It’s been quite a week for balloons. First there was the ridiculous coverage of the Balloon Boy in Colorado, and now another inflatable object has stolen the headlines.
Can it get any worse for Liverpool? The club played one of their worst first-half performances against Fiorentina in the Champions League a few weeks ago and lost 2-0, which was followed by a very unconvincing display in the 2-0 loss against Chelsea. In addition, the club has already lost to Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur in the league. And now, to make matters even worse, their Premier League title aspirations were deflated after Sunderland’s Darren Bent scored on a shot that deflected against a red beach ball and into the net for a 1-0 victory.
It’s one thing for a beach ball to get in the way, but when the bal was thrown on to the pitch by a Liverpool teenager, you can only imagine how much stick this young fella is going to get on Merseyside. Possibly only the other person on Merseyside who is less popular than the kid is one Rafa Benitez.
Without Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard, Liverpool looked very ordinary and they were continually on the backfoot against a hard-working but hardly world-class Sunderland side. If anything, Sunderland could have easily won this game 2-0 or 3-0 such were their clear-cut chances, but they failed to put the decisive ball away.
The list of problems for Liverpool continues to grow. Martin Skrtel and Jamie Carragher looked shakey in the back for Liverpool, once again. Babel and Kuyt aren’t traditional strikers and they played like it. They’re more providers than creators. They need someone to latch their passes or knock-ons to. Liverpool still needs a better striker from the substitute’s bench than Andriy Voronin (what does Benitez see in him?). And their midfield of Lucas Leiva, Jay Spearing, Fabio Aurelio was completely outplayed by Sunderland’s midfield of Steed Malbranque, Lee Cattermole, Lorik Cana and Andy Reid.
This was a Liverpool side that didn’t look like winning. They’ve been relying too much on Gerrard and Torres to rescue them out of trouble for way too long. And without those two players who can turn the games on a dime, they looked like a bottom half of the table team.
To make matters even worse for Liverpool, their next league game is against Manchester United on Sunday, October 25 where Sir Alex Ferguson will be licking his chops at the prospect of pouring even more pressure on Liverpool and Rafa Benitez.
Regarding the red beach ball, it was in the back corner of Reina’s net when the game kicked off and was there as late as minute 1:30 on the clock. But after that, the ball must have blown on to the pitch. Reina will definitely be regretting that he didn’t burst the ball before it came on the pitch.
In tribute to the red balloon goal, here’s the video for Nena’s “99 Red Balloons”: