Aww... The poor sod! Someone give him a bear hug and a whiskey...
Liverpool came away from Anfield yesterday with a draw, at first glance, a more than respectable result but after the circumstances and sheer madness of the match, the Reds were right to feel hard done by after such a hard fought game.
Roy set up his team with Reina in goal, Skrtel and Carragher in the centre with Agger as left back and Glen on the right. Gerrard sat with surprise inclusion Javier Mascherano in the centre of the park. Jovanovic and Kuyt were the wing men with Cole sitting behind David N'Gog.
For the first 45minutes Liverpool looked steady, fireworks weren't exploding but we were more than holding up against Arsenal i thought. That being said it was clearly dangerous to think Arsenal may not pop up with a flash of brilliance.
Liverpool were eager to get going and keen youngster N'Gog was caught offside on a few occasions in the first half after he set off just that slight bit too early. Persistence would eventually pay off however for the hard working Frenchman.
Arsenal's new signing Chamakh was looking lively for the gunners but again, nothing Liverpool couldn't handle for the time being. With Arsenal missing star man Fabregas it was visible in their football that they were feeling a little less confident.
On the note of confidence i think it's pretty safe to say that Mr Milan Jovanovic is obviously not going to need a boost of it any time soon. He was superb in terms of effort and also fantastic in showing his strength and determination. His shot late on in the second half may have been off target but there was some power behind that stinger. Keep up the good work Milan.
Onto our other superb summer signing Mr Joe Cole, who could have thought it would all end so badly? After another enthusiastic half from Cole it was his desire to prove himself to us Liverpool fans that saw him see Red.
The card delivered by Atkinson i can't help but feel was very harsh, i fully understand that reckless tackles i.e. two feet off the ground need to be treated by the rules of the game and yes reckless tackles are straight reds but i seriously cannot see how by also using the referee's discretion he thought it was reckless.
Just a few of several points starting with the fact that although Cole's trailing leg left the ground it was not pushed forward with intent... Cole did not have his eyes on the player... It was quite noticeable that he was attempting a block, not a malicious tackle. I don't want to moan about decisions, especially not this early in the campaign but as you know by now i always try to put my thoughts on controversial situations across.
What was even more ridiculous is that the player who was clipped by Joe Cole's knee - Koscielny was stretchered off but miraculously sprinted onto the pitch second half. Even Steven Gerrard made sarcastic comments in a post match interview about the incident.
So for the second half Liverpool came out with 10 men. I had literally seconds before said to my fella who i was watching the game with, "No need to panic, Liverpool know how to cope with 10 men, it's happened too many times." (or words to that effect) and bang out of no where N'Gog nets a brilliant goal straight into the roof of the net from an unfavourable angle.
Of course the pundits and many others will say Almunia should have saved it or at least have done better but i think it's important to give most of the credit to N'Gog for a fantastic finish.
Nothing much to note up until the double Arsenal substitution which saw Wilshere and Eboue replaced by Rosicky and Walcott. Liverpool waited until just past the hour mark for their first substitution which saw Jovanovic leave the field and Maxi Rodriguez come on.
Steven Gerrard who was playing more of a defending role after his several clearances when tracking back ended up in the referee's book after a tackle on Maroune Chamakh. Shortly after Fernando Torres was welcomed onto the field by a vociferous Anfield and replaced goalscorer David N'Gog.
Arsenal began to respond to the deficit and were looking a bit more of a threat after chances from Walcott, Rosicky and Chamakh troubled us slightly.
It was Pepe Reina though who ended up gifting Arsenal their equalizer. Despite the fact he made two superb saves earlier in the game it would be this moment most will remember. As they always say, goalkeepers are remembered for their mistakes...
After Rosicky whipped the ball into the danger area it was easy to see there was a glare in Reina's eyes, despite this Chamakh managed to get something on it and Liverpool seemed to have been saved by lady luck when the ball came back out off the post. In a split second however an approaching Reina unfortunately with not much time to think sent the ball into his own net.
It was gutting to watch, still is now I've watched the replays. We all know what a world class keeper Reina is but this along with the beach ball will continue to be the fuel for United, Everton, Chelsea and Arsenal fans jokes everywhere.
It's ok though cause all of us here at Liverpool know exactly how good a keeper Reina is, thankfully he's not the type to let things get to him so onwards and upwards Pep! We're all behind you... Just a shame we weren't yesterday in extra time... Okay that's it, that's the one and only joke. It's a good job the lads got a great sense of humour!
So with all things considered, a draw with Arsenal is a good result, obviously, the win would have been better and it's just horrible how we went about conceding but i think that was a respectable display from a 10 man Liverpool, 9 man Liverpool at one point after Agger was concussed from a smack in the face with the football...
I'm sorry but I've been smacked in the face with a football from some burly Sunday leaguer over the park and i managed to run home and clean up my face myself, no concussion, nothing. Agger's a bloody wuss! As i imagine Carragher said when he went over to offer him some kind words of sympathy... "Gerrup yer tart!". At least that's what i reckon he said haha.
So with the next match against Trabzonspor on Thursday night let's hope it's less drama and more goals for the Reds.