|photo by abulhussain||via PhotoRee|
Yes, yes, I know you what you want to read is about Liverpool vs. Manchester City, but what Correspondent Scott wanted to write about was Liverpool vs. Newcastle. To each his own....
o farlieonfootie thought the Liverpool - Newcastle game was a snoozer, but it was an emotional rollercoaster for me. After a second own goal in as many games, it seemed Liverpool fans were in for another game in which the Reds dominate the action but still manage to lose or tie at best – especially given that they were playing at Anfield, which has not been a lucky locale for them this season. In fact, the only time I’ve seen Liverpool win at home lately has been while playing FIFA 2012 on the Wii which, despite the sounds, player names and graphics, fails the realism test as it is Andy Carroll who scores all the goals.
o While Carroll has failed to impress since his arrival at Anfield, Craig Bellamy, on the other hand, has been a welcome surprise. His speed and tenacity have seen him make a positive impact in every appearance and he single-handedly salvaged this game for the Reds with his brace that spanned the half-time interval. Bellamy’s play of late certainly warrants more time on the pitch.
o Another player who has been consistently dangerous and creative, despite not scoring and, thus, disappointing many, is Stewart Downing. His speed down the flanks, whipped-in crosses and excellent overlapping play with a fully-healthy Glen Johnson have opened up other lanes for the rest of the team to exploit.
o O Captain! My Captain! The return of Steven Gerrard, via two second-half substitutions of the can’t-seem-to-fully-get-in-a-groove Charlie Adam, has shown beyond any doubt that he simply makes the team better. His ability to keep possession and find that dangerous pass (something Adam seems to have left at Blackpool) inject a little something extra into the rest of the squad. Gerrard's presence on the pitch is immediately noticeable, which he proved by nearly gathering an assist with his first touch of the ball in the prior game. And his goal against Newcastle to seal the points was clinical from a tight angle after concluding that Carroll was blanketed by prison uniforms. But, unfortunately, one of his most sublime passes through on goal was to the hapless Carroll who bungled the control. Between tripping over his own feet and getting bear hugged by Mike Williamson any time the ball was in the air, Carroll suffered another frustrating day, his best effort being a header that clanged off the cross bar.
o The rest of the team, however, was brimming with confidence as time expired on a deserved 3-1 win. Moving the ball with flair and purpose, it seemed like the announcers were correct that the whole team was trying to get Carroll to score toward the end of the game. The defense once again proved its mettle by not allowing the opposition to score, even though it took a spectacular clearance off the line by Martin Skrtel after Demba Ba made something out of nothing. Now if we could only stop scoring on ourselves….
o Finally, as if on cue after my post last week regarding the length of Luis Suarez’ suspension for his shameful comments to Patrice Evra, Yohan Cabaye’s ridiculously dangerous two-footed stunt on Jay Spearing only drew a yellow card. So flagrant was the tackle that the announcer called it cowardly no fewer than 4 times. It seems that, in the EPL, sticks and tackles may break some bones and only get a yellow, but racist words will get you suspended until you become an old fellow.
This is farlieonfootie for January 4.