All Probe, No Parry

While my mind has not been on soccer much this past while back it was impossible not to notice that after an exciting run-in Manchester City took the English Premier League title for the second time in three seasons.

City did not take things as close to the wire this time round as they did two years ago. The fan hoping to recapture the exhilaration of the two goal stoppage time blitz against QPR that turned failure inside out, was left with the anti-climatic. The supporter unable to cope with stress and palpitations was spared the anxiety. City emerged worthy winners, holding their nerve when Liverpool lost theirs.

Bluntly stated, Liverpool snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. The title was theirs to lose and lose it they did, on the way slipping and sliding beneath the blue bus of Chelsea. Nevertheless, under Brendan Rodgers the team achieved Premier League wonders, rescuing its fortunes from the debacle of the Dalglish era where it attained its lowest points tally in six decades.

The 0-2 home defeat against Chelsea might be remembered for more or less sealing their fate but the real measure and mettle of the team as an integrated side came in the game against Crystal Palace where it surrendered a three goal lead with barely a quarter of an hour left to play. It was atrocious defending.

The Liverpool self implosion should help induce sobriety in supporters intoxicated by dazzling forward momentum, and mistaking anticipation for validation. Premature capitulation prompts reflection: how the side managed to finish runners up to Manchester City is stunning given the defensive frailty. Time after time the forwards launched a withering blitzkrieg against opposing lines. Even those that defended in depth floundered under the assault. Despite their own defence’s inadequacies the attacking players scored more than the defenders managed to concede. But that could only run for so long. The precarious balance needed the merest tilt from a blue bus and it was game over.

Martin Skretl has scored 4 own goals this season. That is a dismaying statistic. In some leagues that would lead to accusations of match fixing. The fan is never sure if his misfortune is a lack of ability or the product of how the defence is organised, leaving him badly exposed like some permanent fixture in a pinball machine, just something for the ball to bounce off. Skrtel’s misfortune sounds a siren about what is currently wrong with the Liverpool side. It can probe but it cannot parry.

Nor might the answer lie in bringing in players of the quality of Vincent Kompany, a defender determined to win rather than throw away titles. Even he would find it difficult to excel in a side that lacks an echelon perspective on defence.

Losing the title was not as ignominious as losing it on the last day of the 1989 season. Then Liverpool under Dalglish was expected to win from the get go but for the second season in a row were denied the league and cup double in the last match of the campaign. First Wimbledon stole it from under their noses at Wembley, then Arsenal spirited it away at Anfield. Not enough in the bottle to finish the battle. Last summer the team under Brendan Rodgers was considered a good outside bet to end up in the top four. It more than excelled.

But the fans want more. Second best is not good enough. Unfortunately, that might be the height of it for this current crop of Liverpool players. People don’t step in the same river twice, it always moves on. This season might have been Liverpool’s best chance to do it for a while.

Meanwhile, Manchester City deserves all the praise heaped their way in a season when they laid their hands on two domestic trophies, including the big one. Bragging rights are not just in Manchester but on the right side of it ... for now.


  1. Terry crying after the Champions League defeat and the Liverpool squad crying after the Crystal Palace humiliation.......priceless....for everything else there’s Mater card!!!!!!!!!

  2. I'm afraid it will be another 24 yrs until the reds mount another title challenge. The last time they won the league they had just 79 points, average winning total during the decade. The great treble side of 1984 won the league with just 80 points from 42 games !
    Now , you need 80 points just to get fourth. It will need 90 points to win the prem next season. B4 the Chelsea game the Reds were 1/6 on to win the title. LOL. 40,000 punters showed up @ the Aviva last night !

  3. Crystal Palace at 3-0 up cost them a title. Sweet Christ can you believe that even now!

  4. The lack of Henderson, or someone to replace what he brings, made Liverpool's run-in even tougher.

    Much will be made of improvements needed for the back line, but mid field depth would be my focus.. Especially if they shoot to challenge for the domestic league title as well as champions.

  5. Larry, the Crystal Palace capitulation came after this comment from Rodgers post Chelsea :

    . “It was like a back six with three midfield players in front of that. That's 10, with the goalkeeper, for 90 minutes consistently behind the ball. It's not difficult to coach, to put 10 players on the 18-yard box.”

    Guess its harder than he thought, he couldnt hold a three goal lead when needed.

  6. If anyone is looking to watch the Carl Froch vs. George Groves 2 fight, click here

    The 'flash' streams work without the need to install 'SopCast or Ace Stream.' There maybe a pop up /advert in some streams, click them off. Same as the chat function on the bottom left of 'chat' there is a speaker to kill the sound..