Are you superstitious? Then maybe like me, you would have thought that Liverpool's Champions League qualification was in the bag. Why? On the 4th of April, 2004 (04-04-04), Liverpool beat Blackburn 4-0, to go 4th in the league. Was it a 4pm kick-off? (That's pushing it too far!).
Well, with all that, one would have thought that Champions League qualification (which comes along with that coveted 4th place) was all wrapped up, after all, it seemed to be written in stars? Well, not quite. With Newcastle, Birmingham and a host of other teams trying to displace the Reds, we needed to keep the momentum and keep momentum. With Arsenal loosing to Man. U in the FA Cup, and their shock defeat at home to Chelsea in the Champions League, I was hoping that Liverpool would be able to at least get a point from the crucial encounter.
Liverpool started brightly enough, with an early goal from Sami Hyypia. Arsenal however equalised through Henry, but just before halftime, Gerrard and Owen combined to score a wonderful goal, putting Liverpool back in the lead. GREAT !! It looked like Arsenal's unbeaten run in the league was about to come to an abrupt end, after 30 matches.
Then in the second half, Arsenal equalised again and Liverpool's confidence was shaken. Then Henry scored a WONDER goal, and Arsenal went in the lead for the first time. Liverpool fell to pieces. Henry completed his hat-trick, and that was it. What looked like a certain victory for Liverpool, turned to a humiliating 4-2 defeat...Well the least they could was to help us give the same treatment to Newcastle on Sunday, right?
The match with Newcastle was boring and an uninspiring nil-nil draw. With that point, Newcastle is now level on points with Liverpool, and are only in 5th position because of an inferior goal difference.
To make matters worse, Liverpool lost to Charlton today, AT HOME !! Now Charlton have a shot at the coveted 4th place, and Newcastle are still behind us, but with the same goal difference, and a game in hand. GH must be feeling the heat by now.....
But where has Liverpool gone wrong? From the Arsenal game, I can think of 2 reasons:
1. Lack of confidence. We were playing well, but after the Henry goal, Liverpool feel apart.
2. Lack of creativity. The team was playing 'Wimbledon' football (pass it to Owen and hope for the best). The free flowing, passing game of Arsenal exposed Liverpool. Can Liverpool ever play like that? Well, they used to, ages ago.....under Roy Evans, in the days of Stevie Mcmananan.
My position is still the same. SACK HOULLIER NOW !!!