TERRACE TALK: Reaction from the weekend's top Premiership action

LIVERPOOL

TERRACE TALK: Reaction from the weekend's top Premiership action

Make it 300k per week if you like. We’ll pass the hat round at the end of every home game if he keeps this up, and probably raise enough to sign Messi too.

You’d be a mug for thinking there’s no loophole in this latest deal, but, as always, the gauntlet lies at our feet. He’s one of the world’s best, we’re not; we are the ones with something to prove.

That’s four very good wins, with 17 goals; Suarez was involved in them all. Given the weeping and wailing after Hull (it wasn’t just me) there’s been an emphatic, swift response.

The incredible, seismic thrashing of Spurs gave us some holiday wiggle room. Halfway to winning the home games we’re supposed to, our next two trips won’t be comfortable exactly, but fans can at least relax in the knowledge losing won’t be the end of the world.

Others are becoming increasingly belligerent though, if “hey? Why not us?” counts as belligerent nowadays, but we should remain wary of the boot in the teeth that normally ends modern Liverpudlian optimism.

En garde, as they say – just before they stick a rapier in your guts. Last week’s success was more seismic for Tottenham and AVB obviously, and with the visit of Cardiff there’s been much handwringing about managerial casualties. The record sadly suggests that unfair dismissal is actually benefitting more clubs than it hinders, so expect more of it in future.

The odd eyebrow was raised when Rodgers took pot-shots at “rich owners who know nothing about football”, given that some thought this was how he got his job originally.

Liverpool’s lofty position, and that photo of John Henry courting the Everton-rejuvenating Martinez in Florida, is enough to suggest Brendan can claim his own boss no longer belongs in that ever-growing category.

Despite that, I found the old sentimental itch for Kenny needed another scratch.

If Tan summoned Mackay to Malaysia, then sacked him and sent him back to Britain, there’d be national uproar. For Kenny, there was barely a shrug. It wasn’t just Luis affected by the Evra saga.

Right now the huffy/puffy brigade blow out their cheeks and mutter about the ends justifying the means, but it still wasn’t right.

Dalglish is back in the fold, amply captioned by his joyous reactions at the Lane. He’s obviously a more forgiving person than I am.

The early moments on Saturday were tentative. These games are more about professionalism now; getting the job done, not allowing complacency to creep in whatsoever. Brendan had his hands-in-pockets “what, me worry?” pose down cold, and his team duly backed him up.

What’s great about the last two games is the increasing involvement of Henderson; he helped set up every goal against Cardiff, complementing his accepted industriousness. Giggles are suppressed when bloggers headline their articles “Gerrard’s Heir”. Think it will take a lot more than this to justify such claims, but there’s genuine delight here for a kid who’s taken so much stick and come out the other side stronger.

The smell of an old foe gave Allen extra zip, Sterling has found remnants of his former promise and despite a second half twitch or two it was eventually fairly comfortable. Defensive lapses may prove costlier in the short and long term whilst Skrtel’s penchant for wrestling will be punished soon, but all told we are happy. Incredibly so, in fact.

Despite the occasional tiresome chant and a few side-street skirmishes – probably the major reason they were kept behind – it was still heart-warming to hear fulsome Anfield support for the Cardiff fans and Mackay.

We know what it’s like to be in the evil, dark-gloved grasp of an arrogant, insufferable ownership.

Those days now seem largely behind us, but it’s nice to know we can still show sympathy to those in need at this time of year. Merry Christmas.

Er, I mean “humbug”. Obviously.

MANCHESTER UTD

I’ve got the festive spirit, lads. Spirits, in fact: a range of bottles ready for this week that even Fergie would say was a bit much. So I’ll get the negativity out of the way early doors: Januzaj, knock it off, now.

The boy played so well and scored on Saturday, but the dive spoiled what should have been an unalloyed personal triumph. As a colleague remarked: “It was almost a parody of a dive. He all but did the hands-together action.”

Can one blame him, though? Perhaps he’s just taking his cue from the managerial indemnity seemingly offered to the man who is Britain’s most eligible young diver, now that Tom Daley’s come out, viz. Ashley Young.

His hardfaced comments earlier in the week demonstrated he has still not understood fans have found his behaviour unacceptable.

Young did score two cracking goals last week, which to some one-eyed Reds took him off the naughty step for the time being, but for many he remains a player of whom to be suspicious.

We don’t want Adnan to slip into that category: he’s already got enough man-love invested in him from the 75,000 to make him a potential heartbreaker.

West Ham were fairly awful, and we all thoroughly enjoy the sight of the widely-loathed Big Sam now squirming near the relegation sackzone, but let’s not take anything away from the pace and power United finally displayed at Old Trafford after weeks of hesitancy.

Another twist of the selection kaleidoscope gave us a Rooney/Jones central combo that pleased, and the continuing return towards form of Valencia gives us hope that our flanks may not be completely shot after all.

Obviously I exempt Buttner from that widemen eulogy: he was often comically uncontrolled and directionless. We read in the papers that he may be sent to Italy in January, to which my colleague Bernard Niven snorted “he’ll probably show up in Greece, three weeks late, looking utterly bemused and clutching a Latvian phrasebook.”

Another part of the supposedly Great Fergie Legacy that has turned out to be one of the lowlights of the Will reading.

Let’s also remember Saturday was achieved without Carrick and RVP, although we are obviously gagging for their comebacks. I hear Carrick may even make the trip to Hull on Thursday, although Moyes is playing it safe publicly and speaks only of New Year’s Day being the target.

Humberside will certainly not be a doddle against the canny Steve Bruce, and the weather forecast sounds grim, so one hopes the officiating cannot be as atrocious as it was on Saturday, where the ref got almost all of the half-dozen major decisions wrong. McCartney’s lunge on Hernandez could have put the boy out for the season, and the World Cup, yet somehow escaped the red card punishment merited. Mention of the looming tournament reminds us that, as the season goes on, World Cup Syndrome may become a factor. Most of our lads have their beady eyes trained on Rio plane berths, and United’s record in World Cup seasons is not very good — we’ve only ever won one title in a World Cup year — which some would partly put down to the almost imperceptible reticence than can creep into players’ physical commitment as squeaky bum selection time approaches.

Moyes has never been a coach who’ll accept physical coasting, so one trusts he’ll be nipping that in the spring bud.

But let us now pause, and toast each other, dear reader, in a Yuletide week that will now unfold in much happier circumstances than seemed likely just three weeks ago.

A relatively easy European draw, a place in the League Cup semi-finals assured, and a transfer window soon to be open, with suggestions that Santa will look kindly on Little Davey’s wish-list.

He’s been a good boy, on the whole: he’d deserve it.

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