Liverpool 1 Leeds 0
So Leeds got the start to our League Cup campaign underway. The first distinctive moment of the game was in fact a Leeds goal which was disallowed as it was claimed to be offside. I myself at first thought the referee had made a good decision but after seeing the clip several times now it is clear the referee had got it wrong. Both Beckford and Becchio were onside when the ball was played. The confusion was caused though as it first appeared Beckford had got a touch to the ball but it was later revealed he did not, it was sent home by Becchio, either way neither player was offside, they were in fact level and we were lucky to have not conceded in the end.
During the moments after this incident the most promising situations in Liverpool's eyes was the linking up of N'Gog and Degen at least this is was i spotted. The space and awareness these two were showing was brilliant. Degen truly proved himself for me today, judging him on just this one performance i would like to say i am pleased, I'd be happy to see him start more games and see if he can produce more of the same against bigger opposition. As for N'Gog, he seems to get more confident each time i see him. I read somewhere quite recently that N'Gog was a Rafael Benitez project, N'Gog was the player Rafa wanted to mould into the perfect option when Torres was unavailable,injured or was being rested. Well tonight's performance just highlighted his potential, some pundits would class him as a weak asset to our bench but i feel as though he is improving drastically and could definitely become more of a threat.
The first and only real on target chance for Liverpool in the first half came from the only Dutch contingent in the squad after Kuyt didn't travel this evening, Ryan Babel. He did marvellously well to create the space after a brilliant run but his shot had no power and the keeper easily made the save.
Second half and Beckford arguably Leeds' best player on the night along with Snodgrass has a few chances notably a bicycle kick which is sent just over the bar and a close range attempt which Cavalieri manages to stop. Carragher had the job of keeping him quiet and although maybe quiet was not the best description of what actually happened in the match the number 23 and the towering Krygiakos were solid on the night.
Pushing into the hour mark and Spearing does another great job of setting Babel into the area. Spearing was excellent tonight, his passing was great, his movement was good, he even had some chances himself, a solid team player, with much more to come no doubt. I can't express how good it is to just see somebody like Spearing whose came up through the academy and actually made it onto the big stage. This is a key problem at Liverpool and i just hope that with all the staff changes and improvements being made at the academy that local talent and players being brought up through the system will not be a thing of the past at Liverpool FC. Roll on the next Stevie Gerrard.
65 minutes in and N'Gog opens the scoring with a brilliant goal controls/turns & shoots. Textbook. Just a few minutes later and N'Gog almost finds himself on the score sheet twice after a super cross from Degen is nearly turned into the net.
70 minutes and onwards, substitutions are the name of the game with the action becoming somewhat steady, Rafa decides to bring on Steven Gerrard just in an attempt to secure the win. Johnson is also swapped for Degen who gets a well deserved applause from the travelling Red's. Martin Skrtel also makes an appearance in the dying minutes. A free-kick is awarded and taken by Fabio Aurelio but is deflected for a corner which also ends without product.
Overall a good win, i thought the main aspect of tonight was that it showed some of the capabilities of the bench members of our squad. I was most impressed on the night with Jay Spearing and Philip Degen, who i thought both shone throughout the whole match. I'd also just like to point out the goalkeeping of Cavalieri who didn't really get a mention but played well and made some good saves. Here's to the draw and whoever we may face next.
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