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Friday, 20 August 2010
LIVERPOOL 1-0 TRABZONSPOR MATCH REPORT
Another European night at Anfield this time a lot earlier in the season than we are used to and in the lesser competition in Europe, the Europa League. Drawn against about the strongest team Liverpool could have drawn at this stage of the competition. So I thought Roy would have sent out a pretty strong team, how wrong was I. Again there were a couple of forced changes with Agger and Mascherano recovering from injuries, but I was very surprised with most of the players he selected against such a strong opposition, and I wasn't sure he was going to get away with it. So many players that haven't played much recently.
I know Liverpool have another tough fixture on Monday night but I feel European football is very important to this club and the fans and this was such a weakened team.
Surprises for me were Gerrard and Kuyt not even on the bench. Babel starting up front and Poulson starting who has hardly played at all. I thought Kyrgiakos would come in with Agger out but only for maybe Carragher to be moved to full back. But Roy is the manager and he picks the team.
Another great crowd packed into Anfield in a miserable wet night on Merseyside but with the team that was thrown together for this match there was no cohesion and the play was very disjointed in the first half and the vocal support from the crowd quickly became very subdued as Liverpool struggled to get a foot hold on the game with Trabzonspor dictating the play and having great possession of the ball. With so many players with so little game time you could see the rustiness in their play. The passing being very poor, Lucas being the main culprit in midfield whereas he is usually very assured.
Kyrgiakos was defending well in the first half and winning the high balls but also making some timely interceptions, and it was he that came the closest in the early stages with a header from a corner that Kivrak the Turkish keeper saved well from but other than that until the virtually the last kick of the half that was all that Liverpool could show in a poor first half.
Then as time was running out in the first half Liverpool struck the ball broke to Cole at the half way line and he ran straight through the middle and played a great little pass to Babel who had made a run to the left edge of the box and from a very difficult angle with Kivrak spreading himself Babel opened up his body to place the ball into the net inside Kivrak's left hand post with the inside of his right foot it truely was a class finish from a player that had virtually no service all half.
Babel's goal turned out to be his last touch as he made way for Torres. After that poor first half the second half burst into life with Torres cutting inside from the left and hitting a rocket at goal which Kivrak could only block away, this lifted the crowd and Liverpool played with more tempo which you can only assume that Hodgson had gave them a stern talking to at the half time interval. Liverpool were looking dangerous now and you felt Torres presence was unsettling the Trabzonspor defence.
Then with a run from Torres inside the penalty area the ball broke to Lucas who was scythed down for a penalty, without hesitation Joe Cole picked up the ball to take the penalty, the stage was set for him in what had been a difficult week for him, but Kivrak hadn't read the script and dived the right way palm Cole's effort way to safety. Great dejection all around the ground and this miss did seem to take the wind out of Liverpool's sails a bit. Liverpool did have one or two other really good chances one when Jovanovic linked up well with Torres in the box before shooting but Kivrak made a really good block. Then Liverpool had a goal chalked off which in my view was for offside when Poulsen bundled the ball over the line after keeper Kivrak failed to hold the ball as Jovanovic challenged him with his head. To be fair I thought Poulsen was a shade offside. Although Liverpool were creating most of the chances they almost lost a goal when Bulut found himself with space in the box and just Reina to beat, he shot well but Reina spread himself and the ball was saved by his right hand before bouncing into the ground and just clearing the cross bar, a tremendous save and one that could prove oh so important.
So the game ended with Liverpool taking a slender lead to Turkey and Hodgson will have to play a stronger team to go through.
A very difficult night against a decent European outfit but the biggest problems lay in the team selection. Too many players not match fit. The first half was really poor, the goal coming right out of the blue but what a finish. The second half was better played at a higher tempo and Torres arrival lifting the team. Liverpool created more and maybe should have scored more. But then again Liverpool could have lost an away goal if it wasn't for that man Reina once again with a vital save midway through the second half.
Reina - didn't have much to do but then what an important save.
Aurelio - thought he done ok steady put some good balls in at free kicks.
Kelly - couldn't get forward as often as he would like, defended well but passing poor at times.
Carragher - unusually quiet game basically because not much came his way, steady.
Kyrgiakos - really good game won every header and almost scored.
Maxi - quiet game struggled to get into it before making way for N'Gog
Jovanovic - worked really hard one or two good crosses in and unlucky not to score when linking up with Torres.
Poulsen - not match fit but passed the ball well and one or two meaty challenges good debut, unlucky to have goal chalked off.
Lucas - looked rusty, gave the ball away too often, good run winning the penalty though, needs more games.
Cole - great work rate, some clever passes, great pass for goal, missed penalty so a mixed night overall.
Babel - great goal, looked isolated most of the half with Liverpool so poor but great final touch unlucky to be subbed.
Subs Used -
Torres - on at half time and changed the tempo of the game looks like he's getting back to his best, great shot early on and great effort with a header as well, class act good to see him looking sharp again.
N'Gog - only got on for about fifteen minutes and never really saw much of the ball.
Man Of The Match - Kyrgiakos defended superbly especially in the first half when Liverpool were on the back foot and also was a threat going forward with one great effort.
Posted by james walker at 05:32