October 2010: The Anfield Review

Liverpool fans spent a few days in October 2010 familiarising themselves with Texas law

After ending September without a League win to our name, we entered October on a cautious note shall we say. If the problems on the pitch were making us cautious, what was happening off it was even worse. Every day a new twist in the ownership saga.

But, our opponents in the opening game of the month were the, supposedly, whipping boys of the League – Blackpool. After being promoted to the Premiership via the play offs last season, everybody expected Holloway’s tangerine army to struggle. They haven’t thus far and more worryingly for us, they didn’t struggle at Anfield.

In fact they dominated much of the game and went in at half time two goals to the good, with Charlie Adam and Luke Varney getting on the score sheet. We managed to pull one back through Kyrgiakos and show a little fight in the final ten minutes but Blackpool fully deserved their victory and we fully deserved to be struggling around the foot of the table.

Our next game was the Merseyside derby and the first in front of new owners NESV who had finally completed their take over of the club. This was supposed to give the entire club a lift and into a new era of dominance we would go. Some hope.

Everton bullied us into defeat; it’s as simple as that. They wanted it more and got what their effort deserved. Goals from Cahill and Arteta either side of half time saw the points go to the blue half of Merseyside and saw our slump into the bottom three continue.

It’s hard to imagine us in the relegation zone but we are. Nobody really predicted us to be this bad, but here we are. Middle of October and Liverpool Football Club sit in the bottom three with our worst start in living memory. But there’s always Europe.

And that’s one small glimmer of happiness we have had this season. Regardless of the diabolic domestic campaign so far, we have faired pretty well in Europe and still remain unbeaten in Europe under Roy Hodgson. We’re also sat on top of our Europa League group as we head into a difficult game in Naples against Napoli.

The game itself wasn’t a cracker, a bit of a stalemate really. Many of our fringe players were given the run out as Hodgson saw the weekend’s match with Blackburn as more important.

Neither side looked overly threatening although we did have one great chance through Ryan Babel but the Dutch winger made a mess of it. And in fact Babel made a mess of everything that night, he was shocking. Adding more weight to those, like myself, who would really like to see him gone in January or at least next summer. The thought of another whole season with Ryan Babel in the side just worries me greatly.

Babel was on the bench however against Blackburn but didn’t get onto the pitch. And after a promising start to the match, we still went into the break goalless. In those first 45 minutes we did everything but score, chance after chance went begging.

Then only minutes into the second half, Kyrgiakos rose to head home a Steven Gerrard corner. Finally we got the goal and now were ready to build up some much needed momentum. That, however, was halted by yet another Jamie Carragher own goal. Our former number 9, El Hadji Diouf thought he scored but Konchesky cleared it off the line only to hit Carra and rebound back into the net. Another nail in our coffin.

Or so it seemed because shortly after, Joe Cole found himself in space and picked out a pinpoint cross for Fernando Torres to finally break his baron spell in front of goal. He took the goal with all the quality you’d expect from our current number 9.

In the final fifteen to twenty minutes Blackburn pressed for the equaliser but for one of the few times this season, our defence held firm while under pressure and gave us a massive victory. It wasn’t enough to take us out of the bottom three but at least we’re back winning again. I’d almost forgot what it felt like to win.

It was imperative we built on the victory over Blackburn with another three points against Owen Coyle’s Bolton but the Trotters had only lost once in the League all season. This was not going to be an easy game, especially with our confidence still wavering pretty thing.

It was another struggle for the Reds as neither side were really able to take control of it. We started brightly before Bolton got the upper hand towards the end of the half. Second half was the other way round, Bolton the better to begin with but once Joe Cole got injured and we reverted to 4-4-2 with Torres and Ngog up top, we looked much sharper.

And once more so many players failed to impress. It was quite possibly the worst game I’ve seen from Steven Gerrard in a Liverpool shirt, Joe Cole may as well of been taken off long before the injury because he was a waste of time on the left, Fernando Torres wasn’t as clinical as you’d expect from one of the finest players in the world and Maxi Rodriguez again left me wondering how he’s a regular for a top side like Liverpool as well as a top international side like Argentina.

Speaking of Maxi though, he was the one who brought all three points back to Anfield. The ball went up to Torres who, cleverly, flicked it through and Maxi ran onto it to squeeze the ball under Jaaskelainen, who in all honesty should of saved it. So the goal probably saved both Torres and Maxi as well as the side from some much deserved criticism but that’s not important. (It hasn’t saved Roy from the fans’ wrath though)

What is important is the fact that we got another win, we got back to back wins and Roy Hodgson got his first away win as Liverpool manager. Now with the month over and ending on a high, not only our two consecutive wins but also we’re out of the bottom three, we can now go into November with high hopes.

Starting with the return match at Anfield against Napoli and then another home game with League leaders Chelsea to extend our winning streak in the Premiership. And this time next month, we’ll be talking about how Liverpool are contenders for the League again and not about how we’re going to be in a relegation battle.

4 comments on
October 2010: The Anfield Review

  1. I do not agree with your comments about Ryan Babel. Liverpool are a team that is one dimensional which has hampered the progress of such players as Babel. Babel is not a left winger and it annoys me to hear him being constantly referred to as that. I don’t understand why players come to liverpool and are constantly played out of position in order to compensate for the rest of the squad. We have a good team player are just not being played in their proper position and that list is very long

    • Behave. Ryan Babel’s had multiple opportunities to shine at this club and he’s blown them all. Dirk Kuyt’s not a right winger but you get no less than 100% from him. Can the same be said about Babel? If he was less interested in beign a rap star or speaking out to the Dutch media, he may have been a player. Unfortunately though he is a waste of space. To think people compared him with John Barnes. LOL. Couldn’t lace Digger’s boots!

      • The fact you call yourself digger just shows you should not be taken seriously. Cameo appearances and the rare start here and there are not chances. Babel for Ajax played apart of a 3 man attack, in his in his 1st season at liverpool he played in that role and had a good season. I’m sure if we had an attack minded manager he would flourish in a 3 man attack like he did in his 1st season. So bring on Rijkarrd

        • What and I’m supposed to take you seriously when you’re called Moses? Get off your high horse mate. If Steve McLaren can win a Dutch title it shows the league over there must be of a much lower standard than the premier league. You’ve gotta go back to 1995 for the last time a dutch club won the Champions league, and that was also the same year a dutch side last reached the final. By the way, did Babel make an impact at the world cup?

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