Saturday, February 23, 2013

Caipirinha, Anyone?: Liverpool 5 - Swansea City 0

photo by Charlie Phillipsvia PhotoRee

Finally, a game in which Columnist Scott can revel:
o A 5-0 home win against a depleted Swansea City side last Sunday?  Ho hum.  No point in getting too excited, because the pendulum will surely swing the other way within a game or two.  Liverpool this year are nothing if not consistently inconsistent.  That they thrashed a Michael Laudrup side conserving it's energy for this weekend's League Cup Final was notable in certain respects but nothing to write home about (maybe blog about, though).

o The first 15 minutes saw neither side with too many chances as the players got their legs under themselves and we all breathed a sigh of relief that Gus Johnson was not the game's commentator.  Despite some confusion at the back for Liverpool, after 30 minutes they began to assume control of the game and, by the 40th minute, it could only be described as utter domination by the Reds.  Of course the penalty on Luis Suarez in the 34th minute (converted unflappably by Steven Gerrard) really tipped the scales and from there it was a rout in every respect, with the 5-0 final score probably being kind to the Swansea players and staff.  Wouldn't it be great to score that many against Zenit St. Petersburg at Anfield?  We'll know if that happened before this is posted.

o Jamie Carragher gives me hope that, at almost 44, I can continue my Monday night soccer "playing" for years to come.  At 35 years of age, the geriatric defender was tracking back like a pro throughout the game and always seemed to be in the right place at the right time.  I agree with Kenny Dalglish's assessment that Carragher has a few more playing years in him if he wants.

o To say that I'm disappointed that Daniel Sturridge is cup-tied for the return leg against Zenit would be quite an understatement.  Although the in-form striker put over (from 6 yards) Stuart Downing's hard cross in the 23rd minute, and was unable to chip Michel Vorm in the 40th, he was dangerous throughout and was equally unflappable when Gerrard gifted the penalty to him later (what on earth was Wayne Routledge thinking when he raised his arm like that?).  He also showed skill in the 64th minute when he took down a long through-ball in the air on his chest and volleyed on target (although Vorm, once again, made the stop).

o My only concern is that, despite playing together so well at times, I see Suarez and Sturridge ignoring each other at other times to take a difficult shot while the other throws his hands in the air in disgust while standing open in front of goal.  One can only hope that as they both continue to collect goals they will not pass up those opportunities.

o For his part, Suarez continued to prove himself to be one of the best players in the league, an opinion that Gerrard shares and disclosed in a recent interview.  Although he couldn't put his 18th minute freekick on target and he went down very easily in the 21st minute (not ready to say "dive" given his more recent reunion with equilibrium), his 56th minute goal was brilliant, taking the ball to left of center, and past the bewildered Swansea "defense", and then using his left foot to slot past Vorm.  My biggest Suarez concern was when Brendan Rodgers replaced him with the doomed Fabio Borini who dislocated his shoulder minutes later.  Didn't the gaffer know Suarez was my fantasy soccer team captain?!

o Finally, we have to say a word about Philippe Coutinho.  Sure he put it wide of the target in the 25th minute but he provided an excellent through ball to Sturridge only minutes later (even if the latter did not avail himself of the opportunity) and then started the second half with a bang when he received a pass from Suarez and then powered past Vorm for a goal just 16 seconds after the restart.  If Sturridge is any indication, new guys do well when they score in their full debut.  Break out the Caipirinhas!

This is farlieonfootie for February 23.

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