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Liverpool Lacked Edge, Desire And Bite. Awful, Basically.

Ryan punches some children in the face after seeing Liverpool’s performance in the 1-0 Champions League loss to Chelsea.

For us to compete with, and beat the likes of Chelsea and Barcelona we need our entire side to be acting as a unit. We need our one or two world class players to be on top of their game, and for our decent players to be opertaing above their usual level. We got f**k all of that tonight.

When we beat Barcelona in the Nou Camp, it’s down to the fact that we operated as a cohesive unit from the first minute to last. Not mind-boggling tactics, or inspired changes, just rudimentary on-pitch mechanics. It was effective in it’s simplicity. What now seems to be the only problem with it though, is that it endowed our bunch of players with that ugly air of superiority that quite a few of them carried off at Stamford Bridge last night.

Beating Barcelona is as much a mental thing as anything else. Was there a greater epitomy to our obduracy in the Nou Camp than Sissoko shrugging off Deco with the ‘F**k You’ stamp etched all over it? Nope, it embodied our determination that night. Did we thus continue with that trend of rattling the multi-millionaire opposition last night? Nope. We were much too bloody casual for that.

A sh**ty, lax, carefree attitude was evident right from the first minute. From players who, rightly or wrongly, felt assured that regardless of the occasion, they were in the side on merit, and thus didn’t really have to prove anything. This will henceforth be known as ‘Craig Bellamy Syndrome’.

For the last 4 months he’s been either out of form, injured, impotent in front of goal, or causing major disruption amongst the team, yet he still waltzes back into the starting 11. He didn’t deserve to, and he probably knew it, but you could just tell he thrives on that sort of superiority. The safety in his own little fucking head that, no matter what happens, ‘I’m in the first choice eleven’.

His performance stank. I’d have hooked him long before half-time. Sauntering round that pitch like he’s on some bloody pedestal. You were crap Bellamy, and you typified the 21st Century footballer; Full of skill, ability and talent, yet replete with the worst kind of contrived, pretentious attitude going. There’s a reason why no manager has ever felt you were worth the bother for more than a year or two. He could do a lot worse than having a long look at the career of somebody like Jamie Carragher. A defender with about 10% of the footballing ability of someone like Bellamy, but somebody who has engineered himself into one of the World’s finest centre-halves, through dedication, and making much much more out of the limited talents he has. Bellamy’s wasting his unarguable ability.

But before this turns into a one-man crusade, it’s worth pointing out that he wasn’t alone. No matter how hopeless Agger, Arbeloa, and Zenden were; at least they tried. At least they wanted to prove something. Everybody can have off games, so long as you’re prepared to walk off the pitch knowing that whatever mistakes you made, you did give your all.

Can the same be said of the likes of John Arne Riise, Daniel Agger, and more pertinently – Steven Gerrard? I doubt it.

Riise was crap. If any of you get a chance to see that overhead camera angle view of the goal, watch Riise’s contribution to it. Never mind the fact that he was about 30 yards out of position in the first place, more interestingly watch how he just about mustered a light canter back towards the box and the danger as the move passed him by. In contrast, Joe Cole was starting 20 yards behind him and at the opposite side of the f**king pitch. We all know what the end result was. Cole had reached the corner flag in celebration, and Riise was still making his way back to the box.

And that personified his performance; A big fat “MEH…”. Balls running under his feet, half arsed back-passes, zero crosses, and everything done at half the pace it could have been done at. I would not be surprised if Rafa felt his once-secure position in the side was worth eliminating in the summer. Performances like that will only open the already-ajar-door even further for a new left-back.

He wasn’t any less unimpressive than Gerrard though. What’s with him? Did nobody tell him how amazing he was before kick-off or something? Was Rafa not blowing enough bubbles up his hole from the sideline? Good lord, he can slouch. Hunched shoulders, head down, and a wank attitude. He walked off that pitch at the end of the game with consummate ease, because he hadn’t broken sweat once in 90 minutes.

It’s as if he knows he’s got a ready made excuse in the ‘right wing / midfielder’ quandary should his performance be abject enough. Well he needs to be told to fuck up and get on with it. He gets enough praise ejaculated all over him when he puts in his superhuman performances, he’s big enough now to be given a kick-up the arse too. Lifting yourself in the second-half when there’s a volley to be hit, or a Carvalho to be stamped on is too little, too late. Your “I wanna be remembered along with Hughes, Thompson, and Souness” protestations ring a little hollow after minimalist performances like that in the semi-final of the European Cup mate. You were sh**e, and I hope you know it.

Unbelievably though, we’re not out. F**k knows we rode our luck, and had Chelsea and Lampard in particular been more ruthless in front of goal, this tie would be dead and buried, and I bet you Mourinho knows it too. They had their chance to kill us, and they didn’t take it.

Which leaves us with a mountain, but a climbable one. We’ve come back from more testing circumstances than these and won, and with Essien and Ballack to thrust back into the mix to make the challenge that bit more intriguing, it’s gonna be a fucking miracle that’s required, more than a tactical piece of genius from Rafa.

We need luck, the crowd, a more-than-optimum performance from all our players, a monumental one from our captain, but most of all we need to show a bit of desire. The sort of unmatchable grit that once blew away Juventus, Milan, Barcelona, and as Chelsea can attest, them too.

It’s about time we shirked off the shitty superiority complex, and showed a bit of bollox.