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Reading 0, Liverpool 0: Alex McCarthy and Some Other Stuff Too

Alex McCarthy turns in one of the goalkeeping performances of the season, denying Liverpool at every opportunity and preserving a 0-0 draw for Reading in the process.

Alex Livesey

Reading 0
Liverpool 0

I'm not really sure I have much constructive to say after this one, Liverpool's second consecutive 0-0 draw for the first time since the 2008-2009 season. There was so much to dislike that it mostly erased any sense of optimism or excitement relatively quickly, and between the brilliant play of Alex McCarthy in the Reading goal and the suffocating mediocrity of nearly everyone in a Liverpool shirt, there's nothing here to celebrate. The chances were there, but the finishing and the overall sense that some positive was actually happening were definitely not.

Pepe Reina did well, I suppose, but even that was more a product of more lax defending than anything else; Reading were certainly up for it and created a few good chances as Liverpool stumbled and faltered, and were it not for Reina's quick reactions Brendan Rodgers would have had an even worse result to answer for. It doesn't all fall on him, of course, but there's again some justified questions about decision-making--or lack thereof--throughout the match.

McCarthy will justifiably get most, if not all, of the headlines (including ours), but some should be saved for Liverpool's tendency to ping it straight at the man who hadn't made an appearance since November--the former England U21 goalkeeper tended to be in the right place at the right time, and when he wasn't, the woodwork was. Last season's ghosts loomed immeasurably large today, and in the end Liverpool were either lucky to have a point, unlucky not to have three, or just sort of supremely frustrating.

When the match turned into a track meet it looked as though there was no way it would end level, with Reading taking it to stretched and far too open Liverpool, while the visitors theoretically created enough chances to win the match. Early chances, late chances, it didn't matter--no final product for anyone, and ultimately a point for everyone. Disappointing, predictable, and, in some twisted way, very comfortable.

We're used to this Liverpool by now, and the truth is we have been for going on two seasons. It's familiar to lament a lack of finishing or luck, and it's sort of nice to know that there will occasionally be some moments of utter genius to offset the ones that are utterly maddening. We write this after every draw or loss or disaffected display--things desperately need to change at Liverpool. It very well could be that the club are in the midst of that change and we're witnessing the growing pains as they're happening. I guess that's the optimistic take.

In the end, another 0-0 result, another performance in which we didn't really learn anything, and, as we've become accustomed to over the past few seasons, a match that leaves us in search of other sources of wonder and amazement.

Enter David Attenborough.

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