Today's soundtrack: Various Artists - Blaxploitation - The Sequel
Is it that long since I last posted? It's not even as if my days have been crammed with loads and load of activity either! Still, I'm back now, with a cracking football match to report on.
After being booted off the park (quite literally) by the shower across the park at the weekend, and missing our two best players as a consequence - I didn't hold out too much hope for last night's game against Chelsea.
Actually, before we get to the Chelsea game, let's vent for a bit.
How disappointing is it when a team of Liverpool's (supposed) stature can take to the field with a single aim in mind - that being to nullify the threat of the opposition by deliberately setting out to injure your team's two best players? The tone was set in the first few seconds, when Carragher flattened Pienaar with a forearm smash after the ball had gone - which went completely unpunished by the referee. Of course, Carragher 'isn't that kind of player', is he? If he'd walked - or at least been booked - as he should have, then the game might have been played in a decent spirit. Unfortunately, the tone had been set. Henceforth, Pienaar was either fouled - or fouling - for the rest of the game. Threat nullified. And whilst he could easily have walked for the tackle on Mascherano, the way in which Gerrard eventually got him sent off (falling to the ground, clutching his face after Pienaar jumped gently into his back) was again distasteful.
But Stevie G's 'not that kind of player' either, is he?
And so to the Fellaini incident. Having managed to avoid a crippling lunge from Mascherano, the big man was victim to a two-footed lunge by the big fat Greek lad, who got himself injured in the process. Commentators seemed to make great play of the fact that Fellaini himself was guilty of lifting his foot and thereby going over the top into the Greek's leg with his studs. Well let's be clear here - had he kept his foot on the ground, the likelihood is his ankle would have been snapped in two. I'd have lifted my foot as well!
A shame that the FSW has reduced that team to a bunch of opportunistic cloggers.
Anyway, rant over. On to more pleasing things.
With Arteta and Bilyaletdinov in for Pienaar and Fellaini, we had a very skilful, but worryingly lightweight midfield lining up against a strong Chelsea side. And for the first twenty minutes or so, it looked like we'd suffer as a result. They showed huge amounts of quality to pin us back in our half, and the goal when it came had a certain amount of inevitability about it. Route one stuff, with Drogba flicking a header into the path of Malouda, who outmuscled and outran Philip Neville to push the ball into the far corner.
Oh dear. At this point, it looked like it might end up four or five nil.
But the Blues rallied, and slowly managed to get a foothold in the game. After a succession of corners, with interchanging corner takers, Donovan drilled a corner from the far side just over the despairing head of the hapless John Terry, onto the head of Louis Saha who buried the ball in the net.
1-1, and game on. From this point on, the tide began to turn and we took a grip on the game, with Donovan visibly growing in confidence - a realisation, perhaps, that he was not out of his depth in this company. On the stroke of half time, he was put through one on one with Carvalho, who was fooled by his turn in the box sufficiently to bring the American down. Penalty! Up stepped Louis, having turned Arteta away, to see his shot saved by Cech to his left. Not the best penalty in the world but still a good save.
Oh dear again. What would this do to the players' confidence? 1-1 at half time, which I'd have taken at kick-off, but a nagging feeling that you've got to take your chances against these teams. Would we live to regret that penalty miss?
Well no, as it happens. We kept up the pace, and the pressure, and with fifteen minutes to go, it paid off. A long ball from Distin towards Saha. Terry misjudged the flight of the ball which went over his head onto the chest of Saha. Cute bit of control, left footed volley with pace past Cech. Fantastic goal, and a deserved 2-1 lead.
Could we hold on? As you would expect, this stung Chelsea into action, and we withstood some sustained pressure over the course of the last fifteen minutes, with Distin and the wonderful Johnny Heitinga majestic in the heart of the defence. I am definitely beginning to feel a bit of man-love for our Johnny. Yes, he's a grock, but he's our grock.
After a ludicrous five (five!) minutes of injury time, the whistle finally blew. A stunning result in a high quality game,which went a long way to removing the nasty taste left in my mouth after the derby.
Soundtrack today is from the second of three (possibly more, actually) compilations of soul and funk music under the 'Blaxploitation' banner. The compilations largely comprise extended mixes of '70s sould tunes, loosely associated with the Blaxploitation film genre that was prevalent for a while in the decade. Which means lots of tunes with the word 'Ghetto' in the title, lots of Curtis, Quincy, James and Sly. And which of course means tons and tons of high quality tunes.
This is Bobby Womack, with the magnificent 'Across 110th Street' - from the soundtrack of the film of the same name, and also used by Tarantino over the opening credits of Jackie Brown, his own homage to the genre.