Liverpool’s fourth place chance only a mathematical possiblity now

11 04 2010

Could have been a happier picture if it were not for a draw. Courtesy: LFCTV

As expected, Rafael Benitez made his trademark changes, ‘squad rotation’ as it is stylishly referred to as. Torres was left out, probably as a precautionary measure and David Ngog was bestowed with Torres’s ‘lone striker position’.  The other surprise inclusion was that of Alberto Aquilani who was on instead of presumably battle weary Lucas Leiva.

Liverpool showed plenty of attacking intent in the first half hour of the game with Alberto Aquilani, Ryana Babel and Maxi Rodriguez being very sharp and incisive. Liverpool would have certainly had a goal or two if it wasn’t for veteran Mark Schwarzer’s interventions. The game had all the makings of “one of those days” feelings that Liverpool would fully like to avoid at all costs!

There was a moment of contention in the 35th minute when Jonathan Greening, already on a yellow card, infringed on Glen Johnson’s right to keep his feet on the ground and contrived to clatter him. Much to Rafael Benitez and Liverpool’s pique, Greening stayed on the field as he didn’t see red flashed in his face. That kind of, effectively, summed up Liverpool’s boorish season.

Somehow, all this while, Steven Gerrard seemed quite M.I.A. although he had showed flashes of brilliance every fifteen minutes or so. Much to infrequently, I would like to imagine, for a player of his caliber and class.

The first half drew to a close with Liverpool failing to take the lead. I am sure that they fully know the consequences of not winning here against Fulham. Meanwhile the somewhat heart warming news of Manchester Utd’s ineffectual display against Blackburn Rovers: a 0-0 draw transpired.

This might have well been Steven Gerrard given Liverpool's ineffectual display. http://www.soccernet.com

The second half started with somewhat the same flavor as it’s predecessor, the first half. Schwarzer continued to thwart any and all efforts by Liverpool to take the lead. Aquilani had quite a few chances in the first five minutes which were all taken weakly. The benefit of the doubt would be given to the Italian as he is, after all, just getting back to competitive football (read soccer in case you are American…) after a lengthy lay-off.

Heres a breakdown of the match so far:

  • Fernando Torres’s absence was telling on Liverpool’s strife to get a goal.
  • Fulham were at Anfield for a draw.
  • Liverpool were playing with half a striker in Ngog, up front.
  • Gerrard wasn’t venturing forward enough.

It was surprising that with Liverpool hogging possession, 77%-23% between minutes 55-60, the reds had failed to come cloes to scoring. A shame. A couple of minutes later, Ryan Babel came up with perhaps the best attempt of the match which Schwarzer put away to safety, yet again.

Dirk Kuyt was all primed and prepped to come on and provide inspiration in the face of desperation! Aquilani was withdrawn for Kuyt suggesting that Liverpool might switch into a more attacking formation with 3 up-front, with Gerrard playing in the hole in all likelihood.

As Fulham’s mainstay striker, Bobby Zamora, came off, Liverpool midfielder, Yossi Benayoun looked to come on soon. Meanwhile, Maxi Rodriguez displayed his coming of age at Liverpool as he continued to demonstrate cross-field crossing that Liverpool have failed to see in the last couple of years. With about 20 minutes to go, further attacking reinforcement was provided by Benayoun who came on. At this stage Fulham had committed about half a dozen players to defensive duty. Liverpool, however, knew that points were not awarded in the Premier League for scaring the opponents into their own box.

Time was no longer a luxury and Liverpool had to get a goal in or kiss their fourth place chances goodbye once and for all. The unfortunately ineffective, David Ngog came off for young striker Daniel Pacheco who got a rousing applause from the Anfield faithful.

An 86th minute shout by Liverpool, for handball was turned down, further adding to Liverpool’s despair this afternoon. There were three minutes of added time for Liverpool to somehow squeeze in a goal to squeeze in a shout for fourth place. As the match ended, I couldn’t help but feel that Liverpool would not be featuring in the Champions League in the coming season, what with their closest competitors for the coveted fourth place, Manchester City, leading 3-1 at Birmingham City.

Now it is only mathematically possible for Liverpool to get in and I shudder to think of the ignominy that possibly awaits Liverpool in the next season.

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8 responses

11 04 2010
Hell’s Around the Corner….. « paisleygates.com

[…] doctor would object to it. Even those of us with the rose coloured glasses are starting to believe the dream is over. If you can’t beat Fulham, at home, with what seemed like a good 80% of the possession then […]

11 04 2010
Aneet

Correction. It wasn’t an 80% possession, much less than that! 😛 However, LFC still should have got ONE measly goal past Schwarzer who did very well for my fantasy team.

11 04 2010
Prososc8

It was just wasn’t our day… and omg David Ngog…. please that guy is like you said a half striker… doesn’t even come close to deserve the Liverpool Jersey that he wore today. It was just a shock how we didn’t win this match, it was up for the taking and we failed to capitalize on it. Now we only wait and see how our other contenders fair…. and if we are really really lucky, we might even nick 4th spot. By needing to say that, it shows how disastrous our season has been….

11 04 2010
Aneet

LFC lacks strikers. We need at least two more strikers, one of who would have Torres’s caliber.

11 04 2010
Prososc8

Yes we do. News is if we don’t get new investors… Benitez will need to sell “one of his star players”, which could only mean Gerrard or Torres.
Thanks alot to those 2 Yanks…..

12 04 2010
Aneet

I doubt if Benitez will sell Stevie G or Torres. They’ll be around for at least one more season.

13 04 2010
prosoc8

Well Benitez definitely wouldn’t want to sell his star players but it is up to the owners i think. But the news is up on skysports, and i do feel it might happen…. quite disheartening…..With a draw at Fulham.. that probably ends our hope of reaching top 4.

http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11669_6087159,00.html

13 04 2010
Aneet

I can’t imagine Liverpool without Steven Gerrard or Torres. More so, Steven Gerrard. I hope he doesn’t leave.

Why not sell 2 mediocre players instead of one good player. I think Babel, Insua/Aurelio can go and bring in the same kind of cash. I would hate to see Ryan Babel leave but rather him than Steven Gerrard or Torres.

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