Liverpool reached average level and it was enough to dispose of releagion threatened Queens Park Rangers yesterday. But the 2-1 at Anfield victory came too late, there is still no chance of reaching top four despite Manchester United losing their third match on the trot last evening.
If Liverpool had played to their right level and defeated Hull and West Bromwich in the two preceding matches then we would have been in fourth place right now, one point ahead of Man Utd. They haven´t picked up a single point in the last three games and if we had collected nine, not the four we managed, then it would have been game on inte the top four battle.
Now it´s game over. Okay, it´s theoretically possible for the Reds to leapfrog United but it will not happen. United won´t lose four matches in a row and if they win the next one against Crystal Palace, I think they do, then we must beat Chelsea away to keep the four point distance. We have always trouble getting something from our visits to Stamford Bride so a loss is a likely outcome. Then we are seven points adrift with two games to go. So even if it on paper looks like we can end up in fourth, reality will soon kick in and eliminate that notion.
The game against QPR was nothing special. Liverpool played with a little more energy and moved and passed the ball better than in the last couple of games. But it was hardly vintage. Our finishing was extremely poor. How professionals like Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana can fail to even hit the target from a few yards out, with a gaping goal in front of them, is beyond me. The whole team must start practising finishing, they are mediocre at it, to put it mildly. Only Philippe Coutinho shows that he has got the knack and the knowledge from time to time.
Here are my ratings for the Reds who participated in the 35th league match of the season (on a scale from 1 to 10):
GK Simon Mignolet 4.
Not tested at all besides needing to clear a couple of crosses.
RB Emre Can 4.
Decent in defence, likewise going forward. But nothing special.
CB Martin Skrtel 5.
Won almost every duel and acted the hard man. A bit misplaced when QPR scored.
CB Dejan Lovren 5.
Another accomplished effort. Hardly any mistakes but just like Skrtel too slow to stop the goal.
LB Glen Johnson 3.
Not a performance to remember. Lazy tracking back at times.
DM Steven Gerrard 4.
Did his job without fuss or excellence. Bad penalty, skilful header for the winner.
RM Jordan Henderson 3.
Couldn´t get into the match. Sent too many passes the wrong way.
LM Philippe Coutinho 5.
An average showing by his standards. Calm and assured when scoring.
RF Raheem Sterling 1.
Awful once more. Missed an open goal from five yards and kept making wrong decisions.
CF Rickie Lambert 5.
Worked really hard and created space and chances. Nice pass to open up for 1-0.
LF Adam Lallana 3.
Mixed good with the bad. Incredible miss when it was easier to score.
LF Jordon Ibe 2. (Replaced Adam Lallana after 68 mins).
Two or three fine runs but made little impact.
RM Lazar Markovic 1. (Replaced Glen Johnson after 84 mins).
Didn´t anything of worth during his cameo.
DM Lucas Leiva 1. (Replaced Steven Gerrard after 89 mins).
Too little time to be noticed.
A lucky win and Liverpool did their job, nothing more. A game nobody will talk about in the future. Just to move on and state:
We Go Again.