It was meant to be a new beginning for LFC. For the first time in a while, we managed to compete financially with the big guns. Excitement could barely be contained when all four of our big signings decorated the First XI against Sunderland. On paper, it looked as if we were going to win this match quite comfortably. The first 45 minutes was a preview of the future. Luis Suarez, even after missing a penalty, was at his menacing best; Charlie Adam orchestrating the midfield just like what Xabi Alonso did a few seasons back; Steward Downing was very direct and purposeful, highlighted by a superb run from the halfway line in which he followed up with a rasping shot that hit the crossbar. It was a question of how many rather than how the final outcome was going to be.
Second half, however, was different. It was a reminiscence of the old Liverpool: rigid and uninventive. Passes started to go astray; too many long balls and too little penetration from the forwards. Credit to Sunderland, they managed to close down Adam and kept Downing quiet. Jordan Henderson was nowhere to be seen; Andy Carroll tried, but the support from a tired Luis Suarez was not as effective as the first half. Sunderland’s equalizer was a direct result of our inability to hold the ball. John Flanagan’s inexperience was exploited more than a few times, as one of his misjudgments led to a goal (well taken volley, mind) by Sunderland’s own debutant Seb Larsson.
Our play did not improve much after the goal. We were still sloppy and not patient enough to pass it around and probe the final third. Our performance tonight is a reminder that you really can’t build Rome in a day. It is always a work in progress when you signed four outfielders over the summer and try to incorporate them to our first XI all at once. We saw plenty of promise in the first half and some mistakes in the second half to be studied upon. Not the result we wanted, but there are still 37 games to play for. The potential is clearly there, we just need to work on the consistency. Easier said than done, but I believe we can do it. YNWA!