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LFC Season Review 2009/10

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Football - Birmingham City v Liverpool Barclays Premier League
A familiar sight this season.


All competitions: Won 27, lost 19, drew 11, win percentage of 47%.

Premier League Record

Won: 18. Lost: 11. Drew: 9. Win percentage: 47%.
Back to back wins: (4 occasions) see below, Wolves-Villa, Bolton-Everton, West HamBurnley.
Back to back defeats: (One occasion) ChelseaSunderland.
Back to back draws: (Two occasions) Birmingham-Man. City, Birmingham-Fulham.
Longest run without a win: (3 games) 31st Oct- 21st Nov. Fulham (L), Birmingham (D), Man. City (D).
Best Winning Streak: (4) 29th Aug-26th Sept. Bolton, Burnley, West Ham and Hull.
Unbeaten run: (7 games) 26th December-6th Feb. Wolves (W), Villa (W), Stoke (D), Spurs (W), Wolves (D), Bolton (W), Everton (W).

Premier League

The best way to describe our league campaign bar from calling it a disaster (of which being frank it was), is that we were horribly inconsistent. The stats above show just how inconstant we were.

Our home form was fairly good (winning 13 out of 19 games), however it was our away form that really cost us winning only five games on our travels and scoring only 18 goals in the process.

The season got off to a disappointing start down at White Hart Lane, losing 2-1. Although Spurs deserved their victory we had reason to feel aggrieved as it seemed a clear penalty was turned down late on when Andriy Voronin was brought down in the box. It was certainly an opening day to forget for us.

The opening month to the 2009-10 season was a fairly mixed one. A comfortable victory in our opening home match of the season against Stoke saw an impressive full debut from young centre half Daniel Ayala whilst our man of the match Glen Johnson managed to nab his first goal for the club. This win was unfortunately followed by another defeat at the hands of Aston Villa at Anfield five days later. A hard fought away win at Bolton ended the month which saw the boys come from 2-1 behind to take the game thanks to a Steven Gerrard volley after a Fernando Torres knock down.

Ashley Young Aston Villa 2009/10

The month of September offered three games against Burnley, West Ham and Hull that were seen as an ideal platform to really kick start a season that hadn’t really got going yet. We duly obliged, picking up nine points out of nine. Burnley offered a little bit of resistance, but after we got the second goal the game was in the bag. West Ham was tough but Fernando was firing and Hull never showed up leaving Fernando to take the mickey out of Hull’s backline. They were the worst team to come to Anfield this season in my opinion.

Unfortunately the month of October was not so prosperous. It started with two away loses at the hands of Chelsea and Sunderland. The second of these loses saw one of the freakiest goals ever. Darren Bent’s first Pichalf strike deflected of an inflatable beach ball that had been thrown onto the pitch by a Liverpool fan. (It actually went over my head prior to kick off.) Although it was frustrating to lose in such a manner, especially as afterwards we found out the goal shouldn’t have stood, we simply didn’t deserve to get anything from the game. We only got going with twenty minutes to play and on another day the tie could have been over by then if it wasn’t for some excellent goalkeeping from Pepe Reina or some way wood finishing from Sunderland.

Those loses accompanied by two further ones in the Champions League had not put us in good stead going into the United match. Everyone was writing us off claiming that if we lost we would effectively be out of the title race before we’d even reached November. Fortunately for us we bounced back in style with one of our best league performances of the season. We out battled and out thought United that day and were excellent value for the 2-0 win. This was supposedly the result that would finally kick start our season. Unfortunately we had several of these false dawns, the Everton match ring any bells?

We crashed down to earth with a bang a week later when we were beaten 3-1 away at Craven Cottage. Carra and Degen both had days to forget. Zamora proved to be a real handful for our backline, eventually proving to be Carra’s downfall when Zamora got in front of him resulting in him bringing him down and being sent off.

November was another mixed month which started with an extremely frustrating draw on a Monday night against Birmingham City. The game was surrounded in controversy due to David Ngog and THAT penalty decision. Glen Johnson proved once again how useful he can be offensively by being a thorn in the Birmingham defence’s side all night, but sadly it wasn’t enough.

