Babel celebrates his first goal of the season with team-mates Joe Cole and Milan Jovanovic...
Last nights Europa League clash for Liverpool was not one of our most memorable European nights at Anfield but a win is a win and the sole goal from Mr.Potential allows Liverpool to go to Turkey with a slim lead over their opposition.
Hodgson opted to rest some players who had featured in the game against Arsenal meaning lads like Glen Johnson and Steven Gerrard sat this one out. Mascherano and Agger were unable to feature through injury and rather surprisingly Alberto Aquilani wasn't even chosen for the bench.
Reports coming out this morning though suggest that he may be subject to a loan move and other reports say that Kuyt could be considering a move to link up with Rafa at Inter Milan... All that is for another post though.
So Liverpool had Reina in goal with Kelly, Carragher, Kyrgiakos and Aurelio making up the back line. Midfield consisted of Jovanovic, Rodriguez, Lucas and Pouslen with Cole sitting of Ryan Babel up front.
Bulut who i mentioned in the match preview was perhaps the most lively of players for Trabzonspor in the first half. With Liverpool starting at a slow but steady pace it was only Bulut who really caused Reina any problems.
For Liverpool it was Sotirios Kyrgiakos who had the first attempt to get on the score sheet when he made a decent connection and nearly headed in Liverpool's first. The big Greek was perhaps the only one shining in the Anfield downpour, Poulsen was clearly trying but his passing was not up to scratch first half. Joe Cole was again giving his all but his determination was sometimes working against and not for him.
It was Joe Cole though who on the stroke of half time put a great ball through to Ryan Babel. In all honesty he'd had another frustrating first half but there was no denying the quality of his finish. He took one touch to bring the ball forward and then swept it home to the far right of goal. His celebration was very modest, let's just hope some consistency from the Dutchman comes with it.
Ryan Babel was substituted for the second half and Fernando Torres entered the field. Torres may not have managed to convert last night but it was quite clear he was back on track, with some promising displays of forward runs and his effortless skill, I'd be concerned if i was a member of the Man City defence. His goal back from injury is coming and don't think your mega bucks are gonna stop him in his tracks.
Cole worked hard trying to supply El Nino but it's fair to say his performance was more off his own back. Cole is desperately trying to impress the Anfield crowd because let's be honest folks, we can be a right harsh bunch, but i just wish he would tone it down a little. He'd play a lot more freely if he didn't feel as pressured.
The penalty given for the foul on Lucas seconds after the one that should have been given for the foul on Maxi Rodriguez was just another sour note to add to the start of Cole's Anfield career. He was superb in being strong enough to step up and take the penalty but there was just a feeling before he stood up that it wasn't to be.
At least he hit the target and didn't appear to let it get to him but i just think it's important to highlight that we need to stick with him and support him, which Anfield last night did and will continue to do.
Jovanovic was lively again and was also showing his brute strength in his no nonsense style of play. With some good hold up play and even some more attempts at goal he has continued to impress me.
It was also nice to see Fabio Aurelio back in defence and he was unlucky to see two of his free kicks just go shy of goal but i thought it was a solid display from the Brazilian.
Martin Kelly also put in another very respectable display and it was a good job Liverpool's defence remained stable whilst the Reds struggled to find another goal.
Of course we did score a second courtesy of Poulsen however the goal was disallowed. People were making shouts for it being offside and i haven't been able to find a video to review it but from the live game i personally didn't see anything wrong with it, certainly wasn't a foul on the goalkeeper which appeared to be the reason the whistle was blown.
Anyway, no point dwelling on that, it's a win and it's off to Turkey next week. With Man City up next it's some tough football and travelling for the boys but i have a confident feeling about getting the results we want and require.