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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Liverpool 2 - Aston Villa 2

Anfield

21/01/2008

Attendance: 42 590

Crouch Spoils Villa Party

It really is a funny old game isn't it? The first 69 minutes were frankly horrible for the Villa, we couldn't string more than one pass together and kept giving the ball away, something no one wants to do when you are up against a team like Liverpool who spent 45million in the summer on top of an already star studded team.

That said, Liverpool didn't exactly cover themselves in glory and despite going one up, never took their chances from the amount of possession we gave them. All it was going to take for Villa was a spark but from the players on the pitch you really couldn't see where the spark was coming from, certainly not the central midfield partnership of Nigel Hokey-Cokey and Stiliyan Petrov who really lost the battle all game long.

On came Marlon Harewood, oh no some thought but within a minute OH YES we all thought. What a great goal and how well deserved after being on the bench (if lucky) but not moaning once since his arrival from West Ham in the summer. Makes you wonder why he's not had more 10-15 minute stints (at least) at the end of many a game this season when Villa have seemingly been drifting... I digress.

So 69 minutes woeful, amongst the worst from many of our team all season. Then a couple of minutes of joy and we were two up the second goal coming for a pass from Olof Mellberg - who was seen chuckling later - that cruelly deflected into the American owned [ ;o) ] goal. 2-1 and the momentum all Villa's way. Then a break, we were two players against one defender, all Gabby had to do was lay it off to Nigel Hokey-Cokey (or the Villa player on his left, I can't remember who that was) and it would have been 3-1 game over. Gabby has to learn to look up and take the easy option sometimes, he is quick of feet, when he becomes quick of footballing brain as well, he'll be awesome.

Chance 'squandered' and with Crouch coming on it was obvious what was going to happen. A cross that - of all people - Martin Laursen failed to deal with and 2-2 was the result.

To be fair, for the first 69 mins I'd have taken a draw with no doubt at all, having taken the lead and lasted until the 88th minute though, you can't help but feel disappointed (very limited disappointment) that we just can't close off matches and have some professional time killing.

Oh well, we match a team just below us in Blackburn at home on Saturday, we need all 3 points v them and if we have the same luck that we had tonight plus string more than one pass at a time together, we'll get the 3 points no worries...ahem!

Match stats: Click Here

Not sure it is worth rating the players after an awful 69 mins.

Star Player

Star Player. Difficult one but for the spark Marlon Harewood.

Player Ratings


Stuart Taylor

Don't think he was to blame for the goals and looked the best of the three keepers tonight, at least he moves about and commands the area well.

Wilfred Bouma

Ok, just ok.

Martin Laursen

Worked so hard throughout the game, one mistake and he was punished. Hard game this footie!

Curtis Davis

Had a miss kick that could have gone anywhere including an own goal, happily it didn't cost him as it would have been harsh, looked good.

Olof Mellberg

Did ok, bit slow for the first goal but then, he wasn't meant to be in the central position!

Nigel Hokey-Cokey

He said on the official site he is working at becoming amongst the best holding midfielders in the world. I would probably hold off statements like that until he is at least amongst the best in the Prem. Not a great game, worst for a while I'd say, he did break up some of the play but he gave the ball away far too much. Should have been set up for a sure goal and didn't look impressed with the lack of a pass from Gabby.

Stiliyan Petrov

Didn't look comfortable in the centre today, worst game for a while. Commentators mentioned that he doesn't seem to be up to speed when played in the centre.

Craig Gardner

Not a great game, got involved but things just didn't come off for him today.

Ashley Young

Not good judging by his high standards. Worst game of the season?

John Carew

A very off night

Gabby Agbonlahor

Just needs to learn to do the simple things, pass the ball at times and to look up.

Marlon Harewood (on for Gardner 66)

Fantastic goal, well done, got a chance and took it.

Zat Knight (On for Carew on 91 mins)

Superb game!




