Reds Were The Real Villains As Midlanders Take 3 Points
|Only one manager was left smiling at full time...|
I was so excited Saturday morning, getting up early, putting on the new Warrior shirt and my retro Liverpool scarf, I wasn't super confident that we would win but I expected better than what I saw. I was in the Main Stand again but a bit further to the left than where I was for the Unirea match, it was an alright view to be fair but I struggle to see the Kop End even with my glasses on so the second half was going to be less fun, even more so when the game began to unfold!
Brendan opted to start Stewart Downing in defence replacing the injured Jose Enrique whilst back up front leading the line was Luis Suarez. Jonjo Shelvey also featured in the midfield after his recent good performances.
The game started pretty well for Liverpool, it wasn't amazing but we had a lot of the ball (as always) and we were pressuring the Villa defence. Sterling was supplying several crosses into the box but unfortunately for the youngster he wasn't quite as pin point as he usually is. The likes of Glen Johnson and Steven Gerrard were also taking chances at goal but to no avail.
Things changed for Liverpool at the half hour mark when Villa's big man up front; Benteke saw his chance to put his side ahead. It was a bloody good strike to be fair to him and it caught Reina completely off guard, the Midlanders were ahead but at this point in the game it felt almost undeserved.
The Villa fans next to me went absolutely mental. In fairness, they'd travelled further than me (just about) and they wanted to make sure their voices were heard. I was slightly disappointed with the subdued atmosphere at Anfield to be honest, I'm a person that looks forward to singing the songs and getting the chants going but it's hard to do in the Main Stand so you rely on the Kop to get things under way but on Saturday nobody seemed up for it and once we'd gone behind the levels of excitement dropped even more.
Once Villa had found the back of the net they began to realise that they could really take the game to us, Liverpool barely had chance to re-group when Paul Lambert's side were back at us again. This time it was Weimann scoring for the away side but Benteke was present again with a superbly timed and placed back heel to set up his team mate. Villa were 2-0 up.
I couldn't quite believe what I was seeing, for those that read the blog and my tweets I've strangely been quite the sceptic this season (I'm usually very optimistic) and so I wasn't expecting miracles but as I mentioned at the start of this post, I certainly wasn't expecting this, this was beyond belief and it didn't look like there was any route of comeback.
I was disappointed, obviously, I'd finally managed to get some more tickets for a match and look what was happening, however, it's always a special time for me when I'm in Liverpool, I bloody love the place and just sitting in Anfield again has pretty much made my Christmas, if only there was a result to go along with it!
Half time was reached and Brendan made an immediate substitution bringing on Joe Cole for Jonjo Shelvey. Joe Cole has put in some good work of late and so I was agreeing with his introduction but I'm not so sure Shelvey was the one to take off.
5 minutes in to the second half and Liverpool had conceded yet again. Again, Benteke used his power to break in to the box but in all honesty he could have walked through, I'm not quite sure what the defence were doing for this one but they may as well not have been there. It was gutting to see someone break through with such ease and then finish with his second goal of the game.
I sat in the Main Stand, directly opposite the goalscorer, mouth agape. I still couldn't believe what I was seeing, the 3 points were long gone let's face it and now a draw was too so all I could hope for was a goal, just give me some sort of consolation...
On the hour mark Jordan Henderson replaced Lucas Leiva which for me was a bit of a nothing sub because Hendo didn't really offer too much going forward, I saw the idea but I'm not sure it worked.
At 86 minutes, thank god, Liverpool found the back of the net and finally I had something to smile about. I was hoping I'd get to see a Suarez goal but failing that a Steven Gerrard one would always be welcomed! Glen Johnson's attempted shot was met by the head of Steven Gerrard, the captain had converted and I just about managed to see it but that would do me just fine haha.
In the dying moments there were two notable bookings before Liverpool had to settle for 0 points. Firstly Benteke who from what I saw live and in front of me got into an argument with Glen Johnson and then pushed him in the head, others are saying he made a fist but either way he was lucky to remain on the pitch, at the time I didn't know he'd been booked, probably because I was too busy moaning about what had just happened but for me he was a very lucky boy. Moments later Luis Suarez was booked, from the distance away I was it was clear Suarez was in the referee's face and we all know what Suarez's temper is like but to get booked for that whilst Benteke raises his hand to someone and stays on the field? It's a bit rich really.
The game ended and I had to let out a rather gigantic sigh, I'm just glad we managed to find a goal. I'd usually have an opinion of some sort on how/why the game went so wrong but for this one I just can't fathom it, all I can say is that Villa were top notch and by the end fully deserved their victory. I just hope that Liverpool can bounce back from this and I hope even more that the next time I pay a visit to Anfield it's a more happy experience!
Just to end on I'd like to voice my sincere appreciation to all of those involved in the #RedRoseWalk. An immense task to walk for 96 miles through the night and in all sorts of weather, they have raised money for such a great cause and are a credit to their football club. YNWA.
I'd also like to note how proud I was to be a part of the minutes applause for Stiliyan Petrov and I hope he continues to do well in his battle against leukaemia. Stan is one of the good guys in football.
Till next time Anfield!