Liverpool Cruise It, Hodgson Looses It
The gutsy win in midweek against Stoke seems to have given Liverpool a great deal of belief. The depth in the squad, although not as strong as it could be was evident as Liverpool kept up their cup momentum with the likes of Jay Spearing, Maxi and Sebastian Coates all taking part in the fixture. Well done to those guys for coming in and doing the team proud.
On Saturday, the strongest team available travelled to The Hawthorns to take on an ever-improving West Bromwich Albion side. Liverpool finally kept a clean sheet against more than 10 men, Andy Carroll finally looked like something of a footballer and Roy Hodgson finally lost his temper. To say this was an important three points for Liverpool would be an understatement. Failure to overcome Norwich last week left Liverpool barely hanging on to a very slender fifth position. Anything but three points would have made things a tad difficult.
For large periods of the game, Liverpool, without the injured Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard dominated and when the final whistle went, most would agree that the win was a comfortable and deserved one. From the kick-off Liverpool set about their opponents with a good tempo and a firm mentality. This time unlike their last league outing, Liverpool played for the entire 90 minutes and not just the first 30. The midfield pairing of Charlie Adam and Lucas Leiva functions reasonably well for the most part and Henderson and Downing supported the front pair very well. The team appears to be settling into a rhythm.
The back four played as if they actually knew each other which was pleasing to see. They kept the West Brom front line quiet throughout the match. Luis Suarez was his usually busy self although his finishing was not on a par with his midweek performance. His efforts were sufficient to force a penalty after a sloppy challenge from the sloppy Jerome Thomas. Adam converting the ninth minute spot kick emphatically.
Already at that point it was pretty much one-way traffic and Liverpool were in control. The game continued in that vain with Adam running the midfield and showing a good range of passing and finding easy outlets in Steward Downing and Jordan Henderson.
On the stroke of half time, careless play by Jonas Olsson gave the ball directly back to his hungrier opponents to allow Lucas and Suarez combine in the Liverpool half to release Carroll. His deft touch putting the ball past the on-rushing Ben Foster for his second league goal of the campaign. Realistically Carroll should be on at least double this for his tally so far this season but taking into account the improvement in his performances this week, it’s fair to give the boy a break.
The scoreline, flattered West Bromwich. The only noticeable chance they had fell to Somen Tchoyi in the opening exchanges of the second half but that was about it. Presumably he and his teammates got a good talking to during the break because Hogson was incandescent with rage by the end of the first half. Who could have blamed him. Had the game ended 4-0 it wouldn’t have been harsh. No doubt, a hard pill for the ex-Liverpool boss to swallow.
Elsewhere in the Premiership, Arsenal overcame Chelsea in their own backyard to win 3-5 in an absolute barn-stormer of a match. I bet Roy Hogson is wishing his team had some of whatever Arsene Wenger’s men had in their pre-match meal. The Gooners were good value for their win and are now well and truly over their dodgy start to the season. Liverpool fans should not forget that Arsenal are a mere two points behind them now.
A couple of results which done more for the pools coupons than anything else with draws at Norwich and Sunderland both making late comebacks to draw 3-3 against Blackburn and 2-2 against Aston Villa respectively. Steve Kean’s finger-tips must be almost worn out having been clinging to his job for most of the season by them. Norwich continue to confound the onlookers and refuse to be the Premierships whipping boys. That role is being left to Wigan who went down 0-2 at home to Fulham, as they conceded two second half goals. It’s a brave man that bets against Wigan going down.
Manchester City grabbed three points and as many goals against early season contenders Wolves to extend their lead at the top to five points. They have to be the current favourites to lift the Premiership this season. Not simply because they’re at the top but because they seem so strong. Every part of their team is scoring goals. However, that said, you can never write-off their neighbours. United got a valuable three points away to Everton winning 0-1. A good response to the mauling they got from the leaders last week.
Sunday sees Tottenham play host to Neil Warnock’s QPR side who must be confident after taking all of the points against nine-man Chelsea last week. I can see a draw there but don’t put your house on it. Tottenham are currently top of the form table so you’d be forgiven if you think I’m talking rubbish.
Stoke entertain Newcastle on Monday night and I think it’s a very tough one to call. Stoke are on a poor run of form at the moment losing their last three on the bounce and Tony Pulis will be expecting his men to get things back on track. Newcastle have maintained their good start to the season but I’m sure the wheels will come off eventually.
Finally, the main topic of the week seems to be the race thing between John Terry and Anton Ferdinand. I watched the incident and I can’ really say what’s been claimed to have been said was said. Having said that, I’m not sure if it’s actually fair to say anything was said unless there’s some firm proof that the said remarks were really said or if it’s just talk. Whatever, six of one and half dozen of the other as my mother always says. John Terry, from what we read never seems to be that far away from trouble. If he was a policeman that would be welcome but he’s not. Go figure.