Monster MaschThe first Merseyside Derby of the season followed another frustrating home draw at home to Manchester City. Everton will have felt aggrieved to have walked away from Goodison without something from that game, but a very good battling performance saw us come away with a 2-0 win thanks to a deflected Javier Mascherano shot and a goal from Dirk ‘in the right place at the right time’ Kuyt. You had to love Masch’s celebration!

A mixed start to December saw us draw again at the hands of Blackburn which was followed by a poor defeat against Arsenal at Anfield. We played OK in the first half and looked decent value for our lead. The second half couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start however. Glen Johnson’s own goal was followed not too long after by an excellent strike from someone who needs no introduction at Anfield, Andrey Arshavin. After that we looked totally void of ideas. It was a very disappointing second half performance.

A 2-1 win against Wigan on what was ‘Shankly night’ cheered us up a bit ahead of the festive period, however it was disappointing to give away the late goal and the clean sheet. That goal ultimately cost Pepe the golden glove award.

The festive period couldn’t have got off to a worse start. We were comprehensively beaten by bottom of the league Portsmouth. They out battled us and thoroughly deserved there victory. Worst performance of the season? Probably. Although there’s a few shockers to choose from.

Some sections of our support were now starting to turn on our manager believing we needed a change to have any chance of still making the top four. The coming weeks looked vital in our quest for that goal as games against two of our closest rivals, Villa and Spurs, were on the horizon.

The end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010 were a positive one, bringing about our best unbeaten league run of the season of seven games, winning five and drawing two. Our performances were far from spectacle, but we showed a lot of character. Although we won our Boxing Day fixture against Wolves it did highlight something that was of regular occurrence throughout the season. This was that we often started games brightly but if we failed to score early on our tempo dropped allowing our opponents a way into the game. The opening ten minutes against Wolves were promising but after that we were far from impressive. Thankfully Wolves went down to ten men midway through the second half allowing us to take advantage of the extra space now on offer, seeing us come away with the win we required.

Our last match of the year was a vital game against our top four rivals Aston Villa. It was a very cold, snowy night in the Midlands and a win would keep us in distance of the top four whilst a defeat would have been seen as a massive psychological blow to a team already seen as being on the edge. For me that game was one of the highlights of the season. Not for the game itself, nor for our own performance, but for the relief we all felt when Nando popped up in the 94th minute with the winner and the great celebrations that followed. Even Rafa punched the air in delight. That just showed how important that win was for us at the time.

2010 started with a battling performance away at Stoke City after our disastrous FA Cup exploits. A lapse of concentration at the back let in Robert Huth to score a last minute equaliser, a massive blow to us all.

The re-arranged Spurs game was now upon us. A win was a must against our fellow top four candidates and the boys duly delivered in a decent display against a disappointing Spurs side.

The following week saw us off to the Molineux with high hopes of continuing our good league form. The game itself was awful, with the highlight of the night being the emergence of the Maxi Rodriguez song. It was a game of very few chances and a lot of hopeless long ball stuff from us. Wolves thoroughly deserved their point.

Premier League: Wolves 0 v 0 Liverpool

A 2-0 win over Bolton at Anfield ended the month of January on a high ahead of the Merseyside Derby the following weekend. This derby game will be known more for its tackles than anything else. Jamie Carragher set the tone early by going in hard (but fair) on Stephen Pienaar inside the first sixty seconds. However our in-form Greek centre half was sent off for going in for a tackle with the very impressive Marouane Fellaini two footed, although he did win the ball. Fellaini himself could count himself lucky he didn’t see red, although he did pick up an injury for his troubles. Pienaar also saw red late on in the game, although many would say it was about time! Our derby specialist Dirk Kuyt did it again by getting his head on the end of a Steven Gerrard corner to set up a well deserved win in what was an excellent battling performance. This performance summed up our recent run of good results. It wasn’t particularly pretty to watch but we were starting to grind out results.

Football - Liverpool v Everton Barclays Premier League

After losing 1-0 at the Emirates we headed for Eastland’s for a crunch match against Manchester City. It wasn’t much of a spectacle but more of a tactical battle with both Managers’s unsurprisingly scared to lose. In the end there was little between the two sides, however a less honest player than Yossi Benayoun could have won a penalty late on.

A 2-1 home win against Blackburn was followed by a nightmare trip to the DW stadium where we came unstuck against a determined Wigan side trying to avoid the drop. Our captain had probably his worst game of the season where he seemed to find it hard to string a pass together, whilst Torres was for once miss-firing. Our terrible away record continued thanks too a second half strike from Wigan’s Hugo Rodallega.

