05 May 2014

Liverpool 3-3 Crystal Palace

Allen 18'
Sturridge 53'
Suarez 55'
Delaney 79'
Gayle 81' 88'

That was amazing. Indescribably, unbelievably amazing. But in the worst possible way.

A brilliant, beautiful disaster that you couldn't script. This was beyond naïve. I should be angry. I imagine all of you are angry. But right now, I'm just too amazed to be angry.

Aside from the first three matches of the season, Liverpool have been swashbuckling. And Liverpool have been more open than a pervert's trench coat. Liverpool have thrown caution to the wind in search of goals goals goals, and were propelled to an unlikely title challenge by the best attack we've seen in two decades.

And they'd done it in spite of their worst defensive record in 15 seasons. Well, that defensive record caught up with them, in less than 10 minutes, because of Liverpool's focus on an all-out attack. A very, very naïve focus, but to be fair, that's been Liverpool's modus operandi all season long.

As fans, it's all well and good to claim that Liverpool could replicate a 9-0 result from 24 seasons ago, the last time that Liverpool won the title. It's a completely different matter for the players and manager to evidently believe it.

1-0 – a goal earned in the 18th minute through yet another set play, scored by what might have been the most unlikely scorer in Joe Allen, from a header no less – wasn't good enough. Even at the best of times, against the best of defenses, Tony Pulis' sides are capable of nicking at least one. But after a two-goal blitz in the space of two minutes from Liverpool's two strikers – Sturridge's fortunate deflection after Gerrard's brilliant long pass, a precise blitzkrieg break by Sterling and Suarez – bracketed by a handful of chances where Liverpool could have extended the lead even further (including the required one off the woodwork), there should have been no thought of a Palace comeback.

But regardless of situation, regardless of fitness, regardless of squad depth, Liverpool hammered the pedal to the floor, in spite of themselves. Push as hard as you can, as fast as you can, and somehow make up a nine goal difference rather than putting the onus on Manchester City. In retrospect, that was not smart. But, that's Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool, for better or worse, for better and worse.

Put simply, Liverpool got carried away. And Liverpool players unsurprisingly ran out of gas by the 70th minutes, with no depth available on the bench thanks to Coutinho's minor injury. Which, unsurprisingly, is when Palace began to create chances on the counter, after two Palace substitutions and none from Liverpool. That should have been a five-alarm warning. But it went unheeded. Less than a minute after Coutinho finally came on for Sterling, what deflections giveth, deflections taketh away: Delaney's shot from distance rebounding off Johnson. Two minutes later, Palace broke three-versus-three from a Liverpool corner: Bolasie took a fading Johnson completely out of the play, then centered to an open Gayle.

Liverpool could not stop the flood. And in the 88th minute, a long ball from Palace's defense pulled Skrtel out of position because neither of Liverpool's covering midfielders had the energy to get to Glenn Murray, then Murray flicked on to an open Gayle, right where Skrtel should have been, and Gayle had an easy tap-in for the equalizer.

Liverpool tried to regroup in five minutes of added time, but that the two best chances came following a corner but fell to Lucas and Moses sums up how this season will end. Just not good enough in defense, and just not deep enough to recover from setbacks.

So in the end, Liverpool just aren't, weren't good enough. So be it. This is the way the world ends. With both a bang and a whimper.

It shouldn't take away from how brilliant, how fun, how much of a revelation that this season has been.


Anonymous said...

Guitted - is Brendan Rogers Kevin Keegan in disguise. I'm proud of the team but am disgusted at the tactical naivety. The only route to win the title was win both games and PRAY Man Citeh draw one of their last two. The route to the title was NOT to win both the Palace and Barcode games by 6-0 each. As good as a manager Brendan Rogers is he is naive and he more than a Gerrard slip, or a Toure error or lack of squad depth cost us the league - BUT on the plus side he is a good coach and gets best out of players - he's frankly been naive.

Yes i'm angry and the above words are way too emotional but this was just downright cruel AND self inflicted. Now there is ZERO pressure on Citeh.

Anonymous said...

After City beat Everton on Saturday, the title was always going to be a long shot. It's now just a slightly longer long shot. Andy Carroll and Stewie still have a chance of becoming Liverpool heroes. That's the twist in the tail that I want to see. It's written in the stars. Or maybe not.

Man have we missed Hendo these last 2 games.

Joe Allen needs to learn how to spank a ball on target. Ditto Phil. Phil needs to make better decisions too. Had Luis wide open for an easy goal #4, just had to touch it into his path. Instead he shoots over the bar. That would have been game over.

Jonno not closing down Delaney caused that 1st goal. Flanno losing Gayle in front of goal and letting him move 5 yards off him caused that 2nd goal. Skrtel not getting to the ball, moving out to Murray and Jonno not covering soon enough caused that 3rd goal.

Not subbing after their 1st goal was beyond naive. Should have closed up shop. Bring in DAgger and forget trying to run for more goals. Not at 79 minutes with the entire side gassed. Gayle has always been dangerous.

