Liverpool had a plan. But everybody's got a plan.
I wanted to rant and rave about yesterday's loss in Russia. There certainly seemed to be a lot at first to get one's dander up.
But the more I thought about it, the less I could. Brendan Rodgers came in with a pretty spot-on plan to play Zenit. They knew they'd be on the backfoot at times. They probably knew the pitch was going to look minefield-like, and that the passing game wouldn't always work. A counter-attacking, more direct style was the order of the day, figuring that they could get Luis Suarez and maybe one or two others some chances to get a vital away goal.
Here's the thing. It worked for 70 or so minutes. Yes, Reina had to make some brilliant saves, but wasn't he always going to? Sure, things seemed a bit rough for the opening 20 minutes. But was this Liverpool team always going to be in control against the Russian champions?
And they got Suarez those chances. Four glaring ones. And he missed them all. And that was basically that. But am I supposed to really get pissed at El Pistolero when he's by far the biggest reason this season hasn't been one long eye-stabbing? Every player loses form at some point in the season, it's just painful that Suarez's loss of form becomes so obvious and so detrimental.
Am I going to get upset that it was Jordan Henderson who lost possession to lead to the first goal when he's been a bright spot the past couple months? Probably not, seeing as how it took a Hulk hadouken Street Fighter blast to score. What do you do about that?
I will get upset however at Liverpool once again losing concentration at the back quickly after a first goal to concede a killer second. 1-0 defeat heading back home was not the end of the world. 2-0 very well might have been. And again, it's from a player you count on to not do that, this time Glen Johnson. But whether it's Johnson now or Agger or Reina or someone else before, it keeps happening. And it can't. Same with Suarez at the other end. These are the big guns. They can't miss.
And I will get upset just how much of a capitulation came after those two goals. We saw it in the second half of last year, and it got Dalglish dismissed. A sense of "here we go again" comes over the team, and they basically run out the clock feeling sorry for themselves. Anyone think this will be the last time it happens?
It'll take a miracle now to go through, which leaves a whole lot of not much to go in this season. And I guess that's what hurts the most.