like a handball when he controlled it. Burnley had a penalty claim when Johnson controlled an awkward ball with his thigh then his chest but it although it didn't hit his arm it did look like it.
The second half was much of the same, but Liverpool had a blow when Liverpool lost Kuyt to injury at the start of the second half, and must now be a doubt for Thursday, Benayoun replaced him. Liverpool changed the game in the space of seven minutes, the first when Gerrard hit a shot from outside the box which took a wicked deflection into the corner of the Burnley net leaving Jensen stranded. The second goal was a Gerrard special when Aqualani slipped just outside the box Gerrard just took the opportunity to hit a rasping right foot curler into the corner of the net leaving Jensen with no chance. After this the game was over as a contest and Liiverpool cruised to victory scoring another two goals in the process. The third came when Aqualani sent Maxi clear into the right hand edge of the box and he made no mistake with a clinical finish scoring his first goal as a Liverpool player, finally at the end of the game Babel scored a fourth when he beat the offside trap and put it away as Jensen seemed a little unlucky trying to stop it. The final nail in the coffin sending poor Burnley down.
I thought Liverpool coped well with the early pressure on the makeshift defence, special praise for the young Ayala who was given a test against the hard working and strong Fletcher but Ithought he stood up to the challenge well and looked strong and comfortable in possession. Gerrard was more like himself creating a lot and scoring again very pleasing. Great to see Maxi scoring and Babel will be great for confidence. On the down side a few injury worries with Kuyt and Agger picking up knocks lets hope they are not serious.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Grerrard - superb, more like himself really influenced the game and adding in with a couple of goals which we have missed from him this season, real captain's performance
Posted by james walker at 08:13
Friday, 23 April 2010
Another big European tie for Liverpool which they might not have next season with their League position at present. This game was made even more difficult by the travel arrangements to get there this week caused by the flight ban, it really was a gruelling treck across Europe to get there, especially after playing against West Ham on Monday night, so just arriving the day before the game it was not ideal preperation but nevertheless they had to get on with it.
The team for me wasn't a surprise with the defensive line-up. Agger still having to deputise on the left due to no available left backs, two holding midfielders in the shape of Mascherano and Lucas with Benayoun on the left and Kuyt on the right, Gerrard playing further forward behind N'Gog.
Very lethargic start by Liverpool with some very slow play and lack of pressure on Athletico when they were in posession resulted in Athletico taking an early lead inside the first ten minutes. It was a really poor goal to lose with Johnson badly caught out of position and with Carragher pulled out of position trying to cover Forlan was left free in the middle when the cross came in Kyrgiagos couldn't cut out the cross and Forlan tried a horrible attempt at a header on goal only to head into the ground but still had time to get a shot in with no Liverpool defenders close only Reina got close half blocking Forlan's shot only to see it spin up in the air and past him into the net also past a desperate attempt by Carragher trying to clear on the line. Really was a terrible goal to lose especially so early on.
I started to fear the worst because Liverpool passing was amateurish they could not string three passes together and were giving the ball straight back to Athletico who were doing all the pressing without really creating much.
Liverpool were really not in the game at all you just felt the long journey to get there was affecting them although they would not admit it. Eventually they got one or two forays into the Athletico half one where Benayoun put the ball into the net only to see it flagged for offside, when replays showed he was onside. Gerrard was also unlucky when racing into the left hand side of the Athletico penalty box he hit a shot into the side netting, but the attacks were very rare, with N'Gog running a thankless task on his own up front with no support.
The second half wasn't much better although I felt Liverpool started to see a bit more of the ball but I felt it was a more rather to Athletico not being sure wether to go for a second goal or sitting on what they had. Athletico were still looking dangerous when going forward and I felt Reyes was causing all sorts of problems down the right really giving Agger a torrid time, his diving and play acting did let him down badly though.
