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Liverpool 0 West Brom 1 - Prem (Apr 22 2012)

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LIVERPOOL 0 West Brom 1

Report by Dave Usher at Anfield

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Scorer(s) –

Half Time - 0-0

Venue - Anfield

Date - Sun 22 Apr 2012

Star Man – Jordan Henderson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"This will be one of those days when everything we hit goes in" I declared before the game. I wasn't far off, as substitute the word 'everything' with 'nothing' and you have a perfect summation of our latest disappointing home result. It's hard to believe this can keep happening, and yet it somehow does. In the league anyway, we have no such problems in the cup, which makes it all the more baffling.

 

We've apparently hit the woodwork 31 times now this season. That in itself is an astonishing statistic, but even more remarkable is that only one of those was in the cups. That goes a long way to explaining why we've won one cup and are in the final of the other, whilst in the league we're dogshit.

 

As shocking a defeat as this was, there was also a sad inevitability about it. Having missed loads of chances and seen two efforts come back off the woodwork yet again, was anyone even surprised when we gifted West Brom a goal they clearly didn't deserve? The most disappointing aspect of it all was that we offered nothing after going behind. Prior to that we'd played well and torn West Brom apart. After the goal we had no shape and just looked desperate. It's understandable I suppose, the players were probably wondering how the hell this keeps happening and just what they have to do to score.

 

I'm not even mad at them, they tried their best but it just isn't happening. We just can't put the ball in the net. Is it bad luck? Is it something we aren't doing in training? Are the players just not good enough? Is it a mental thing? Did someone break a mirror over a black cat's head at Melwood whilst walking under a ladder? It's probably all of the above, well maybe not the cat thing but the rest all applies to some extent.

 

We don't have enough players in the side capable of scoring goals on a regular basis, that's patently obvious. It's also obvious that it shouldn't be THIS chronic a problem. As I watched this unfold in front of me, I came to the conclusion that this season is just a complete anomaly and it can't end soon enough. We'll never hit the woodwork this many times again, we'll never miss as many penalties again. I just hope we can get that FA Cup in the trophy cabinet and then consign this league campaign to the dustbin where it belongs.

 

I started to get that sinking feeling when Kuyt missed a great early chance. That's just symptomatic of the season that one missed chance has me thinking 'here we go again, one of those days'. I mean, really, one missed chance early on really shouldn't be causing these kind of negative thoughts should they? It also crossed my mind as to whether the players are also thinking this too? Probably not after Kuyt's miss, but when we didn't score after a ridiculous goalmouth scramble midway through the second half, they wouldn't be human if they weren't thinking 'fuck this, we're never gonna score'. West Brom's goal then merely rubbed their noses in it.

 

It's difficult to criticise anyone too much after this. I didn't think anybody played badly and whilst the finger can be pointed at Johnson (and to a lesser extent Reina) for West Brom's goal, it's a little unfair as really you should be allowed to give away the occasional bad goal without it costing points. For us that isn't the case. Every goal conceded leads to a defeat or if we're lucky, a draw. Unless it's in the cup of course, we usually come back and win then.

 

It was a bad mistake by Johnson, no question about it, but that goal should have been no more than a consolation for Roy Hodgson's side as we should have been out of sight at that stage. In fairness to the Baggies, they didn't come and put everybody behind the ball and 'do a Stoke'. I wouldn't say they were over adventurous either, but they always looked like they had a goal in them as their front two are both pacy and hard working.

 

Despite us dominating the first half, Reina did have to make two saves before the break (one of which was top drawer), but the longer the game went the further back we pushed them and the worse their time wasting began to get. With an hour or so gone they'd have been overjoyed with a point as they were under the cosh so badly. They had one good chance after the break and they took it. We had half a dozen and took none, much like the first half.

 

As usual, creating chances wasn't a problem. Kuyt's early miss came after Carroll had closed down a defender and won the ball for Suarez who put it on a plate for the Dutchman.

 

Suarez then played a great 1-2 with Johnson, surged into the box and put a perfect ball across the face of goal that was begging to be converted. Only Agger attacked it and he couldn't get there. Everyone else was hanging back doing nothing, including Carroll who was near the penalty spot. You're a centre forward Andy, fucking get in the danger area.

