Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Marseille 1-2 Liverpool

Not quite last season's demolition but, despite the loss of Nasri and Cisse, it had been widely reported that Marseille had strengthened this year. On the subject of the latter, I must point out how Babel reminds me very much of Cisse, and I saw many of the worse points tonight. Ok, maybe he has more trickery once he's on the ball, but his game is based around pace and power and he lacks intelligence. Several times I saw him fail to close down or make runs, even when we were in possession. To his credit, it was a good bit of skill that won the penalty, and he had two good chances to score a third (the first blasted at the 'keeper, the second hit the post), but with the arrival of Riera he'll have to buck his ideas up. Too bad he doesn't have Benayoun's intelligence to match his natural ability.

Anyway, back to the game, it was a surprisingly open match, with plenty of end to end action (if not necessarily clear cut chances). By the time Marseille's pacy attack finally sprung our offside trap to open the scoring, it could already have been 2-2. Thankfully, it took just minutes for Torres and Kuyt to combine to set up Gerrard for an audacious equalizer. (I've seen numerous videos remvoed from YouTube but it's currently here. Worth watching if still available).

Not long after, Babel's trickery in the box drew a foul and won a penalty - which Gerrard did well to score twice, after having to re-take for encroachment. After that, the game continued to produce chances at both ends - with Marseille probably enjoying the better share - but there were no more goals. Credit in particular to Carragher and Reina, who pulled off two great saves just in injury time. At the end of the day though, we all know Liverpool couldn't possibly win without Gerrard...

Stoke next, and I wouldn't be surprised to see more rotation, possibly with Hyypia starting.

p.s. I wouldn't be so sure that this puts us in a 'commanding position' in the group. We're second, after Atletico Madrid made a mockery of their 4th seeding with a 3-0 away win over PSV. This could well be the 'group of death'.

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