Reina made a couple of really good saves in the second half keeping Liverpool in the tie, the first one was world class when a shot that seemed to be heading into the top corner from close range was brilliantly palmed away and over the bar by Reina. The second one, was a fierce long range shot hit low to Reina's right which he did well to block, but this time he was helped by the alert Carragher who cleared the rebound. A bit of late pressure in the last couple of minutes made it a nervy finish especially with the late goals conceded in Europe already this season, but Liverpool managed to hang on and will feel confident of turning this tie around at Anfield.
Despite the defeat I was relatively satisfied with the result when I feared it could have been a lot worse with the start we had. I do believe the travelling did have an effect on the players shown by their lethargy on the park. The passing was really poor at times from Liverpool giving posession away too often. I felt sorry for N'Gog getting no service and no support. Mascherano played well lucky not to pick up a booking from a series of fouls. Gerrard flirted in and out of the game creating some good things when he got in the game. Agger had a nightmare given a roasting from Reyes all night just couldn't get near him. Reina kept us in it once again with a couple of great saves. Carragher kept it tight at the back, unlucky at the goal. But I think we can turn it around at home against this Athletico defence which when we did go forward didn't look too clever.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Not for the first time this season I have to say Reina, really kept us in this tie with a couple of great saves and unlucky at the goal.
Posted by james walker at 03:07
Tuesday, 20 April 2010
With the slim hopes of making fourth place in the league this had to be a win for the Reds. Slips in the league in recent weeks has made it almost impossible for Liverpool to qualify for Champions League football next season, because of this scenario you felt that priority was looking towards Thursday's match in Madrid where a chance of European silverware lies.
More bad news on the eve of this match with the news that Liverpool's talisman Torres will miss the rest of the season seemed to have an effect on the support and the atmosphere. But as far as the team went I felt it was pretty strong, I was expecting N'Gog to play up front in place of Torres, good to see Benayoun starting, Mascherano was given a rest, but I was happy enough with the team in what could have been a tricky game with West Ham fighting for their lives.
The game started very flat and at a very lethargic pace, you just felt West Ham were playing like a team with no confidence and Liverpool were thinking more about Thursday night's game. Although the pace of the game was very flat Liverpool were dictating the play and very comfortable in defence.
Then out of the blue Liverpool were awarded a free kick out on the right wing which Gerrard took quickly whipping it across the face of goal Benayoun made a good run into the box and deflected it in with the help of his stomach although the West Ham players were appealing for had ball but replays showed it clearly hit his stomach.
Liverpool stayed in control of the game after the opener whereas you would have thought West Ham would have shown a reaction from going a goal down. Liverpool scored a second goal before half time after good work from Maxi on the right playing a ball low into the box which was struck powerfully from David N'Gog into the West Ham net and puting Liverpool on easy street.
Livepool went in at half time two up and well worth the lead. The second half was played out in the same theme as the first with Liverpool controlling the game and the Liverpool defence getting as quiet a game as I've seen them have all season. With Gerrard pulling the strings in midfield it was he who set up Liverpool's third and killer goal when he whipped in an inswinging free kick which Kyrgiakos got a foot to about six yards out deflecting it onto the post and onto the unlucky Green and into the net proving that when your struggling thing go against you.
The rest of the second half was played out like a training game with the contest over and substitutions being made and both teams turning their attentions to their next games. Really comfortable night for Liverpool against a very poor West Ham team.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Gerrard - Thought Gerrard dictating things from playing deeper in midfield last night, getting more involved, everything good about Liverpool came from Gerrard and played two great crosses in for two of the three Liverpool goals. More like Stevie.
