Game 4: Monday 26 August 1997
Leeds United 0 - 2 Liverpool
(Half-time: 0 - 1)
Referee: A B Wilkie (Chester-le-Street)
|« Crystal Palace
|Aston Villa »
|Martyn, Kelly, Robertson, Haaland, Radebe, Wallace, Hasselbaink, Ribeiro, Hopkin, Halle, Molenaar
|Wetherall, Bowyer, Lilley, Kewell, Beeney
|James, Jones, Kvarme, Wright, McManaman, Harkness, Riedle (Berger, 82), Thomas, Ince, Owen, Bjornebye
|McAteer, Babb, Murphy, Warner
|McManaman 23, Riedle 75
|Thomas, Ince, Bjornebye, Kvarme
|Shirt numbers of goalscorers
|Voice of Football
|And the crowd sang "Super Rod"!
|The view from the Kop
|'bout last night
|North East View
|Lessons from Liverpool Game
|Riedle strike seals Leeds' fate
|McManaman fires up Liverpool
|The Electronic Telegraph
|McManaman gains from his ventures
|Links to Reports on the net
|Soccernet match report
|Carlingnet match report
After a woeful first 20 minutes, when we were regularly torn apart by a nippy Owen and a tricky McManaman, where our only ideas seemed to be the good old hoof, and where the only good thing was the crowd jeering Ince mercilessly, a Liverpool goal seemed to stir us into action.
For the next 60 minutes we were good. In fact, we were very good. We actually passed the ball!
Bruno, set to be the bargain of the year, looking theatening, Hasselbaink (despite his limitations) giving Liverpool some problems and Rod Wallace carving huge holes with his high speed dribbles past Wright and the other centre half. Our midfield held their own, and Radebe and Halle kept the defence together.
In the second half, a huge roar of "Super, super Rodney Wallace" rocked Elland Road to it's foundations. (A fitting tribute to the little gem's best game ever for us. Was Hoddle watching?) I swear even the Rev could be excused for joining in the rapturous praise. Was all it took some longer studs in his boots? Seems like it.
It looked like a matter of time until we equalised. A number of half chances, some three quarter chances, and a couple of seven-eighths went begging until JFH was through with only James to beat. This was a fifteen-sixteenther and in truth, the shot wasn't hard enough. James tipped it round the post. From the corner Jimmy headed just over. Another inch taller and it would have been buried.
A few minutes later a class Riedle lob and it was goodnight Vienna.
Liverpool missed chances too. Before they scored Owen might have bagged one, and Ince missed a sitter. James was by far the busier keeper, however, and will keep a very hesitant Martyn out of the England squad.
Still, no boos at the end is a good sign and we should make about 8th place this year.
Martyn - 7 I suspect he may have lost
confidence from his howler v South Africa. Hope I'm wrong.
Kelly - 6.5
Halle - 7 Much better
Molenaar - 6 Better, but he's a donkey and I'd rather see Weatherall (or a Palmer recall obviously)
Radebe - 8 With an extra yard of pace would be just an awesome player. Did well against Owen who looks a real discovery.
Robertson - 5.5 Please Tony Dorigo come back - all is forgiven. Must be dropped for Kewell or Harte (or Palmer). Will make way when Sharpe is fit. Thank god. Think he was booed a bit early doors.
Haaland - 7 I thought he started to look OK.
Hopkins - 6 Must try harder. Vastly overpriced.
Wallace - A perfect 10!!!!
Hasselbaink - 7 Fluffed his chances, not a patch on Yeboah, but he'll do.
Ribeiro - 8 Still learning, but the creator or everything good. Tackles back too.
Crowd - 8
GG - 7 (Tony Dorigo, why oh why???)
Well another 0-2 defeat, but at least this was nothing like the abject surrender of last Saturday. Liverpool won the game thanks to an outstanding goalkeeping display from James, and thanks to two goals, that although they were well taken, were the result of bad defensive cock-ups. James saved brilliantly from Jimmy 4 or 5 times, once when he was put clean through by Hopkin; a couple of good saves apiece from Riberio, Wallace, and a thumping drive from the edge of the box by Hopkin.
The thing that we proved above all else in this game is that when we play short passing football with the ball on the deck we can - with a bit of luck - beat anyone, there were times when the Liverpool defence was all over the place, our forwards / midfield were passing first time, making runs, turning their men, and we were camped in and around their box for 5 - 10 mins at a time. Rod and Jimmy looked different players from Sat. with the ball at their feet. Jimmy produced some sublime turns in the box, only to have his shots blocked or scrambled away, Rod was a constant thorn in their side, running with the ball, rolling off his man and away into space, chasing and harrying - he was very close to man of the match -. And Bruno again played some delightful passes 10 yds into feet and changing the whole angle of the attack.
Haaland was in for Bowyer and was well worth his place. Radebe was recalled and Wetherall dropped - this all seems a bit arse about face to me, I'm sure that our best defensive pairing is Lucas and Big Dave, but GG seems to think not. So we had 3 across the back, Lucas, Halle - who was less awful there than at right back - and Molenaar, who, just for a change, proved to be slow, ponderous, and easy for the likes of Macmanaman to run round. Lucas did a bang up job on the youngster Owens - but he does look shit hot.
