|photo by lizbadley||via PhotoRee|
Correspondent Scott likes Young Boys -- Bern, that is:
Not being that familiar with Swiss football, I found myself Googling Liverpool’s opponents for their Thanksgiving Day Europa League game. And while I can’t remember everything I read about BSC Young Boys, I do have a lingering uneasiness about that worrisome entry in my internet browser history.
But my uneasiness pales in comparison to that which must be festering in Brendan Rodgers, whose team twice blew leads at Anfield to manage only a tie against their Alpine visitors. After Anji’s defeat of Udinese earlier in the day, Liverpool could have qualified for the next round of the Europa League with a game to spare by simply holding serve at home. Instead, despite throwing a kitchen sink of second half substitutes on the pitch, the Reds will have to continue to split their focus between Premier League and Europa League for one more match day, at least.
Liverpool’s first goal was a long time coming as, aside from a few sections of time, they controlled the game from the start. So it was no surprise to see that Jonjo Shelvey, continuing to enjoy his Europa Leage groove, was in the right place at the right time to nod home in the 33rd minute for his fourth goal of this campaign. What was surprising, stunningly so, was to see Raul Bobadilla’s sublime control and left-footed volley in the 52nd minute that leveled the score and muted the Kop. The Argentine displayed incredible skill in bringing the long pass down on his thigh, after twisting around to meet the ball while sprinting from Jordan Henderson, and then firing past the lunging Pepe Reina from an acute angle into the upper netting.
At this point, Rodgers began his parade of A-team substitutions with first Steven Gerrard and then Luis Suarez entering the fray to seek the winning goal that would make life much more comfortable. Nor did the Northern Irishman let off the gas after Joe Cole put the Reds ahead once more in the 72nd minute with a nice bit of skill to receive, turn and get the shot off before the salivating Suarez did the job himself. Right after, despite an excellent game throughout, Cole made way for Raheem Sterling as Liverpool pushed on to completely secure the three points.
Alas, in a turn of events seemingly all too familiar this year, in the 88th minute Young Boys resurrected their hopes of moving on to the knockout stages when Elsad Zverotic made just enough space for himself outside the area to power home a shot directly over Pepe Reina that the Spaniard should have been able to handle. A few frenetic final minutes produced nothing more and the Reds will now have to win at Udinese in order to be sure of moving on.
This is farlieonfootie for November 26.