Posted by james walker at 06:05
Monday, 19 April 2010
Just thought I'd write a bit about the season so far and how I feel about things. Its been a really tough season, I'd actually goes as far as saying its the worst season I've ever experienced as a Liverpool supporter, I know that over the last twenty or so years there has been so many downs like obviously Hillsborough, Kenny leaving etc. but with all the lows we've had there was always stability in the club. After the events of last season where to be honest with you I felt we punched above our weight finishing so close to winning the league I think this season has been more of a realistic season although obviously disappointing stemming from the off the field troubles which have now reflected on the field, whereas we got away with it last season. All these rumours all season with the owners and selling and the debt we're in, are we getting a new stadium or not there has been so much speculation all season long and I think this has certainly had an effect on performances on the field. Hopefully now with our newly appointed man at the helm although supposedly a Chelsea fan, he makes a difference to our plight and brings investment in to provide funds for transfers which I believe are vital as we look to be out of the top four which we have taken for granted for years.
RAFA - I have supported Rafa throughout but I wonder if he has taken us us far as he can, to be fair he has been cruelly exposed with injuries this season which any manager and team would struggle with. But you look at the team when our key players are unavailable and you see the replacements and you say to your self just not good enough. Prime example Torres who's been out most of the season, replacement N'Gog, not good enough, not experienced enough, so our goal threat is nil. You look at some of the players he's let go, Alonso obviously biggest miss this season but there has been many more Keane, Crouch, Bellamy, I could go on, the thing with these guys was they were all seasoned pros, whereas now I feel we don't have enough experience in reserve. Also I feel Rafa has been so negative with his tactics and team selections worrying about the opposition rather than letting them worry about us. Two holding midfielders for most of the season typifies it for me, home form has been good this season but away from home we can't buy a goal its woefull with our lone attacker, whoever it may be left isolated with no support in these games, so I feel his tactics have to be questioned, on the plus side these tactics work well against the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Man U but not against the likes of Bolton, Hull, Burnley etc.
There has been a lot of speculation about Rafa's future this season which I don't think has helped either, with the latest being about the Juventus job.
But overall I have to say will it be better bringing a new manager in. It means we have to start from scratch again, new manager bringing in his new ideas, new staff, new players etc. whereas Rafa will say work in progress. So I say stick with Rafa.
GERRARD - Biggest disappointment of the season, been troubled with injuries earlier in the season but has not looked his usual driving self all season, usually weighs in with many goals but very few this season. I just wonder if he's had enough of Rafa or fed up carrying this team which he has done for years. I'm fearing he's had enough and will want away in the summer because at his age this could be his last chance to move, and with the likelyhood of no Champions League football next year he may look elsewhere.
TORRES - Another frustrating year picking up so many injuries and missed so much of the season, last night's news of him being out for the rest of the season sums up his and Liverpool's season basically. Worrying about his fitness in the last couple of seasons, you begin to wonder if he's going to be another Michael Owen. Also worryingly is with no fourth spot will Torres be swayed to leave in the summer if somebody comes in, time will tell.
THE FUTURE - It has been good to see the likes of Reina pledging his loyalty to the club as for me he has been our player of the season. I do think we have a good nucleus, strong right through the middle of the team. Paramount that we hold on to our key players for next season, and also strengthen with signings, but finances will dictate that. Off the field in recent weeks there seems to be more optomism of investment and even talk of the new stadium so fingers crossed. I actually think with no Champions League football next year it could help us concentrate on the League so it could be to our benefit although maybe not financially.
Overall I think there is a lot to look forward to starting with the Europa League, hopefully we can end the season off on a high and then look forward to next season.
But I have to say I am still proud to be a Red with the way everybody has stuck together in this season of struggle has been humbling and very comforting. Great just being a one of many supporters of this great club.
Posted by james walker at 03:19
Thursday, 15 April 2010
I can still remember a lot about that fatefull day. I was 18 years old and mad about football. With Liverpool having another great season I was really excited about the day ahead , and the thought of reaching another Wembley final.
