Roy Returns and His Revenge Is Sweet
Revenge they say can be sweet if aimed in the right direction. Today it was aimed at Liverpool Football Club who sixteen months ago had sacked Roy Hodgson due to dire football that he had got the team playing.
Today he marked his return to Anfield as manager of West Bromwich Albion. Now West Bromwich are more suited to the style of play that Roy prefers and it is well known that they have made steady progress since his tenure began, but would that progress enable to them to beat Liverpool at Anfield for the first time since the mid-sixties was one of the questions on everybody's lips.
The other of course was the type of reception that Roy would receive on his return to the club. It has been well documented in the media about the so-called hatred aimed at Roy due to him simply being the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The ever dependable Roy gave us that answer several days ago, when during his weekly press conference when he said that he expected an extremely dour welcome from the Anfield faithful. to quote and I may not have got the wording exactly right.
"Why should they welcome me, they hated me while I was there, so there is no reason to think that has changed".
He had of course underestimated the Anfield crowd and was clapped as he made his way towards the visiting team's bench. You see, as any Liverpool supporter will tell you. We never hold a grudge against anyone and what happened, happened for a reason. It was just another event in the life of Liverpool Football Club.
With the end of the season now fast approaching, it was vital of course for Liverpool to get the three points at home to ensure that they finished as strong as they could. Three points that would see us go above our local rivals Everton Football Club, but the omens did not look too good when it became known that Stevie G was being rested.
Saying that though, the team, that Kenny picked had plenty of quality as well as goals in it. But there appears to be something in the air that makes Anfield an intimidating place for the home team. Why that is only they can answer because today became another one of those days, where players buckled in front of an open goalmouth, or indeed their kicks to ensure once again that the balls went straight over the top or indeed hit the woodwork.
From the moment the game kicked-off, it had all the hall markings of a fantastic win for Liverpool at home. Liverpool was in the ascendency with the way the football was being played. The pass and move style was very much in evidence and the speed at which it was being played was enjoyable. But with just ten minutes of the game played, Dirk set the tone of the game. He had picked up a ball, miss-timed his kick and the shot ended up going wide.
Here we go again, were the thoughts on many of the supporters minds as we watched the events of the afternoon continue to unfold. Luis Suarez, Daniel Agger, Jay Spearing, Andy Carroll and Maxi Rodrigeux all tried to score the elusive goal with some fantastic play in the six yard box, but it simply did not appear to be going to happen.
For a couple of minutes there appeared to be a small glimmer of hope when Maxi was tripped over and everyone thought a penalty should have been given. It was not and Liverpool quickly picked themselves up and continued to press although it was West Brom who eventually came close to scoring in the first half. Chris Brunt had sent a wonderful volley towards Pepe Reina, who thankfully stopped it with his left hand and blocking the follow-on shot by Liam Ridgewell.
Thankfully though, Liverpool survived until half time and upon their return to the pitch quickly showed which team was the better one on the day. They were passing the ball so well, that West Brom must have wondered what they needed to do, to try and get a period where they had possession of the ball.
Luis Suarez in particular was now back to the player that we had come to love. He was causing major problems for the West Brom defence and how he missed his chances, is something that only he can answer. Several of his balls were picked up by Andy Carroll, Dirk Kuyt and Jordan Henderson. Now Jordan as we all know has had a torrid time this season, and it would have been wonderful if his volley had found its way into the back of the net. The hallmarked sound of the woodwork rattling told the watching world, that it had not.
With play continuing things then went from bad to worse. Glen Johnson made one of those mistakes that can end up costing you the game. After collecting the ball, he found himself in a tight spot, let the ball go, only to see it being picked up by Mulumbu, who forwarded it to Odemwingie, who sent the ball towards Pepe Reina and found the back of the net.
Liverpool of course picked themselves up and the onslaught began once again with Craig, Jonjo and Stewart replacing Dirk, Jay and Maxi, but still the goals would not come. It did not matter how many times the ball was goal bound because if it did not hit the woodwork or indeed go over, it was saved by West Broms goalie, Ben Foster.
The end of the game finally came and Roy was the happier of the two managers. He had returned to his old stomping ground and proved a point.
His team also highlighted once again, that Liverpool are not capable of scoring goals without the out and out goal scorer that they should have brought into the club during the January window.
It is also points to a sad scenario to be honest. Here we have eleven footballers who know how to play the game well, particularly if they are in a cup competition, but as soon as they are playing a league game that 'could not give a damn' attitude comes in to play far too quickly.
That attitude of course has cost us our league position and could ultimately cost several of them their Anfield careers and along with that of our manager. A man would fifteen months ago came to our rescue and deserves to be given at least another season to put things right.f