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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday January 21 2008

Time: 10:53PM

Your Comments

Yeah or neigh? Good, bad or ugly?! Must admit I'd have taken a draw before the start but with just 2 mins to go... DOH!
The Fear
Harewood scored?! Martin O'Neill is a magician.
RussianHammer
Without doubt our worst performance of the season. When we saw Crouchy coming we knew it was inevitable. VERY happy with the point because we really didn't deserve anything. To be fair I thought Liverpool were poor too. Neither side seemed capable of holding on to the ball. A MASSIVE well done to Marlon. His determination and willingness to run at defenders turned the game for us. More Marlon please!! And Finally.... Y O Y O Y O Y O Y O Y didn't Gabby pass? Anything to do with the time Reo-Coker failed to pass in a similar situation at VP a few games back (Spurs/Man City? Can't remember). Bad decision that could have given us 2 extra points if he'd made the right one. Oh well - as I said. Happy with the point.
Adam Deuce
Coker 'Not a great game'! Your having a laugh Fear. One his best displays I have seen.
tarzansbrother
funny how we watch the same game and see games totally differently! From the comfort of my armchair only, I thought the midfield battle was won with ease for Liverpool and the central midfielders gave the ball away far too easily. Just wish he'd stop the weekly quotes about himself and let his playing do the talking and to be given praise instead of dishing it out for himself. By the way, I am fascinated to see how his career progresses because I rate him and think he could be VERY good for us. Just didn't think tonight was one of his best.
The Fear
harewood! harewood! harewood! Just wait until salifou gets a full game! zat night did indeed have a superb game.... lets face it, at half time I would have settled for losing 1-0; an immense result. Davies was superb other than that slice! Play harewood up with carew next match and gabby on the wing. Maybe give maloney a game in the middle... A very satisfying evening!
simonbigron
fear, spot on, coker was miles off the pace, particularly in the second half. I think all of our players suffer from over-concentration sometimes in that they all try so hard that they end up all going for the same ball or going in too hard and are unable to recover if the challenge doesn't go our way. I actually thought mellberg was terrible tonight. Chimbonda not looking a bad bet....
simonbigron
I agree about NRC if you make a team with as many attacking options as Liverpool look poor and weak in midfield then your midfielders must be having a good game. Away from home we can get points from anyone in the prem and we are starting to improve at home as well. Thought tonight we proved we can compete with anyone and can stop good teams from playing how they want to. Liverpool never imposed themselves because we wouldn't let them and in the second half Taylor only had a couple of saves to make at the end.
daveldvilla
Lawro on radio 5 thought that NRC did an excellent job in stopping Liverpool play, although I never agree with Lawro as I feel he doesn't like us but this time I thought he was spot on.
daveldvilla
Great result, when villa scored I was up and cheering nearly, got some funny looks from the locals(im in merseyside) but I didnt care cos what a well taken goal from harewood. He looks fresh came on and lpool didnt know what to do with him, he runs at defenders and thats what you need. villa played terrible for 69 minutes the suddenly came to life, as MON said too much respect for lpool I felt if villa raised their game before the match lpool were there for the taking. But i'm happy with a point, nearly 3 but what progress this season and Mon is hilarious he really does care, shouting gesticulating to the officials absolutely brilliant, imagine having sven as a manager? Overall point well done though, cos villa were not at the races today and to nearly win the game when playing soo bad muct show a decent team that Villa have got. up next Blackburn!
krisvilla
I manage to watch the first half, but when the second half came on the fecking power cut out. When it came back on I was just in time to see the score was 1-0 but we were brining Harewood on. To my surprise he produced a great goal, and he did give us a spark. But when I saw Crouch come on, it was soooooooooooooo obvious what was about to happen.
UpTheHolte
Also, it Coker had a good game. Young didn't play badly, he just didn't impose himself on the game like he normally does. Also has anyone else Gabby hasn't played well since Capello became England manager!?!