I remember that it was a lovely sunny day and I was just so excited about the game against Forest. In those days there wasn't so many live televised games and usually you could only get second half commentary on the radio. So I decided to go out that afternoon to what we call locally as " the moor" which is just a patch of wasteland near the town centre, with my golf clubs and hit some golf balls around for a while because it was a nice sunny day. But my mind was just on one thing, the semi-final, so after hitting a few golf balls around I decided to go home and switch on Grandstand on BBC1 to see what the score was. But when I switched the TV on I could not believe what I was seeing, the match reporter was telling us that what they initially had thought was crowd trouble had turned into a disaster with people being crushed to death and the match had been abandoned. I could not believe my eyes or ears I was shocked, horrified and tearfull about what I was witnessing. TV pictures showing the world a football park with people lying, running around in panic or pain on this park where a great sporting occasion should have been taking place.
I will never forget that day like many of you reading this but I feel strangely fortunate because I was seriously considering going to that match so in a way I got away with one. But I took a long time to get over it and I wasn't even involved directly with the disaster as I never knew anybody that went to the match. But always at this time of year it always brings these memories back.
I would just like to pay tribute to everybody that fights for justice, the relatives of the bereaved, and the great spirit that the club shows recognising these fans that died for our club they will never walk alone.
To the greatest supporters in the world YNWA
Posted by james walker at 15:47
Monday, 12 April 2010
Possibly a dress rehearsel for the Europa League Final but in reality this was really Liverpool's last chance to stake a claim for 4th place. Always going to be tough against a very well organised Fulham side, and after playing in Europe on Thursday it was always going to be difficult.
Massive blow that Torres wasn't playing with N'Gog taking his place. Also with Insua still out Agger had to stay out at left back, encouraging though was Aqualani starting in place of Lucas and Babel out on the left with the unfortunate Benayoun missing out, Maxi started on the right in place of Kuyt, and to be fair the team looked strong enough to do the job.
Well Liverpool started off dominant and remained dominant throughout the match. Liverpool created chances with their dominance and Aqualani came close with an overhead kick and had one or two shots which were unlucky not to go in and Maxi was unlucky not to score after making a good run behind the Fulham defence only to have his shot saved and only to see it flagged for offside anyway. I felt Aqualani was involved in everything good about Liverpool, some good passes and got forward a lot getting on the end of some moves and working really hard.
The second half was just the same all Liverpool and Fulham camped in their own half, but to me they had no desire to get forward they just played to thwart Liverpool. Liverpool tried hard and played some good stuff but just could not get the goal, I felt N'Gog was too lightweight and I would rather have seen Kuyt up there but I'm not Rafa. I felt Johnson on the right was thwarted by Duff down the right and did not get much joy there. Babel tried hard and looked lively and had some good shots and some good crosses. But as the game wore on you felt it wasn't going to be our day. Rafa made changes but i felt they were like for like rather than being more attacking changes. very sad to see Aqualani subbed after only 65 minutes I thought he was having a great game, also Babel coming off I didn't agree with as I thought he was lively. Good to see Pacheco coming on but not enough time in my opinion,
I felt the team played well, a bit unlucky not to score, but Rafa's changes were poor and I'm afraid to concede 4th spot has gone.
MAN OF THE MATCH- Aqualani- thought he played really well involved in everything good, worked hard, got on the end of things, passed really well a bit Alonso like in his creative passes, but then amazingly taken off.
Posted by james walker at 14:41
Friday, 9 April 2010
Another massive european night at Anfield with the crowd producing the now famous "12th man" . Up against it after the 2-1 defeat in Lisbon this was always going to be tough for Liverpool especially against a Benfica side that couldn't remember the last time they had tasted defeat because it was twenty odd games ago. You just felt it was going to be another special european night at Anfield .
Personally I thought Rafa's team was too defensive with Liverpool having to score to progress, but how wrong could I be, Rafa got his team and tactics spot on for this one.
Left back was going to be a problem area with Insua and Aurelio unavailable for different reasons, but with Agger moving over to the left side there was never a problem. Also with Babel and Maxi unavailable it gave problems selecting wide midfielders, but I was pleased to see Kuyt moving back out wide and very pleased to see Benayoun getting a game as I think he has been sorely missed recently.
