Liverpool crashed out of the FA Cup last night as an embarrassing 2-1 (AET) reverse at home to Reading left Liverpool's season in tatters. Liverpool lacked creativity after Gerrard and Torres had to be subsituted, suffering from injuries that will keep them out for 2 weeks and 6 weeks respectively, and were toothless in front of goal throughout, especially during extra time when both Benayoun and Ngog missed clear cut chances which, if converted, would have sent the Reds through.
The importance of this competiton to the Reds this season was shown in Rafa's selection as the Spaniard picked a near full strength side, with only Cavalieri and Degen given a rare run out. Torres, Gerrard, Aquilani and Benayoun all started signalling Liverpool's attacking intent, but this intent didn't materialise at any point during the tie, with another below par display that was punished by an energetic and determined Reading side.
Liverpool have grounds for complaint but over the course of 180 minutes, plus 30 minutes of extra time at Anfield, Liverpool got exactly what they deserved. Absolutely nothing. The penalty given in favour of Reading was a pathetic decision from Phil Dowd. Benayoun touched Shane Long's ankles but the lanky, useless striker threw himself over like he was being attacked by heavy gunfire. It was a ridiculous decision, but nothing more than the Royals deserved as they had performed well throughout, dominating the game at times, and squandering several gilt edges opportunites. Following that unbelievable decision, Alberto Aquilani was hugged by a Reading defender in the box, after Liverpool had fallen behind, and, even though he was in a perfect position to make the right call, Phil Dowd ignored the screams from the Kop and the desperate protestations of the bewildered Liverpool players.
All Reds fans knew it wouldn't be their night after Benayoun shot straight at the keeper when clean through, and Ngog disappointingly scuffed his weak effort wide of the post, when even a half fit Fernando Torres would have put the ball in the back of the net with relative ease.
Once again Liverpool were awfully bad and lacking any sort of cutting edge, as has so often been the case, in this season that has gone from bad, to worse, to even worse, and now i'm at the point where i'm thinking, "Is this all a dream, because there is no way we were this shockingly dreadful last season."
All we can do is back the lads and back the boss and hope that the cowboys sell up soon (preferably with a massive loss, in financial terms, as they definitely don't deserve to make a single penny out of the mess they have put us in). As Rafa always says, lets "concentrate on the next game."