30 April 2006

The week that was

Like I said, a lot of stuff's been going on in Liverpool-land lately, and a lot of it's been really important, too. (Other stuff, not directly relating to Liverpool, has been going on, too. To that I say -- 1) shut up, Chelsea, 2) please get better, Wayne Rooney, and 3) I'm sorry I jinxed you, Mr. Scolari.) Herewith, a quick review:

1. The FA Cup semi. Dude. How awesome was that? I know our overall record against Chelski isn't that great, but we sure seem to win the ones that count. It was so good to see how completely we dominated in the first hour. Once they pulled one back, it became more a matter of holding on and praying, but for once our luck held out. (That Joe Cole miss? That was karma for Robben getting Reina sent off the last time we met.) Garcia frustrates me sometimes with his inconsistency, but he does have the knack of scoring goals when he needs to. They aren't exactly the goals you'd expect him to score, but I'm not complaining. We were helped out a lot by Mourinho's completely insane team selection -- dude, all your wingers are suddenly crap? Uh-huh -- but I think we did pretty well playing our advantage. I don't know what made Chelski think they could take on our midfield, but we've denied them the double, and it makes me happy. I don't want to take West Ham for granted, but I'm so happy we're in the final.

2. The PFA player of the year, Steven Gerrard. This really surprised me, but I completely think it was deserved. He's now on 21 goals for the season and hasn't really been out of form all season. There's also the little matter of him pretty much grabbing the team and throwing them back into the Champions League final last year. I've said a lot of this before, but I was really expecting one of the Chelsea players to win, just because they've been so dominant in the league. For once I was pleasantly surprised. (Also, the way he keeps carrying the trophy around with him continues to bring me joy.)

3. Liverpool/West Ham. I watched this, but I can't say it was a very thrilling game, with neither team fielding the side they're going to play in the FA Cup final. It was good to see Cisse finally remember what he's there for -- I'm actually liking him out on the wings, and I guess it'll do until we can buy some real wingers over the summer. It's a testament to the strength of the side that our B-team, pretty much, can still play that well. (Though, Garcia? What the hell was that? I agree it was a harsh red, but an elbow to the back? You were on for all of a minute. No reason.)

4. Liverpool/Villa. This wasn't that great of a game, either, but man. How about that second Gerrard goal? I'm not a huge fan of our tendency to step off the gas once we've got a goal -- it almost cost us against Chelski, and it could've cost us here, too. I understand the virtues of defending a lead, but it's not very interesting play, and when that lead is only a goal, it's not that smart, either. If any team should know about comebacks, it's us, so I'd think we'd be a bit more wary of getting complacent once we lead. We're really better at counterattacking, which is somewhat defensive by nature, but taken too far, that's more than a little dangerous. If Villa had been able to finish anything, they could easily have been ahead. I know we only have one league game left, but that's something Liverpool could stand to work on for next season.

5. Finally, to the person who found me by searching for "I love Xabi Alonso"? So do I. However, I have nothing further to offer you. Sorry.

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