I felt Benfica started the game very well and Liverpool didn't see much of the ball and had to chase a lot of shadows early on and be careful of not losing an early goal with Benfica looking dangerous, but to be fair I felt Liverpool defended well at this time and never really gave Benfica a real clear cut opening, then Liverpool gradually came into the game and on the twenty six minute mark they made the breakthrough with just about their first chance of the game.
The goal was a carbon copy of the goal against Everton not so long ago with Gerrard taking the corner and puting it right on Kuyt's head who diverted past Cesar the Benfica keeper , controversially the linesman put his flag up for offside which was ridiculous as you can't be offside from a corner, for an alarming moment it looked as though the goal would be dissallowed but thankfully the referee new the rules and gave the goal bringing a huge sigh of relief from the Anfield crowd.
Then within in a couple of minutes Liverpool made it two with a great move resulting in a defence splitting pass from Gerrard sending Lucas clean through with only the keeper to beat and he did just that in a confident manner that Torres would have been proud of in the way that he went round Cesar before flicking the ball into the empty net. They game flowed from end to end until half-time.
The second half was played out in a similar way to the first half with Benfica having more of the play and Liverpool trying to hit Benfica on the counter attack and they did just that on round about the hour mark when Liverpool broke from their own penalty box and with Benayoun darting into the Benfica half he passed the ball out wide to Kuyt who played a great first time cross right across the face of the six yard box which Torres fired into the net making it three nil and seemingly making this tie over, but then the game became a bit nervy when Benfica were rewarded a free-kick just outside the box and from the resulting free-kick Cardozo fired the ball right through the Liverpool defensive wall and into the net leaving Reina with no chance, this left Benfica just needing one more goal to go through and you could sense the tension in the crowd. Liverpool survived a couple of scares with another Cardozo free-kick going close when his shot hit the wall and deflected about a yard wide of Reina's post and from the resulting corner a Benfica's header just flashed wide of the far post. This was the closest Benfica came and with eight minutes remaining Torres finished the match when Mascherano sent him clear and Torres provided a sublime chip over the onrushing Cesar and into the net. The last few minutes were played out in comfort of knowing the outcome.
I thought this was a tremendous performance against a very good Benfica side who are very dangerous. I thought Liverpool defended very well as a team, with the whole defence playing superbly and Liverpool were brilliant on the counter attack with the third goal proving that. Mascherano and Lucas protected the defence superbly and with Benayoun making those darting runs and Kuyt with his amazing work ethic, Gerrard with those dangerous crosses and incisive passes and Torres with the clinical finishing the whole team complimented each other superbly. Great performance.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Kuyt - he covered every blade of grass and produced some good deliveries from the right his best being the cross for the third goal and he scored the all important first goal .
Posted by james walker at 12:05
Monday, 5 April 2010
This was always going to be a tough game especially after playing away in europe on Thursday, even though I don't believe tiredness comes into it at this stage of the season when there is so much to play for. Birmingham have had a tremendous season and have made especially tough for teams at home. I just felt Liverpool had to go for it and throw caution to the wind because the away form has been abysmal this season and I think this has been brought on by Rafa's conservative approach.
The team Rafa picked was ok I would have changed a couple of things but the team and formation should have been good enough to win this. I think Kyrgiakos came into combat Birmingham's physical approach, good to see Gerrard playing deeper in midfield again but playing Lucas instead of Mascherano is a joke. I would have swapped Kuyt and Benayoun, with Benayoun playing just behind Torres and Kuyt out on the left.
I never saw the game other than one or two highlights but this is just my take on what I know about the game.
What I gather the first half was very cagey and not many chances to be had. Maxi was unlucky late in the first half hitting a shot onto the bar but that was the best of the first half. The second half started better with Gerrard scoring a tremendous goal from an initial Liverpool corner which found its way back to Gerrard who turned Bowyer inside out before scoring with a great shot.
