Tuesday, 9 December 2008


PSV 1-3 Liverpool

THIS was more like it.
On the surface there was nothing to play for - the game was as pointless as those annoying blue lights on crap cars.
But unlike the chav-gadget, this was good to look at.
With qualification for the knockout rounds of the Champions League in the bag, Rafa Benitez rightly opted to give some fringe players a sniff of the first team.
And they were joined by a host of players out to prove a point.
Importantly, and unlike at White Hart Lane in the Carling Cup, they showed their quality.
Ryan Babel is probably off Robbie Keane's Christmas card list after failing to play him in on at least three second-half occasions.
That merely confirmed what those who watch him regularly already know - he needs to work on his decision making.
But on the plus side the 21-year-old Dutchman scored with a deft header, from, I might add, a quality ball by Lucas Leiva (another who was long overdue a decent game).
Babel looked a threat all night and, encouragingly showed a greater willingess to work.
The aforementioned Lucas did little wrong, Andreas Dossena had his best game for Liverpool while David Ngog topped off some decent touches with a cool finish to wrap up the win.
Throw in Albert Rieira's performance and peach of a goal, which proved his recent dip was a blip, and the three Academy lads getting a run and there were plenty of reasons to be cheerful.
Which brings me to Robbie Keane. I haven't been buying into the hard done to act.
The scowling, histrionics and numerous Irishmen popping up in the press to say he shouldn't be subbed after an hour, aren't doing it for me.
Because for me, he hasn't done it. Forget the price tag, forget the reputation - not good enough, must do better.
So fair play for this game. I feared the worst when the toys reached the edge of the pram over Babel's passing.
But Keane stuck at it and played a world-class pass for Ngog's goal.
That first-time through ball showed vision, class and control in an instant - it was almost Peter Beardsley-esque in its execution.
And it was proof of another theory, too. Keane needs someone up front with him.
He excels at one-twos, through balls and creating space for a partner. But if he's asked to lead the line and single-handedly shoulder the goals burden, he struggles.
So maybe, in a game that seemed pointless, Rafa has stumbled onto a winning formula, a solution to the Keane problem and lifted the confidence of a string of shadow players.
And don't forget, Steven Gerrard and man of the season Xabi Alonso sat it out readying themselves to tame the Tigers when Hull come to town on Saturday.
All in all, a feel-good result and performance that could, and hopefully will, prove much more important than anyone could have first thought.

1 comment:

Dave Molyneux said...

Quality performance I thought, and good to see some young lads playing

As for Lucas: still not convinced. One good game against a below average European team (PSV) is not really a turning point to write home about

As for Keane: would like to see him stop shaking his head every time something goes a bit tits up. Chin up, move on and get on with it lad

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