Northampton Give Liverpool Reality Check
As always i shall say it as i see it but if you think your about to read some nonsense excuses or some stories about Rafa or how it's Roy's fault then i'd stop reading now. I'm not here to fuel people's bandwagon, nor am i here to supply ammo for the negative brigade, i'm here to be fair and try to look at things rationally.
As expected Roy started a mixed XI with the only real regular starters being Lucas and Jovanovic. The side also fielded familiar faces in Kyrgiakos, Agger, Babel and Ngog. Wilson, Spearing, Kelly and Pacheco made up the rest of the out field players with Brad Jones getting a debut in goal.
So before i continue let's look at the ability of that side, David Ngog - Liverpool's current top goalscorer. Kyrgiakos and Agger two solid defenders. Jovanovic and Lucas - some good games under their belt. Pacheco and Kelly upcoming stars.
To get this point out the way, i don't care if your Kenny Dalglish, a part time fan or Tom soddin Hicks, it's crystal clear that those players are more than able of getting a result at home against a league 2 side. There's quite simply no debate.
So how people can be looking towards Roy when his tactics clearly weren't the problem after Liverpool netted twice is a bit baffling to me, give the bloke a bloody chance!
Liverpool got off to a good start when Agger played a lovely ball to Milan Jovanovic, the Serbian capitalised and after a good run put Liverpool 1-0 up with his first goal in a red shirt.
Pleased for the lad as i am convinced he will be a good player if he keeps working hard.
For the remainder of the first half though, after the goal Liverpool had quietened down, a lively looking Northampton couldn't get off the mark yet but things would change in the second half.
Billy McKay gave his fans something to cheer about after he connected with a ball sent over across goal, Liverpool would have been unable to do very much about the goal so had to settle for regrouping and starting again.
Full time came and went and Liverpool were unable to find a winner. Northampton had already made their three changes yet bizarrely Liverpool hadn't appeared to even have thought of changing things.
My one criticism from Roy and i think a fair one was that perhaps earlier substitutions would have been beneficial. When the first sub was made at the start of extra time it just raised more questions after Jovanovic was replaced by Eccleston, again perhaps wouldn't of been my preference but at least we had some fresh legs on the field.
Northampton got their second early in and despite a fantastic double save from Brad Jones, the ball found its way out to Michael Jacobs who converted for the Cobblers.
Liverpool made their remaining two substitutions before the end of the first half in extra time. Babel was replaced by Shelvey and Thomas Ince came on for Pacheco.
Again this just gave out the wrong message to me, almost felt like they'd accepted the loss. Don't get me wrong i'm fully behind supporting Shelvey and Ince and i hope they come good but you don't bring those players onto the field when you need a goal to save your side from embarrassment.
But then again what were his options from the bench? He'd selected a youthful one along with a thin side, perhaps we should have been more precocious, but i know one thing, our squad is lacking depth, we can't afford to play weakened sides because even our best XI appear to be struggling at times.
4minutes before humiliation and Ngog managed to find the net after a nice corner taken by Shelvey. The faith was restored, because everybody knows Liverpool are good at penalties... Right...?
Well, not this time. Nathan Eccleston had to suffer the heartache after his miss set up Northampton for victory if Abdul Osman could convert from the spot, which he did.
There are no real excuses, it was simply a poor performance, to sit back yesterday and read the fans attacking each other yet again because one person thought it was so and so's fault, the other the ref's, the other the formation, well quite frankly it pisses me off.
Wouldn't be so bad if it was friendly banter but sometimes you'd not even realise they were fans of the same team. It's a real shame, especially considering as a fan base we all have more pressing issues to worry about at the moment.
Yes it's frustrating, annoying and basically a shambles but all credit to Northampton and for Liverpool let's just look forward to Sunderland and hope some twonk doesn't decide to bring a beach ball again!