I guess 20/20 hindsight and all.

Anonymous said...

I disagree that hindsight is 20-20 - any rationale man who knows this Liverpool team knows that we can leak goals. At 3-0 ok the goal chase is on but at 3-1 it is not - yet Rogers brings on Moses and Coutinho - where was Daniel Agger - what about the other defenders on the bench - why were there gaping holes in our defense and no midfield cover (Gerrard and Lucas) for the third goal. Rogers criticizes the team for Roy of the Rovers football but he is the manager and his substitutions and tactics set the tone - yes we are where we are because of him so he deserves HUGE credit but he also has to take HUGE blame for a night like tonight - we play for a draw against Chelsea AND we defend a 3-0 lead and we would likely win the league - that it is not so is purely Brendan's fault and no one else. bUT he's got us where we are today so he deserves credit but he has to learn (which his pre and post match comments and set up of team and substitutions do not show)

Anonymous said...

I meant to say hindsight is never 20/20. I think. Maybe.

Dan said...

What a punch to the gut. We can talk about the tactics that led to the draw all day, but looking at how distraught those men were walking off the pitch after the match, your heart has to go out to them - Reds fan or not. For all his faults (many of which were on display today), watching Suarez in tears after the match, can anyone doubt he's now a Red through and through. The emotions this loss brings out reminds us why we love this game.

Vercingetora said...

It might have been naive to try to make up the goal differential but it was also heroic. I wasnt angry; I was proud.

Btw, it isn't over yet. Instead of hoping for a City tie, we're hoping for a City loss. It can happen.

I am gutted for Luis. I've never seen someone who cares so much. Legend.

Anonymous said...

Suarez is a born warrior - he cares so deeply it hurts him - do not confuse his passion for victory for his love of Liverpool or indeed his loyalty for Liverpool - yes he will stay as we are in the champions league (I hope) and if we strengthen and push on he will stay but he does not love Liverpool.

He is however the best goal scorer and assists and penalty getter in the premier league.

PS notice how the refs are not giving clear penalties in the run in - both Norwich and Chelsea had clear penalties not given, Everton had a clear penalty and we had a great shout for a penalty (yes Johnson was looking for it but it was still a penalty)

Marque Pierre Sondergaard said...

The Liverpool Lemmings march mindlessly forward to their destruction. I am... disgusted. Disgusted!

TomW said...

In a way I'm now glad that City beat Everton. Because if we had drawn this game from 3-0 up knowing the victory would have put the title back in our hands I would have been livid.

As it is I'm just numb.

Anonymous said...

For the record Noel I do not blame the defense (though I do think Agger is a more solid defender than Sakho - though Sakho is clearly a beast) - I blame Brendan for pushing up Flanagan and Johnson and providing no cover from Gerrard and Lucas and allowing one on ones against Gayle and Ince (who are Bale fast by the way).

Having said that we are liverpool we do nothing easily

Anonymous said...

Who's Noel? This is Nate's place. Maybe you mean Ed? Or possibly Theresa?

Everybody who watches the game with more than a passing interest, is acutely aware of the tactical naiveté that Brendan displayed in the last two matches. EVERYBODY!

Make sure you blame him for finishing the season in 2nd place with the squad he had to work with. Blame him too for Gerrard's slip while you're at it. Blame him for the 14 wins and 2 draws before the Chelsea match.

Oh right. I forget. Missed it. You gave him full credit for his magnificent season before you leveled the sledge hammer.

The blame game is a mugs game. Nobody will be more devastated that the team or Brendan. And Brendan knows exactly what happened these last 2 games and what he should have done differently.

You should disabuse yourself of any notion that Noel would be writing an article in response to any silly comment made here.

Blame everybody!

nate said...

To be fair, my parents still call me "Noah" – my younger brother's name – on occasion. And they've had nearly 30 years to get it right.

"N" names can be tricky.

Anonymous said...

Obviously I'm dyslexic - my humble obeisances Nate. By way of explanation I have a friend called Noel who I argue with.

Yes I did give full credit to Brendan - we would not be where we are without him. He has improved Suarez, Raheem, Sturridge, Flanagan, Skyrtel, Henderson, Coutinho much more than their previous performances. He has got Gerrard playing in a role that accommodates his aging legs. The only player to regress under Rodgers is Lucas and that might be due to injury.

I was angry. I admit it and I'm sorry. Rodgers is a million time better manager than I am or will ever be.

Apologies to all - especially Nate who's analysis sums up what it means to be a fan whilst displaying technical depth.

Anonymous said...

Btw who is ed or Theresa?

Anonymous said...

They are imaginary deities. Whom blow a ton of hot air articulating and psychoanalysing Liverpool fans' dreams of winning The League. The bloggers impersonation of Dr. Peters. Often times think they're Harry Potter.

Love to ban people for making funny comments. Not able to easily tolerate fools wittier than they. Find it impossible to develop insanely successful, high paying careers. To compensate, they thoroughly enjoy sending many poor bloggers into hyper-space.