Game 13: Saturday 14 November 1998
Liverpool 1 - 3 Leeds United
(Half-time: 0 - 0)
Referee: D J Gallagher (Banbury)
|« Leicester City
|Charlton Athletic »
|Martyn, Hiden, Molenaar, Woodgate, Harte, Bowyer, Halle, Hopkin, Wijnhard (Smith 76), Hasselbaink, Kewell
|Robinson, Haaland, Wetherall, Ribeiro
|James, Staunton, Fowler, Redknapp, Riedle (Leonhardsen 70), Heggem, Berger, Ince, Bjornebye, Carragher, Thompson
|Friedel, Kvarme, Babb, Murphy
|Smith 78, Hasselbaink 82, 86
|Alan Smith scores after 3 minutes of first-team football
|Fowler 68 (pen)
|Hiden, Bowyer, Smith
|Shirt numbers of goalscorers
|39, 9, 9
|Liverpool report (It's the Leeds United calypso)
|Glory glory Leeds United
|Lot of grief and Hassel for Houllier
|The Electronic Telegraph
|Hasselbaink spoils Houllier's day
|Liverpool supporters accept the inevitable
|The Sunday Times
|Liverpool plunge into freefall
|Liverpool lose their heads
|The Independent on Sunday
|Houllier sees the crisis deepen
|Houllier horror has no defence
|Yorkshire Evening Post
|United young guns shoot for the top
|Soccernet match report
|Carlingnet match report
To be honest, it was a crap game.
We started with Harry dropped back into midfield and Halle on the right, Wijnhard kept his place up front with Jimmy, so we started with 4-4-2. The first half Liverpool barely threatened and although we were always comfortable, apart from one run and shot just wide from Kewell we didn't do a lot. Liverpool improved a bit in the second and had a spell of pressure. Redknapp curled one just wide and Martyn made a good save from Fowler. Then the fun started. After a couple of choruses of Leeds Utd calypso with about 25 minutes left Riedle ran through onto a ball over the top, just beat Martyn to it, but headed wide. Martyn and Riedle collided and the ref gave the penalty much to our astonishment. Fowler send Nigel the wrong way. DOL took some action, Hiden moved into the centre of a middle three and youth team star Alan Smith came on for Clyde and a couple of minutes later, there was a bit of a scramble in the Liverpool goalmouth but they hacked it clear. Then one of theirs went down in the area, Liverpool wanted a pen, but we had a perfect view and Woody definitely played the ball Broke down the other end, Hopkin had a shot blocked and while we all shouted penalty, someone knocked the rebound in, after the celebratory pile up was over Smith emerged from the bottom, may even have been his first touch. So the usual away draw then, but Hopkin tangled with Fowler (I think) in the middle and while they were having a fight, Jimmy wandered off with the ball and after dodging a few crap tackles, put it in the corner a few seconds later. Pandemonium in the Leeds end - twice as many goals as I've seen at Anfield in 6 visits in 2 minutes. Then 5 minutes later, just as we were wondering how late the equaliser would be this week, Jimmy was set free into space down the left, we all knew what he'd try and do next, luckily Heggem didn't and let Jimmy cut inside and bury another. Held on pretty comfortably, but to be honest Liverpool fell apart. DOL looked well happy at the end waving his fist at the celebrating fans. A great result, one of those still singing as you walk back to the coach games. Though on reflection, we'd looked happy with 0-0 for most of the game and only really went for it when we went behind, a ten minute purple patch later and the game was all over. We played much better and lost at Leicester in midweek.
Scores - I'd probably give everyone a
solid unspectacular 7 except;
Kewell - 8 - Some good runs, held possession well.
Jimmy 8 - Two great goals at Anfield, you can't argue with that as a contribution, who was the last Leeds player to get 2 there.
Woodgate 9 - Bloody great again, him and Lucas could be an awesome future partnership, reads the game well, gets in the right positions and is quick as well.
Nice to see DOL playing more youth, it's paying off. A good day.
