Far From Eggs-cellent
Gerrard celebrates passionately in front of the fans...What?...
You didn't seriously think i would go through the Easter weekend without adding a really bad Easter related pun in somewhere did you?
On a more sombre note though, yesterday's result saw the grey clouds regather over an already subdued and annoyed Liverpool fan base. There were numerous moments throughout the game that were top of the moaners lists.
Make no bones about it, i had a moan myself, but quite astonishingly it is again clear as to what most fans feel and what most fans are more concerned about at this moment in time.
Whilst my first reaction was the sheer fear of what finishing out of fourth place could do to us. I.e. with Hicks and Gillett already dragging the club into so much debt, they idiotically based our finances on assumption of qualification into the Champions League, failing to do so could see us add another £40million or so to our already unsteady financial situation.
With the deadline having to be extended the other day as we struggle just to find a minor shareholder to invest, the realisation of what could happen should we fail to get 4th place came flooding to the forefront of my vision.
Most people just seem to forget it, or push it all aside... Oh it's okay, some billionaire will show up eventually. We won't have to sell Torres to fund debt repayments. We won't slide down the table through lack of investment in our already thin squad.
Without disregarding the other aspects of the game that i shall also highlight and comment on, which were perhaps worthy of a moan/questioning, it is simply vital that people see the real picture here. Never mind Rafa taking Torres off, how would you feel if Torres wasn't even there to be subbed?!
Liverpool started a slightly changed XI from the Benfica game. Daniel Agger was swapped for the powerful Kyrgiakos. Maxi was reintroduced and the skillful Yossi Benayoun made the start.
We all knew this would be a tough game for Liverpool, and we all knew about the capabilities of Birmingham holding the big boys to a draw at home, but we all went for optimism and hoped that we would come away with the win.
The first half from Liverpool was a relatively respectable one. We created chances and dealt with Birmingham attacks, although it was becoming apparent that both sides were cancelling each other out.
With attempts from Torres and the likes of Kuyt, Insua etc, it was Maxi's shot that had Liverpool fans ready to celebrate. It was only due to a fantastic save by Joe Hart that the new recruit was denied.
The second half was immediately of a different feel as Steven Gerrard put Liverpool into the lead after just 6minutes in.
With a clever little step inside to create himself that extra yard, Stevie sent the diagonal effort through a crowd of blue and red shirts and into the low right corner of goal. Superb.
After we'd scored it was clear to me, after predicting beforehand, that if we could hold onto a 1-0, we would walk away with the three points and this would be the only way how. I just felt that if Birmingham managed to get one back they would be more than happy with a draw, so would just defend to the death.
Unfortunately, for once, my "scrappy 1-1" prediction was spot on.
It took just 10minutes longer before Birmingham equalised, and my god, was it pathetic.
The defence may as well have not been there, and that is not even an exaggeration or a joke. The lack of shape, the absence of players in their correct position and the space that Ridgewell was allowed was the joke.
Glen Johnson managed to do pretty much everything wrong for this specific attack. Way out of position, ball watching, he actually looked baffled himself.
Simply not acceptable. Whether the fact that Kyrgiakos was pulled further out during the attack and Glen took that as a reason to also pull himself further out of position i don't know but whatever he was thinking/doing was just not on.
Now for me, the shambolic conceding of a simple goal from Birmingham was the real injustice/questionable aspect of our performance. Do you not think that if the defence had dealt with that as they should of, we would have possibly gone on to keep hold of our slim lead?
Although Birmingham had created chances, Reina and the defence had (on the majority of occasions) dealt with them quite comfortably. A defensive mishap was what saw us throw away three points. Never mind the ifs and buts of that substitution.
By 65minutes Rafa decided to make his first substitution. Not many would have expected this substitution to have been so drastic, but it was.
Fernando Torres left the field for youngster David N'Gog.
Now all of you will know that i am in full support of Rafael Benitez remaining in charge at Liverpool once the season is over. Unfortunately, this time out, i cannot fully agree with this rash decision. However, i am not one to be so fickle about a substitution.
Yes, Torres, even if he was supposedly "exhausted" is still ten times better than most players in the league when tired.
Yes, fact is Torres COULD have scored, COULD have created a chance, COULD have made an assist.
Yes, Torres is arguably our best player.
But where would we be sitting on what if this? And what if that? Why should Benitez feel pressurised into leaving a striker on the pitch who has so far in a game been ineffective? So many people constantly say that we shouldn't have to rely on the likes of Gerrard and Torres, it all goes out the window in the midst of desperation though doesn't it?
Benitez is too stubborn. I wish he would change things and be brave enough to make a change. Means shit all when he does something (which quite nearly worked and so easily could have) drastic though when your scared of drawing with Brum.
Its double standards.
No i don't agree with the substitution, but fact was, the little things that N'Gog added whilst he was on the pitch appeared more effective than the aspects Torres added in this particular game.
Even looking at the poor stats from both Torres and N'Gog for yesterday's game proves N'Gog has the edge.
Nobody would have said boo though would they if that on target N'Gog chance had found its way into the back of the net?
I just feel as though the majority of people are missing the point. Torres has 65minutes to get one in the net and when you just haven't got yer shooting boots on, you haven't got them on. Sometimes bizarre and brave decisions can change a game. Unfortunately, and so unfortunate for Benitez, this time out, it didn't prove fruitful.
Whilst i can totally understand people being annoyed/angry/baffled, i cannot understand how actual "hatred" for the man from some of the fan base rears its ugly head again when something goes wrong.
In all fairness, a draw with Birmingham away from home, analyzing what Birmingham have already done, ain't half bad. It is a respectable result.
Yes, Benitez needs to take some flack and rightly so. But it still amazes me how people can so blindly criticize without even taking into account all angles of the game and the situation.
Another one to forget, we will gain nothing from looking back. Only from looking forward. With some luck and providing we can provide the results on our own behalf, it is still a possibility.
Despite the fact that when looking at our last few fixtures, i myself thought we would stumble at Brum and i still don't think we will beat Chelsea. Even so, that series of events, one of which has already happened would STILL see it possible to finish in fourth.
It's not quite over yet.
City still have to play United, Villa, Spurs and Arsenal.
Spurs still have to face City, United, Arsenal and Chelsea.
Villa's only really tricky fixture is the one against City but there are a few games where they could trip up.
No point giving up all hope yet is there? Now roll on the bounce back against Benfica.