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Better?: Liverpool 1 - Villa 1

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I guess?

I suppose a battling draw, where Liverpool actually showed some desire to get back into it late and nearly take all three points is an improvement on the insipid, uncaring waiting for it to be over displays of the past couple weeks. But that's such a low bar setting that I kind of want to cry. But that's where we find ourselves, and there were some things to like today, which made it more watchable than the past few matches.

Oddly, or maybe not so these days, I thought Kenny's double substitution of Carroll and Bellamy for Shelvey and Downing blunted Liverpool's momentum, and only the crush of pressure at the end forced an equalizer. From the start, Liverpool sported a 4-3-3 with a mish mash midfield of Shelvey, Henderson, and Gerrard all sort of sharing the forward most position and all of them kind of making a face at the holding role. But when that didn't work, Dalglish shifted everything around to a 4-4-2 with Gerrard returning to the right and Kuyt going up with Suarez.

I thought the new formation was starting to bubble at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second. Gerrard was finding more space out wide, and whipping some dangerous crosses in. Downing was combining well with a still very tired Enrique, and Henderson didn't look as lost in the middle than he does out wide.

Then the subs, which put Kuyt back out wide where he simply doesn't fit in a side that's going to have the ball a lot, Downing off and Gerrard back to the middle. So you bring Carroll on and then rob the side of the two best crossers they have in Downing and Gerrard. Behind two strikers, Gerrard doesn't get as advanced as he does behind one, having to shield Henderson somewhat. Kuyt thrashes about out wide, and whatever use Carroll might have is gone. I know that if Carroll is going to ever be of use he's going to have to play along with a side that goes through middle as well as getting on the end of crossed from wide, but with this limited time left and needing a goal why rob him of that? Thankfully, the introduction of Agger gave Liverpool another aerial threat from set pieces, which duly netted the tying goal.

But it's not enough, or it's not more. Maybe wishing for more is just too much these days.

Other thoughts:

-Yeah, Doni flapped at that cross. But the mistake came early enough in the match that a side with more confidence than a comatose sloth could have recovered. It took Liverpool over half an hour to do so.

-In a 4-4-2, I've always liked Gerrard from the right. That's not "on" the right, but from the right. He can stay out there if he so wishes and whip in crosses, or ghost in behind the strikers to get in goal-scoring positions. He certainly makes more sense there than Henderson. But he hates playing there, so he won't.

-With Agger healthy, I shouldn't have to see Jamie Carragher again, right?

-John Flanagan tries hard. And.....he tries hard.

-Someone get Enrique some oxygen.

-Another game, another commentator bitching over the top about Suarez's diving. Boy how it never gets old.