Left home ludicrously late, and then got grotesquely delayed by Oxford's decision to dig up half its roads and send you on vast diversions. In a way, traveling vastly late helps you avoid all the traffic I discovered, as everyone else had got to the ground as I hurtled along the M6/M62. Somehow got in about 30 seconds into the game, and sat next to Eric Burnage.
First half - I thought it was comical to hear 606 after the match with Scousers whinging about how they'd dominated the match for 70 minutes. They did NOTHING in the first half. Our fault was we didn't do that much more, when they looked appallingly weak at the back. Staunton and Carragher has to be the worst centre back pairing I've seen this year. Contrary to other reports, I thought it looked as if we started we 3 centre-backs, with Hiden outstanding I thought. The complicating factor in judging the formation was that Halle was utterly anonymous, which disrupted our balance, as Clyde kept dropping out to the right side far too much leaving Jimmy isolated.
Moments of interest - Nige's horrendous drop under his bar which he was lucky to get away with. Harry's superb run and shot, which so nearly burst the net, but instead bruised my arm as I flew at my head. Good singing from Leeds fans (I confess to being quite subdued on Satdi, but Gav led the line well....). Absolute silence from Liverpool fans.
Second half - I suppose it's inevitable at Liverpool that they are going to have a phase of domination sometime in the game, the key is to survive it. Without Lucas we did lack that centre back who can read players and passes and so cut out through balls. Instead we had Woody making blinding last ditch tackles to stop them. Their little lad Thompson looked quite impressive, whilst Fowler was a shadow of what he once was - much talk of substance abuse I believe...
The gradual sense that "something was coming" built up until a through ball was put beyond our defence, Nige and Riedle raced for it, Riedle headed TO TRY AND SCORE, but missed, and then him and Nige collided, with Riedle being obliterated. In my view not a pen. as Riedle was not heading it on to try and get round Nige, but was instead having and attempt at goal which missed. The ball was therefore going dead, and the challenge was irrelevant. Bit harsh of Leeds fans to blame Riedle as he staggered off half-conscious as he couldn't really be blamed, just bad reffing. Then again he is Riedle so fair do's. Nige now proceeded to pull off a blinding save or two as we rocked a bit.
Things didn't look good at this point, so O'Leary gambled and took off Clyde (who I really want to succeed, but who looked totally ineffective on Saturday, with no finishing instincts at all), and threw on Smith, to give us a bit more pace up front. Liverpool piled forward, Woody made another superbly judged tackle, Liverpool whinged for penalty, ball went up other end. Hopkin hit a shot, and as everyone looked towards Row Z in expectation the ball rebounded to random distant figure who tucked in neatly in the corner. Found out on Sunday it was Smith, having convinced myself it must have been Bowyer.
From here, we seemed to finally realise how iffy their centre backs were, and just gave ball to Jimmy to run at them and laughed. Hopkin (who emerged as a God in the second half, brilliant attitude) cheerily mugged Random Crap Noggy and fed Jimmy to do a little dance around before hitting it in. Liverpool threw men forward, and got a couple of corners, but looked too desperate to actually threaten much. Hopkin, stood on the post for corners, kept turning round to us and waving his fists to stir everyone up more. Superb. Third goal - easy breakaway goal, scored clinically.
The sure sign of Jimmy hitting form again is when he passes the ball into the net, rather than smashing it at the keeper's body. Great to see him back again.
Woody and Hiden I thought were both immense.... Bowyer bossed the midfield most of the time.... Hopkin great attitude... Jimmy great finishing, and less diving than usual.... Harry scared them every time he got it, with 3 men converging on him in the 2nd half. In that situation we need someone on the right he can switch the ball to, to stretch the opposition, which brings us to.....
Halle... anonymous. He "does a job" and "knows his limitations" etc., etc., but we need more down the right flank.
Overall great day. Horrendously drunk to celebrate and missed MOTD - any chance of vid clips Mr. Sykes???
