Another two points dropped, this time at home and this time against Spurs.
We started well, scored a deserved goal and pretty much dominated the first half before falling asleep and letting in a sloppy, sloppy goal. Not content with giving up one goal, we then proceeded concede pretty much exactly the same goal early in the second half. In an increasingly frantic last 10 minutes, we threw everyone forward and, thankfully, Finnan and Torres combined to ease home an equaliser at the back post. It was real squeaky bum at the end but gave us a probably deserved point.
What's really worrying me is how badly we're missing our AA stars - Xabi Alonso and Daniel Agger. In the Tottenham preview I talked about how much Alonso's vision and calmness on the ball is being missed and I've alluded to my disappointment at the distribution of Carra and Hyypia.
I'm a little surprised at just how Alonso's injury is affecting the team. Mascherano is a world class holding midfield player, albeit with limited vision and passing range, while when he's on form, Gerrard is one of the world's leading midfielders. What's going wrong is, I think, that Stevie G is trying a little too hard. He's always looking for ball early in moves and to get it, he's dropping deep - almost next to Mascherano who naturally plays close to the centre backs - leaving acres of space between himself and the strikers. As a result, he only has a few options when it comes to getting rid of the ball. He can either drop it off to the centre backs who's distribution is, frankly, appalling right now. He can try to bring the full-backs into play which, from where he is, usually puts undue pressure on them or he can try to reach the wingers which doesn't really help them as they've got no one to play a short "out" ball to. Other than this, he's left with a long "Hollywood" ball through to the strikers which, even if it gets there, leaves them isolated.
Basically, Alonso out means we rely on a long game which doesn't play to our strengths at all and having Agger, that ball playing centre-half, out only exacerbates this problem.
Having someone who can bring the ball out of defence and add some creativity really changes the way we play. Mascherano can prod and poke, shifting the ball laterally across the pitch as we look for opportunities, while Gerrard can play just off the strikers where he can really cause some damage and wreck havock in the opposition's defence. Someone in the Agger role can be the spark Liverpool needs, while Alonso is the glue that holds the midfielders together and, even though he plays deeper, can link the two.
The sooner they come back from injury the better. The sooner Rafa buys a replacement for Hyypia, the sooner we can all breathe easy.