Monday, November 21, 2011

2011-12 Premier League Football: Liverpool 2 Chelsea 1


Does one game ever determine a season?

No, of course not!

Now, having put that aside, definitely this game will determine the rest of the season. If Liverpool can't come out w/ 3 points (ok, we'll settle for another tedious draw...), then they fall further behind the pack at the top of the table. With Man City coming up next weekend, followed, as coach Kenny Daglish has noted sacracastically a few times, a Carling Cup match w/ Chelsea  48 hours after that -- it's crunch time for the 2011-12 rebuilding of Liverpool's dreams.

After all, December is just around the corner.

Yet, it's been a desultory November for the Reds with a tedious run of draws against recently promoted teams -- while their competitors don't do much better against these brash upstarts, their one goal winning difference adds up to 3 points, while Liverpool has had to settle for 1.

Alas, 6 points gone so carelessly... or, is it 8 points now (including the Man U game...).

Time for the new look, invigorated, youthful Reds that cost $100 m of Boston Red Sox money over the summer to finally show up at play time. Not that they haven't been bursting w/ energy. They have! But, the number of their chances, goal-scoring shots NOT turned into the back of the net, is painful and flagrant to recount. Yes, Liverpool is second ONLY to Man City in shots on goal this season -- but they've put away three times as many of those shots as Liverpool.


That's the storyline to now.

Tonight is time to put those spectacular runs, crosses, twists, turns, nutmegs and corners of Luis Suarez into the f---in back of the net.

I'm not sure my heart or mind can take more rattling of the woodwork we've seen more than any other team this year.

Nonetheless, I'll be glued to the tube tonight under a blanket in the TV room, so I'm sending prayers to all the g-ds, saints and divinities, high and low, to please (please...) return a smile to King Kenny's visage, and ours.

After all, that Champions League game against Milan in Istanbul is getting to be ancient history...



What to say about last night?


What a brilliant and essential result. My Merseyside fears were put to rest (for a week...). Liverpool were good. Quite good.  Serious, intent, relentless, aggressive...

The first goal was sublime, exquisite, clever teamwork.  Charlie Adams boldly cutting the ball out from the Mikel John Obi's previously steady feet on the right side of the pitch, passing quickly near the penalty box to Suarez who slotted across to Craig Bellamy who then unselfishishly passed along the far post to Maxi Rodriguez, given his first start this year, to dramatically, clinically angle the ball over the keeper and into the net in the 33rd minute. 

Ballet on the pitch!  'Poetry in motion', as they say.

But that was all in the first half. The second put my heart in my stomach once again. Strangely complacent, messy, sloppy and on their back heels most of the time.

In truth, Chelsea were bursting with a second goal for much of the second half. They were unlucky not to get it -- particularly w/ Reina's brilliant save of Ivanovic's header on the goal line when Terry was a mere meter away ready to push the ball back in the net.


Then, again, let's be fair.  We, too, know something about the lack of luck this year. She can a harsh and unrelenting mistress on the pitch.

But not last night for us, at least. The Liverpool defense held (wobbly, but resourceful...). Then, Charlie Adam's magnificent pass as the light was waning in London, the 87th minute, to an even more magnificent run against the play of the game by Glen Johnson (who seems to have woken up after a long slumber...) with a cool, deliberate, exquisite, professional finish. Beautiful!

Besides seeing Glen step past Ashley Cole on the way to the penalty box, watching the momentum of John Terry's outstretched body, a few seconds later, stretching him away from the ball at the goal mouth was probably the most dramatic and enjoyable moment of the game.

Ha! Monsieur Terry, go back to captain the England team!

For that precious and rare moment, it almost seemed that Liverpool could be "a contender again".

(Remember the line spoken by Marlon Brando in the back of the taxi to Rod Steiger in 'On the Waterfront', one of the greatest McCarthy era political classics in American film history.)

Or, as Humphrey Bogart says in 'The Maltese Falcon', such games are:

"the stuff dreams are made of..."

 Premier League dreams, my child,

Liverpool Premier League championships, once again...

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