No finish at Anfield

13 12 2008

A rollercoaster of a match at Anfield this morning.  Hull City stormed out in front and enjoyed an early 2-0 lead after an uncharacteristic own-goal by Jamie Carragher.  Steven Gerrard brought his team back to 2-2 with a couple of tremendous goals in close.  Liverpool continued the pressure for the rest of the half but couldn’t finish.  The second half saw much of the saw – overwhelming Liverpool possession, no goal.

This problem has plagued the Reds all season and must be resolved if they are to seriously challenge for the top spot.  Certainly playing without Torres for much of the first half of the season hasn’t helped.  And I agree Robbie Keane has struggled, but the guy didn’t even see any action today.  I can understand benching him when Torres is around, because he and Kuyt provide a nice dynamic upfront.  But with Torres out, you have absolutely nobody that can finish, other than Gerrard (who also has to be responsible as a distributor and defender).  Benayoun, Kuyt, El Zhar, Riera and Babel all show signs of brilliance, but it is few and far between.  With all due respect to Kuyt, who’s skills are more in his work rate than his finishing, none of these guys should be leading a top table squad into battle.

The only person with proven ability here is the aforementioned Keane.  So play the guy!  With Torres out, this is a perfect time to build his confidence and have him learn the system.  Benitez always takes time to warm up to his new additions.  I never quite understand it either.  He makes a big splash in the transfer window and then inches the guy along and usually destroying his confidence along the way.  Kuyt needed three years to get any support.  Crouch never did.  Even Torres, one of the top strikers in the world, saw his playing time bandied about during the first six months of his Liverpool tenure.  By February, Torres was a 90-minute guy, so I can only hope he has the same in mind for Keaner.  Or he may be following the path of Kuyt, for all we know.

Well, there’s my rant.  Tense times indeed for the Reds.  At least we’re still on top (although that may only last one more day, with Chelsea facing West Ham tomorrow!)

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