Has Wembley ever witnessed such a pathetic performance from a cup final winning side? I’m not sure, but either way, Liverpool squeezed their way past Cardiff in an incredible Carling Cup Final.
The Carling Cup is an old conundrum, isn’t it? Depending on whether your team are still in the competition or not, it’s either regarded as highly as the winning the World Cup or is disregarded as the worthless ‘Mickey Mouse’ Cup.
That’s just typical of the fickle supporters that tend to support sides that are challenging for such trophies, isn’t it? I don’t remember too many United fans referring to the Carling Cup as such an insignificant achievement when they beat us in the Cardiff final in 2006. Fast forward to this season though and their attitude is quite different.
Alan Hansen clearly doesn’t see Liverpool’s triumph yesterday as a worthless piece of glory or an excuse for Liverpool to attempt to replicate older -and let’s face it- better glories. He’s suggested that this win could be a ‘significant moment in Liverpool’s history’. Of course it will Alan, just like Alan Shearer is a eloquant, profound and witty character whose bubbly personality lights up our television screens every weekend on Match of the Day. And don’t even get me started on Lawrenson.
It does speak volumes however, that a side containing players as pathetic and overrated as Jordan Henderson, Andy Carroll and Charlie Adam managed to win this trophy. It does suggest how lowly this competition must have been regarded by their bigger and better rivals.
Liverpool have been a succesful ‘cup team’ since the turn of the millenium, winning the League Cup three times and the FA Cup twice. All of which is little consolation to fans who are still convinced their side should be winning titles, despite their last victory back in 1990, which was even before Sky invented football in 1992.
I don’t want to give off the impression that I’m even slightly anti-Liverpool, but I am sceptical of a few players amongst their ranks, and decisions made by the club over the last 18 months or so.
Firstly, their transfer policy. The idea of taking a distinctly average player and paying three times his value purely due to the fact he’s English can’t be a sustainable one, nor can it be one that’s derived from any amount of common sense.
If Jordan Henderson was Honduran, or even Irish, he’d cost a modest £5 million at most. Throw in an upbringing in Wearside and a handful of England under-21 caps, and suddenly his transfer fee boosts to a reported £20million.
Chris Bascombe summed him up in his analysis in the Daily Telegraph perfectly, as a player who looked like he’d won the star prize in a be a Liverpool player competition.
Yet he’s not even the worst of the culprits.
I know Andy Carroll can’t help the fact that Liverpool paid such a ridiculous amount for him, just in the same way I suppose, Gary Neville can’t really help the fact he’s such a miserable, blithering idiot, he was just born that way. Although why such genetics don’t seem to have been inherited by his brother Phil can forever be considered a mystery.
Mr Carroll though, well he certainly looks like your higher class tramp with his perfectly coiffed dark, greasy locks which are reminiscent of Stig of the Dump, all he needs is a few Big Issues to hand out and he’d probably fit in quite well in Stoke-on-Trent.
Yet his apparent lack of footballing ability and allergy to doing anything productive astounds me, especially when you consider this guy cost £35million, that’s a “f*ck load” to you and me. A true disaster that makes the expensive Premier League flops Shevchenko, Balaban and Rebrov look like stunning success stories.
Anonymous from the off, Carroll’s influence on the game was close to that of a water pistol in Afghanistan, it’s nothing but a mockery.
At least he’s not alone in the Liverpool ranks however. Charlie Adam is a player whose over estimated ability has led to his downfall via a similar sequence of events. Both looked very impressive in teams where they were the vocal point, literally the only player that jumped out from the mediocrity seen in most teammates. As a result, both revelled in their roles as ‘Match of the Day’ players, those that look very impressive in highlights that is.
Bring them into a team where they’re not key figures but just another player that often appear live on Sky and the two traits that previously served them so well have evaporated.
I would add Stewart Downing to this list of despair and depression, but he saved himself with his first half decent performance of the season, one where he even managed to dribble past an opponent successfully. This (dubiously) earned him the man of the match award, purely through the shear shock factor I imagine.
Liverpool’s penalty shootout victory against Cardiff can therefore be considered a hollow one. I don’t want to patronize Cardiff with generic tedious comments like “didn’t they try hard?” or “they played excellently for a Championship side.” As if they’re a bunch of disabled kids who have just mastered toe poking for the first time, these are professionals that are paid very generously for their talents, what were you all expecting? A team of Andy Carrolls?
Regardless, you have to feel for Cardiff, they played superbly and their centre backs were both talismanic in defence. Ben Turner and Mark Hudson did make me wonder why our scouting team have to venture as far a field to find Paraguayans and Hondurans when must more competent English talent is stood right in front of them.
The event therefore, marked the sixth year since Latics were in a major cup final, and what an occasion it was. Okay, the result may have been terrible and Mike Pollitt’s early hamstring injury was a very early herald for subsequent events. but the day out was incredible, it almost beats the Auto Windscreens final of 1999.
Since, Wigan have been humbled by the likes of Crewe, Hull and Crystal Palace in this competition.
I can’t help but think the grand old day out can only help the team and fans alike unite for the season’s finale, which will ultimately end in a relegation battle, so it’s sad to see us wimp out pathetically in the early rounds when with a bit (ok, maybe a lot) of effort and a stroke of luck, we could have been at Wembley.
Instead, we were entertaining Aston Villa (or otherwise) in an insignificant 0-0 draw on Saturday. But as they say, every cloud and all that. Latics can take solace from a point and a clean sheet at home, I know, at home! It must be a miracle.
Goal of the Week: Robin Van Persie’s incredible curling effort in Arsenal’s astonishing comeback against Spurs was typical of the excellent season he’s enjoying.
Andy Liddell of the Week: The best way to crown your 900th Manchester United is with a last minute winner, ask Ryan Giggs if you don’t believe me.
Andy Webster of the Week: Darren Bent had a shocker of a weekend. Firstly, he had to endure a match in which he failed to score against a defence as strong as a chocolate fireguard, then he got injured and could miss the rest of the season and the European Championships.
Quote of the Week: Gary Lineker just can’t help himself when it comes to toilet humour, honestly Gary. “It’s always risky when it comes to number twos, it could easily backfire.”
Boselli Watch: After going more than three hours without a Snickers bar, Mauro was reported to have been charging around the changing room in a tiara and prom dress demanding answers as to why he was subbed for Gary no goals.