Timmy picks up on one of the more bewildering aspects of Saturday afternoon. Looking at the Liverpool teamsheet before kick-off must have given the Fulham boys a bit of lift and the bench of a supposed title-challenging side wasn’t exactly overwhelming. If Benitez was looking to change things you could turn to the likes of Andrea Dossena, Ryan Babel, Damien Plessis, Peter Gulacsi, Jay Spearing, Nathan Eccleston and Daniel Sanchez Ayala.
It’s not stretching the bounds of credibility to propose that Fulham’s substitutes were stronger. Certainly, the two replacements that Roy Hodgson had to call upon at half-time made a telling contribution to the final result, as we’ve already noted today. The mere fact that Fulham, suffering from similar injury problems that have been dogging Benitez, had comparable strength in depth to Liverpool shows just how impressive Roy’s recruitment has been in recent months.
Timmy also makes a good point about Liverpool’s sideways passing. Going back to an era I really wouldn’t want to revisit it was reminiscent of that season when Ray Wilkins took over the reigns at the Cottage and, in the words of a good friend of mine, you just didn’t know when the pre-match practice passing drills had stopped and when the match had actually begun. Benitez likes to play with the two holding midfielders – but that leaves Liverpool lacking in penetration further up the field, especially when Yossi Benayoun is deployed out wide, where he’s much more easily marked than when he’s bursting through the middle in support of Torres.