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Bradford 0 Liverpool 2 - Prem (May 1 2001)

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Report by Dave Usher at Valley Parade



Scorer(s) – Michael Owen, Gary McAllister

Half Time - 0-0

Venue - Valley Parade

Date - Tue 1 May 2001

Star Man – Gary McAllister












This was my first visit to Bradford, and all I can say is I'm glad I don't have to go back there next season. I'm sure it's a nice town once you get to know it, but it wasn't my cup of tea I have to say. What probably set the tone for my dislike of the place was when we first arrived there and pulled into a 'Save' petrol station, only to be told in broken English that they wouldn't serve us because we were scousers. I couldn't believe what I was hearing.


So anyway, that immediately had me on a downer as far as Bradford was concerned, and it didn't help that place was all hilly. We walked to the top of this massive hill looking for a boozer, and had to walk miles before finding one. Add to this that there wasn't a chippy in site, only curry houses and kebab places (and as I'm a bit of a freak when it comes to what I eat, or more specifically don't eat, neither of those were any good to me). Chips were what I was after, but in the end I had to settle for these dodgy fries from a Kebab place. A far cry from Anfield where there's a chippy or a boozer on every corner.


But anyway, that's enough of the town, what of the game I hear you cry! Well it wasn't a classic, but it was an extremely professional display in which we were never in any danger. From the first whistle we were in command, and Owen was threatening to get away almost every time we had an attack. You had to fancy Michael's chances tonight, as he was being marked by Robert Molenaar, a man who makes Richard Dunne and Andy Morrison look athletic!


Every time a ball was played over the top Owen looked dangerous, and the only surprise was that it took so long for him to open the scoring. Heskey had a quiet game, as did Stevie G, but once again Gary Mac was the man who puled it out of the bag for us. The second half had barely started when his exquisite through ball released Owen who finished expertly, although Gary Walsh did make his mind up for him by going to ground too early.


A few minutes later Owen was clear again, but this time Walsh, having learned from his earlier mistake, stood up longer and made an excellent stop. Owen did nothing wrong, it was just a good save. The only anxious moment came when the posturing Jeff Winter decided that no-one was paying him enough attention and so awarded Bradford an indirect free kick after adjudging that Carra's wild sliced clearance was in fact an intentional back pass!


The decision was ludicrous, as Carra had taken a wild swing at it with his left foot, and the ball had spun off in the opposite direction towards his own goal. Sander, thinking that no-one in their right mind would view that as a back pass, picked the ball up. Unfortunately, Sander was giving Winter far too much credit, and was almost sent off for his protests. He was yellow carded, but continued to vent his disapproval at Winter, and when the ref called him back over, the Liverpool bench thought he was off. Pegguy's jumper came off, and Owen was called over to the bench to be replaced, but thankfully Winter just gave him a ticking off.


The free-kick came to nothing, and it never ceases to amaze me how many of these situations are wasted by teams. I realise that it is an indirect free kick, but by rolling the ball to a team-mate, it allows the opposition to charge out and block the shot. Why players don't just run up and blast it is beyond me. With so many bodies on the line, it's bound to hit someone, and if it goes in it's a goal. Still, I'm just glad that Carbone wasn't that smart.


Other than that, there were just a few half chances and long shots, which posed no threat to Sander. The back four were superb again, making a mockery of the Premiership players decision not to include any of them in their team of the season selections. Wes Brown and Jaap Stam better than Sami and Stephane? Don't make me laugh.


The icing on the cake arrived with another fantastic free kick from Gary Mac. It was in almost the exact spot that he had scored against Coventry just three days earlier. Gary Walsh had obviously seen that, and was expecting a shot to his left, but Gary Mac is a cunning old fox, and proved that he's just as adept going the other way, with the most exquisite finish into the keepers right hand top corner. There was little pace on the ball, but the placement was so good it was impossible for the keeper to do anything about it. So for the second game in succession, Gary Mac scores one and makes one.


That's five games in a row he's been on the scoresheet, and I'm running out of superlatives about the man. He is human though, as he proved when we were awarded another free kick just a couple of minutes after the one he scored from. He hit it tamely into the wall, and the travelling reds responded with "What the fucking hell was that!" Then Carbone hit a free kick over, and was reminded that "You're not Gary Mac, you're not Gary Mac"


The reds, or greens as they were tonight (it's funny how whenever I see that green kit I think of Titi Camara, and it didn't seem right them wearing that kit without having the Guinean God in the side), seemed to play well within themselves really, and it always looked as though they had a lot left in reserve should they need it. They basically did the job they needed to do, and no more. At this stage of the season it's important to conserve some energy, as the two cup finals will demand a Herculean effort from the players. If we can beat Newcastle and Chelsea in our next two home games, and if Arsenal can turn Leeds over, then the final game at Charlton will be irrelevant, as our goal difference is far superior to that of the 'Animals.'


With the Charlton game coming AFTER the two cup finals (congratulations yet again to the fixture planners, great move that boys. Fucking dickheads), I'd rather not have to go to the Valley needing a win to clinch third place, and if the Gunners can do us a favour this saturday then we won't need to. Somehow I don't think it will turn out like that though, and the fight for third spot will probably go right down to the wire.



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

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