Liverpool’s Ryan Babel Needs More Time But At Least Pennant and Torres Look The Business

Better late than never as Peter chimes in with his thoughts on Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Sunderland.

30 seconds in and it looked like it was going to be another frustrating away game as Voronin broke through and could only hit Gordon in the chest with the ball. On the whole it was a case of shots hitting the keeper instead of shots that were to make him work. That said it wasn’t until Sissoko broke the deadlock that we really had another effort on goal. To be fair to Gordon he did play well, he made himself big when he needed to be and was in the right place at the right time when he needed to be. It would have taken a superhuman save to stop Sissoko’s first ever goal for Liverpool. Fitting too that it was Liverpool’s 7000th ever goal, scored by a player whose commitment could never be questioned but whose goal-scoring ability has always been questioned. On the whole it wasn’t the best game to watch and Rafa Benitez will be cursing his luck in a week that saw us lose our appeal to sign Heinze, we saw two injuries to our starting centre-backs.

Hyypia was elbowed in the face in the first few minutes and after losing sight in one of his eyes it was established he’d broken his nose and then in the 2nd half after Pepe Reina came out and kneed him in the back Jamie Carragher had to go off with a suspected broken rib. Our first fears were confirmed later with the news that he’d also suffered a collapsed lung. It now appears Rafa’s choice to sell Paletta to Boca Juniors was a tad premature. After seeing Juventus dismantle Livorno, albeit slightly fortuitously I have to say that signing Chiellini earlier in the transfer window would have been good business but leaving it so late makes things very difficult. Teams tend to add a couple of million and are less willing to part with players as they themselves need to find a replacement. We made the mistake of putting all our eggs in one basket with Heinze and even though within the laws that govern our lands he should have been able to chose which club he wanted to join, it seems Man Utd have some special power over the Premier League.

Backtracking now to the game, and Rafa’s subsequent reaction, Jermaine Pennant carried on from where he left against Chelsea a week earlier and was a thorn in Sunderland’s side from the start. He played a contributing role in both goals and was generally dangerous whenever he got the ball. I really don’t know what else he has to do to merit a call up to the England squad, possibly get down on his knees and repent to Saint McLown for all his sins. I don’t think he’s good enough to start for England but he’s definitely worth a place in the squad for a friendly. On the other side, Ryan Babel was less than impressive hardly displaying why we paid so much money for him but I don’t want to jump to any conclusions as he is still very young and needs time to adapt to the Premier League. He certainly has the attributes to do well he just needs to find some form of consistency.

Two of our other new acquisitions were up front and both looked dangerous, displaying pace, power and a directness our strikers have lacked since Michael Owen left the club which was refreshing to see. One moment in particular would have sent shivers down Premier League defenders spine’s as Torres gave both Nosworthy and McShane a 2 yard head start, powered past them and probably should have done better with his finish as he only had Gordon to beat. Voronin also showed good moments and he seems to make things happen and after scoring a 2nd goal on his 2nd start for Liverpool could make it hard for Benitez to drop him.

Toulouse shouldn’t really pose too much of a problem at Anfield but having witnessed us struggle to AK Graz and Hapoel Tel-Aviv in the recent years I won’t be counting my eggs just yet. From the looks of things Toulouse will attempt to hit us on the counter attack and barring a loss of concentration or extremely bad lack we should be alright. We looked like we can cope without our influential captain and if it’s any game you don’t mind him missing is Derby at home next weekend but I’m in no doubt that if we are to challenge for the league he needs to remain fit.