Robertson was entirely to blame for the first goal. He won the ball on the edge of our box, sauntered forward, farted around, Macmanaman robbed him, turned faced Robertson, and jogged slowly forward into the box, with our scots defender backing off all the way, until Stevie boy had got close enough to have a shot, which rolled in the far corner.
Riedle faced much the same kind of stern defence when he scored, everyone backed off until he was close enough to have a realistic chance of scoring if he shot - so he had a go and what do you know 2-0.
Not altogether a disaster, shame about the score. Its now 17-0 on aggregate to Liverpool in our league matches, at least since Leeds last scored against them.
MARTYN -6- OK ish not much to do
KELLY -6- again not bad, good linking up front, a threat at times.
HALLE -4- better than last game, but not much.
MOLENAAR -5- as Halle, but slower.
ROBERTSON -2- complete bollocks, drop him play Kewell instead
RADEBE -8- magnificent
HAALAND -6- a good first full game
RIBERIO -7- gets better, unlucky not to score - he links well with Jimmy
HOPKIN -6- better holding job than previously
WALLACE -8- dynamite, quick silver rolled into on.
JIMMY -7- battled all game, one astonishing burst of pace, only failed to score due to James' heroics.
WHAT THE FUCK was Robertson on last night - looked like he'd slipped a couple of Valiums down his neck. WHY OH WHY OH WHY did we let Dorigo drift away, all for an extra year on the contract?? Now Robertson may well have looked OK at Rangers, playing against 3rd raters every week, but he needs to f***ing wake up if Kewell isn't gonna become an automatic choice! Steady Eddie reckons I've got a new hate figure, and he might just be right - mind you, most of the Kop felt the same!
Anyway, the game was OK, and given that we're a mid-table side at best at the moment we did OK. At half-time both sides had had 5 attempts on goal. The difference was that ours were saved/blocked, theirs went in or were missed. If they'd been on target they'd have lead by a couple at least at half-time. There were some alarming gaps down both flanks, more notably down the right where Crapmanaman kept finding acres of space. If he'd been on the form of 2 years ago he'd have slaughtered us, but our defence didn't do a bad job once they'd got up to pace. In fact, Molenaar was 100% better, Radebe, tracking that little trickster Owen (a very special talent that lad) did well and Halle was possibly my MOTM for Leeds. Kelly doesn't look comfortable in his wing-backy/midfield role, but compared to Roberston he's f***ing Pele!
With Bowyer dropped, Haaland, Hopkin and Ribiero got stuck in and we did create chances. Only good goalkeeping, flukey defending and spending too long cueing the shot up, Hasselbaink in particular, stopped us scoring. In the 2nd half when Jimmy was through on James only for the dodgy one to pull off a cracking save, you just knew we'd never score. Riedlle's (sp?) goal was a cracker and it's hard to blame Molenaar for that - just skill!
Points of note - the whole midfield played the whole game - whilst Ribiero looked f***ed after about 70 minutes again, they're slowly getting used to English football. Hasselbaink is a whingeing twat, and his head went down once James made that ace save. He needs to realise he's got to keep going for 90 minutes, as Wallace did to his credit. Given the chances we made we'll win plenty if this continues. That said, this was one of the poorest Liverpool teams I can ever remember seeing, and Ince looked nowt special in the middle. Owens was the pick of their players, with James and Wright being their key performers at the back. One thing that niggled the f*** out of me was Bjornebyes CONSTANT obstructing the player trying to get to the ball. He's a real cheating twat!
I heard that after the match Gary Kelly had to see a psychiatrist after David Elleray stood astride him as he lay injured. What the f*** Elleray thought he was doing I don't know.
Good things: bags of commitment, sustained pressure on their goal in the middle third of the game (pressure under which many lesser sides would have cracked), lots of noise and getting behind the team, 'In your Liverpool slums', some pleasing passing at times and effective runs from deep positions by attacking players, pie n peas, Lucas's tackling, the continued effort even after their 2nd goal. 'Sign on, sign on....you'll never work again', Little Rod Wallace played as well as I have ever seen him, but I'd still rather he was a squad player and we had a really top quality striker alongside Jimmy.
Bad things: you can't carry two weak defenders; Molenaar was awfully slow and this gave Riedle the space for his goal. Robertson (having lost the ball neddlessly) and Molly got in a muddle that allowed Macmanamanamanaman an easy run before his. Robertson was everywhere except where he should have been in the 1st half, better 2nd. Molenaar hoofs the ball mindlessly far too often. Well as Rodney played we still didn't score against a side that hasn't had a clean sheet until last night.
Worst things: All that pressure and no goals. Liverpool's goals were both really well taken. Both hit the side netting having gone across the keeper. Quality strikes. James did well with our best efforts, but too often the ball was headed for the back netting not the side and too rarely did we shoot across him. Jimmy's one-on-one, Hopkin's effort, are examples. We weren't as clinical as them. Nigel also looks jittery at the edge of the box. He may have been slightly too far off his line for Riedle's goal.
