For all the pre-match chatter about taking newly promoted Swansea apart piece but piece, it all turned out to be just that: idle, hopeful chatter. A resolute and wholly attacking Swansea side hold us to yet another draw in front of our home fans as the Reds remain unbeaten at home but lacking the guile we need to truly mount any sort of challenge. Or even score a goal. Dirk Kuyt had a late header disallowed for being marginally offside while both Glen Johnson and Luis Suarez had efforts well saved by Jacks goalkeeper Michel Vorm as the Dutchman put in a Man of the Match performance to gift the visitors a point on the road.
But was it really a gift? It wasn’t really, that little turn of phrase doesn’t do the Swans justice. Forget about newly promoted teams hanging on for dear life. Brendan Rodgers came to play and despite the home side enjoying the pre-requisite run of the match in the opening exchanges, as the first half ticked away so did our bullish belief in victory. Andy Carroll could have been the author of a different match report had he turned in a first half sitter but with too much pace on his shot, he spurned the chance over the bar when it should have been easier to wheel away in celebration.
The big Geordie will get schtick for this from the more fickle sections of our support but in all fairness, this match shouldn’t have been this hard. If we can beat Arsenal and come so agonizingly close to putting one over on Manchester United, why are we struggling so bad against teams that we in theory should be beating comfortably? Although we had another round with the second half doldrums, there was more than enough attacking impetus on the pitch with Suarez missing a hatful of chances, Downing looking semi-dangerous again and Charlie Adam sliding through some passes accurate down to the millimeter. Still, we’re left to wonder: Why, oh why, can’t we finish?
If you forget most of the second half, especially the part when Gower almost put the visitors ahead after a well worked move teed him up, the last 10 minutes produced some of the most exciting football we’ve seen at Anfield in a long time. The Jacks soaked up an enormous amount of pressure, almost to saturation, before unleashing a wave of forward momentum, lead mostly by the impressive Nathan Dyer, in what would be one of the edgiest spells of possession for the visitors. With the away end louder than the remainder of the ground, visions of the one point they earned turning into the 3 they deserved looked to be coming to fruition.
As we saw against both Norwich and Manchester United, the Reds were spurred to life in the closing minutes with one way traffic to the visitors end on display. Dirk Kuyt, subbed on at halftime for the anonymous Jordan Henderson, looked to seal the match only to be adjudged offside after his diving header finally breached Vrom’s steady hands. Glen Johnson smacked a volley as sweet as could only to have the Kop groan in agony when the Dutch goalkeeper got the better of it. Corner after corner, free kick after free kick, dribbles all around; but, as the tale continues to go, no end product to speak of.
There was a page full of questions before the season started and the list only get’s longer with each match we fall short in. Saying the goalkeeper played a blinder, the visitors were dying for their shirt, Kenny should have subbed Player A on at this time or Player B shouldn’t even be in the squad is becoming hollow a best. Soon enough, we’ll have to man up and face reality.
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