Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Please curb your failed title hopes

This sign sort of doubles for what the Liverpool players needed to understand was their only acceptable form of behavior Tuesday at Anfield against Sunderland. I was only able to listen to the team site's audio commentary, so I don't have the best sense of what happened and who excelled. Still, here's the names I heard mentioned most often in a positive context: Benayoun, Ngog, Insua, Riera and Kuyt.

Do a search on this blog for Benayoun or scroll down and click through a page or two and you'll see his inclusion on that list is no surprise. He's been the revelation of 2009 for the club. As far as Insua, I feel vindicated, almost, and definitely emboldened to hear that the boy came back from his hooey-phooey South American U-20 tournament and immediately started contributing upon his return to the first-team lineup. Aurelio has been excellent at times, and consistently good since the new year, but Insua is the future. I almost say put him out there on Tuesday against Real Madrid and give Robben a real hammer heart-punch shock to the system. Insua is the balls, dogg. He will take things over very soon. Just needs matches now.

Also, Ngog scored, which was nice. That's it for him – for now. Still too young to get much out there about him.

But most importantly, Sunderland was the first step into the run-in here where it is crucial that Liverpool ... (deep f**king sigh) ... consolidates their position. Chelsea is back in second on goal differential now, and Arsenal are charging, set to get Walcott and Cesc back soon. Colin is over the moon. Scroll down if you don't believe me. Villa is still there, and now that they're out of the Cup and Europe, Martin O'Neill can get them refocused on trying to hold onto that fourth spot.

No, there's not much left to win this season (except for ol' Big Ears, which feels like a disappointment), but there is a whole lot to lose. They can't let what happened at Boro on Saturday linger. The next league match is at Old Trafford. Figure it out and get your act together Liverpool. Coming up short in the League after all the early greatness sucks, but this is no time for quitters.

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