A comfortable 4-1 victory over a poor Portsmouth side which saw man of the match Alberto Aquilani get his first goal for the club came before a trip to arch enemies Manchester United. With United still in the hunt for a fourth consecutive title and our ambitions for a top four finish still intact (just), all was to play for. A great start from us saw Fernando Torres get on the end of a Dirk Kuyt cross which left the red faithful jumping (or should I say bouncing) for joy. This however was short lived. United were awarded a controversial penalty less than ten minutes later of which Wayne Rooney converted on the rebound after a fine initial stop from Pepe Reina. We never really got going in the second half and after Park Ji-Sung put United in front on the hour we never looked like getting back into the game.

With seven games to go we knew we couldn’t afford many more slip ups if we were to finish inside the top four. Although our run-in looked fairly good on paper most Kopites agreed that they couldn’t see us going the rest of the season without a slip up, leaving our chances looking very remote. A 3-0 win over Sunderland inspired by a wonder strike from Torres and an excellent display from Steven Gerrard lifted spirits. This was unfortunately followed by an extremely frustrating 1-1 draw at St Andrews against a very resilient Birmingham City team. With the chances we had late on we really should have won that game against a tiring City side.

Our next game was a potential Europa League final preview against Roy Hodgson’s Fulham side. This result for me finally killed our chances of a top four finish. Fulham played for the point and that is exactly what they got due to some good defending, good goalkeeping and a lack of creativity in the final third from a disappointing Liverpool side.

A 3-0 home win against a poor West Ham side was followed by a flattering away win at Turf Moore that relegated a spirited Burnley side. Although it was still mathematically possible for us to finish fourth, our chances were very, very slim. We had to win both of our games whilst rely on Spurs, Villa and City to drop points. Our hopes were mathematically over when we lost to future champions Chelsea at our final league game of the season at Anfield.

A trip to the KC Stadium was the final destination of the season against already relegated Hull City. It was a poor game of which bar from hitting the woodwork a couple of times and having one cleared off the line, we really failed to come close to breaking the deadlock. A poor ending to a vastly disappointing season.


A grand total of seven points out of a possible eighteen saw us crash out of the Champions League in the group stages for the first time under Rafa’s reign. A far from convincing victory over Champions League first timers Debrecen was followed by a trip to Florence where we were outplayed by Fiorentina who went on to win the game 2-0. A defeat at home to Lyon meant that qualification to the knockout stages was going to be very difficult and it proved to be too much in the end. A rare glimmer of brilliance by the enigma that is Ryan Babel away at Lyon looked to have put us back in the hunt for a top two finish, however it wasn’t long lived. A late equaliser virtually killed our chances of qualification. The Europa league beckoned, confirmed with a game to spare.

Sports News - March 11, 2010

The ‘ugly kid brother’ of the Champions League was now the only realistic chance we had of winning silverware this season and we were quickly installed as favourites. Our performances were often far from convincing, but a trip to Hamburg was well in sight after getting through to the Semi-Finals to face Athletico Madrid after knocking out Urinea, Lille and Benfica in previous rounds. A disappointing 1-0 loss over in Madrid was followed by a spirited display at home, however we had our hearts broken by Diego Forlan’s goal in extra time, despite winning the game 2-1.

Domestic Cups

Well there’s not much to say here, ay? It was nice to draw our old rivals Leeds United in the 3rd round of the League Cup where they gave us a really good game at Elland Road. However our dreams of a trip to Wembley in February were over when we lost 2-1 to Arsenal at the Emirates, despite a cracker from Emiliano Insua.

Our FA Cup campaign this year is certainly one to forget. A few of our lad’s performances over the two matches are ones they will not want to watch again on DVD. There really wasn’t that much to call between the two sides over the 150 minutes despite us playing a rather strong side in both legs.

The New Boys

Glen Johnson

PicI thought Glen had a good first season for the club which was unfortunately interrupted for awhile by that injury he suffered earlier this year. Offensively he has brought a new dimension to the side as seen against the likes of Birmingham, Stoke (H) and Sunderland (H). Defensively we all know he can be suspect at times, although I don’t think he’s as bad as some people make him out to be.