 

Carroll is doing a lot of things very well at the moment, but he isn't a natural goalscorer and too often he's caught on his heels when the ball is being played into the danger area. I don't think that's a fault that can't be fixed though, he just has to be a bit more aware of what's going on and hopefully that will improve over time.

 

I thought he played very well again, he was involved in a lot of our best chances and he linked well with his team-mates throughout. A great flick by him then set Suarez racing towards the box, he cut inside but his shot was superbly blocked by an Albion defender.

 

It was all Liverpool at this point, but then out of nothing the Baggies almost took the lead. A long ball was played up towards Shane Long who was being covered by Agger. As the ball was in the air I noticed a West Brom player charging through the middle and it was obvious if Long won the header we'd be in trouble. He did win it, and Billy Jones was clean through on Reina who made a terrific instinctive save with his left hand.

 

Suarez then headed onto the roof of the net after being picked out by Enrique and Spearing flashed a shot just wide from 25 yards. Agger then brought a save out of Foster when he did well to turn in the box but he went near post instead of far and it was an easy save for the keeper.

 

At the other end Reina had to make another save too, this time with his chest from close range. The referee wasn't giving us much, and Suarez in particular was especially irate at the official after he was clearly bundled over from behind on the edge of the box only for the referee to wave play on. That was a ridiculous decision.

 

He also waved away penalty appeals when Maxi took a tumble. Haven't seen any replays of it but at the time I thought it was never a pen and that Maxi had clearly gone looking for it. Apparently replays showed there was contact, but that doesn't automatically mean it's a penalty and it looked to me like Maxi was going nowhere and was always looking for the penalty.

 

The second half was all Liverpool up until they scored. Wave after wave of attacks at the Kop end goal came to nothing as the Baggies' goal led a charmed life.

 

Johnson lifted a ball into Suarez who took it on his chest and then played another great ball across face of goal. Once more Agger was the only one who attacked it and once more he couldn't quite get there.

 

Next, a great move ended with Carroll laying it back to Henderson on the edge of the box. He struck the ball beautifully only to see it smack the bar. That was difficult enough to take, but the rebound hit Foster and looked certain to bounce back into the net. We've seen that kind of goal so often, but somehow it rebounded away from goal. They nearly always go in, but our luck was out yet again.

 

Suarez then skinned a defender on touchline, beat another and then ignored Maxi and Carroll in the centre and shot over. Carroll was livid, rightly so I thought at the time. Looking at a replay of it though it wasn't as clear cut as there is a defender between Suarez and his team-mates which made the pass a lot more difficult. The decision to shoot isn't the problem, it's the fact he ballooned it.

 

Henderson curled a shot inches wide after again being teed up Carroll, and the big number nine put a couple of headers over from decent crosses. I thought we could have had a penalty when Agger looked he was shoved as he went for a header. The ball struck his hand and he was booked, but for me the only reason he handled was because he'd been shoved and wasn't in control of his movement as a result of it.

 

We continued to lay siege to Ben Foster's goal, and Kuyt was next to be denied by the woodwork when he collected a pass from Suarez and drilled a low shot across the goal onto the base of the far post. By now the entire stadium were getting that De Ja Vu feeling.

 

Worse was to come. Suarez once again burst into the box collecting a great layoff from Kuyt. His cross came off Foster and looped into the air. An off balance Carroll missed his kick but did well to then play it back to Spearing who looked as though he'd scored his first senior goal until it was cleared off the line. Maxi's latched onto it and tried to cross for Suarez but the ball was eventually smothered to safety. Definitely one of those days.

 

Kuyt was replaced by Bellamy and Maxi made way for Downing as Kenny looked for the breakthrough. Next thing Glen Johnson took an unnecessary risk and Odemwingie was running clear on goal. We all knew what was coming next. His shot was crap but Reina had anticipated the ball going to his left and had all his weight on that side and was therefore unable to adjust and make what should have been an easy save. 0-1.

 

Our response wasn't good. Kenny took off Spearing and sent on Shelvey. That meant we lost all shape and there was a huge void in the middle of the park. Not Shelvey's fault, both he and Henderson were trying to get forward as we were desperate and it showed.

 

We resorted to lumping it at an isolated Carroll and he stopped being as effective as it was too predictable. The only time we threatened after falling behind was when Bellamy had a shot parried and Carroll's follow up struck Olsson on the knee and went to safety.

