‘Leeding’ the show at Elland road was NOT Liverpool

22 09 2009

Liverpool had a very different look to their side for their Carling Cup (League Cup) match against Leeds Utd. Yes, the very same Leeds Utd who were once Champions League semi-finalists but are somewhat languishing in League 1, two whole divisions below Liverpool.

The reds had young Jay Spearing in central midfield with Riera and Ngog playing up-front. Ryan Babel got a start (at long last!) on the right side of midfield while the left side of midfield was being marshaled by Fabio Aurelio who recently came back from an injury that he sustained on the beach! The reds also had Philip Degen making his first start in over a year that what blighted with injury. In goal for Liverpool was Diego Cavalieri.

As for the Leeds Utd side, they were completely different from the last time I saw them play in the Premier League 5 years ago.

Leeds manager distraught at disallowed goal. ESPN360
Leeds manager distraught at disallowed goal. ESPN360

There should have been quite an imbalance in the way play progressed but Leeds defied all predictions and pressed a clueless Liverpool side for large chunks of the first half. If it wasn’t for a mistake committed by the assistant referee, the all whites of Leeds would have been 1-0 up within 20 minutes from, you guessed it, a set piece situation. The one thing this match had revealed as if it hadn’t been revealed on numerous occasions this season was Liverpool’s lack of marking skills from set pieces. The other aspect of Liverpool’s team this match seemed to reveal was their squad depth or the lack of! About 90 seconds from the end of the first half, Liverpool almost got a goal from a, you guessed it right again, a set piece situation which was kept out by a Leeds defense which seemed to have dotted all their i’s today.

The first half came to a close with both teams evenly balanced which in a way suggested quite correctly that Liverpool were doing a shabby job at putting this match away.

The second half started with a similar flavor with Leeds calling all the shots. Leed’s united forward, Beckford, was creating real problems for Liverpool and almost added two goals to his season’s tally of 6. This prompted Benitez to start warming his big guns who were on the bench with a view to bringing them on to put an end to any hopes that Leeds might have.

Beckford with his second chance in five minutes. ESPN360

Beckford with his second chance in five minutes. ESPN360

In the 67th minute, against the run of play, Liverpool finally earned their

breakthrough courtesy of David Ngog who put the reds 1-0 up. Leeds were quite devastated as they had played well for large portions of the game and it was quite unfair that Liverpool had stole the lead! Liverpool did bring on their big guns in the from of Glen Johnson and Steven Gerrard as the remaining 23 minutes + 4 minutes of stoppage time passed without any major hiccups for the.

Ngog gets match winning goal. ESPN360

In retrospect, Liverpool played badly and should have had the match in their pocket well before Ngog’s strike. However, there were positives to take back from this game as Degen seemed to have made a complete recovery.

The goal for Liverpool came from David Ngog (67th minute).

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