|Suarez 88||Templeton 85|
For the most part this was decidedly rubbish. Nevertheless it can now be filed under "job done" and forgotten about.
Brendan Rodgers has made it clear that the league campaign in his priority this season and that's absolutely fine by me. Despite this he fielded a reasonably strong starting eleven tonight as the Reds looked to put the tie to bed.
Stewart Downing was selected at left-back and put in as unremarkable a performance as he would have done had he been playing 20 yards further forward. I think this might be the future for Stewart because while he's at left-back there at least isn't as much expectation on him to create. Still, that's a rather expensive second choice left-back we've got there.
In a forgettable first half we looked disjointed thanks in no small part to the fact that Jordan Henderson was playing on the left of a front three, with home debutant Adam Morgan stuck over on the right wing. Neither looked at home in these positions, so as per usual Luis Suarez was weighed down with all the goalscoring duties .
The raw looking Morgan could have got his name on the scoresheet in the 9th minute but lacked awareness at the crucial moment. Despite his nerves the lad put in a decent shift and has been rightly rewarded for the hard work he's put in behind the scenes. Rodgers was clearly sending out the message that if you knuckle down you will get your chance.
It was Morgan who was involved again in the 33rd minute, this time putting the ball in the net only for the goal to be disallowed. Replays showed that the ball crossed the line before Suarez's cutback, much to the dismay of the youngster.
The majority of the second half was equally disinteresting, aside from the 66th minute when Luis Suarez had one of those moments that frustrated the bejesus out of us last season. Pretty much clean through on goal, he dilled, dallied, and then dillied some more before eventually forcing a corner. Given the recent interview given it's obvious that he's feeling the pressure of being over-relied on for goals, and we can only hope that tomorrow's arrival(s) will help alleviate some of this for him.
The introduction of Raheem Sterling midway through the second half saw us improve slightly, as we now had at least some attacking threat from wide areas. It's remarkable the impact this young lad is having and while he still needs to handled carefully, I think it's becoming harder and harder to leave him out of the first eleven.
As the game seemed to be fizzling out into a bore draw, up popped another one of those concentration –free moments that have become so familiar over the past 12 months with the Reds' backline. This time it was the turn of Pepe Reina who let Templeton Peck's reasonably well struck shot squirm under his arms and over the line in the 85th minute.
This lack of concentration is something that I'm sure Rodgers will be looking at in more detail because it will continue to cost us valuable points if it goes unaddressed. Whether it's Skrtel, Johnson or Reina the errors have to be stamped out.
Thankfully we were spared any further embarrassment as three minutes later Suarez helped himself to an equaliser. Picking the ball up 50 yards out, he ran directly at the Hearts backline before eventually slotting past MacDonald from a tight angle. It was poor goalkeeping as there was too much of a gap at his near post, but Luis won't worry too much about that.
Despite his goal the Uruguayan had a real stinker tonight. As stated above I do think he's suffering with the pressure and trying too hard in certain situations. This isn't something I'm too worried about though as there will be additions to the squad tomorrow which will free him up considerably.
The news of Andy Carroll's move to West Ham broke midway through the game tonight and this paves the way for at least one forward to come in now. In truth I think we need two so I hope that the right moves are made. I'll have plenty more to say on this once the transfer window closes.
Overall this was a poor game but nothing to get too hung up on. With a busy transfer deadline day expected tomorrow, not to mention the additions of Sahin and Assaidi to the squad, things are still ticking along nicely.
Subs: Sterling for Morgan (62), Borini for Henderson (76)
Unused Subs: Jones, Johnson, Enrique, Coates, Agger.