No Goals In Naples

Nervous moment for the Reds as Konchesky prepares to clear off the line...

A different looking Liverpool side last night boded well against Serie A side Napoli in their third group game of the Europa League. Despite a lack of Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres, a good performance, namely from the youngsters meant Liverpool managed to gain a respectable draw at the Stadio San Paolo.

The side fielded by Roy contained the likes of Martin Kelly, Jay Spearing and Jonjo Shelvey, just three of the players on the pitch out to prove themselves. Pepe Reina started in goal with Skrtel, Carragher and Konchesky making up the rest of the back four. Poulsen was in midfield with Jovanovic and Babel on the wings and David Ngog up front.

Napoli perhaps got the better of the starts from the two sides and were creative down the wings. Old friend Dossena was using his already imprinted knowledge of some of the lads in Red to his advantage and the Italians had a few early chances.

Despite this, a solid defence from Liverpool meant that the goal mouth was kept safe. Some inspiring play from Skrtel even after he carelessly got a yellow card showed a glimmer of that Liverpool passion that seemed to have disappeared in the Merseyside derby.

Easily the most impressive player forward of the defence line was 18 year old Jonjo Shelvey. It was clear at first that he was thriving off adrenaline in his efforts but when i expected to see the match grate on him and him begin to falter, he just got stronger.

Some pin point crosses and a good passing nous were just two of the cats in his bag. Along with some chances at goal and even some top tackles when tracking back, it's clear that the lad has some talent.

It was refreshing to see somebody play with such desire and back it up with a good performance. Unlike some of the eleven who made the start at the weekend.

Liverpool very nearly let all their hard work go to waste at the stroke of half time when a shot from Hamsik who was a key player for Slovakia in the world cup, saw his shot cleared off the line by a thankful Paul Konchesky.

Other than that nervy moment i think for once Liverpool could feel content with their first half performance. Whether we would be able to improve and come away with a win would be a different matter but at least there were some positives to note.

Second half for Liverpool began steadily, with the ever increasing threat from Cavani to deal with, i think even after the blow of losing Carragher, the defence again coped well, now with Kyrgiakos in the centre.

For once Liverpool themselves could shout about some chances with a decent few attempts on target from the likes of Ngog, Jovanovic and Babel. Unfortunately only Jovanovic out of the three i felt added enough to the game as a whole to be excused for not converting his effort.

Annoyingly, Milan set up Babel twice within the match with two lovely balls through but as is often the case with Mr.Potential, he couldn't quite get to the finishing touch.

As for Ngog although his hold up play was as good as always, it just wasn't his night in front of goal, possibly due to a lack of supply but when the ball was delivered he could have perhaps done better with a couple of chances.

As we got closer to the final whistle, game time was given to Aurelio who replaced Konchesky and Joe Cole who replaced Babel.

Some positive and forward pushing play towards the end made it seem like Liverpool may just nick a 1-0 win over the Italian side, unfortunately the lads couldn't quite get there.

Still top of the group and a performance we can talk about positively i would say makes last night acceptable. It's still miles away from where we want to be but it's a step in the right direction. I just hope that with Blackburn on Sunday we don't take a U-turn because Roy Hodgson and the rest of the lads are no where near out of danger yet and a loss on Sunday would be devastating.

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