It’s been a while…

29 12 2009

It has most certainly, unequivocally, been a while. A while since Liverpool went on a winning streak and a while since I published a blog post. The former is as a result of Liverpool’s own failings while the latter is on account of a rather heavy Yuletide schedule.

Goal number 50! www.soccernet.com

Goal number 50! http://www.soccernet.com

After what could be considered an important, if not pretty 2-0 win against a 10 man relegation threatened Wolverhampton Wanderers, Liverpool would want back-to-back wins to improve their rather disgraceful league position. Of course, Aston Villa wouldn’t prove to be pushovers and could be considered one of Liverpool’s main rivals for the Champions League 4th spot.

Surprisingly, Rafael Benitez chose to start Aquilani. Back-to-back starts for the 20 million pound man from Roma: a first for Rafa, a first for Aquilani too! The rest of the team was more or less the same as the one that beat Wolves on boxing day at Anfield.

Reina makes crucial save. www.soccernet.com

Reina makes crucial save. http://www.soccernet.com

The first half provided it’s share of hi-jinks. Liverpool had a larger share of the possession, had two shots on goal and half a dozen corners against the Villans inferior possession, one shot on goal and two corners. The reds, however, didn’t capitalize on all these chances while the Villan’s almost made it 1-0 in their favor if it wasn’t for Pepe Reina’s instinctive save of off a Stuart Downing belter. The reds were having a tough time contending with Agbonlahor, Stuart Downing and James Milner. In favor of the reds, Dirk Kuyt was proving to be a regular thorn in the Villan’s side and Gerrard looked like he was about 20-25 minutes away for regaining his usual, devastating form.

The second half picked up where the first half left off, if with a tad more zest. Liverpool commanded proceedings for the first quarter of the hour but continued to lack the sting, the tooth that would allow them the dispatch the ball into the net. With about 75 minutes gone, Aston Villa came into their own as they pummeled the red box with all the force they could muster. Soon they were seeing eye-to-eye as far as the number of corners that Liverpool had garnered. The Villan’s however had the better chances of the two teams but the scoreboard remained dormant at 0-0, a situation that would not please the red half of spectators,to say the least.

Ryan Babel was introduced to irritate with his pace and so was Martin Skrtel for the injured and ineffective Glen Johnson. There were 4 minutes of stoppage time as a result of a long stoppage in the second half when the crowds were treated to a some foot-gear antics by Reina. Aston Villa tried to ensure that they kept possession in the final 4 minutes of one of the most crucial games of 2009.

There were wanton errors committed by both teams and the ball switched feet faster than in a tennis match. One such error saw the ball rebound of off Yossi Benayoun and fall to the feet of the one and only Fernando Torres. And Torres being Torres, he made no mistake and rocketed the ball into the net, past the usually tidy Brad Friedel’s hands giving Liverpool a 1-0 advantage with 30 seconds or so to go!

Torres scores winner! www.soccernet.com

Torres scores winner! http://www.soccernet.com

This was Torres’s 50th goal in a red shirt and was the fastest ever 50 goals by any player in a Liverpool jersey. But what was most important was that Liverpool clinched all 3 points with this win promoting them over Birmingham City and within 2 points of the elusive 4th place!

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