Wednesday, October 21, 2009 by Paul Grech
This was a game that Liverpool had to win and for over an hour looked like they could do so. Then Lyon equalised and you sensed that something dramatic was about to happen. Sadly, it did and now Liverpool have a huge task in their hands to qualify. They have done so in the past under similar circumstances but this time it looks too much with two very good teams in the group.
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of this game is that Liverpool didn't deserve to lose despite the absence of Fernando Torres, Glen Johnson, Albert Riera and, after twenty minutes, Steven Gerrard. Sadly, our defence broke down at crucial moments and leave us to rue another defeat.
Pepe Reina did all he could the keep the first goal out and clearly wasn't at fault for the second. He is one of the few key players who are playing at last year's level.
Whilst most people will remember this game for the defeat, for Martin Kelly it will always be the night in which he made his full debut. And what a debut it was. This kid is a special talent and he showed that on the night by being one of the best on the pitch.
For Lucas Leiva, this was another good game as he was the fulcrum of Liverpool"s midfield. His work often goes by unnoticed but he is doing his job very well.
The trip to Argentina seems to have revitalised Javier Mascherano as he was back to his best after an uncertain start to the season. My man of the match.
A cooly taken goal by Yossi Benayoun looked like being enough for Liverpool. Unfortunately it wasn't. Dirk Kuyt too was better than of late, even if not to the same standards of last season.
Up front David N'Gog was a surprise inclusion but he did well enough. He went for every ball and often got a touch on it. He also took the two half chances he had in the first half well. Unfortunately, he fluffed the only clear opportunity he had in the second half and, after that, his head seemed to drop and he wasn't as effective.
Steven Gerrard was only on the pitch for 20 minutes so it would be unfair to rate him.
I wouldn't say that Jamie Carragher and Daniel Agger had a bad game overall but they switched off in key moments and Liverpool were made to pay. Emiliano Insua gave the impression that he wasn't fit enough and his passing was sluggish most of the time.
Fabio Aurelio came on for Gerrard and really inspired Liverpool in the first half. In the second, however he faded away dramatically which was a huge disappointment.
Martin Skrtel came on for Kelly and didn't do much wrong yet he too has to shoulder some of the blame for the second goal. Only Benitez knows why he put Andriy Voronin on and in the few minutes that he played the Ukranian once again proved just how useless he is.