The 0-0 draw between West Bromwich and Liverpool must have been the most boring match in the Premier League this season. Especially the first half was so dreary that I would rather have watched paint dry. The performance from West Brom was the worst of a home team in PL for a long time and against this lame team Liverpool only managed a draw and in the process top four hopes were killed.
Liverpool owed fans a strong display after the miserable one versus Aston Villa in the FA Cup. But the Reds didn´t live up to the responsibility and instead produced another pitiful showing. We can in all certainty not reach the Champions League postitions anymore and the risk is that we have to endure five final tedious matches.
After the game both manager Brendan Rodgers and a couple of players said in interviews that they still believed in a top four finish. Well, you should never give up, but they are deluded. If we can´t down this poor West Brom team how can we suddenly be able to win five on the trot against similar teams and better? Some of them fighting for PL existence. Right, we can´t.
When 16 league games remained I predicted Liverpool would finally land on 67 points and miss out on top four and end up in 5th or 6th place. At the moment we have collected 58 points and the total tally of 67 is still plausible, as is the 5th or 6th position. We had a brief spell of good football and fine results but when the crucial matches against Manchester United and Arsenal came along we crumbled. Same again yesterday when a win was needed, once more Liverpool failed to grab the necessary victory. I don´t expect us to suddenly be different and cope with pressure and amass 15 points which perhaps won´t even be enough to qualify for a CL place.
We have to forget this season and especially the match yesterday. We started slowly, owned the ball, but created nothing in the first half. In the second the Reds were a bit more energetic, but not much. Two fine chances were squandered and goalkeeper Simon Mignolet had to come up with one or two fine saves to rescue us from an embarrassing defeat. On the whole an awful showing from Liverpool.
There was a lot frustrated gestures between Red players showing there is unrest in the squad. The selfish actions on the field didn´t help. Raheem Sterling thinks he some kind of world class star. Almost everytime he gets the ball he tries to dribble and nearly always he loses the ball. Jordon Ibe and Mario Balotelli followed the same ill-advised path. Other players did it from time to time. And almost every time a dribble was tried a pass to a better placed teammate was the right decision.
Decision-making is not the best feature in the Liverpool side. Furthermore, every player is so in love with the ball they need three, five or seven touches before releasing it. Could be poor game intelligence, bad ball skills or sheer laziness not making sure beforehand what the best move is when getting the ball. Captain Steven Gerrard has been a first touch master for years. He doesn´t dwell on the ball, just passes it along to someone he already know is there. Just as the old pass and move team decades ago did. It´s beyond me how other Liverpool players have avoided to learn how to quickly move the ball and themselves. They have a great opportunity to study the master himself in training and in games. Soon enough he leaves, who is going to learn them then?
Here are my ratings for the Reds who participated in the 33rd league match of the season (on a scale from 1 to 10):
GK Simon Mignolet 6.
Not much to do but came up with point-winning saves and also punched well.
RB Emre Can 3.
Untroubled defensively but totally ineffective going forward. Clumsy passes.
CB Martin Skrtel 4.
A decent display but was caught napping on a few occasions.
CB Dejan Lovren 6.
Best Liverpool player. Tackled well, was always in the right place and delivered well. His best showing in a red shirt. Not that the opposition was tough.
LB Glen Johnson 3.
A bit nonchalant in his defensive work at times. No attacking threat.
DM Steven Gerrard 5.
Didn´t stand out in any way but passed the ball well and kept his cool.
RM Jordan Henderson 3.
Invisible for long periods. Should have scored from his fine close range chance.
LM Philippe Coutinho 5.
Got on the ball a lot and really tried to find a way through the home defence. Only player with clever intentions.
RF Jordon Ibe 3.
Ran down blind alleys a lot and didn´t create much. Unlucky with his woodwork shot.
CF Mario Balotelli 2.
Played for himself and didn´t contribute to the attacking game.
LF Raheem Sterling 1.
Dribble, dribble, dribble. Can anyone tell him football is a team game. Overrates himself.
CF Fabio Borini 1. (Replaced Mario Balotelli after 75 mins).
Ran around like a headless chicken not getting anything done.
LF Adam Lallana 3. (Replaced Jordon Ibe after 75 mins).
Came up with a few tricks to trouble the home defence a bit. But no end product.
Once more Liverpool failed to live up to expectations and left us fans with a uninteresting run-in. Nevertheless:
We Go Again.