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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Liver n'Onions: New Faces...Same Ol' Headaches

With the ceremonial anthem of " You'll never walk alone" belting louder than usually from the Anfield stands, in honor of the Hillsborough disaster, Reds fan's were unaware that they were about to witness another disaster.

The significance  of what was to come pales in NO way to the devastation of the 96  fans who lost their lives that April 15th 1989, but in terms of results within a season the 1-1 draw with Norwich City was catastrophic. Old habits returned to Anfield with a switchblade smile, once again seeing a slip up against a newly promoted team with far less  talent than Liverpool. This fairly regular theme is brought to you by poor defensive showings and a uncanny amount of missed chances.  

Luis Suarez had the bit between his teeth and was up to his regular shenanigans creating so many right  from the start  that I swear every minute I was squirming in my chair, oohing- and- awwing, waiting for the net to ripple. After I saw him miss chance after chance, I realized it could be one of those games that the missed chances some back to haunt and to hurt. Liverpool amassed a total of 25 shots on goal, an amount that you would expect to see a higher return from, yet only a single solitary one was converted,  The finishing touch was not there for Liverpool as Norwich got an all important point, not because they deserved it, but because of the home team's incompetence to finish the game off. After the 1-1 draw with Manchester United last weekend, It looked like Liverpool where making progress, but that has been halted by another score of 1-1 to a weak side, rendering it a digression from where the Reds stoop last week.

 Kenny Dalgleish opted to start Suarez up top with Dirk Kuyt and Craig Bellamy starting on the wing against the team that he started his career.

Liverpool where off in a flash having created two magnificent chances within in the first 5 minutes, but failed to convert either of them. Martin Skrtels header glanced off the bar and Suarez started his own personal barrage on Ruddy's goal with a miss.  Missing chances has been a reoccurring feature of the new-look Liverpool having already cost them in their matches with Sunderland, Stoke and Manchester United. Having said this there was no shortage of opportunities but applying the finish touch is where it all fell apart. Having netted 12 goals this season so far from their 9 premier league games is simply not clinical enough for a team that views themselves as top four contenders. The talent is apparent stressing again how many chances Luis Suarez alone had, but looking at the line-up you can clearly see that they are far capable of converting with the likes of Steven Gerrard, Bellamy, Kuyt and the Andy Carroll on the bench. This is not taking in to account the marauding fullbacks of Jose Enrique and Glen Johnson who made his return to the starting line- up replacing Martin Kelly at the right back spot.

The goal finally came at the end of the first half, which was a model of frustration to all LFC supporters. Craig Bellamy netted in the 46' minute with the ball taking a somewhat lucky deflection off Norwich's left-back Marc Tierney.

If you where thinking that LFC's lack of offensive savvy caused their downfall, I would say nay. Conceding silly goals is is a pattern  that was revisited at the weekend, and is a pattern that all involved would love to banish. When Liverpool came out for the second half they looked terribly sloppy in defense. Not lacking the cutting edge, they still failed to build on their well deserved first half breakthrough. This, coupled with slack marking led to Norwich substitute Gent Holt's equalizer, as he rose to head home past a flapping Reina. A shameful attempt by the Spanish keeper, who usually dominates in those areas gave the hungry forward an opportunity that he took emphatically. Once again done by a poor defensive display it raises the question of Jamie Carragher's ability and the overall cohesion of the back four. Reina may have been at fault which is shocking for the most consistent keepers in the EPL, but the fight to win the header defensively wasn't there.

Norwich's Keeper Ruddy determined not to be beaten by his old rivals, as a one time Everton stopper, had a strong showing in goal. Facing a firing squad from Liverpool was counting his stars that the majority of the efforts hit the post or went wide, but when he was called upon he performed magnificently.

Missed chances killed us, and lack of assuredness in the back is what cost the Reds what should have been three points. Liverpool face Stoke in the League cup this week, who were defeated by Robin van Persie's heroics for Arsenal at the weekend. Peter Crouch faces his old squad and with the strong front line of Walters, Jones and Jerome Liverpool's defensive unit will have to look sharp. In the EPL the Reds face West Bromich Albion on Oct. 29, and the onus will be on the them to get the three points with a convincing win.

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