Terrace Talk: Good time to take stock for Liverpool

Joint top after the last month’s games, without ever hitting top gear? Straw clutch, number one.

Terrace Talk: Good time to take stock for Liverpool

By Steven Kelly

Joint top after the last month’s games, without ever hitting top gear? Straw clutch, number one.

Napoli was bad, excruciating. The one thing you’d say is that it’s been a while, it came as a shock. Straw clutch, number two (though that one’s a bit flimsy).

Those days when Liverpool could make your jaw drop, in the worst way, don’t seem to happen much anymore.

Salah and Mane have always had their tendency to go off the rails. As much as Mohamed scores, you can make a lengthy DVD of the easy chances he misses too.

No, it’s Firmino we need to watch. When someone like Gerrard singles somebody out, you know they’re important — and when he starts going AWOL it’s time to worry.

You’ve also got to fret about the €100m worth of midfielders not making a dent so far. Hard to figure out what it is Fabinho actually does, Keita was poor even before his weird injury and he wasn’t great against City either.

We said this about Oxlade-Chamberlain last year too of course and it’s been a decent start despite tricky fixtures. Too soon for concern, surely?

Joe and Virgil held out best they could but the only surprise was Napoli taking so long to finish us off. Like a cat with a bird, it felt a bit cruel.

Anyway, fair play to them. They were good no matter how bad we were and deserved to win. No harm in admitting it. We’re not City, after all… Aah, le riche nouveau and their damned silly bus with its secret cameras they told the whole world about. What the hell’s got into them?

Hatching plans to enter Anfield unmolested, brick-subtle hints about how they would’ve won the Champions League otherwise… Lads, you’re City. It’s Anfield. We haven’t needed ‘intimidation’ for these last 60 years, no real call for it now.

This happened with Chelsea in 2005, all that ghost goal drivel. An unnaturally swift rise into the (urgh) elite gives them all a nasty outbreak of the bends, also a sense of outraged entitlement whenever things go wrong, however rarely.

Then they come here and sing about us always being victims. Priceless.

I’m not pretending we haven’t had our moments in the past, as someone who still hates Nottingham Forest because of 1978 can testify.

That was different; they stopped us winning three leagues in a row and three European cups in a row. It was a big deal then. Antagonism was at least earned.

If we were watching a 100-point team I suspect we’d be a bit more chilled about it.

Not that we’ll get the chance to find out, obviously.

City still exploit their old clown façade so you’re not supposed to be revolted by their shady rebirth. I’m afraid ‘sympathy’ went out the window long ago.

I’m sure they’re bothered, but it doesn’t stop them obsessing about us more than is surely necessary.

The match was tight, they were slightly better but until the penalty it looked a nailed-on 0-0. Gomez was a bit shaky at right back, but nothing like as bad as Trent was in Naples.

Lovren might have conceded a pen earlier, but otherwise looked pretty strong.

We just don’t look as fired up as normal, the opening minutes notwithstanding, so it seems we’re still struggling with two games a week.

Certainly the quality of the opposition has played its part lately, so this is a good time to take stock and iron out a few wrinkles.

The penalty was a concern, but it’s City so you half-expected it would end up in outer space. They gave it to someone who’s missed quite a few in his time.

I’d say typical, but they don’t do that anymore. Or so they tell us…

International breaks are a gigantic ache in the rectum, but we’ll take this one with a relieved sigh. Work in progress, again.

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