Thursday, December 27, 2007

Premier League: Derby 1-2 Liverpool, Gerrard saves Rafa from himself

Gerrard saves Rafa from himself

Gerrard's determination to hold onto his dream of leading Liverpool to a Premier League title won this game for Liverpool. With the game locked at 1-1 after a dreadful second half display, Liverpool's title hopes were looking dead and buried. Gerrard then picked the ball up in his own half, held off a challenge, beat one and knocked it wide to Benayoun. Benayoun beat a man, squared it for Torres who had his shot saved. Gerrard had continued his run and was there to smash it home and get a priceless win for Liverpool.

The game had started well enough for Liverpool, with Torres scoring a superb individual goal in the 14th minute. He picked the ball up 25 yards out, nutmegged Moore, drifted past Leacock and clipped it home past Price with ease. A truly splendid goal. After that Carragher and Babel had good chances to extend Liverpool's lead by half-time.

In the second half, Liverpool lost their way as Derby gamely fought to get back into the game. Liverpool made a dreadful hash of defending Lewis' free-kick and McEvely drove the ball past Reina. Liverpool then sensing the urgency of their situation began to have a string of shots at the Derby goal. Alonso and Aurelio had good efforts saved, while Gerrard had a superb effort from a great move, cannon off the cross bar.

Then cometh the hour, cometh the man, as so often for Liverpool Steven Gerrard dragged his team to victory.

Paul Jewell must be feeling 'gutted' as they say. He saw his limited Derby team fight with all they had to get back into the game, only to undeservedly lose it at the death. Following on from the performance at Newcastle, Derby fans have a glimmer of hope.

Overall Liverpool's performance started reasonable then fell away. They looked disjointed and lacklustre and weren't helped by Benitez's shuffling of his pack. A midfield of Riise, Gerrard, Alonso and Babel looked unbalanced with Babel particularly looking out of place on the right wing. Also Voronin and later Kuyt are looking simply punchless as forwards. They work hard, look neat in their play but in reality create nothing. Liverpool for the title? Not while Rafa picks unbalanced teams and shows respect to teams like Derby.


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