Après Burnley, le déluge. Everybody was doing it. Klopp sent the snowball down the mountain claiming we “won ugly” and soon enough Redworld was on-message.
“Winning while playing badly is a good sign”. What rubbish. Did mind erasers wipe the first two months of 2017? Swansea; played poorly and lost. Hull; didn’t even turn up. Leicester…you see where I’m going with this?
An occasional scramble to all three points doesn’t fix things. Ask Arsene Wenger. All it means is; you got away with it this time but don’t try it too often or you’ll be in trouble before you can say “is that two planes in the sky?”
There’s an irritating disrespect for teams that have regularly won stuff since we stopped doing it. With a rivalry as intense as Liverpool-United it’s understandable I suppose. They did it to us when we dominated.
You’re boring, you’re lucky, you’ve got the refs in your pocket, the opposition (apart from them) are all cowards, you’re dirty etc. I heard it all in the 1980’s, along with choice titbits about murder and unemployment which the children still haven’t grown out of. Evertonians had a list of offending officials that stretched across the park. They were and still are oblivious to the fact it only points people in the direction of a recurring inadequacy.
Then we started to struggle and guess what? Everyone else’s success was bought, and fortuitously so at that. They play badly but win. The less said about “Fergie Time” the better. What can you expect to do when you can’t pick your first-choice side anyway? Your best team isn’t the best in the league; obviously, you’re struggling from the get-go.
Lose players regularly to injury, or to long slumps in form like Coutinho, and you’re in bother. Firmino didn’t train for two weeks. Origi got a game after weeks of nothing, now he’s struggling. Lovren was recuperating from an injury and got a different one while resting. Has Souness arisen from the depths?
Add European football, Liverpool fans will need to watch this team through chewed fingers. So what else is new? Klopp’s aura swats aside dissent, particularly since most of it comes from that Dutch weirdo who tells him, Guardiola and Pochettino where they’re going wrong.
Here’s hoping a backlash isn’t silently building, making it more savage after previously mute subservience. We’re good at that.
The result against City was surprising, only because it was 1-1 and not 4-4. It wasn’t because of an abundance of defensive smarts. Liverpool’s 20 points against the other top six now can’t be bettered. Shame they don’t give out trophies for it. Petty quibble it may be but a side that’s top scorers in the division doesn’t have a genuine striker.
City targeted Milner, not because he’s no left back but because he gets no protection. Coutinho offered nothing up front either, calling his place into question again. Each side could moan about something afterwards. How Toure got to stay on I’ll never know, but in the end we’ve got to be happy with the point. There were a lot of good performances. Can was outstanding, Wijnaldum too, Mane was always a threat - but Lallana’s miss, oh man… It’s frustrating because tiny alterations in January might have given this team a better chance of matching Chelsea.
We may still look back on this season as the primary building block of something glorious. Football is weird, after all. With my glass half empty, annoyance seems the order of the day rather than grateful approval. That’s a good sign maybe, on a ground where Liverpool have been walloped far too often. It’s good not to go into the next fortnight fretting about a lousy defeat. Ask Arsene.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved