The Beach Boy's Were In Town But Benitez's 11 Weren't Feeling Good Vibrations

Bad luck? Bad play? Just plain bad is all i can say. It appears that we have no excuses but to hold our hands up and admit that we were nowhere near up to scratch today. Benitez fielded let's say an interesting 11 after Gerrard and Torres were already ruled out the manager was also facing tiredness and fatigue from many players back from international duty. Benitez set out a 5-4-1 formation with three central defenders (Skrtel, Carragher,Agger) with Johnson & Aurelio positioned slightly further up the pitch. The midfield consisted of Spearing and Lucas in the heart of the line up with Benayoun and Babel on the wings and Kuyt the lone striker and of course Reina in goal.

Kick-Off and Liverpool are ready to try to turn around the smell of defeat with a victory at The Stadium Of Light. Sunderland get the game started and almost immediately the three central defenders are forced into action after a good move by Darren Bent. The striker at the moment is on fire and it simply wasn't long before he punished. Within 5 minutes of the game being started arguably one of the most freakish goals in footballing history was scored only to leave Liverpool players and fans both in disarray. A large red (Liverpool) beach ball was stationary within the 6yard box when the shot from Darren Bent came in, to Reina's surprise the shot makes direct contact with the beach ball sending it one way and the football the other. The ball ends up in the net and Reina is left utterly bemused. After attempts to convince the referee that this goal was "unlawful", Liverpool's argument was shunned and the goal was given.

Now just to get this part out of the way, I'm sure you have all read in the news shortly after the game that several referee's have in fact came out and said that they would not have let that goal stand. After scouring through "FIFA Laws Of The Game" this evening these are the two key points that i picked out... They are quite vague and it appears one referee's decision would easily be different to another on these issues...

Goal Scored
A goal is scored when
the whole of the ball passes over the goal line, between
the goalposts and
under the crossbar, provided that no infringement of
Laws of the Game has been committed previously by the team scoring the
Powers and Duties
The Referee:
“stops, suspends or abandons the match because of outside
interference of any kind”

Make what you wish of those findings but all i would say is that if a giant beast of an inflatable beach ball is not classed as an "outside interference of any kind" then my names Madonna. Either way it is still a very controversial situation, did the referee see it? Would it be fair to say the object could have been moved? Etc etc. The fact of the matter is though although this incident and goal obviously changed the game did Liverpool really even deserve a point?

After 97minutes of football played Liverpool had just 4 shots on target. None of which were converted. The lack-lustre of the team today was phenomenal. In all honesty the only players i feel that did "well" were Agger, Johnson, Carragher (at stages) and Reina, Reina being the exception as in my eyes he's the man that saved this from being a larger defeat.
Spearing started and i for one have always wanted to see him start more games to prove himself and get out there on the big stage, but not in a midfield consisting of himself and Lucas in the centre. I'm not criticizing Lucas as he's simply not AS bad as everyone makes him out to be, but starting a debutant alongside a player with little experience himself was for me destined not to work. Spearing on sitting next to Steven Gerrard or Mascherano then yes, this could possibly be more successful but today unfortunately the lad didn't work in the system. He gave away possession and didn't seem to make confident tackles. On the positive side he saw two shots slip wide and he can chalk up that appearance on his tally. I wish him all the best and hope he continues to do well but he just wasn't on it today. And he wasn't the only one...

Benayoun, Babel, Kuyt, three men who we are relying on for goals when the likes of Steven Gerrard and Torres are out and they were all over the shop. Sloppy. slow reactions, no real chances. At ones stage Kuyt and Benayoun actually clattered into each other going for a header, it was just shambolic. Today showed the flaws in our thin squad and after this result we are left quite fittingly deflated. We are left 7 points adrift of Manchester United who took top spot today after Chelsea lost to Aston Villa. But is it time to stop dreaming? Should we really just face the almost inevitable music?

NO. We should not. The league for a starters so far this season is already so different and unpredictable that it would be foolish to stand there and think that Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal, City & Spurs will win all there games, or they won't drop points. As we've seen already this season anyone can beat anyone... Burnley V Man Utd, Wigan V Chelsea. This is not going to come down to "games lost" it will come down to "points won". So ironically how does losing have it's positive effect on Liverpool's chances? Well as we all saw last year, a massive collection of draws along with some jammy Utd goals from Macheda lost us the title. This season we have yet to draw, now you don't have to be a Mathematician to work this one out folks, suppose Liverpool start their turn around against Manchester United next week and go on a streak of wins as we did last season after hammering them 4-1. How long do you think, minus dropped points from silly draws it would take to be back in contention?

Now is not the time to start writing ourselves off, make no bones about it this is a shambles of a start for us, I'm the first to admit but since when have Liverpool not been able to complete the impossible? We are a club renowned for doing such a thing. Negativity spurs us on, nothing persuades you more to go out and beat Manchester United than knowing the situation we will be in if faced with a loss. So even though we are in a very big dip in form, we have injuries, we have money problems, we have problems upstairs but were Liverpool FC and no matter how hard the s*** hits the fan we bloody well keep going. This season is far from over.

Keep the faith.