October is the start of the two-consolidation months, one of those months where you’re looking to get yourself into a good position ahead of the busy Christmas and New Year period.
With our only defeat of September, against Fiorentina, fresh in our minds we started the new month with a very tricky game at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea. Could we put our misery of Italy behind us?
Truth be told we did. We were much better in London than we did in Florence but unfortunately the score line was the same, a 2-0 defeat for the Reds.
We had our chances and failed to take them against Chelsea, whereas the home side took theirs. We were very strong defensively but once again our wide players let us down. Neither Kuyt or Riera did anything to be proud of, will either of them rediscover some form after the international break?
Well during the international break there was more controversy surrounding Javier Mascherano with reports linking him with a move to Juventus as well as him having “showdown talks” with the manager over his contract. Other international news involved the injury front with Torres and Gerrard both picking up slight knocks while away with their respective countries, while Dirk Kuyt further aggravated an ankle injury he picked up at Stamford Bridge. Kyrigiakos also picked up an injury during the international break, which will see him miss around four months of action.
A makeshift squad, thanks to the injuries we received due to the international break, travelled up to the Stadium of Light and gave a shocking performance. Although the scoreline only said 1-0, the Black Cats deserved to win by a greater margin and deserved to score a goal of their own other than one off a beach ball.
A new system of 3-5-2 never seemed comfortable and we were always second best. A drastic improvement is needed for the midweek game against Lyon. If Gerrard and Torres are still unavailable, will we be good enough?
As much as it pains me to say it, we wasn’t good enough against Lyon. For ten minutes, maybe less, we showed our class but for the rest we were taught a footballing lesson by the French side.
Back to our familiar 4-2-3-1 formation and a welcome back to captain Steven Gerrard. Still no Torres, and no Gerrard after about 25 minutes as he was taken off for precaution. Glen Johnson also found himself injured before the match, which handed Martin Kelly his first start for the club and is the only outfield player who can take any sort of credit from the performance.
Four defeats on the spin now, an ever growing list of injuries to key players and a home game against Man United coming up, could it get any more difficult for Rafa and the lads?
In the build up to the United game Rafa was given the vote of confidence by the owners, but with their track record I think the manager would rather not have had it. We also got a glimpse of Aquilani who put in a 15 minute shift for the reserves.
Excuse my language but f***ing get in there. We tore United apart from start to finish, battered them and made every single Kopite around the world proud once more. We looked like a completely different side with every player in the Red of Liverpool playing out of their skin.
Goals from Torres and Ngog was what us the match but Kuyt’s hurrying, Benayoun’s trickery, Aurelio’s delivery helped along the way. Lucas and Mascherano bossed the middle of the park while behind them the back four played their best match of the season. Carragher and Agger were faultless. So much so that Reina was a spectator for so much of the match.
But it is just one game and we shouldn’t get too carried away just yet, it’s now up to us build on this, starting with the Carling Cup game away to Arsenal. Are we good enough to go and beat the Arsenal kids?
Our second string wasn’t good enough against the Arsenal side. We fielded a side brimmed with internationals yet still looked disticintly average. With Kuyt captaining the side it was up to him lead by example, but unfortunately he failed to do so. Babel was a disgrace to himself, the manager and more importantly the fans who’d made the trip down south.
Some may say it’s only the Carling Cup but at the end of the day, it’s a defeat for this club and we’ve had far too many of late. A chance for the second string to impress, a chance to keep the momentum up, a chance to progress and set up another match with United or Chelsea but none of those happened.
The only impressive display came from Ngog, with Spearing showing a few signs of having the ability to make it. A bit like the Leeds game where it was those two who shone. We also got a glimpse of Aquilani, at last, and looked a tidy, comfortable player on the ball.
Another defeat, and the first trophy that has been ruled out for the season. If we’re to win to the League, then we have to win at Craven Cottage on Saturday. Are we able to put the defeat in the League Cup behind us?
Well a squad without Gerrard, Johnson, Agger, Skrtel and Aquilani travelled down to Fulham are suffered our sixth defeat in seven games. A squad that was already on it’s knees is looking much worse after Degen and Carragher both saw red at Craven Cottage.
There have been a few claims that the manager had more than one eye on Europe during the game as Torres was brought off with the score at 1-1 as well as Benayoun being brought off when we were getting beat.
Overall the month has been a shambles, with the only shining light, albeit a very strong shining light, that 2-0 win over United. Everything else would be better forgotten.
Beating United is the most obvious, there’s very few things in the world of football that compare to that feeling.
Torres hitting double figures for the season already is another plus. If he can avoid serious injury, then I see no reason why he can’t beat his tally of 33 from the 07/08 campaign.
Aquilani finally making his first team bow is also something for us to celebrate. But it does show how disappointing the month has been when you consider this to be a massive highlight.
Defeats, defeats, defeats. We look in a really bad rut right now and our only hope is things can’t get any worse. Can they?
The exit from the Carling Cup. With the League and European hopes hanging on a thread, it was a real chance to put some silverware on the table but we didn’t create enough chances. And the ones we did, we didn’t take.
The injuries have hit us badly, and we’ve really saw just how thread-bare this squad is.
The form of Ryan Babel. The same Ryan Babel who admitted to only performing to get back into the Dutch squad. Well maybe that’s why he’s been a walking liability.
Fixtures for November
4/11/09 – Lyon at Stade Gerland (Champions League)
9/11/09 – Birmingham at Anfield (Premiership)
21/11/09 – Man City at Anfield (Premiership)
24/11/09 – Debrecen at Stadion Oláh Gábor Út (Champions League)
29/11/09 – Everton at Goodison Park (Premiership)