Boxing Day Woes as Liverpool Are Held by The Turkeys of Blackburn

By Faith Fulcher on Dec 26, 11 07:17 PM in Fans

Football on Boxing Day as we all know, is not only part of the traditions that most of us follow over the Christmas period, but it is seen as a marker by many football supporters. That marker is the one that indicates to us where we will be, come the end of the season in May.

Today was no exception and the resulting game left many wondering what Liverpool need to do start putting the ball into the back of the net. It has got to the point where questions now need to be answered about several members of the squad.  These are players who simply do not want to or indeed know how to step up onto pedestal that is Liverpool Football Club. A pedestal that ensures the club's standards are high enough to ensure we also take part in Europe's major competitions.

There were the usual rumours about the team before the game, the most important being that Stevie G was about to return.  This turned out to be true, but he would start from the bench.  It was also being suggested that Andy Carroll would start rather than Dirk Kuyt or Craig Bellamy who both deserve to amongst the first names on the team sheet.  Again this proved to be true and you just knew that although the game was against Blackburn who reside at the bottom of the league, it was going to be one of those days. 

We had two teams, one who had to prove that they could actually win a game at home and one who is being belittled week in and week by its owner's making strange decisions.  Both had a lot to prove today and to win the game would do just that.  Liverpool also had ensured that the 12th man was doing what it does best, when the going gets tough.

 Sadly as the teams came out and the match began, that appeared to be missing and whether or not the players began to feel nervous because of it, is a question that only the players can answer, in the only way they now how and quickly.  They must play to win the game every time they step onto the pitch.  It does not matter whether they played in the previous game or whether they are being given a chance to ensure another player is rested.

Today Kenny changed around the team to ensure that Andy got a game.  He had several chances and I guess one of them was thwarted by Referee Mike Jones, but the lack of effort and his inability to fit in with the rest of the Squad was once again there to see.  If Kenny is going to rely on him whilst we are without Luis Suarez, once his ban starts, then that young man needs to wake up and wake up quickly.

Now Luis Suarez, although a fantastic player, needs to realise that sometimes passing the ball to another player is more benifical that trying for the elusive goal yourself.  I know he is trying to prove that he is the player people believe him to be, but at this point in time his confidence has taken a battering and he needs help.  Help from players such as Andy Carroll, Craig Bellamy and Dirk Kuyt.

The latter two were not playing and as the first half progressed it was clear that not only were we missing the talents of Lucas, we were also missing the speed of Craig Bellamy and the poaching skills of Dirk Kuyt.  There were some great moves by Jose Enrique and our defense proved that once again, they were the part of the team that seem to be settling into Kenny's way of playing quicker than the rest. 

Blackburn to their credit, were creating some good moves, but could not hold onto the ball. Our players, when awake, were picking up the ball and as I have said making some good moves.  Stewart Downing appears to have recovered from the dip in his confidence. although Jordan Henderson proved yet again that he still needs time to settle. 

The match looked as though it was going to turn into a bore draw as we edged towards half time until Liverpool were awarded a corner.  That corner was picked up by Charlie Adam, who turned and the ball found its way into the back of the net.

Blackburn were the team that went into the break with the better result and the looks on the faces of both managers told their own story.  Steve Kean looked surprised and Kenny as you would have expected looked angry.  An anger which I hope he vented at half time because somebody had to say something to try and rescue the afternoon.

As the second half began there were signs that perhaps Liverpool could turn the game around.  The players seemed to come out with a renewed belief in themselves and their play was fantastic to watch. But it was Maxi, who did what he does best, to put Liverpool on level terms as the 11th minute of the second half began. He like Dirk Kuyt is a poacher and can pick up a ball out of nowhere as he proved yet again today, which of course begs the question - Why on earth does he not start every game?

Although the atmosphere was now building up, the biggest cheer came when our Captain was re-introduced into the team.  He was immediately given his armband back and if his first kick had been a little lower then history would have been written.  The main thing was that the players now a leader in the middle of the pitch rather than in the goalmouth.  A leader who could and did chance the way the players were playing.  There was immediately more fluidity in the way they played and it was just a shame that anything goal bound either went wide, over the post or indeed hit the woodwork.

There was also the goalmouth saga in the last few minutes. A saga, which is becoming all together far too familiar in every game.  We seem to leave it to injury time and then lay siege in the penalty area. Sometimes the goals go in sometimes they don't.  Today was one of those days where they did not and the game finished as yet another draw. 

Liverpool had lost a further two points and our hope of reaching fourth place is gradually dwindling away. Or is it? Next week signals the start of the silly season.  The January transfer window opens and hopefully, Kenny who must by now realise that we need a striker, will invest in a player who we know will find the back of the net, whatever the circumstances.  This may mean having to admit a couple of his signings since re-joining the club last January were wrong, but this happens and it is part and parcel of a manager's job.

What we the supporters must not do of course is panic. We have to give Kenny time to get it right.  It was never going to be easy and it may take more than this season for him to get a team strong enough for us to challenge for what we feel is ours by right. 

Looking at what we have achieved so far, my own feelings are that if Kenny can get the much needed striker in January, then yes fourth place may just appear over the horizon once more.  If not, we may have to settle for a Europa League place and try again next season, which in all honesty although not great is lot better than what we were looking at this time last year.

 

 

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