- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On August 28, 2009
- 0 Comments
- Geoff Reid, Liverpool
Editor’s Note: Geoff Reid appears on WVHooligan each week. Today he returns to us with his weekly series on the life of a Liverpool fan in America. Feel free to leave him your thoughts below.
Premiership football is back in full swing and it doesnít feel any better does it? Well that depends on who you ask. Before Monday nights match against Brad Friedel and Aston Villa I was thinking which Liverpool would show up: the one that lost to Spurs on opening weekend being very inconsistent or the one that trashed Tony Pulisí Stoke City the following Wednesday? The best explanation I can come up with was a mixture of both. Obviously my first reactions were a little blown up after a defeat and Iíve always been someone who gives myself 24 hours to gather my thoughts and look at things more rationally. It was the same back in my college days after weíd win or lose a match because our reactions were always different right after the match ended compared to analyzing it the following day.
The statistics donít lie: 24 shots on goal for Liverpool (11 were on target) while Villa had only 8 (only 4 were on target). 10 corner kicks for Liverpool while Villa had 4 and during time of possession Liverpool had 68% compared to Villaís 32%. So what I have taken from all that is not to panic, at least not yet. It shows Liverpool did everything to win the match but sometimes you need that bit of luck to win these matches and it wasnít with Liverpool. The first goal showed us that when a free kick from very talented Ashley Young took a deflection off Lucas Leiva of all people went past Pepe Reina. Lucas for sure did not have a great game, but neither did the captain Steven Gerrard. It was Gerrard after all that gave away the vital penalty right after Fernando Torres equalized so it happens to the best of us. After the second goal went in right before half time literally, that would be my only complaint about the referee who otherwise had an outstanding match. Before the corner kick had been taken, the one minute of added time had already taken place. It doesnít disguise the fact that the defending on the set piece was terrible because it was, but that corner should have never taken place. Zonal marking or man marking, it was terrible and Liverpoolís system of zonal marking has proven over the last few years it can work if you have the right players, but everyone must be on the same page and it was clear the back line was not.
In saying all that, I must give credit to Martin OíNeill, Brad Friedel and Aston Villa enormous credit because they defended very well. It was the perfect example of how to close up shop, and defend from the front. Villa managed to keep the pitch very tight and whenever any Liverpool player was trying to thread the needle, there wasnít a big enough gap and when chances did happen, Friedel was there to stop them. Iíve always said that Gerard Houllierís decision to let Friedel go on a free was the biggest mistake he ever made when he was manager. To think that he had the goalkeeping solving problem right under his nose when he took full charge in late 1998 and didnít realize it just shows he wasnít really the best judge in players. Since Friedel left Anfield, Sander Westerveld, Jerzy Dudek, and Chris Kirkland have all come and gone and only until Reina was signed from Villarreal did the reds solve the position between the pipes. It could have all been solved if Friedel was allowed to stay.
Yesterday was the Champions League draw from Monaco and while the draw is certainly not going to be easy at all, it could have been much more worse for Liverpool. Lyon won the French title for seven straight years before eventually Bordeaux beat them to the finish. Fiorentina have always been my favorite Italian Club since the days of Gabriel Batistuta, the great Argentinean goal scorer, when I was growing up watching Italian football. The unknown and I will be perfectly honest, is Debrecen from Hungary. I admit I donít know anything about them at this point apart from being Hungarian champions, but will be doing research on them very soon because I always like to have that comfort of somewhat understanding Liverpoolís opponents. They could very well be the surprise team in this yearís tournament and they deserve respect.
So while it is concerning that Liverpool has now lost just as many matches in the league this season as they did the whole of last season, I think itís important that itís still only August and to remind everyone that Manchester United won the league by having four defeats, and it was the draws at home that ultimately cost Liverpool the title. Now is a time the first team players should take a good look in the mirror and asking themselves what they can do to improve the teamís performance. It doesnít have to be pretty, win ugly and scrappy for all I care, just get this season on the right foot and fast. The margin for error in todayís Premiership is so thin after Arsenal went undefeated on the way to win the title in the 2003-04 season. Nobodyís perfect and we all make mistakes. Now is the time to put those mistakes right before itís too late otherwise Liverpool will turn into Arsenal of last season losing five matches before December.
On a quick note I just wanted to give some thoughts on the ending of World Soccer Daily. I had nothing to do with the boycott. I never sent any emails to sponsors like four four two, Heineken, or any other of WSDís sponsors. I just simply stopped listening. I fully supported the boycott though because ultimately what Steven Cohen has said was wrong no matter what way you look at it. That also doesnít excuse the fact that if Cohenís family were threatened by so called Liverpool fans then in my mind they arenít real Liverpool fans anyway. Just like the trouble between West Ham and Millwall fans earlier this week in the League Cup I donít consider them real fans of both clubs. I also donít believe much of what Cohen says anyways. Thereís always idiots out there and maybe there were a few that somehow contacted his family and thatís wrong in every way. Putting aside all the Liverpool and Hillsborough issues, Cohen was never good for the game in this country in my opinion. Back when it was him and Nick Geber, they always criticized MLS and US Soccer very unfairly and often didnít have the facts in front of them. Cohen earlier this MLS season claimed that the Freddy Montero case was good for the league because it gave the league exposure. How can he honestly say that when itís negative press about football? Plain and simple Cohen was a Euro snob and from what I am hearing is that Kenny Hassan, Cohenís most recent co-host was going to bring the show back in a different format which Iím all for if it doesnít include Cohen himself.