|Shelvey 33||Bobadilla 52|
|Cole 72||Zverotic 88|
One word for this – naïve.
It was quite an odd night's viewing at Anfield tonight as a solid and at times very effective first half performance gave way to some incredible naivety from the home side and their manager. This is one of the first times that I can say Brendan Rodgers got it wrong.
Starting with Jonjo Shelvey up front was understandable enough given the finishing ability and all round footballing intelligence the young baldy has, and for the most part it worked very well. Despite a sharp looking start from the visitors the Reds soon settled down into a decent passing rhythm with Shelvey coming deep and drawing defenders out to great effect.
Assaidi looked positive down the left, Suso had a couple of shots at goal while Joe Cole reached the dizzy heights of slightly above average on the right wing. The first decent chance came in the 17th minute when Shelvey played Cole in but he dragged his shot wide from an acute angle.
Jordan Henderson then had a great chance to open the scoring in the 26th minute. Shelvey again was the creator with a sumptuous backheel which split the defence. As we've seen before from Henderson, he opted for the safety of the low drive which the keeper palmed away with relative ease. It's just never going to happen for Jordan, unfortunately for him.
It what seemed to be an odd move, Steven Gerrard was introduced in the 31st minute for Andre Wisdom, with Henderson moving to right back. Presumably Rodgers thought Henderson would offer more going forward than Wisdom but this change would come back to haunt the Reds in the second half.
Within minutes of the substitution the Reds were ahead although the skipper was in no way involved. Suso played a gloriously timed pass in for Cole who lifted his cross/shot over the onrushing keeper. Shelvey was on-hand to nod into an empty net rounding off a lovely move.
Suso looked to add a second 5 minutes later but his drive was deflected into the side-netting. From the resulting corner Martin Skrtel beat the keeper by redirecting Joe Cole's wayward shot but this was hacked off the line to saftey.
Then just before half time Suso was played in brilliantly by Cole, but he decided to take his shot first time and failed to hit the target. It was the same old story really – converting any one of those chances would've put us out of sight.
Even still I was reasonably confident that a home win was on the cards, until that is I witnessed the first few minutes of the restart. By the 50th minute Young Boys had two decent efforts at goal as our young boys went missing.
However in the 51st minute another chance came to solidify the lead. Suso found Cole with a fantastic through ball but Joseph, running away from goal slightly, shot straight at the keeper when he really should've done better.
From this chance the away side broke down field to equalise. Farnerud found Bobadilla with a cross-field ball from the right which Jordan Henderson watched without acting on. By the time he got near his man Bobadilla had launched an unstoppable left foot volley past Reina. I know Wisdom has switched off on more than one occasion this season but I'm sure he would've snuffed out the danger on this one. Ho hum.
As is always the case this goal breathed new life into the Swiss side and they began to zip the ball around with previously unseen vigour. Rodgers' response to this was to introduce Suarez for the "what did I do wrong?" Suso.
After a succession of forced corners the Reds regained the lead in the 70th minute. Suarez combined well with Gerrard on the edge of the box with the skipper playing in Cole. His first-time shot on the turn went under Wolfli and there we had it -a Joe Cole goal!
So could tonight have possibly heralded the return to form of the mythical legend that is Joseph Cole, as he rolled back the years with a goal and an assist? Of course not. He'll be offloaded in January and not a moment too soon considering the wages he's been eating up for the last few years.
After retaking the lead I expected the Reds to see the game out but what transpired for the last 20 minutes was naïve beyond belief. No one looked to keep hold of the ball or use any sort of intelligence which left huge gaps to be exploited by the away side.
The midfield trio of Sahin, Gerrard and Shelvey looked far too offensive, this being best exemplified in the 80th minute with Young Boys practically queuing up to equalise. Reina also looked less than convincing on any incoming crosses.
This defensive gap was finally exploited when Zverotic picked the ball up 20 yards out and lashed his shot past Reina, the ball flying centrally over him. I'm not sure if too much blame can be placed on Pepe for that one as it was struck with real venom and the closing down was non-existent.
There was no real time for any final charge and that was that. Aside from being a disappointing result this was a massive pain in the arse because it now means Rodgers has lost the luxury of resting players for the trip to Italy.
I'm sure I've mentioned the word "naïve" enough times already but this was a fine example of just how much the players and manager still have to learn as the season progresses. I would imagine that serious lessons will have been learnt tonight so we'll have to put this one down to inexperience on all parts.
Subs: Gerrard for Wisdom (31), Suarez for Suso (60), Sterling for Cole (75)
Unused Subs: Jones, Coates, Enrique, Allen.