Anyone who missed this game expecting another drab listless performance, has no idea what they missed!
This was the most “interesting” match I have seen since Istanbul, and I don’t say that lightly…I just cannot remember a match with so much drama, farce, and unpredictability! Even before the game started there was a surprise with the line up. No Gerrard, no Carra, no Kuyt, no Agger, no Enrique, no Suarez, and no Downing, all who were available! So we started with 7 missing first team players, and the club’s 5th choice captain!
But up until the 25th min it looked like LFC’s luck had finally turned. Passing and movement were fluid and incisive, with Maxi a stand out. Instead of celebrating wildly like I should have after Maxi Rodriguez scored the second, I threw my hands in aspiration and exclaimed, “WHY!?” It’s a simple question really. Why is Maxi criminally underused? Maxi’s positional sense is top notch, his finishing is good and he has an eye for the pass. He seems like a perfect Dalglish player, not to mention he was one of the best performers last season. He has to start and link up with Luis Suarez. It is a joy to behold the movement and deft touches. In a tight battle, you still need your flair players to do something magical to turn the game. Maxi is can do exactly that.
2 nil up after 16 mins, the only worry was Flannagan being bested by one of the black Swedish brothers Olsson. In fact, it was obvious from the 10th min this was a major concern, and adjustments should have been made before the first yellow. Soon after the first caution, Flano was lucky not to be sent off for another professional foul. And soon after that, under pressure from the same black Swede, Flano hit a short back pass to the goalie. Doni was desperately unlucky when going for the ball, and was given a straight red. On a side note, this is the triple whammy that needs to be changed by FIFA/FA. Player sent off, penalty conceded and banned from future games. And for a foul that wouldn’t have even merited a yellow if outside the box. On another sidenote, this leaves LFC facing Everton in the FA Cup semi final, at Wembley, with a dodgy third choice keeper, and no senior back up goalkeeper, unless a loan can be arranged within 2 days!
Flano was taken off for the third choice goalie, who immediately saved the penalty, pointing to the sky in memory of his 6 year old son who died in Nov from leukaemia. But the drama didn’t stop. It just increased. LFC’s troubles all stemmed from passing backwards under pressure, and soon enough Blackburn were level, with Brad Jones lucky to stay on when conceding another penalty. A foul that was far worse than Doni’s, but only received a yellow. If he had been sent off, as he should, then not only would we have played with 9 players, and no goalie, we would have had no goalies available for the FA Cup semi final!
In the second half, even with 10 men, it wasn’t clear who had the upper hand. LFC approached the end of the game with Hendo at right back, Carroll seemingly at defensive mid, Enrique left wing, Agger left back, and it still looked like we could win, though attempting to predict anything was a mugs game! Carroll came the closest all season to scoring a header, but it was at the wrong end, bringing a finger tip save from Jones. But in the end an injury time winner with a powerful header sealed the points, but failed to paper over any of the cracks in a disturbingly erratic LFC.
Everton must be loving this…
PS Our fourth choice goalkeeper is the 21 year old Hungarian Peter Gulacsi who is on loan.