We Just Couldn't Take Our Chances
Hillsborough... Never forget.
Liverpool's already unrealistic hopes of finishing in the top 4 appear to have almost certainly been shattered after Roy Hodgson's Fulham managed to hold the Reds to an eventful 0-0 draw at Anfield.
Yesterday's game was the closest game to the 21st anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. Both sets of fans, managers, staff and players completed a solemn minute silence to remember the 96 Liverpool fans that lost their lives on that fateful day on the 15th April 1989.
Benitez's choice of line up was favoured by many with a very strong midfield and familiar defence. Fernando Torres was missing from the line up through a flaring up of a knee problem believed to have been causing him problems earlier in the week. Despite this being a blow it was an ideal XI played by Benitez.
N'Gog lead the line with Babel, Mascherano,Gerrard,Aquilani and Maxi making up the centre of the field. Agger was utilised at left back again with Carra, Soto and Johnson finishing the line and Reina in goal.
The first half for Liverpool was a very positive one. With players like Aquilani and Maxi using all areas of the pitch and Steven Gerrard providing a strong driving force from the midfield to lone forward N'Gog, it was looking good for Liverpool.
With shots from Aquilani, Babel and Agger just to name a few in the first half it was a feeling that it was only a matter of time before one effort from the Reds found its way past Schwarzer and into the net.
When the first half ended and the scoreline still read 0-0. It was disappointing knowing that we had almost all of the possession for the 45minutes, several chances and hadn't managed to convert. Such is football though, and such is Liverpool on some occasions, confidence in the second half and much of the same surely would result in 3 points for Liverpool?
Fulham could barely even get out of their own half, in all honesty, their defending was slapdash too, it was luck, stamina and some good play from Schwarzer that was keeping them in this Sunday afternoon clash at Anfield.
Liverpool continued the second half in mirrored fashion to the first, 14 shots at goal were accounted for in the remaining 45minutes, but it just wasn't going to be Liverpool's day.
Some say that the changing point in the game was when Benitez decided to make his first substitution (people are obsessed with his sub choices of late aren't they?). He decided to replace the effective looking Alberto Aquilani and bring on grafter Dirk Kuyt.
I was slightly disappointed as it appeared as though Aquilani if not getting closer to actually scoring, was causing a lot of problems for Fulham. However, Kuyt did supply some good crosses and his passing and movement was good. After that display from Aqua though, i would love to see him make the start against West Ham.
Another player who was worth highlighting i thought was Maxi Rodriguez, i have been very impressed with his performances of late and today fitted straight into an applaudable category for the Argentinian.
He was extremely unlucky on a few occasions in front of goal, but his efforts and work ethic were more than respectable. He made sure he was available for that "one two" link up and was a key player throughout the game.
Going back to the "one two" sort of description, many people on Twitter hit the nail on the head i thought in post match analysis via 140 characters. Liverpool were taking too many touches and too many short passes when they reached the edges of Fulham's 6 yard box.
I have to agree, in some senses i fear this may have contributed to our lack of the final product.
Pacheco and Benayoun were also introduced into the game in the dying minutes. It is always very refreshing to see Pacheco on the pitch and he again proved what a star he could go on to be with some fantastic footwork and glaring confidence.
Despite all of the positives and all of the up sides and despite a very good performance from Liverpool, Fulham just refused to be broken down. Their only shot at goal came in the 92minute which saw Reina have to make a save from Duff, but the fact is, Fulham will be over the moon with their result, they shut up shop for 90 odd minutes at Anfield and came away with a point.
Liverpool however can only feel extremely disappointed, it appears that realistically unless some freakish link up of events occurs in the closing stages of the Premier League, the only up side to Liverpool's season is the prospect of picking up some silverware by winning the Europa League.