Football: Premiership poorer for Dons' penury

Dave Hadfield

Liverpool 2

Wimbledon 0

Something is lacking in the Premiership this season - and not merely the serious challenge to Manchester United that Liverpool might reasonably have been expected to make.

We are also missing out on the glorious uncertainty over which of the high-flyers the unloved upstarts of Wimbledon were next going to embarrass.

With the exception of a couple of smash-and-grab raids at Aston Villa and Newcastle, they have generally known their place - and the division has been the duller for it. They have lost the ability to batter their betters; not so much the muggers in the alley as the gang just shouting threats from across the street.

Joe Kinnear was voluble on the reasons for this state of affairs as he played the "poor old us" card after this defeat by opponents they have made a habit of humbling.

"There are two leagues within the Premiership now - those with money and those without. We're in one division and Liverpool are in the other," he said.

Wimbledon have leapt across that great divide in the past, but can only do so when every department of their team is in good working order. At the moment, their defence and midfield can be as suffocating as ever, but they lack the menace in attack that throws opponents off balance. With Efan Ekoku injured, Marcus Gayle struggling and Carl Cort in need of a rest, Kinnear says that he does not have a striker in form.

As if to underline the difference between the two clubs, Wimbledon paraded their new signing, Carl Leaburn, on the same day that they faced their old boy, Oyvind Leonhardsen, for the first time.

Leaburn, physically a prototypical Wimbledon striker but primarily - at pounds 150,000 - cheap, is the sort of hungry player Kinnear hopes will get him a few goals. Liverpool spent many times that sum on Leonhardsen and, if he continues to fail to make an impact, it will be an inconvenience rather than a disaster. No wonder that Kinnear was warming to his "them and us" theme.

He remains adamant that Wimbledon will not oblige the critics, who, he believes, are rubbing their hands in anticipation of getting rid of them, by getting sucked into the relegation zone. And, for all their lack of attacking threat, they were well on their way to frustrating Liverpool until Jamie Redknapp's two goals in the last 18 minutes confirmed the economic order.

Where his colleagues had unerringly found Neil Sullivan with their shots, Redknapp found the corners - bottom right with his left foot, top left with his right.

Those goals made Liverpool's fifth consecutive League win look more convincing than it was, although there were encouraging performances from Phil Babb, calm and assured at the back, and Jason McAteer, who gave them much of their impetus.

But it was Redknapp who was the undisputed match-winner. The Liverpool captain, Paul Ince, backed a winner before the match - Una's Choice, at a generous 8-1, in the 1.50 at Leopardstown - but it was his midfield colleague who backed himself successfully in the home straight later that afternoon.

But, to extend Kinnear's analogy, the Premiership is a two-horse race and the selling-platers cannot be expected to upset the odds all the time.

Goals: Redknapp (71) 1-0; Redknapp (84) 2-0.

Liverpool (4-4-2): James; McAteer, Matteo, Babb, Harkness; McManaman, Ince, Redknapp, Leonhardsen (Berger, 70); Fowler, Owen. Substitutes not used: R.Jones, Carragher, Murphy, Friedel (gk).

Wimbledon (4-4-2): Sullivan; Cunningham, Perry, Blackwell, Kimble; M Hughes, Jones, Earle, Ardley; Gayle (Clarke, 74), Cort (Leaburn 55). Substitutes not used: C.Hughes, Solbakken, Heald (gk).

Referee: M. Bodenham (Looe).

Bookings: Wimbledon: Cunningham, Blackwell.

Man of the match: Redknapp.

Attendance: 38,011.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Sport
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Amis: Taken to task over rash decisions and ill-judged statements
booksThe Zone of Interest just doesn't work, says James Runcie
Sport
Rodgers showered praise on Balotelli last week, which led to speculation he could sign the AC Milan front man
transfers
Life and Style
life – it's not, says Rachel McKinnon
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Corporate Tax Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - HIGHEST QUALITY INTERNATIONAL ...

Relationship Manager

£500 - £600 per day: Orgtel: Relationship Manager, London, Banking, Accountant...

Marketing & PR Assistant - NW London

£15 - £17 per hour: Ashdown Group: Marketing & PR Assistant - Kentish Town are...

Senior Network Integration/Test Engineer

£250 - £300 per day: Orgtel: Senior Network Integration/Test Engineer Berkshir...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home