Jermaine Pennant is slowly creeping up the ranks of Liverpool Player of the Year and today's performance did nothing but boost him higher. I don't know any player at this point, other than Jamie Carragher and Steve Finnan, who are more deserving of the accolade. In the first half, JP was a constant threat and brought the ball up with ease. Why he didn't break into the box or dribble cross-field and try to create his own shot bewildered me, since neither Crouch, Bellamy, nor Fowler, seemed to want to get open. Towards the end of the first, he was tackled and appeared to be injured, but he got up before play was stopped and finished the half. I fully expected Gerrard to start the second half, but Pennant came out and at first he played as if he might be hurt, but then, after one of the rare occasions where the ball was taken from him, in Gerrard-esque fashion, he ran down the player with the ball and took it back. It was quite impressive. From that point on, he appeared to return to his first half form. At one point he brought the ball down the right and circled around into the box, where he placed a brilliant pass to Momo, who was dashing towards the goal. Unfortunately, Robbie Fowler got in the way and prevented Momo from getting the ball. The perfect ending of the night would have been when Pennant found himself with the ball in the box thanks to a foul up by the PSV defender, but Jermaine couldn't settle himself and get a good shot through and twice tried to power it through to no avail. Pennant was also taken down maliciously on two occasions yet not a foul was called. Overall, it was an inspiring performance. I'm sure, along with the Man of the Match honor, he'll get a much deserved ice bath.
Here's how I graded everyone else:
Robbie Fowler C-
God did not have a good game. At times he acted as if he'd never played football in his life, it was uncanny. Then he got in the way of the JP to Momo pass that would have been an awesome goal. But, in Robbie Fowler fashion, he redeemed himself by making a great pass to Crouch for the game winner. Had he not done that, I wouldn't have minded not seeing him in a Liverpool kit again.
Peter Crouch C-
How do you score the only goal of the match and get a poor grade? Hmmm, let's see, how about you hold on to the ball too long allowing defenses to easily take it from you, make bad passes including one that for some crazy reason you anticipated the player to run away from the goal, and wait for the ball to come to you instead of going to the ball. Is that enough?
One of the better games I've seen Bolo play in a while. He didn't create much, but he played solid defense and didn't turn over the ball a lot.
Xabi did what Xabi does, controlled the middle of the field and covered Sissoko when he went on kamikaze runs.
His best game in a while, Sissoko was patient on the ball and made good decisions in possession. To say he played good defense is becoming redundant. Probably number two on the Man of the Match table.
Nothing unusual for John Arne. Made a couple of questionable plays on the ball, but was pretty much his average self.
The old man played a solid game. Most importantly, he allowed Carra to get some much needed rest.
Probably third on the Man of the Match table, I don't think it was a coincidence that when Agger was on the pitch, PSV's offense was non-existent.
With each game, Arbeloa is getting more and more fun to watch. He's got a swagger out there as if he's just toying with his opponent and he's a constant offensive threat. I hope he's here for years to come because he's quickly becoming one of my favorites.
Didn't have to do much, but did make a couple of nice saves. His ball placement wasn't as good as the last couple of games, but he didn't really have that many opportunities to play the long ball.
Well, at least he didn't try to take thirty yard shots every time he got the ball.
Like Gonzo, he didn't really play that much, but I will say that not once did I yell at the screen for him to be taken out, which can only be a good thing.
I don't think it's really fair to give Bellamy a grade since he hardly got to play and I don't like it when he's teamed with Crouch.
So there you have it. Not a sensational performance, but the job was done. Next up is Mourwhino. Let the war of words commence.