UpTheHolte
can i add petrov looks slow all the time, quite a few time he's had the ball nicked off him in midfield not good when trying to keep possession
krisvilla
thought reo was very good tonight,covered every blade of grass as per usual and made plenty of well timed tackles.i agree does lose the ball cheaply sometimes after winning it back himself but he is still only 23 and still learning the game.very harsh to over look the fact that he wins us a lot of the ball back when we are in the ***** a lot of the time and pushes us forward 20 or 30 yards when he sees space in front of him to push the whole team up when we are lying too deep in a lot of games.8 million well spent in my eyes,dont know what he has to do to impress some people i really dont,yes he isnt the complete player as yet but he has and will even more so become a very shrewd piece of business by martin in years to come mark my words like all the others will eg. young,davies etc.we missed gareth in there alongside him,also thought young and gabby were very poor and both looked very tired indeed tonight.and another point where have all the marlon haters gone???? funny that!!!! lol. UTV
Belfast Villain
Second best for a good hour or so of the contest, we were ultimately disappointed to leave Anfield with only a point after looking in control with only two or three minutes left on the clock. More proof, if ever proof were needed, that times have certainly changed over the past 18/19 months. This side never knows when they're beaten. Not one of our better performances, but still a very valuable sharing of the spoils.
glensider
Coker kept getting the ball in an excellent position just outside their area and didn't have a clue what to do. Can he pass forward? Gabby never seems to turn up in the big games away from home and didn't look interested all night. From the cross/shot from Gardner in the first half, he should have at least tried and I know that Coker can't shoot or pass but when he is one on one with the keeper you just have to put him in. All hail King Marlon, our saviour.
Villan444
Have to disagree Fear, I thought NRC did really well but was let down by Petrov tonight. I like Petrov, when he's in the mood he is a player, but he is just too inconsistent. In my opinion two lessons were learnt, firstly just how good and perhaps taken for granted Barry is and secondly that we desperately need to sort out the right side of the team with a right back and right midfielder. Finally well done Marlon!
Jon.H
I too could see the inevitable after Crouchy's arrival, and fair play to him it was a very good finish. We really weren't at the races for the majority of the game so a draw at Anfield was a very good result I think, though it would have been nice to pinch all three. HArewood was a relevation when he came and gave us some impetus, something we sorely missed without Barry playing. We defended valiantly, but offered little going forward. I think Young's upcoming suspension will be good, the last few live games I've seen he's had no impact and I think a rest will do him good. Maybe the same could be said for Gabby as well soon. We just need to push on and beat Blackburn on Saturday now, stay positive anyone, this point could come in very useful come the end of the season!
Tierney
A draw against Villa is always a respectable result in my eyes but I thought on the night we maybe deserved it a little bit more, just a poor showing from some of our attacking players let us down, mainly Dirk Kuyt! I was at Anfield last night and I learned 2 things about Villa, 1-Their fans are a bloody noisey bunch! And 2-Their players are massive!!! I haven't seen Villa in the flesh in about 3 seasons but I've got to say your players are massive! I never noticed on TV. Harewood came on lookin' like Arnie Shwarznegger! :)
JonLFC
Just as Marlon became our shining light, the same can be said for Crouch of The Reds. Took his chance well, although it fell to him luckily. Dont rate the guy though, and just hope MON isn't tempted to bring him to B6.
glensider
Crouch didn't spoil, gabby did by not making an easy pass on the break away. He cost us the game.
gwyllum18
JonLFc ha ha, imust agree if your the terminator your in the team, the hulk, the crazy ffrog, shrek, zat knight all big guys. Must admit marlon harewood is quite quick for a big guy
krisvilla
JonLFC - One of the reasons why we don't give up methinks. We're not bullied physically or mentally. Good post, cheers.
Gazvilla
Rodders... You stupid plonker! We want our Rodney back!
bazzah
We want our Rodney back!!?? I certainly hope not bazzah.
glensider
 

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