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Liverpool 0, Stoke City 0: Hey Look, Sami Hyypia!


We're not gonna do this. Not right now. Just go read the Blackburn recap. Or the Swansea recap. Or any other match in which Liverpool never really looked like doing something worth watching, subtract any chances that were created but not taken, punch yourself in the face for watching the whole thing, and then go back to drinking yourself into oblivion.

Liverpool matched Stoke in the worst way possible, failed to do anything to threaten the opposition goal, and earned their seventh draw at Anfield. Seventh. At Anfield. I'm all for furthering the hate of Stoke, who had no other result in mind and looked like they were on ice skates any time they tried to get forward. But like the great Dennis Green said, they are who we thought they were. And Liverpool let them off the hook.

Poor marks for Liverpool for being so dire (again), so uninspiring (again), so impotent (again). From top to bottom---aside from very solid showings from Sebastian Coates and Glen Johnson---they weren't creating anything, and there was little to indicate that they could actually do something about it. Things aren't getting any better for those who have come under criticism, particularly Stewart Downing, who was abysmal and completely anonymous other than a brief streak and shot in the first half that sailed well over Thomas Sorensen's goal. After starting so brightly, he's become a liability and adds little positives to side that's already self-conscious enough.

I have little interest in doing a breakdown of the match action, mostly because there wasn't really that much to break down. Couple near-misses for Dirk Kuyt, a few clear penalty shouts that were waved off by the unshakably arrogant Howard Webb, and a tremendous amount of possession on the edge of the Stoke area that was repelled time and again.

Whether it's a need for additions prior to the end of the month or just finding something that actually clicks on a consistent basis within this squad---which seems unlikely due to Craig Bellamy's knees, Maxi's disappearance, Andy Carroll's infrequent appearances, Luis Suarez' ban, Downing's disappointments, Kuyt's worrying dip in form and effectiveness---it's plainly obvious that, once again, we find ourselves saying that Liverpool need to be much, much better if there's going to be real progress.

There's big matches on the immediate horizon, ones in which it's probably safe to assume that Liverpool will look like a completely different side than the one we saw today, regardless of the fact that many of the personnel will be the same. And that's one of the biggest frustrations, and one that we've seen the club struggle with for far too long. The importance of the emotional changes around the club can't be dismissed, and with so many of the other pieces seeming as though they're in the right place off the pitch, it's a matter of hoping that at some point in the near future, the football finally catches up.

So it's shitty for now, and we've sort of had to learn to be okay with that. We'll continue to hope that things get better for good on the pitch, and at some point, that hope's going to be rewarded. Today, though, it's just not the case.

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