It must have been yet another very frustrating night for Liverpool supporters Wednesday night after the Reds failed to win against Lyon in a 1-1 draw. The dreams of advancing in the Champions League are quickly disappearing. And as Rafa Benitez says, Liverpool need a miracle to qualify now.
It was frustrating because Liverpool didn’t play particularly badly. As in Tuesday night’s Manchester United against CSKA Moscow match, the game at Lyon was very open and quite entertaining with plenty of chances for either team to score. And just like at Old Trafford, both teams were well matched against each other and played a brand of passing football that was pleasing to the eye.
While Liverpool were far from spectacular, they played with a lot more imagination than of late. However, they were guilty of missing some clear-cut chances which would have put the game away for them. Particularly guilty was Andriy Voronin who failed to slot the ball past the goalkeeper in a one-on-one situation. Much later in the game Ryan Babel had a chance in front of goal but skewed his shot wide when he should have at least hit it on target.
Babel can be forgiven because his goal that gave Liverpool the lead was absolutely sensational. Just as he was getting ready to fire the shot, I was thinking to myself that Babel — knowing him — would sail the ball over the crossbar. But the Dutchman kept his head down as he struck the ball with venom and it rocketed into the net.
But while the Reds battled as hard as they could with what they had, they came undone by a horrible defensive error near the end of the game when Greek defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos fell down in the box and let Lisandro Lopez knock the ball past Reina and into the goal.
Kyrgiakos’s defending that led to Lyon’s equalizer was absolutely awful. The long haired defender lost his defender and because he didn’t have the pace or energy to catch up with Lisandro Lopez, he fell in a heap inside the penalty area which gave Lisandro Lopez the easiest of chances to score.
If this was Kyrgiakos’s first mistake, he could be forgiven. But earlier in the match he was involved in another comedy of errors as he mistimed a header and let a Lyon player through only for Jose Pepe Reina to save his skin by blocking the shot that was heading toward goal.
Kyrgiakos’s ponytailed partner-in-crime Voronin played like a wild banshee in the first half. He ran every which way but seemed to produce absolutely nothing. He ran into players. He lost the ball. He produced nowt.
Maybe Kyrgiakos and Voronin were made for each other? Both feature horrible long hair, are absolutely appalling players and must have a hex on Benitez because the Spaniard has been starting the duo. Sure, Liverpool have injury problems as well as players out on suspension, but give me David Ngog or Ryan Babel any day of the week over Voronin. And there must be someone available who is better than Kyrgiakos — even on the reserve team?
Regarding the commentator for this match, it was Richard Kaufman who I thought did a very impressive job. Now if only Tim White and Martyn Hindley can learn from this fellow.