Good morning, afternoon or evening wherever you are and welcome to another edition of The Green Room, formerly a regular issue on Football Friends and now featured here on the Kop Times. Here where we discuss everything Liverpool, The Premiership and the beautiful game, so please feel free to leave a comment and give some feedback. A week into the official wintertime and Liverpool are already looking “Vorm out”.
OK, Enough of the puns and down to business. Liverpool failed to make up ground in the race for fourth spot and most Liverpool supporters if not all must see this result as a further two points dropped. Credit has to go to a superb effort between the sticks from Michel Vorm. Three stunning saves late on kept a determined Liverpool side out but overall, I have to say Liverpool were disappointing in a match they dominated in the first half but looked all at sea for large parts of the second period.
This isn’t the first time that Liverpool have failed to make their chances pay and if this form keeps up, there’s every likelihood Liverpool will miss European football for a second season running. The Liverpool team, for me, were woefully short of what’s expected, a sentiment echoed by Kenny Dalglish. If this goes on much longer, I can’t even see them matching last season’s sixth place. That would be a disaster for the club.
The team has to get back to basics and begin to retain possession much better than they do at the moment. Dalglish will have no option but to ring the changes in January on this performance. Watching Liverpool is becoming a chore at times. Paying for the first 30 minutes then going to sleep until the last 15. Not good enough.
Again Liverpool started brightly and could have taken the lead from an Andy Carroll header that hit the woodwork in a lively first half display. Again, if’s but’s and maybe’s are the words on their supporter’s lips. Late on in the second half, a questionable offside decision denied Dirk Kuyt’s brave header. Carroll again not meeting expectations.
The Swansea fans have to be happy with this result and indeed they deserve to be. Their second half performance was beyond what one would expect from a newly promoted side. Overall though, their finishing was poor, and helped Liverpool escape finishing the match empty-handed.
Pepe Reina made you wonder what side he was playing for at times. His usually reliable kicking deserted him and two mistakes almost gifted the game to Swansea. For 25 minutes of the second half, I really thought Liverpool were going to be embarrassed because Swansea were in control and dominating the midfield. Wayne Routledge was particularly industrious for the Swans and it’s no coincidence they faded after he was substituted in the 74th minute after taking a knock from a full-bloodied challenge from the rough-and-ready Martin Skrtel.
Daniel Agger on the other hand was having immense trouble containing the imaginative Swansea attacking play and twice gave away free kicks in dangerous areas. Agger is no slouch but Nathan Dyer proved a handful for the other half of the Reds’ central back line. Had Danny Graham and Mark Gower been more clinical in front of goal it would surely have been a fairytale end to the match for the visitors.
It wasn’t until Craig Bellamy came on for the hopeless Carroll that Liverpool looked like they could make something happen. Alas, too late was the cry. A revitalized Liverpool could find no way past the numerous men in white who continued to threaten on the counter and were further frustrated by the very Vorm in the Swansea goal.
I have Michel Vorm in my fantasy football team. I subbed him this week. “I can’t see him keeping Liverpool out at home” I thought in my usual rose tinted misguided Liverpool fan way! How wrong I could have been. The guy was immense. Swansea have shipped 15 league goals this season. That’s not down to their ‘keeper but more “terrible defendin’” as a certain Mr. Alan Hansen would say. If it weren’t for Vorm their goal difference would read much worse than the current -3.
Elsewhere in the Premiership and unfortunately for wasteful Liverpool, Chelsea, Aston Villa and Arsenal all recorded wins to keep the race for fourth very interesting. Having seen Tottenham’s demolition of Queens Park Rangers last weekend I would consider them to be favourites for the last Champions League place
The Europa League spot will be fought out between Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool. If I’m honest, I should add that I only include Liverpool out of bias. The Newcastle bandwagon continues to roll with a 2-1 victory over Everton. However, Newcastle have a very tough November with matches against the top three coming in quick succession. This will shape their season and give us a good idea as to whether Newcastle are genuine contenders of if the wheels will fall off said wagon.
Sir Alex Chapman Ferguson celebrated 25 years in charge of Manchester United with a 1-0 win at home against Sunderland who’s early season form has all but evaporated and going from bad to even worse with the loss of one of their most promising of summer signings, Connor Wickham with a knee injury.
It was announced at Old Trafford that the North Stand will be renamed in Ferguson’s honour, and, to be fair, the man deserves it. There aren’t many who can argue against that. As much as it burns me to say it. Fair is fair after all. It doesn’t seem that long ago that rumours were rife Fergie was going to be sacked if they lost to Nottingham Forest in the fourth round of the 1989/90 FA Cup,
The Manchester City goal machine continues unabated after their 2-3 win at QPR taking them five points clear and moving their goal difference number to 29, a good 13 away from their closest and local rivals.
Sunday, I expect Tottenham to continue their strong form but remain in fifth position. In the other games, Stoke should see off Bolton and I believe Wolves’ imminent relegation dogfight will be confirmed. Still, at least they have a manager with plenty of experience there.
Follow me on Twitter @Mrbengreen