Pre-Match : Myself and RLass walked up, confidently, towards Anfield with our all yellow away shirts on. The obvious, brain dead, remarks like "We're gonna thrash yas" were heard, but nothing violent. Once in the ground the Leeds fans were getting warmed up with a few "We are Leeds" chants.
First Half : We were attacking the Anfield Rd end, where all the Leeds fans were. Amazingly we weren't doing a GJ by sitting back at defending like we did in Dublin. DOL opted for a 3-5-3 and it was working. Lots of possession and at times we literally almost walked the ball into the net. Kewell had the best chance which flew just over, with Jesse James well beaten. Another blunder by Martyn nearly costs us again but the overrated Junkie, Fowler, somehow missed a header two yards out.
Half Time : Excellent WATCOE chants and shirt waving..
Second Half : The scousers now had a new tactic of running with the ball instead of passing it and then loosing it like the first half. Although it obviously looked good to the ever so silent home fans, Woody/T1000 never looked in trouble. Our front three take a lot of credit here for tracking back and hassling them. We were under a bit of pressure for the first 15 mins. Then we got our shape back and Bowyer had a good shot that flew over. Won't go into the penalty but I agree as somebody has already that Heinz Beans had already headed towards goal and MISSED BEFORE Martyn poleaxed him. We were stunned. The scousers now sang their one song "Liverpool, Liverpool....." for the first time and probably only 3 more times during the entire match and I think we are quite at home. The goal just sprung us in to life and every time Kewell/JFH got the ball their "Defence" shat themselves. No surprise that one of Harry's run led to a JFH's goal. I thought Jimmy's third goal was the best and true example of just how confident he is at the moment; completely skinning Heggem and blasting past Jesse. The scousers had now had enough and were leaving in hundreds. One guy even wanted to have a go at the Leeds fans, whilst tears rolled down his cheeks on his way out.
We were now delirious knowing that even Leeds couldn't slip up with only a few minutes left and a two goal lead. Final whistle went with the players acknowledging our support and DOL clenching his fist and punching the air whilst looking our way in joy. Surprised that there was no trouble as we sang our way out of Shamfield.
I thought we were lecking 4-4-2 mesen, though others suggest it could've been 3-5-2 or even 3-4-3 (madness. Look at Man City when they leck it, though Udinese were handy last season). In the second half Halle and Kewel swopped wings which seemed crazy to me at the time, but given thought made perfect sense. Every shot of ours in the first half that went just wide were always way out of reach for James. Similarly, all our goals he had no chance of saving just by being so bad. So rather than have the wingers cross in balls, they may as well just run towards the centre and be straight onto their shooting foot. This was helped by their comedy defence; Carragher isn't a centre-half, and I certainly wouldn't have Staunton and Heggem in the same line-up if you're unsure about your keeper.
Fortress Anfield is now less-so than Fortress Elland Road. The kop made the MNES look like Notting Hill carnival. Clearly fans are encouraged not to sing, and we were requested to stay sat in our seats since we were breaking PL rules!
We can boast to having one of the fitest physio's in the country as our man took delight in out-sprinting the scouser's when we each had a player down.
The most worrying thing for me was on the way out. Obviously, we were elated at the time, and a number of our fans happily sung as they were walking out of the ground. The scousers still have a number of nutters, and I was suprised that none of them steamed in; can you imagine an away support at Leeds leaving the ground, regailing in their victory as they pass thru several thousand Leeds fans?
Three late Leeds goals in seven minutes brought to an end a remarkable week of futility and soul-searching within Anfield, with the promise of more of where that came from in the opening weeks of Gerard Houllier's reign.
For more than 70 minutes, Liverpool looked comfortable, especially after Robbie Fowler converted a 65th minute penalty - awarded after German striker Karlheinz Riedle had been brought down by keeper Nigel Martyn. But teenage substitute Alan Smith changed the momentum of the game dramatically as he scored with his first touch in League football as Leeds counter-attacked effectively. All that following Liverpool appeals for a penalty at the other end, after Woodgate's apparently faultless challenge on Thompson.
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