Liverpool, one of the biggest football clubs in Europe and one of the most fearsome in the English Premiership, lost a Carling Cup encounter with lowly Northampton on Wednesday night. Liverpool did rest a plethora of players (Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres, Pepe Reina, Jamie Carragher) but they still chose a starting eleven including a South American player of the year, a Dutch prodigy, the best Greek defender, the best Danish defender and one of the stars of the Spanish national youth teams. It was all to no avail. Liverpool drew 1-1 in normal time, 2-2 after extra time and then proceeded to lose on penalties.
Roy Hodgson, the Liverpool manager, is certainly not endearing himself to the Liverpool faithful. Since his appointment a couple of months ago Liverpool have hardly won a match and are stuck at the bottom end of the Premiership table. To make matters worse they will now not be competing for glory in the Carling Cup. Liverpool fans might retort that the Carling Cup was not especially high on the list of their priorities this season but it did offer the club with a realistic chance of success and that has now gone.
Ryan Babel continued to frustrate the Liverpool fans with his performance. The young Dutchman was signed for a multi million pound deal but since arriving at Liverpool has never warmed himself to the fans or played particularly well consistently. Asked to lead the line against Northampton the Dutch itnernational fared badly. In defence Kyrgiakos and Agger, two established international defenders, often struggled and failed to provide the rest of the team with a solid platform. Pacheco, the young Spanish starlet, was disappointing but can be excused on the grounds of inexperience. He truly is a novice when it comes to the first team. Jovanovic and N’Gog did both manage to score but N’Gog’s late equaliser deep in injury time ended up counting for nothing as he then proceeded to miss a penalty in the shoot out and consequently see his team exit the tournament.
As Roy Hodgson conceded Northampton did play especially well but the result still acts as a shock. Northampton’s manager Ian Sampson obviously applauded his players after the match and said his squad are looking forward to the draw for the next round and will be hoping for another clash with a big side. Manchester United and Arsenal are potential opponents. Northampton currently play in League 2, the lowest of the divisions in the systemised league of four (Premiership, Championship, League 1 and League 2).