There’s no way to hide from the numbers; quality of opposition aside, losing three matches in the span of seven days is a tough go for any team, and when you’re Liverpool football club, it borders on unacceptable.
It was Newcastle United last weekend, Real Madrid midweek and now Chelsea earlier today with a single goal doing in the Reds each time. Emre Can, one of the few hold-overs from much tinkered with team that ran out at the the Santiago Bernabéu on Tuesday, opened the scoring when his long range striker took a wicked deflection off of Gary Cahill, but the defender atoned for his sins a mere five minutes later when he bundled home following some confusion in the box and Diego Costa wrapped things up with a fine finish midway through the second half to ensure the Blues made it back to London with their unbeaten streak intact.
When the points are tallied up in May, six points can make a massive difference; following today’s reversal at the hands of a resurgent Newcastle United, there’s little doubt that things aren’t quite right at Anfield.
Liverpool are two wins off where they were at this stage last season, and though there’s still a lot of football left to be played, the differences between the two sides stand in sharp contrast to each other — though their defensive frailties have remained frustratingly consistent. That, of course, was the story today with Alberto Moreno gifting Ayoze Perez his second goal in as many matches after the Reds backline failed to deal with a cross from Paul Dummett.
It’s a draw that feels vaguely like a loss with Liverpool left frustrated by a combination of Hull City’s well drilled back-line and their own lack of a cutting edge in front of goal.
With the Reds coming off a pair of disappointing performances and the Tigers buoyed by last weekend’s draw at the Emirates Stadium, the result doesn’t exactly come as a surprise. While playing out our first clean sheet in 18-outings leaves a little room for optimism, watching our first goalless draw in 48 Premier League games tempers any left-over sunshine and lollipops significantly; it doesn’t take an expert, or me repeating it ceaselessly, to see that something is amiss at Anfield.
There was a point in and around the 65th minute when, after cutting Liverpool’s defense open far too easily with a mesmerizing passing move, Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema shared a chuckle with his team-mates after coming within inches of helping his side add a fourth goal. At times it was just that easy.
Following an opening twenty minutes in which the hosts pressed their Spanish guests with the kind of gusto one would expect from a team managed by Brendan Rodgers, a moment of brilliance from Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring with a sublime effort before the floodgates swung open. While the worlds best player showed his class with the opener, what followed was, and it hurts to say this, what is becoming part and parcel of the Liverpool experience.
Liverpool traveled to London yesterday needing a win to get their season well and truly rolling, and despite deserving less than nothing from a match that bottom of the barrel Queens Park Rangers dominated throughout, they left the Capital with all three points and a bump into fifth place. Sometimes, I suppose, you get what you need.
A lack of composure from serial own-goal scorer Richard Dunne following a quickly taken Reds free-kick saw the Irishman divert Raheem Sterling’s low cross past Hoops ‘keeper Alex McCarthy to open the scoring. The hosts were knocking hard on Liverpool’s door all day and there was little surprise when they pulled level through Eduardo Vargas when he smashed home a knock-down from Charlie Austin. A 1-1 draw looked to be a good result for either side, but the calamity that followed no one could have predicted.