First off, I apologize for not getting the FA Cup final ratings done. For those of you that don't know, I am a Navy Reservist and am on Active Duty right now. I tried to get to them, but I just couldn't. So, with that out of the way, I must say it is much better to be reviewing this game than the final. I watched the final on my laptop at a bar in LaGuardia with two other great fans, one being the bartender. In fact, I intentionally missed my flight to make sure I would catch then end. If only it had been worth it.
So here are my FA Cup final thoughts: It isn't that Chelsea were particularly good in the final, because they weren't at all. Both goals were garbage, borderline lucky (and also a product of some individual poor play). As most of you know, I love Wee Jay Spearing, but I can't defend him here. He has served admirably trying to fill big shoes all season, but this was just too much for him. I don't know if he is getting tired or what, but he was directly responsible for both goals. However, I think he is still an immensely useful player for Liverpool. He is fine with playing a squad role, and is decent when he comes in, for the most part. What more could you ask for? You won't get cover as good as the starter ever. For cover, Spearing is perfect. As for Carroll, well let's just say we appear to be witnessing the proverbial turning of the corner. Mind you, it is a very slow, drawn out turn (much like a semi-truck), but it is happening. I hope it continues.
As for part deux of this series, well I would have rather won the first and lost the second. That said, the fluidity demonstrated has been seemingly there all season. It has been the finishing that has been lacking. It was a feel good victory, but let's be honest, it was empty. At this point, little matters. The only victory left is finishing above Everton. It has been a frustrating season, but the squad is young and there is potential. There is no way we can hit this much wood next year.
By the way, if you weren't sure what the Kop was singing when Terry got his yellow early on and a few times later as well, it goes, "She loves Scouse c--k, She loves Scouse c--k, John Terry's Mum she loves the Scouse c--k." The background is that Jaime Carragher's brother or uncle apparently got some of that. "And now you know...the rest of the story."
On to the ratings:
Reina - 7 - Not much he could do on the goal, but his save on Lukaku was unreal. Downing should have tracked Ramires. If Ramires whiffs and it goes in off someone else, we would blame Reina just the same.
Agger - 7 - Did well out there, but still tends to drift central a bit more than I like. It makes me nervous to see my left back making challenges in the center of the pitch. Just saying. Took his goal quite well and almost had another. I love a man who can faux-hawk a mohawk. I should give him a 6 for not giving Torres another forearm to the face.
Carragher - 7 - Overall he was great. Really didn't put a foot wrong and almost looked like he was playing his last game in front of the Kop.
Skrtel - 7 - Overall, limited Chelsea's chances, but really didn't have a lot to do. I was pissed when the traitor went to ground so easily in the second under a tiny challenge from Skrtel. I know Skrtel would have liked to at least have gotten his money's worth out of the challenge.
Johnson - 7 - He whipped in an unbelievable ball in the second half that Carroll just couldn't latch onto. Solid defensive showing, but couldn't insert himself too much on the attacking side of the field. I'm ok with that, he kept his side quiet.
Maxi - 6 - Well, judging by the wave instead of the overhead clap, this was definitely his last game in front of the Kop. Just as well, he was a good servant and loyal, but his time has come. He really struggled to impose himself on this game. He wasn't horrible, but wasn't fantastic either.
Henderson - 8 - Fantastic composed finish. He was extremely active in the center of the pitch. He actualyl playe din his preferred position and flourished. It gives me a bit of hope that he might actually mature into the "next Gerrard". This is one of the few times he has been played in that role in a straight 4-4-2 all season.
Shelvey - 7 - Unbelievably well taken goal. However, he is like a little spastic rabid cat in there. His touch is still poor, and his decision making is questionable. I am still waiting for legitimate signs that there is real talent in there. I am not sure this game showed it. However, he was decent.
Downing - 6 - It is really an unsung performance. Nothing he tried actually came off, and perhaps he should have been more selfish in the second. He was creative and lively though for most of the game. The big knock though is that he was responsible for Ramires on Chelsea's goal. The only reason he isn't a 7.
Carroll - 8 - He was fantastic. Between this and the FA Cup final, it appears as though he might actually be coming good. Just in time for the season to end. If he can take this work ethic and form into next season, I will be quite optomistic. If he ends up boozing all summer in Newcastle, well then...yeah.
Suarez - 9 - He put more balls through John Terry's crotch than John Terry has put through any of his teammate's wives' crotches. He is truly the king of the nutmeg. What is amazing is that everyone knows he is going to do it, and they are still powerless to stop it. He deserved a goal, but essentially scored the first with a bit of fantastic play.
Kuyt - N/A - Was this the curtain call? It is probably time, but he has been fantastic for Liverpool. His effort is unreal. Not enough time though to properly rate him.
Sterling - N/A - I thought he was going to smash his first touch into the net, or at least Turnbull's face. Alas, it didn't happen. Overall, he still looked lively, but it was a short cameo. I can't wait to see some extended runs.