Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughReds maintain expectations - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Reds maintain expectations - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Reds maintain expectations

Welcome to another edition of the Green Room. Here, green meets red and makes an interesting mix of views and reviews, opinion and news for everything Liverpool FC and The Premiership.

There’s an expression in football for a certain type of team. A team with, maybe three or four good players and the rest are all pretty ordinary. If you happen to be one of the “ordinary” players, then the team is said to be carrying you. Carrying you in the sense that you can’t contribute anything to the game. Carrying you in the way that you’d carry a wounded soldier. As I watched Liverpool put Bolton to the sword this evening I saw something I’ve not witnessed for a long while. This Liverpool side isn’t “carrying” anybody. There wasn’t a player in a red shirt that I could level that accusation at yesterday. Everybody in the side could contribute to the same level and to the same extent. Thankfully Kenny Dalglish abandoned the long-ball game, and it’s main constituent in Andy Carroll. I’m thinking Dalglish may slowly be coming to the same conclusion as the rest of the good-thinking world. Think Carroll and think “Oops… Maybe not!”

As a result Liverpool are deservedly top of the tree. Top of the pile. For the next few hours at least, and this is something I’ve become used to not seeing. Don’t get me wrong, I know the equally valid expression that Championships aren’t given out until May applies also, but on this showing, Liverpool are carrying something, and that’s the weight of expectation – very comfortably too I have to say. The majority of the football played by them yesterday was top quality. To think this is (virtually) the same team that we struggled to beat 2-1 in the opening game to this year. This time round, they were so utterly outclassed that their consolation goal at the end met with absolutely no celebration whatsoever from their beleaguered players. Five of the starting Liverpool starting eleven were new signings. Quality signings, despite there being some doubt over one or two of them when they arrived

I’m going to hold my hands up. I have to eat a small slice of humble pie. I say small slice because I’m not one totally convinced. Not totally converted. I’m not buying the Watchtower magazine just yet, but I’m putting my hands toward my pocket. I was impressed with Jordan Henderson. He stepped up, and is becoming more confident and settled in the side. His work up and down the right flank was tireless and fruitful, and for that I have to munch. He took his goal very well, and for that I have to cede and give the boy the credit he deserves. This time, his substitution was more due to the fact that the game was already won by this stage and there was no point in tiring him for a cause that was unlikely to be lost. It’s fair to say, the speed with which Charlie Adam, Jose Enrique and Stewart Downing have settled into the side probably increased the expectation on Henderson to do likewise.

The Liverpool passing was mostly crisp and inventive, the way Liverpool approached games toward the end of last season on their way to topping the form league.  Adam’s goal text book, and the more I see him, the more I’m not bothered about… err… what’s his name? Oh, Steven Gerrard -that’s it – returning from injury. Dalglish has built a side which isn’t relying on one man and it’s just as well because I’m beginning to think we’ve seen the best of Gerrard. More humble pie to come? I’ll be happy to eat because this will mean that the squad is much stronger than it has been for, perhaps five years. In between those goals, Skrtel’s impersonation of Tony Adams was more proof that the goals can come from any area of the team.

Alas, in the 76th minute came my eye opener. The cup of cold water in the face, if you like. The introduction of Carroll to make a nuisance of himself in the box to no avail. Again there was nothing in his performance to make me fear any more pie and thus becoming equally as lumbering and heavy as he is.

Elsewhere in the Premiership, results were much as you’d expect. Villa v Wolves 0-0 surprise surprise. Norwich got beat-up by Chelsea, and QPR beat themselves up due to their poor finishing. Both going down 3-1 and 2-0 respectively which was a bit harsh on QPR considering they hit the woodwork more times than Woody Woodpecker. Better luck to come for them when “Saint” Joseph Anthony Barton pulls on the hooped shirt in the coming weeks. You have to admit. The situation at QPR looks to be a very interesting one. Neil Warnock is looking for some experience as well as a bit of guile for his newly promoted charges, and I remain positive for them. In Barton they have a (at times) temperamental so and so, but for the most part a very good player who’s commitment and ability is beyond question. The guile is coming from their firm interest in, Shaun Wright-Phillips. Another transfer coup should Warnock be fortunate enough to succeed. Against all odds, I’m sure QPR will be the pick of the promoted teams this season. I’m not sure, however, what a crocked Daniel Ayala will do for Norwich though I remain open-minded.

Ben Green

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