My conclusion: we are not top four material, not even close. If we get a good striker, if key players (Martyn, Radebe, Jimmy) avoid injury and if the spirit stays good we _could_ get among that large group of teams who have a shout at finishing fifth or sixth. As to Liverpool - they have to improve at the back if they are to win the league; a team with better strikers would have done for them last night.
Compared to last season we are at least creating more chances. The down side is that this more attacking approach leaves our slower players vulnerable to fast breaks. Halle and Radebe are fine, Molenaar and Robertson are not.
Let's hope the confidence stays good for Villa and that we can get something out of the game.
By eventful i mean it involved a crash 3 stops for a overheating radiator before having to park before the thing blew up.
The pub was as normal grand, thanks to those who asked ref 'uddersfield.
So onto the game and aftert he reports from Saturday i wasn't sure what to expect, though to be true the team played actually quite well and on another day could have scored a couple of goals. From both papers i've seen today James was anmed MOTM which shows we at least had a few chances.
I'm still undecided about Robertson though will post more about him later!
As people have described moments from the match here are my player marks
Martyn-6 not a lot to do, though yet
to inspire as much confidence this year as last
Kelly-7 looks to have settled into the wingback role needs to work on corner taking as none reached the near post
Robertson-4.5 only that high as i'm a member of the left backs union
Halle-6 steady not much else
Radebe-8.5 the man is class and playing at the top of his game
Mollenaar-6 not bad though is he better than Wetherall
Haaland-6.5 battled well at the moment better than Bowyer
Ribeiro-7 looks a good buy, tackles back and goes past people well if only he had a right foot, not sure about him being tucked in and not on the wing
Hopkin-6 just steady
Hasselbaink-7.5 when i've seen him he's linked well with others mainly Rod and Bruno, creates chances well only needs to take them now
Wallace-8.6 just above Radebe, and shockingly i find myself agreeing with Voice, last night the man was a star as he was at SheffWed, must be these dry grounds, the best i've seen him play for a few years
Ref-4 crap and dressed in red
Overall-6 looks promising though need to score when we have sides under pressure
To win the championship you need those class players to produce week in/week out, otherwise you finish mid-table. We will finish mid-table but the difference is marginal and I think GG will build a platform from which a marginal improvement will make winning possible. Liverpool have the solid platform and the class, but you need the former before attempting to add the latter, look at Middlesborough as a perfect example of doing it in the wrong order.
Liverpool do look the genuine article but, assuming they do win something this season, remember how long it has taken to build the current team (and how much stick Evans has taken in the process).
1. Pass the ball! We looked sooo much better last night as a result of abandoning hump it and hope for stroke it around on the deck. True it took a little while for our lads to get used to this and these was a good deal of running unto each other/two people going for the same ball in the first half, but it soon got better. The really disappointing thing is that if we had passed the ball like that against Palarse we would have stuffed em.
2. We all agree Lucas is better than....well, anybody. Lucas was a colossus in defence, if it hadnt been for him we would have got a much worse stuffing. Kelly and Halle were good as well, especially Kelly who is looking much better than last season. I just hope he keeps it up, and he could be back to his best. Robertson was _shite_ in the first half. Having seen young Kewell in the reserves I reckon it is time to give him a go in this role. Molenaar is not as good as Weatherall, partly because Wethers knows his limitations as is not as prone to making awful errors as Molenaar, who was, arguably, at fault for both goals
3. You have to take your chances Liverpool did, we didnt. We had all the pressure in the second half and still that ball just wouldnt go in. Yes James did play a blinder, but if we had at least one really classy forward one of them would probably have gone in, and at 1-1 we might just have nicked it. We had all the play in the second half, but Reidle is a world class striker and took the half chance he had beautifully, Nige had no hope at all. Not having seen the Arse or Wednesday games I obviously havnt seen Jimy at his best. In other words I reckon he needs to get better then the last two games. Rodders played his little legs off, but you could see that in comparison to Reidle or the 17 year old, how ever hard he tries he just isnt quite good enough against the best opposition. A terrible shame, but we need to buy a classy striker and we need one NOW. What we need is a big taget man type striker to hold the ball up, knock it down and lay it off. If GG thinks that Jimmy is like Ian wright, then he needs an Alan Smith to complement him.
4. Europe, dont hold yer breath. I am far from convinced that we will make a top 6 place. We played as well as we could last night, I dont reckon many of those players could have given much more, and still we were not good enough. Yes is is gutting to lose like that, but in the end Liverpool deserved to win. They were just better. When you think of the number of teams who could challenge for top six places, and the quality of squad they have, I cannot quite believe we will be amongst them. I reckon mid table again, sad to say.
Steve McManaman's first goal of the season for Liverpool and Karlheinz Riedle's first since joining them from Borussia Dortmund set Roy Evans's side up for their opening Premiership win at Elland Road last night after astute goalkeeping by David James had frequently thwarted Leeds United.
Barnsley and Sheffield Wednesday having conceded 13 goals between them during the previous 48 hours, Leeds needed to demonstrate that not all Yorkshire defences in the Premiership had gone soft. After all, under George Graham last season they had kept 18 clean sheets in 33 league games.
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