Sotirios ‘Nick the Greek’ Kyrgiakos

Football - Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur Barclays Premier League

I didn’t really know an awful lot about him before he signed for us bar from that he used to play for Rangers. What I read and was told about him I wasn’t expecting an awful lot and after his first couple of games he didn’t fill me with much confidence. However sitting here now at the end of the season I owe Stelios an apology. Due to injuries and bad form he got a prolonged run in the side (aided by his own good form) where he put in a string a very good performances, including marshalling Peter Crouch and Kevin Davies extremely well. I’m not going to say too much more as I mention him below, but he’s not been bad for a ‘bargain basement’ buy has he? He’s clearly no Sami Hyypia, but he doesn’t do a half bad impersonation. Well in Nick!

Alberto Aquilani

AquamanI like the looks of him. He looks a very clever, classy player with very good movement off the ball. A man described him to me as a ‘5-a-side’ player and you can see where he’s coming from. My only doubts over him are whether he can get over his injury problems and survive the physicality of this league. His quality for me is without doubt, but they are my concerns. If he can get over his injury problems and ‘beef up’ a little then we have a fine player on our hands.


Goal of the season

Fernando Torres v Sunderland at Anfield. Sunday 28th March 2010

Special mentions go to Ryan Babel for his strike against Lyon and Javier Mascherano’s against Unirea.

Player of the Season

3. Fernando Torres

Fernando gets in at three just through his goals alone. It feels to me like he has barely played this season yet he’s still bagged 21 goals. Some crackers as well along the way with Sunderland, West Ham and Fulham springing to mind.

2. Javier Mascherano

A slow start to the season for our little destroyer, but by November he was starting to hit top form. A great strike against Unirea as well. Here’s hoping he’s still wearing a red shirt next season.

1. Pepe Reina

PepeUnquestionable, surely? He has been without a doubt our most consistent player. A world class player who has kept us in games this season with some fantastic saves. A mark of a great goalkeeper is that you make the hard stuff look easy and Pepe Reina certainly does that. A great goalkeeper and a fantastic character. He will undoubtedly go down as one of Liverpool’s finest…

Final thoughts…

With being too young to remember the Souness era this has certainly been the most frustrating and disappointing season I’ve had as a Liverpool fan for matters that have happened on and off the pitch.

On the pitch we’ve been too predicable and cautious at times. Injuries have been a big problem, however the players that we still had available should be able to perform alot better.

Steven Gerrard has come under alot of fire throughout this season and although his form has been poor for his usual standards some of the criticism has been very, very harsh for me.

imageIt really has been a learning curve for Emiliano Insua this past season. The season before this he had burst on to the scene and was a breath of fresh air at left-back. This season however he’s found it extremely difficult to play week in week out. I still hold hope for Insua, however his performances this season show he stil has alot of things to learn, especially defensively.

imageLucas, Lucas, Lucas. What to say about my friend Lucas? He’s the most frustrating player to watch, even moreso than Babel for me. At times he’s simply seemed a passenger in games, nowhere to be seen. One point I always make about Lucas is responsibility, as I simply don’t think he takes enough of it. But then there’s times like against Benfica when some said he’d been ‘freed’ to get forwards and he looked quite good. Making forward runs, looking busy. Maybe it’s just down to our Manager, maybe there’s more to him than meets the eye. We’ll see…

imageThe enigma that is Ryan Babel. Potential; the most common word you hear when talking about this guy. We’ve been talking about this for three years yet he still has a bad first touch and often runs straight into opposition players. A few decent performances, a couple of goals and an improved attitude isn’t enough for me to warrant him having another year here, but I think that might just depend on who our Manager will be next season.

imageDavid N’gog has had a very interesting season, to say the least. He’s a raw, inexperience player with still alot to learn, but he has potential and there’s been a hell of alot asked of him this season and to his credit he’s handled it relatively well I’d say. The lad is not Fernando Torres, not many are. Please take that into consideration.

After a vastly disappointing season one thing is clear is that changes are needed on and off the pitch. Our club is currently stuck in a state of limbo whilst people behind the scenes try and find suitable investors to give the club the cash injection it needs to get the club back to the top and out of so much debt. Hopefully the situation regarding new ownership and the future of our Manager will be sorted out as soon as possible one way or another for the good of the club.

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