Perfect? Not really. In terms of points, perhaps, yet grumbling seems futile and ungracious when you bear witness to what this team is capable of.
I said last week that when things go your way, it puts the finishing touch to an already impressive side. There was much talk afterwards about the quality of the opposition — “it was Arsenal” — like that means much these days.
The Invincibles they’re not. Thierry Henry could’ve had that sewn up within half an hour on Saturday. Even the Examiner helped us out beforehand. A headline about Luiz being more Colossus than clown could only ensure one outcome.
They’d made a decent start, apart from giving Liverpool’s notoriously fruitful full-backs the freedom of Anfield. On such a warm evening, intensity had to be measured, and the likes of Henderson looked exhausted quickly, yet he continued to plough his vital yet curiously much-maligned furrow.
It would have been interesting to see and hear the reaction had Pepe punished his awful toe-poke backwards when it was 0-0, mind.
Matip broke the deadlock, continuing an impressive run of form stretching back to spring that we didn’t realise he had in him.
It’s too convenient to lay every defensive improvement at Van Dijk’s door, the idea being that even Phil Babb could look good alongside the Dutchman. Matip was one of our best players and has been for a while now.
Once Virgil had recalibrated for the pace and trickery of Pepe (whilst being grateful the finishing wasn’t on remotely the same level), he was fine and completely at ease.
Maybe I’m putting too much importance on things going our way, yet the penalty came at exactly the right time. Not that there was much doubt about it, but this being the modern game (and Salah), there inevitably had to be an argument.
Hard to maintain such a pace in that heat in the most favourable of circumstances, but 2-0 down would always be too much for the visitors.
As at Southampton, Liverpool should’ve been out of sight before an unwelcome, albeit consolatory, goal near the end.
But we’re having these little stumbles when they don’t matter. When you’re flying at this height, you feel invulnerable to football’s nasty illogical traps.
In recent times, this had been a thoroughly odd fixture. There can’t be another that produces so many goals, not always from the likeliest of sources either. Three for Crouch, four for Arshavin or Baptista spring readily to mind.
Nothing went wrong for Arsenal for about six years, though the input of Hodgson, Dalglish, and even Rodgers might have aided and abetted that.
Since the first, infamous 5-1, nothing has gone right for them. Liverpool coasting now has the air of a new normality about it.
Arsenal fans at least tried to tap into better days, even supplying what I can only presume was an ironic shout of “hoof!” at one point, harking back to the early part of this century when they invented good football. And 1989, of course. It’s okay for some people to revel in the faded past, apparently. In contrast, the Kop was loud and regular with its reminder that we are champions of Europe. A stark statement of how things are between the two clubs nowadays.
Speaking of Europe, Liverpool are thankfully making full use of this relatively quiet time. When the Champions League kicks in, two games a week will be the norm and this level of intensity may be too much even for the cyborg Robertson.
Losses for Everton and United, another win for the top-spot Reds. I’ve had worse weekends. Still doesn’t feel completely right, somehow.
To paraphrase from The Maltese Falcon, complaining isn’t something you can do judiciously unless you keep in practice. So, what the hell is going on with those socks, eh? They’re just an abomination, aren’t they?
This is the barrel-bottom scraping I’ve been reduced to. Pray for me.