Birmingham equalised about nine minutes later, and it was a poor goal to concede from a Liverpool point of view, with Ridgewell getting on the end of a cross to bundle the ball over the line with no Liverpool defenders in proximity Liverpool new they had to win and they tried to take the game to Birmingham with the home side happy to defend.
But then on sixty-five minutes Rafa brought Torres off which puzzzled players and fans alike. Later Rafa would explain that Torres was "exhausted" hence the reason to bring him off. Exhausted or not he should have played on, N'gogg replaced Torres and had one or two chances but unfortunately could not convert. It ended up a very frustrating day for Liverpool and now leaving Liverpool having to win all their remaining games.
MAN OF THE MATCH- MAXI saw clips and heard from others saying that Maxi had a really good game, was unlucky not to score and produced some great passes.
Posted by james walker at 15:46
Friday, 2 April 2010
Please let me apologise for this report as i watched this match in a pub with no commentary and well my eyes were not focusing too well as i had been drinking for the previous six hours prior to the match so accuracy and incident in this match will be rather vague but i will try my best and hopefully you will enjoy the read never the less.
It was always going to be a tough match especially away from home against a Benfica team that has been scoring for fun this season.
The team that Rafa put out didn't surprise me at all especially with the attacking threat Benfica have. Lucas coming back into the team was a certainty giving us two holding midfielders once again. Like I say the team selection didn't surprise me, although I don't agree with it, Gerrard once again moved and unable to influence the game because he gets played to high up the park. It was good to see Babel start again although he did let the team down badly with his actions. Overall I couldn't argue too much with the team, Rafa's tried and trusted formation away from home.
As I just entered the pub to watch the game I just caught Agger's goal being replayed, it looked a clever finish from a defender that missed numerous easier chances last Sunday. To me it looked like Benfica were on top and Liverpool being on the back foot even before Babel saw red. It just seemed to be wave after wave of Benfica attacks. But then on thirty minutes the game changed after Torres had been clattered from behind by Luisao, which in my opinion could very easily been a red card for a deliberate kick with no intention on playing the ball. Babel took great displeasure of the incident and confronted Luisao, but as they clashed Babel raised his hands to the big defender's face to push him away and referee Eriksson didn't hesitate to produce the red card. This decision shocked the life out of me, I couldn't believe how harsh this decision was, to me it was handbags, but if you raise your hands then you run the risk.
As i watched the rest of the first half I was just hoping we could get to half-time safely. We managed it just.
The second half was no different with Benfica puting Liverpool under tremendous pressure. You just felt a goal was coming and on the hour mark it came in the shape of a penalty. I'm afraid i have no recollection of the incident i don't believe I had a memory lapse I just reckon that I nipped off to the loo, but I do remember the penalty being taken and being scored by Cardozo, to be fair like I said the goal was coming. Liverpool did have a goal disallowed which I saw little wrong with, but I think its fair to say the referee was a "homer".
Benfica were awarded another penalty with twelve minutes to go when Carragher slid in on the bye-line to try and block a Benfica cross only blocking it by the way of a flailing arm. Not much Carragher could do to get out of the way of it but there is no dispute that it hit him on the arm and you felt the referee was just waiting for moments like these to aid Benfica, there really was so many questionable decisions all night long.
It made the remaining minutes really worrying, Liverpool just could not afford to lose another, just about managing to hang on, got to say 2-1 is not the worse result away from home and I think we can still go through.
After the way this game panned out it could have ended up a lot worse than it did. Still great to get that away goal could be priceless. Going to miss Babel and Insua next week in the second leg which is a blow. Don't think we played that well and were hemmed in our own half for most of the game but I think next week will be a lot different and with the atmosphere at Anfield as well I think we'll pull through.
MAN OF THE MATCH- AGGER for his defending and especially his priceless goal
Posted by james walker at 14:30