Once A Red, Always A Red

Once A Red, Always A Red

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On September 25, 2009
  • Geoff Reid, Liverpool


Editor’s Note: Geoff Reid appears on WVHooligan each week. Today he’s back with his weekly look at the life of a Liverpool fan living in American. Feel free to leave Geoff your thoughts below.

This week has been a pretty slow week in football compared to previous weeks. Over in England, matches last weekend in the Premiership followed by Carling Cup during the week where most clubs gave their reserves and younger players a chance to prove themselves to the manager of their respective clubs.

With Liverpool, playing at Upton Park, east London was always going to be tricky because West Ham are a firmly established Premiership club and one of the most respected in English football due to how many great English players have come through the clubs famous youth system over the years. Players like Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and others from the 1966 England squad that won the World Cup on home soil consisted of a good number of West Ham United players. Later on, Trevor Brooking, Alvin Martin and Paul Ince have come through and had very successful careers at the highest level. The latest players to have come through the system playing at the top level include Chelseaís Frank Lampard and Joe Cole, Manchester Unitedís Michael Carrick and Rio Ferdinand and Liverpoolís very own Glen Johnson. Currently in Gianfranco Zolaís squad, James Tomkins and Freddie Sears (who is actually on loan at Crystal Palace until the end of the season) are the latest famous academy products to make the first team who are touted to go to the very top. West Ham also have Illinoisí very own Jonathan Spector so it was always going to be a very tough test in east London with Zola having on of the best assistantís in the business in Steve Clarke and play a very attractive style of football and regularly push for European football.

Needless to say, Liverpoolís defending is still very inconsistent and the argument of zonal argument from some folks in the media in the UK have made this discussion a joke. Man to man marking really worked wonders in the Manchester derby last weekend didnít it? The point is, a lot of goals have been scored this season, and almost every club has had problems defending, including Liverpool. In this particular match, the usual consistent, error free Jamie Carragher almost gave up an early goal had it not been for the post. Itís the fundamentals that are the usual problem as always: reaction time is not quick enough. As a defender no matter what system you are playing, you got to have that determination to get to the ball first and do whatever you can to either block the shot or clear it out of danger no matter what cost. Currently Liverpool defenders arenít reacting fast enough. It sounds simple and straightforward, but itís the truth. And every club in the league can say the same thing for their defense as well.

The positives? Fernando Torres has seemed to find his shooting boots finally after a long couple of years being involved in his first season at Anfield, followed by Euro 2008, then his second season in Merseyside followed by the Confederations Cup and now his third season as a red followed by the World Cup next summer should he not get injured. My main fear for him is burnout. Another pleasant surprise was Ryan Babelís play when he came on as a substitute and setting up Torresí winning goal. Israeli international Yossi Benayoun has picked up where he left off last season and showing some very fine form and has proven to be just as important as the main spine players in the team. New right back Glen Johnson has made a massive difference in league play by giving the attack another dimension down the right. While there was nothing wrong with Alvaro Arbeloa, a very fine defender, he wasnít much of an asset on the attack. With him going to Real Madrid and Liverpool signing Johnson it worked for all parties involved. With the continuing progress of Alberto Aquilani, it shouldnít be too long now before we see him in action in a red shirt should no problems or setbacks occur.

Closing this week with thoughts of the Carling (League) Cup clash against Leeds United at Elland Road, itís a perfect case of how the mighty have fallen. Earlier this decade, the whites were playing Valencia in the semi-finals of the Champions League. One of my best mates back in the old country is a die hard Leeds fan and while I have never liked Leeds United in any way, I more then sympathize with whatís happened to that football club since. I do hope one day they can return to the Premiership, along with Newcastle United because both clubs belong in the top flight. Down the years both Leeds and Liverpool have had some terrific battles and while both clubs share the same distaste of Manchester United, it didnít mean they were any friendlier with each other. A Liverpool side filled largely with reserves and young players won 1-0 but Leeds battled extremely well and showed enormous heart and can take great pride in their performance Tuesday night.