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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Manchester City - Liverpool (0-0)

It was a disappointing result from Liverpool's point of view. The Liverpool's boss, Rafa Benitez, has preached to the mass medias since last week, that it is important to keep winning and make sure Liverpool qualify for the Champions League next season as soon as possible so that they can concentrate on the semifinal of UCL against Chelsea. Getting into the last 4 is the minimum target of Liverpool this season, while reaching the 3rd is always more welcome than getting the 4th place in the EPL.

However, the players did not perform yesterday, the game was dull, Manchester City defended well, and Liverpool lacked ideas to break them down. Chances were few, and when it came, both teams didn't make the most out of it to score a goal and open up the game. As Rafa Benitez himself said, in football you must take chance, that first goal is very important to change things. When a defensive team conceded a goal first, they must come out to attack their opponents, hence opening up their own defensive organisation and they are susceptible to counterattack.

So what went wrong in the game last night?

The formation was similar to the one Rafa Benitez put up against Arsenal at Anfield recently, where Liverpool won 4-1. It was 4-2-3-1, or 4-5-1 depending on how you want to call it. The bottom line is, Rafa used two holding midfielders in the centre in Javier Mascherano and Xabi Alonso, Steven Gerrard played in the middle, Riise on the left flank, Pennant on the right flank.

Despite using a similar formation, playing with different group of players evidently give different results perhaps because collective creativity and imagination of the groups are not similar. The players' movement last night was not as good as when they played against Arsenal and they lacked ideas.

Rafa Benitez himself blamed the players for not getting themselves focussed at beating Manchester City, because the players have started thinking about the Champions League semifinal already. He believed it is a problem of motivation. Perhaps he is right, but perhaps it was actually due to his tendency to rotate his players, which make them eventually do not click to each other that well. Whatever the reason is, it was still disappointing to draw with Citeeh.

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