Sunday, March 22, 2009

5-0: It wasn't enough

That's as good a place to start as any for what in truth was a silly game. The start was really how anyone would draw it up – fast, attacking, imaginative and producing an early goal. But Villa were strong in the first half and while they deservedly lost, the score seems deceptive. Of course, I'm ecstatic about it, but Riera's volley and the first Gerrard penalty just killed Villa's spirit. The game didn't give the impression of a 5-0 thrashing, and Liverpool was nowhere near as good as they played against Madrid and United.

Torres was invisible all day, so perhaps I'm wrong about how the match unfolded. Maybe Liverpool winning 5-0 with a terrible Torres performance means they were actually much better than at first glance. I doubt, it. Riera was superb for the first time in an age, but Reo-Coker was overmatched at right back. Villa's defense just didn't get it together. Riera's goal, obviously, was the perfect example of that. To let the ball bounce from Reina's clearance was just unbelievable. Still, it's fun to make these complaints because the result spices things up for the final two months – or until the next disastrous Liverpool result.

But enough of that, on to the allusion I made in the headline. Rafa was not pleased with the performance, naturally. It's because he's a lunatic, but his crazed pursuit of the "perfect performance" is what's made him so endearing in the last couple of weeks. Here's Rafa from the team site, an hour after the match ended:

"The team was doing well but it's true I am not totally happy because we could have scored more goals from the counter attack," said Benitez, who wanted the Reds to push on after the dismissal of Brad Friedel at 4-0.

He's got a point. Teams get only a couple or three chances a season to inflate the goal differential, and today was that opportunity for Liverpool. They surpassed United and Chelsea in that column Sunday, but it wouldn't have hurt to widen that gap further. It would have been somewhat cruel to Villa if Liverpool just kept scoring, but a little more ruthlessness would've been nice to see.

Odd, after re-reading this post how unhappy I come across. No, that's not true. I'm giggling to myself with how Liverpool is playing, but it was a weird one today. What Liverpool world have we wandered into during these past two weeks? What is happening, and how did we get here? Three matches, 13 goals, one conceded. How did they lose to Boro and draw with Wigan?! Plenty to ponder during the international break.

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