Beach Ball dents Liverpool’s Premiership title challenge

 | October 19, 2009


LiverpoolÂ's ailing title challenge is in serious danger of being permanently deflated after another morale sapping loss, this time against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. Darren Bent continued his emphatic start to the campaign by notching the only goal of the game – but it was a strike that was laced in controversy.

BentÂ's snap-shot deflected of a red beach ball lying in Pepe ReinaÂ's penalty area before hitting the back of the net and it has since been confirmed that according to the letter of the law, the referee should have disallowed the goal. Officials are obliged to stop play in any case of an unauthorized object entering the field of play, with a drop ball restarting play.

The Liverpool camp did not blame the incident for the loss, but in private will be ruing the incident, particularly as the ball was actually thrown by a Liverpool fan – an ironic twist of fate. It now leaves the Merseyside team languishing in eighth place in the Premiership, behind Sunderland and now seven points adrift of leaders Manchester United.

Liverpool have now already lost twice as many league games as they did in the entire of last season and realistically have to beat United next week to stay in the race. They are priced at 6/4 compared to UnitedÂ's 7/4 – with the bookies giving Liverpool the slight edge because of home advantage. In reality a draw is the likeliest result, priced at 21/10.

In the meantime Liverpool face another crucial tie – a midweek ChampionÂ's League encounter with French side Lyon. This again is very hard to call with key players Fernando Torres and Stephen Gerrard doubtful. The League 1 runners-up are also a deceptively strong side who carry a real goal-scoring threat with the likes of Lisandro Lopez and Miralem Pjaniæ. Again this match could well end up being a draw with 1-1 result priced at 13/2 seeming like a good punt.


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