match: last season, ‘pool went to sheffield united on the opening day of the season. they were expected to win the match, but everyone should know that ‘pool always struggle against teams who play physically and backed by a raucous home support. coincidentally, they succumbed to the match, played badly and was lucky to earn a point via a dubious penalty. a case of deja vu was frighteningly expected for yesterday’s match, what with the red and white stripes and black shorts combo of the home team. however signs were pleasing in the early stages of the match with voronin coming close to score in the 1st minute after a bad backpass by the home team, only to be spoiled by the agile and alert craig gordon. it was unfortunate to have injuries to hypia and then carragher to spoil rafa’s plans – just like last year when inhuries to riise and garcia spoilt the momentum of ‘pool’s game. and as the match wore on, ‘the liverpool trait’ was becoming more apparent. possession was held over and over again, shots were raining in but still no end result. this due to some inept killer instinct and the superb sunderland keeper keeping things at bay.
players: the positive thing that can be taken off from this game was pennant’s game. he seems to be picking up from the end of last season to indicate that he can become a class act. his drive and enthusiasm plus his directness and eye for the killer pass was instinctive. it was him who pulled back alonso’s lob for voronin to lay it to sissoko to score the first goal. it was him too who combined well with babel with a killer one-two for voronin’s goal. give him more games and freedom and soon everyone can say ‘simao who?’ other than that one-two, babel’s game was disappointing. possibly so, he was not given enough room and freedom to explore the left side. possibly also because he has little support from arbeloa unlike pennant who has finnan to attack the right flank. it should be very obvious for rafa to note that he needs a left back that can run the flank. torres was energetic with little luck but voronin looks to be a very class act. and even though he scored the first goal, sissoko was as usual running like a headless chicken losing possession very often.
man of the match: jermaine pennant
interesting moment: when carragher was shouting to the bench that he needs to substituted but rafa apparently was more interested in replacing babel. i wonder what he shouted at rafa when he reached the touchline. amazing.
match rate: 6.5/10