Monday, October 28, 2013

Smiles at Anfield

Photo by Seanbjack on Flickr

At least for Scott and those of his ilk, that is:

It was all smiles at Anfield on Saturday as Luis Suarez put on an AP-Level finishing clinic and, thereby, allowed Liverpool to exorcize the West Bromwich Albion demon that has terrorized the Reds at home of late. This time it was Steve Clark's men running scared as the toothy Uruguayan first 'megged his way to goal before powering his second with his head from -- get this -- outside the penalty area. To complete his pre-Halloween (hat)trick, the unstoppable striker glanced a perfect freekick from Steven Gerrard. Not wanting to be bereft of candy himself, Daniel Sturridge first pounded a side foot shot (how does he get that power?) off the crossbar before sublimely chipping the 'keeper from traffic to make it four for the home side, much to the cacophonous delight of the sea of red crooning about accompanied ambulations.

Alas, the near-perfect performance (overlooking a few missed opportunities and defensive miscues) was ruined by a most dubious foul called, not by the referee but, rather, a seemingly over-reaching linesman. That softest of penalty calls allowed Morrison to drill home the visitors' only goal. But the aforementioned glance and chip managed to restore at least a sizable degree of elation, if not the perfection that would have added another 8 points to my fantasy score.

Nevertheless, herewith, in copy-cat fashion, are my incontrovertible player rankings:

Lucas - excellent tracking back for important defensive touches and winning balls in midfield. Added the needed muscle in midfield. 7.5

Suarez - Simply masterful. The summer want-away has packed away any lingering disappointment or resentment by putting his head down and emerging as the best forward in the BPL again. Three glorious goals and an afternoon handful for West Brom's defense. 9.0

Henderson - a tireless, eager puppy but exuberance gets the best of him at times. Too many of his passes don't find their intended recipient. 6.0

Johnson - left at 62 minutes to a deserved hero's salute. Consistently dangerous with driving and dishing. We hope his knock is not too serious because the side is noticeably better with him in it. Still, he needs to fully regain his touch, which abandoned him at times. 7.0

Mignolet - not too much to do until the waning minutes when a few key stops preserved the score line. He did look calm with the ball at his feet, despite flapping at a few free kicks early on. 6.5

Toure - Was solid when he needed to be but lost the ball going forward too often and was a bit too cheeky at times, when the simple ball would have fared better. 6.0

Cissokho - seemed to be blamed for the penalty, undeservedly, but otherwise solid, breaking up plays and gamely carousing the left side. 6.5

Skrtl - several critical touches defensively but still gives the ball away needlessly and almost lethally on 2 occasions. 5.5

Sakho - languid yet effective. A defensive Dimitar Berbatov, if you will. 6.5

Gerrard - while Henderson is the eager puppy, Gerrard is the wily old favorite dog for whom you are always rooting even when he can't quite catch the frisbee like he used to. Still, he can fetch when given time and Stevie G. can still impact a game with loping runs and crossfield passes, when said passes are not skidding into the stands. 7.5

Sturridge - maybe he could have had more, but counting on him for a goal per game is like money - gold even based on this game's goal. Unfortunately for him, his strike partner is closing in on his goal tally with 6 fewer games. My criticism is that he seems to downshift after he gets his goal. A hat trick or even a brace don't seem to be a major objective for him, clocking out each time he ripples the net. 7.5

This is farlieonfootie for October 28.

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