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Liverpool 1 Leeds 2 - Prem (Apr 13 2001)

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Report by Dave Usher at Anfield



Scorer(s) – Steven Gerrard

Half Time - 0-2

Venue - Anfield

Date - Fri 13 April 2001

Star Man – Steven Gerrard












Even accounting for the fact that it was Friday 13th, there's still no explanation for some of the goings on in this game. Firstly, I have to say that we deserved little from the game, a point at best, so the following comments are not made due to any kind of sour grapes.


However, we should NEVER be losing to Leeds, because they are an inferior team to us, and there's nothing about them that should be able to hurt us. It's only my opinion, but I quite simply don't rate them. I never have, and I probably never will. Kewell is a class act, and is one of the best players in England, but Viduka? Smith? Shite in my opinion.


In fact, if Viduka wasn't such a fat, lazy, slow pie-arse, Leeds could have absolutely mullered us after we went down to ten men, but instead he kept getting his portly arse caught offside. To think that Roma want to sign him to play alongside Bati-Gol. That's like displaying a Rolf Harris sketch next to the Mona Lisa.


Liverpool's first half display was possibly the worst we've played all season. We were dreadful. The only player who could hold his head up in the first half was Stevie G, although Carra and Henchoz were their usual reliable selves and Sander could do nothing about the goals.


The first goal was a throwback to the bad old days of about two years ago when every single set piece against us had me cowering behind my seat, knowing what was coming next. We seemed to have overcome that, and we don't let in many from corners anymore, but this was a bad one. I haven't seen the TV replay yet, but Ferdinand was totally on his own at the back post. He was Sami's responsibility, so Sami must have lost him.


The second goal was even worse, and it was ironic that it was Gerrard that was at fault, because he'd been by far and away our best player up to that point. It was rubbing salt in the wounds that it was Bower that got the goal, as the fact is that he would (and certainly should) probably have been jail had it not been for the intervention of the Sunday Mirror. Now who is it that writes an exclusive column for them again? Softly spoken Irish guy, nose like a pig, constantly goes on about "Moy young lards" You know who I mean.


Without getting into that too much (after all, I don't want a court case of my own to deal with), the fact is that every newspaper in the land knows what they can and can't say about court cases, and they know exactly what the consequences will be if they print something like that. Why then, did the Sunday Mirror go ahead with the story? Only they know for sure, but the rest of us have our suspicions.


Anyway, that was 2-0, and no more than Leeds deserved. Even at this stage though, the referee was beginning to get more and more erratic, and the second half showing from the man in the middle was so bad it had me wondering if he was on the Leeds payroll (with the Sunday Mirror?). Gerrard had been booked for his first foul, which was by no means a bad one, yet Alan Smith had committed several and had been warned TWICE, yet no yellow card.


Danny Mills is a thug, pure and simple. Having seen this fucking gobshite assault Ian Armstrong in a reserve game last season, I know exactly what Mills is about. Shaven headed to make him look hard, he likes to take cheap shots at people and is a sly, niggly, dirty little prick. He fits in well at Leeds.


Yet no matter what any of the Leeds players did, a blind eye was turned by the official, and sending off of Gerrard was an absolute disgrace considering some of the things he'd let go. At that point, we were well and truly back in the game, as the introduction of Smicer and McAllister (and the change in formation that came as a result of that) had transformed the side.


Berger and Murphy were replaced, and neither can have any complaints as they were both well below par. Fowler had an off day too, and given the side's first half tactic of hitting high balls up to the strikers, Heskey's presence was sorely missed. Mind you, Owen and Fowler had every right to feel aggrieved about the type of service they were getting. Ferdinand and Matteo will gobble up those high passes all day, and rarely will they have had an easier 45 minutes.


Heskey eventually came on, for the ineffective Hamann, who looked as though the amount of games he's had lately had finally caught up with him. Leeds dominated the midfield, and I thought Olivier Dacourt had an absolutely fantastic game, covering every blade of grass. I've never rated him that much before, but he really impressed today.


The sending off ended any chance we had of salvaging something from the game, and as we pushed forward we were torn to pieces on the break. Thankfully all of Leeds' attacks broke down when Lard-Arse kept getting himself caught offside, otherwise the scoreline could have been really embarrassing. We ended up with only Gary Mac in midfield, and Leeds had all kinds of space to pick us off.


To me, losing to these is as painful as losing to the mancs, in fact it's worse. Aside from the fact that I'm starting to hate Leeds almost as much as I hate our friends from the theatre, it also means that we have our work cut out to get a top three finish. It grates all the more because I know we're a far better side then them, but on the day they deserved it and as bad as the referee was, it was our own inept first half display that was our downfall in this game.


People will criticise Gerard for his team selection, and although it could be argued that he should have played his strongest side in this game, he has a very delicate balancing act to do, and is in a tricky situation. As he pointed out, how many teams have ever had to play four games between the first and second legs of a European Semi final? Gerard says that he is going to ensure that as few players as possible will play more than three games, and that is why he's had to leave the likes of Heskey out of the side today.


There'll be more changes for the derby game, a match which has now taken on huge significance for ourselves. We can't afford to lose, and even a draw isn't good enough. I was offered a ticket for that game after today's match, but I declined. I'm not proud of this, but the thought of going there and losing is not something I want to experience again. I haven't seen us win there since the League Cup game when Jim Beglin broke his leg, and coming out of that ground after a defeat is not pleasant.


In fact, coming out of that ground whatever the result is not pleasant, because you're surrounded by the most bitter, twisted, horrible supporters in the country. I usually have to get the bus home from there, and nine times out of ten I'm the only red on the bus, and I'm surrounded by bitters. Not a nice experience as I'm sure you can imagine. So this time I'll watching in the comfort, not to mention safety, of my own home.



TEAM: Sander Westerveld; Markus Babbel, Sami Hyypia, Stephane Henchoz, Jamie Carragher; Steven Gerrard, Danny Murphy (Gary McAllister), Dietmar Hamann (Emile Heskey), Patrik Berger (Vladimir Smicer), Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen:

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