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Archive for February, 2011

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Double injury concern for Reds

Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish will assess injuries sustained by Martin Kelly and Raul Meireles in the 3-1 defeat at West Ham.
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 West Ham sang of bursting bubbles as they climbed off the foot of the Barclays Premier League but Liverpool were left to wonder if the Kenny Dalglish adrenaline shot is starting to fade…
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Seven weeks ago yesterday King Kenny was reunited with his
beloved club and everyone including myself suspected that our recovery would be
instant and league standing improved to such a degree, that we could possibly
be in Europe next season.

Several things had appeared in the press earlier in the day
and I wondered if that would have any bearing on the game.  There were what are becoming tiresome rumours
about Arsenal coming in with yet another £20 mill bid for Pepe.  There was also the news in one paper about
Kenny being offered a 2 year contract in one of the papers – this though should
not have affected the performance of the players.

As sometimes happens though, these things very rarely go to
plan and today, was the day when Liverpool’s bubble burst. Today West Ham was
the hosts and going by their recent form, should have been a walk over,
needless to say it wasn’t.

The match started with the storm clouds gathering over Upton
Park in more ways than one.  It became
evident in the first couple of minutes that Referee Mark Halsey was going to
have a bad game – something which I admit is very strange for him.  Martin Skrtel started off what was going to
be rough afternoon for us decision wise by going in hard with an early tackle
at seven minutes.  When is that lad going
to learn – when you tackle, you do it in a sensible way, not in such a way that
it lands you with a yellow card that early in a game.

Matters though did not improve and apart from an early
strike at the goal from Meireles Liverpool did not seem to have the inclination
or the urgency to get the ball into the net. 
It was West Ham who scored first from a brilliant strike by
Hitzlsperger.  I don’t think this sent
the Liverpool players into a panic as much as it did the travelling Kop.  From being a very noisy bunch, they became
very quiet and that where the 12th man is concerned is very worrying.

For some reason, and some will say it was because we played
on Thursday evening there seemed to be lethargy amongst our players and they
were losing balls far too easily.  I
don’t buy that argument myself and without singling out anyone the whole team
were playing well below par.  There was
very little linking up in the defence with both Jamie and Martin Skrtel making
mistakes.  Suarez who really needs to be
given a lesson on how to make a touch look roughter than it was (I don’t
condone cheating but it does not hurt to know) tried to get us a couple of
penalties.  West Ham of course tried it
at the other end but it was obvious within seconds that they were trying it
on. 

We also had players who appeared not to be on the pitch,
Stevie who had returned from injury, seemed anonymous, along with Suarez to be
honest.  I don’t honestly think that they
had that many touches during the first half. 

As halves go though, it was awful as I said to watch, they
were all over us and to add to our misery Martin Kelly, who has been absolutely
fantastic for us since Kenny took over, was chasing the ball as he does and
suddenly gripped his hamstring – he is now out for up to six weeks.  Kenny then sent on Joe Cole.  I hate to say but I knew then that we had
lost the game.  Joe had only been on the
pitch for a couple of minutes, when Meireles went in for a tackle and seemed to
be injured.  He recovered quickly
although I think for some reason this sent the team into panic and a couple of
minutes before half time West Ham were two up.

I had hoped that Kenny would have given them a real
rollicking at half time but those hopes were quickly dashed.  Almost immediately, it became obvious that
West Ham were not going to let there lead go. 
Our defence was deplorable and balls were beginning to trouble Reina
immediately, who in my opinion was day dreaming for most of the game. Then as
is becoming the norm, four minutes into the half Meireles was substituted.  His replacement to everyone’s horror was
Ngog.  Now I trust Kenny implicitly, but
why oh why, put on a young man whose confidence drops to zero, the moment he is
on the pitch.  We had young Jay Spearing
on the bench and after the way he changed the game on Thursday, should have
been given the chance.

That to me signalled that we had indeed lost the game.
Liverpool though are not known as the comeback kings without reason.  As the half continued, Stevie and Suarez
seemed to wake up and things began to happen. 
Stevie took a wonderful free kick that was just too high and Suarez had
a couple of chances. Then of course it happened, Suarez picked up a ball, did
some fancy footwork, kicked the ball towards Glen Johnson and the ball was in
the back of the net.

Would this cause West Ham to lose their nerve in the
remaining 8 minutes (5mins plus 3 mins extra time).  They carried on fighting and as luck would
have it scored a third a couple of minutes before the whistle.  Liverpool had lost after having such a great
run, but give all credit to West Ham, they played extremely well and deserved
the win.

The two managers of course had their post- match interviews
and although I laughed at Avram Grants, I respected Kenny’s and it was great to
hear a manager talk in the manner that he did.

What did they say; well Avram said that he normally talks to
David Gold to discuss the teams tactics before a game – today due to David Gold
being very ill in hospital.  Now no
disrespect to the man, but perhaps he ought to leave Avram to do it on his own
every week.  Kenny, who as we know is
always truthful admitted that the team did not play well, but also said that
perhaps he and Steve had not prepared the team well enough.  A lot of manager’s would not admit to that
and Kenny needs to be admired for admitting it. 
I still would not like to be one of the players when they arrive at
Melwood on Tuesday morning for training though.

Of course the today’s result has sent my mind into overdrive
and I began to wonder if today’s methods of dietary control and medical
intervention are working.  We now have
players who seem to be unable to play more than 1 game a week and who get
injured so quickly.  In the 60′s and 70′s
with Shanks and Bob, they played up to three games a week, very rarely got
injured and ate good old fashioned English food. I may be wrong and I know a
lot of people will yell at me, but continuous pasta dishes and different times
of salad are no good for anyone.

I honestly think that come the summer a major rethink on
everything needs to take place.  We need
to start from scratch with everything from the advice given to the team to who
plays where.

 

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West Ham boss Avram Grant hailed Scott Parker after the midfielder defied injury to help the Hammers beat Liverpool 31 at Upton Park…
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West Ham 31 Liverpool (Anfield Online)

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