It Felt Like A Loss
Right just to clear this up before i go on with my comments etc, due to being at work when the match was on my only view of it was from a television which was pretty far away, also with no sound and although i saw pretty much the whole match i was not able to watch it as intently as i usually would due to having to serve customers at the same time. Also, i would usually watch the analysis on MOTD, but i was celebrating me fella's and a mates birthday last night so missed that too.
I managed to catch, which were as far as i am aware the three main moments for Liverpool, the Lucas booking, the Kyrgiakos goal and the Kuyt chance right at the end. I also saw Huth's goal clearly. What i did miss however was a lot of Maxi Rodriguez, i saw him brought on in place of Degen but did not manage to catch enough of his performance to make a personal comment.
Right so Benitez fielded a strong XI under the circumstances. He also gave a chance for Kyrgiakos to make an impact on the first team. Mascherano also featured after being back from suspension and N'Gog was also back after the injury blow to Fernando Torres.
From what i could see, for the first 15 minutes or so we seemed to be matching a very physical Stoke side, and although we were looking a bit nervy still when free kicks and corners were coming in, we were handling the Potters well.
When Delap was substituted at roughly 20 mins, it was looking as though Liverpool would finally be in for a bit of luck, his threat from his now famous long throw ins are always damaging and especially so for a Liverpool side not dealing well with set play at the moment. When the ball is whipped in at such height and pace, it can often lead to goals.
However, lady luck was set to avoid us again, for a starters, it appears that Delap has taught his craft to pretty much the rest of his fellow Stoke players as even when he was taken off there were still plenty of aerial throw ins being made.
And secondly, Lucas Leiva was brought down in the penalty box by Danny Higginbothom, to the sheer shock of fans and players alike Lee Mason, instead of awarding the penalty showed Lucas a yellow card for simulation. Unbelievable.
Again, even though i had a shuttered view of what was going on, i think it would be fair to say the first half result reflected our efforts. The only real effort from Stoke i can recall was when a back tracking Pepe Reina had to deal with an effort from a corner, the only real worrying moment for a steady looking Liverpool side.
The chance was only given to Liverpool when Philip Degen was fouled to the right side of the box and Fabio Aurelio stepped up to take the free kick.
With the area filled with phantom away tops, the presence of Kyrgiakos was far from ghostly.
In a some what untidy fashion the Greek eventually managed to get the last touch and turn the ball into the net.
In the run up to the late, late Stoke equalizer Liverpool saw Degen and David N'Gog leave the field, replaced by Maxi Rodriguez and Alberto Aquilani.
Despite several threatening moments from Stoke, namely from corners, Reina had made the saves, and he and the defence were handling the Stoke attacks well. Although the forward play and passing of Liverpool was becoming rather shoddy, vitally it appeared the defence was settled and that we were going to hold on to a crucial 3 points.
But, again, those two scenarios, set piece and a late time on the clock meant Liverpool were about to be punished.
From the initial corner, the ball found it's way back into the box, when Higginbotham headed the ball back across goal it was ex Chelsea player Robert Huth who made sure his effort was sent home from close range. Heartbreaking.
Mercifully though, results appear to have gone Liverpool's way. After Everton managed to beat Manchester City 2-0, Tottenham drew with Hull and today Aston Villa completely missed the chance to capitalize by drawing with West Ham, Liverpool are not left trailing.
In all fairness a draw from the Britannia is nothing to be ashamed of but yesterday, it felt devastating. It felt just like a loss. Thankfully though, today, it is not as damaging.
With Spurs next up in the week, there is no need to explain the boost that would give us, all we can do now is look ahead towards that match and hope that the lads put in a good performance.
Might i just end on the note that i would like to congratulate the travelling fans who were at the Britannia yesterday, and the support they supplied to Benitez. No matter how you feel about the manager at this moment in time, the worst thing that could of happened yesterday is fans turning on the manager and voicing their anger via chants.
It takes REAL supporters and REAL fans to follow a side through thick and thin, good times and bad and how they reacted yesterday was the perfect representation of what Liverpool is.