Razor's match review
Well fortunately the game was shown here today, al be it by a 2 hour delay. Still this gives me a rare opportunity to offer my insight into a game
The game kicked off and there was a very tense atmosphere within Anfield, understandable really with what was at risk today. Liverpool needed the 3 points to remain in with a shout of the title, defeat today would see Derby playing nationwide football next season.
Liverpool pushed forward with purpose, early on and Smicer played a wonderful ball through which set Danny Murphy and Nicolas Anelka through, Oakes was the saviour as early as the first 5 minutes. Minutes later Oakes agains saved Derby when he dived to his left to stop a Riise header.
However the pressure Liverpool were piling on told and on the 15th minute some neat play between Murphy and Smicer, the ball was passed to Owen, who himself had a fortunate bounce off of Riggot as he tried to squeeze through. As soon as the ball was past Riggott there was only one outcome and Owen finished in style in the top right hand corner over a helpless Oakes, who hit the deck too early.
From this point on there was only going to be one winner in this game.
1-0 and the Kop expected more, and it wasn't through a lack of effort, nor good football,that they had to wait until the second half. Anelka again was frustratingly caught offside on several occasions. The worst of which was on the 30th minute when he rounded Oakes to score after taking a pass from Riise, but alas he was ruled offside.
Derby hadn't had a meaningful shot on Liverpool's goal within the first 45 minutes.
The second half followed a similar pattern, Liverpool without playing at their best were dominating the game and Derby looked relegated already throughout.
Murphy put Owen clear again on 49 minutes, but he went wide and the chance was gone. A minute later Anelka should have done better as he picked up a poor clearence and smashed his shot over.
This pattern of play continued throughout, and Owen and Anelka missed chance after chance, which left me wondering, were Derby going to grab a late equaliser.
Their one big chance of the game came in the 80th minute. Dudek fumbled a ahot which let in Malcolm Christie, but the Polish goalkeeper made up for his error to scramble the ball to the safety of his arms. That's when I knew it'd be our day. We survived a scare and we had the game won.
As Derby pushed forwards in the dying minutes trying desperately to find an equaliser that would have delayed their inevitable plummet to division 1, they left gaps which I was sure would give us the opportunity to finish them off.
In the last minute of the game, Heskey played a ball through, and Owen beat the offside trap, rushed around Oakes to the right of the goal and cooly slotted it home in the left hadn corner of the goal, past a hopeless Derby defender.
Still there was a chance for the 3rd in the last action of the game as Litmanen half-volleyed a shot which Oakes saved as the ref blew the final whistle.
Not the greatest performance, but we dominated the game without getting out of third gear against what could easily have been a nasty Bannana skin. We return to the summit, maybe only for a day, but who knows. Come on Ipswich!