Liverpool started their Europa League campaign with a one nil win over Unirea Urziceni at Anfield last night. A win is a win, but many won’t be happy with the way the Liverpool players coped with a casual approach to the game in the first half. The second half was better, but not much.
So what happened? Has a skin grown over the reds faithful since Liverpool have taken the Champions League place for granted? Players and fans alike?
Losing this game against Unirea would have been like Rafa Benitez wanting a play off in the league for a Champions League spot. Not right.
It’s a good job then that two unusual players were the ones to show up the seasoned pro’s, when getting that vital win was a must.
Liverpool started the game off casual. There wasn’t much to get excited about in the first half. There was plenty of possession, but then there’s no point in keeping the ball unless you’re going to do something with it.
Unirea had obviously worked on what they wanted to do at Anfield and that was to suffocate Liverpool anywhere on the pitch, in and around their penalty area. And credit to them. It looked like it was going to pay off.
Until after the 80 minute mark. Ryan Babel sparking into life down the left. Daniel Pacheco feeding off his cross and cutting in from the right, he gets his head on the end of a cross. David Ngog nets another goal for Liverpool from close range – not for the first time when Liverpool have been needing a goal.
Minutes later, Gerrard flashed a shot inches wide of the the post as the fans were singing loud. It’s amazing what a goal can do.
Truth be told, this was a Liverpool side going through the motions. A lot of fans too. But it was a win. And to win is the most important thing. If this game proves anything, it’s the fact that nothing is a given in football. You have to work hard for silverware.
I think we could have scored one or two more goals, but this is football. The team were doing well in defence, so 1-0 with a clean sheet is not bad.
Sometimes when the other team is defending well you have to be patient and keep moving the ball.
I think we started really well and the fans were behind the players, so I was really pleased for a while. But they were deep and we didn’t have many chances for a period. Afterwards, we had some corners and were attacking and pushing.
You can’t play at the same level we played against Real Madrid in every game, especially when the other team is waiting and defending well.
We have to keep attacking like we did tonight and if you have one or two chances, you have to take them.
If we had taken the first one in the first minute, things could have been different. We didn’t, so we had to be patient and keep attacking until the end.
Always it’s important to score, especially in this competition. We were waiting for this goal and we are really pleased to have scored.
We could have scored more, and we will see what happens in the next game.
It’s always important to have good players on the bench who can play with different skills and change the game, so I am really pleased for them.
It’s obvious they will have to attack, so maybe we will have more space and can play in a different way. Tonight was just about sustaining the attack because they were deep and waiting to counter-attack.
It’s always important to score and not concede. It’s not the best result, but it’s good.
We knew they were well organised and a good team. Also we knew the new manager, so we were expecting more or less the same play.
You know my idea – one game at a time. We have an important game next week so we will see if we can talk about the Europa League in a few weeks.