|photo by Official U.S. Navy Imagery||via PhotoRee|
Scott is thankful for narrow victories:
Things could be worse for a team with only one experienced striker. After being 18th in the table not that long ago, some may complain about being 10th now, but I say we are headed in the right direction and, with only 4 points between us and 4th place, I would say the January transfer window has become increasingly important. Finally in the top half of the table, albeit only on point differential, Brendan Rodgers is starting to put his mark on this Liverpool team and they are responding. The headlines may be splashed with Manchester shades of red and blue right now but, come April/May, Liverpool will command Champions League respect, if not a place at the championship table.
That said, there was the not-so-little matter of West Ham to deal with last Saturday. Sans Suarez, how would the Reds do against the Caroll-less Hammers? Well, a bright start yielded a spectacular goal from Glen Johnson who proved again that Liverpool has some of the most dangerous fullbacks in the league. Glorious is how my notes describe the upper left corner strike that gave Jussi Jaaskelienen no chance at all.
West Ham upped the pressure after that and, after a couple of yellow cards, one deserved (Steven Gerrard) and one not (Jonjo Shelvey), an unintentional handball by Joe Allen at the edge of the box gave West Ham their equalizer. It was clearly unintentional but it was clearly a handball. People get this wrong all the time – it doesn’t have to be intentional to be a handball. If the hand or arm is away from the body and the ball strikes it, giving the defender an advantage from said strike, it is a handball, intentional or not. The guys at our Monday pickup game could use a lesson in this.
Unfortunately for Liverpool, unintentional acts continued to get the better of them. In the 42nd minute a Gerrard own goal put Sam Allardyce’s men ahead and things looked very grim, indeed, for the Reds.
The turning point, thankfully, came when Mohamed Diame pulled up lame with a hamstring injury and had to leave the game. He had been a force up until then – wreaking havoc with his forays forward and winning the ball time and time again.
Soon after, a beautiful one-time through ball by Raheem Sterling led to a sublime finish by none other that Joe Cole. And since goals lead to momentum, it was now Liverpool on the front foot despite the previous 50-odd minutes of play. So it was not surprising at all that Jordan Hendersen found Shelvey who bounced his shot off of James Collins to flummox Jaaskaleinen and pull a winner out of thin air.
It wasn’t pretty but neither are the majority of Manchester United fans (like farlieonfootie). Wins like these are what it will take to get to the next level, i.e. the level at which Liverpool used to be – wins you barely deserve or don’t deserve at all but pull off anyway (likely due to the Belief to which Correspondent Ed alluded in his latest post).
Still, I’ll take it and the next one. Said next one being against Aston Villa, who have uniforms remarkably similar to West Ham’s, I could use a replay.
This is farlieonfootie for December 15.