Phew, what a game. Back and forth and back and forth again before we eased clear.
4-2 doesn’t really do the Liverpool performance justice – Convey’s goal, while a superb strike, was through a veritable bevy of offside Reading players and how Torres wasn’t awarded a penalty after Bikey yanked him down. Even more confusing was how the ref’s decision wasn’t even a corner to Liverpool (as it should’ve been if Bikey had touched the ball) but a Reading goal kick…
Perhaps we should be grateful that we didn’t need luck or even acceptable refereeing to win this one.
Torres has been taking all the plaudits, along with the match ball, as just reward for his breath-taking hat-trick. A cool, clinical finish for his first, a stunning first-time strike for his second and some cheeky soft shoe shuffling for his third as he round the Reading keeper.
I was…less than impressed by Itandje who didn’t look like he could catch a cold – perhaps his confidence was rocked by the Reading forwards who weren’t "interfering with play" as they stood on his boots for the first Reading goal.
Apart from that, I was very impressed by Liverpool v1.5 – a combination of first-teamers and reserves.
Finnan was his usual rock-solid self, even allowing for a moment of great élan when he turned (I think) De La Cruz inside out and Aurelio was a little trooper all night – a solid come back and a very cheeky second half free-kick that almost caught the ‘keeper napping. He’ll score goals!
Carra was his usual self – he’ll be kicking himself for conceding two goals but I was slightly concerned with Arbeloa at centre back. He looked much better towards then end but I can’t work out if that was him growing into an unfamiliar position or just that the Reading guys were out of steam…I think he’s a fantastic player for us, but want to be (relatively) objective.
Leto looked good to me. Some people were saying he was off the pace and isn’t quick enough for a winger, but he was determined enough to work hard all night, track back, make tackles and sent Riise through to set up Torres’s second. Next to him, Sissoko had a very solid, very composed game (perhaps he read my preview?) while Lucas played the Alonso role very nicely, albeit with fewer killer balls.
Yossi was great all night, running around like a mad man, making tackles, looking for the killer ball and oh yeah, scored a cracking goal.
Crouch had a good game as well. He drew defenders to him all night and created space for that man, El Nino.
The subs did pretty well when they came on and hopefully, we’ll have some momentum going into Saturday’s game against Wigan – who’s style of play is closer to Reading’s attacking make-up than Birmingham’s defensive mind-set. So we should, should, see El Nino start – but I’ve long since given up double guessing Rafa.
All in all a good result with nice goals, no injuries and everything seems a little rosier today than it did on Sunday.