 

It's soul destroying seeing us losing so often and had we not beaten the blues at Wembley last week this would have been a real sickener. Having a cup final to look forward to eases the pain a fair bit, but the sooner we see the back of this freak of a season the better.

 

 

Team: Reina; Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique; Kuyt (Bellamy), Henderson, Spearing (Shelvey), Maxi (Downing): Suarez, Carroll:

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You know, there's a few games where we've deserved to lose, but there's innumerable where we've played the oppos off the park and either drawn or lost. This was another of what happened against Arsenal and what almost happened against Spurs - to name but two.

 

I actually don't think there's a lot wrong. A tiny bit more confidence and possibly composure will see it straight. As you say though, this season just needs to fuck right off. We've had the shits of a year and it could so easily have been the other way around. What worries me is the long-term effect it will have on the club as a whole. When teams start coming to Anfield thinking "we can have these"...

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You know, there's a few games where we've deserved to lose, but there's innumerable where we've played the oppos off the park and either drawn or lost. This was another of what happened against Arsenal and what almost happened against Spurs - to name but two.

 

I actually don't think there's a lot wrong. A tiny bit more confidence and possibly composure will see it straight. As you say though, this season just needs to fuck right off. We've had the shits of a year and it could so easily have been the other way around. What worries me is the long-term effect it will have on the club as a whole. When teams start coming to Anfield thinking "we can have these"...[/QUOTE]

 

Sadly, that time has arrived.

 

I dont know which is worse really having watched the way we played and get beaten by Wigan where we deserved nothing or yesterday's performance where they did pretty much everything right.. but score

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You both have a point Champ & RB14 re' teams coming to Anfield that are normally full of crap & who did nothing before bar defend now having a go at us but by the same token? Sooner or later under Kenny we Will improve enough confidence & hopefully squad wise to punish to the Full such teams by destroying them in the space they leave behind When being so unwise as to attack us on our own ground. IIRR? It's the same old story we had after the pre-Houllier & pre-Rafa' eras & indeed in the days of Woy when he actively encouraged us to sit back at home!!;

 

Anyway Early in the reigns of both Houllier & Benitez & indeed the whole way through Woy's 6 months Anfield Nightmare (TM Her Majesty's Gentlemen of the Press......Not)? I seem to remember teams coming to Anfield & having right gos at us - IIRR? There were ding-dong battles with the likes of Crystal Palace & Leeds United, we lost to amongst others. United, Birmingham, Blackburn & Leeds United & teams generally came for & got either draws or unexpected wins by surprisingly attacking us At Anfield. However things soon changed a lot come the second Full seasons of both Ged & Rafa' - When we added quality to the quantity both purchased to fill out the squad in their first seasons & gave a few sides that continued attacking us at home fearful batterings?

 

Well anyway when we did that? The shite & flotsam visiting Anfield soon settled back in their own penalty areas, buses abandoned or 'parked' there & us unable to do a bloody thing to move them (hence us failing to win the league in '09 come to think of it). The same will happen here once Kenny's settled & sorted his squad out - They should get what they can now at Anfield right now IMO as right now whilst we're stilling pushing teams back & utterly battering them in all bar scoreline during most games? We've yet to either find our shooting boots or sufficient squad quality to make sure we create & take enough chances to see off such annoying little sides on a regular basis. Never mind - soon enough? We'll rectify that little oversight & When we do? Attacking on our ground will again be the last thing a visiting side wants to do as then? The waves of attack we launch game after game? Will find ways through even the toughest backlines on a regular basis; This? Will happen eventually - We all will see this soon enough. Mark my words............................

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Although the results and ultimately points haven't arrived, more often than not we do turn up and outplay opposition (except Bolton, Spurs & mancs away). This result nor performance didn't surprise, talking about religion, do we look any further than the mancs with satan on their crest?

I imagine our players will have time off during the summer as not too many will be heavily involved at the Euro's. Onwards and upwards....

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Next season should be all about reclaiming Anfield as our fortress. We've wasted about 20-24 points at home and with those being ours we would almost have been guaranteed a top four spot. Then there is the away games we should have won which could have taken us even further, but it's at Anfield the basis for that kind of success is being produced.

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