Mascherano Carragher Kyrgiakos Agger
El Zhar Aquilani Babel
Good riddance, 2009-10.
It took 35 minutes to find an internet stream that actually worked, and other than an El Zhar shot saved, it doesn’t look like I missed much. Of course, I wouldn’t have missed much had I not seen any of it.
Even though a win would allow the team to start three weeks later thanks to Villa losing to Blackburn, a relegated Hull in front of its own fans was the only side with any impetus. We saw more passion from Liverpool during some of the preseason friendlies.
The away side only looked themselves in the final seconds of either half, hitting the frame of the goal in the 46th and 91st. Even though, depressingly, Hull were the better side for long stretches, and Pepe earned the clean sheet which sees him finish the season level with Cech (winning the Golden Gloves for the fourth of his five seasons), those two opportunities should have seen Liverpool undeservedly win. No such luck this season. Duh.
Right before the intermission, Aquilani hit the crossbar, moments after Kuyt’s center narrowly missed an on-rushing Agger. The makeshift left back toed the rebound for Aquilani’s shot embarrassingly over from eight yards. Right before the final whistle, Gerrard hit the foot of the post after finally trying to finish a trademark run forward. But in between, Hull “took” the game to Liverpool, as much as Hull could.
Their young players – Cairney, Cullen, and Atkinson – had a point to prove, while Mendy was excellent. But the home side was mostly limited to a couple of scary crosses (usually Mendy), a few dangerous free kicks not good enough, and a shot from distance straight down Reina’s throat.
It was evident that a fair few senior players couldn’t be bothered for long stretches today, especially since the best and only chances came near at the close of the halves, like a switch was flipped. Pacheco (for Aquilani in the 74th) and Robinson (for Babel in the 88th) both came on, but that the youngsters had more to play for should have seen them on sooner. If we’re going down in flames, go down in style. At least Robinson takes Owen’s name out of the record books for youngest league debutant. If Liverpool’s as bad off financially as we think, the 16-year-old might get a few more games next season.
We’ll have lots of time to fully eulogize and dissect this piss-poor season during the coming weeks. I'll probably roll out the usual end-of-year stuff over the next couple. For now, suffice it to say that it certainly wasn’t good enough – just like today's display – and I couldn’t be happier it’s over. Any writer who had guessed this team would finish 7th would have been laughed out of the press room, and I'm not the only idiot who thought they'd have a chance at the title (but I am still an idiot). Yes, Liverpool looks to be on the precipice of mediocrity – at best! – if matters don’t change off the field. But even after eight months of disappointment after disappointment, I’m still adamant there’s a real team in there somewhere.
Let’s see what the next step off the pitch entails before we start covering the coffin with dirt.