Smooth sailing, so Sadio’s strop provides drama

Until 2019, I’d never seen Liverpool win a European tie after losing the first leg 3-0. That it was against Barcelona, and the world’s greatest ever player, only embellishes the miracle.

Smooth sailing, so Sadio’s strop provides drama

Until 2019, I’d never seen Liverpool win a European tie after losing the first leg 3-0. That it was against Barcelona, and the world’s greatest ever player, only embellishes the miracle.

I’d never witnessed 13 league wins in a row either, or a defender — our defender — be crowned Europe’s best player. This is why we keep at it. You’re never done seeing things you’ve never seen before.

The first international break is always irritating and, like last year, even more so when the Reds are flying. Maybe they’ll all return still firing on all cylinders, maybe they’ll all come back without injuries. Maybe.

There are still some tiny quibbles, almost as though misery vampires (who, me?) thirst after them. Last week’s nonsense over Bobby Duncan, for example.

Seen it before with Sterling, when the agent throws himself under a bus in order to wrest his client away. Spectacularly so, this time.

Klopp had earlier seen fit to insist Shaqiri still had a part to play here, despite virtually vanishing during the second half of last season.

I’m sure he was just thrilled to be getting it in the neck from one of the kids, too, especially one seemingly named after a 1970s talent show contestant, with hair to match.

There are divergent angles here.

No club wants to look foolish after letting a youngster go and then have him turn out to be one of the game’s superstars with somebody else. You can cling on a bit too much though, to everyone’s disadvantage.

You feel as though the richest clubs could reasonably bite that bullet, sell up and buy them back if absolutely necessary, as United did with Pogba (though it’s doing them a fat lot of good currently).

Ben Woodburn’s still ours, three years after being tipped as the next big thing. He and Harry Wilson are both out on loan again, one of them with Oxford!

Stupid thing is, Duncan might’ve got a chance in the Carabao this month and has probably shot himself in the foot. It’s an intricate balancing act.

Most of us believe the likes of Gerrard, Owen, Fowler, or Carragher would’ve made it regardless of circumstances — but they were all given vital game time in average Liverpool sides. Klopp simply can’t afford to mollycoddle teething nippers right now. We’re too good.

Burnley was widely tipped as the most awkward fixture of the opening month. How easily they were dealt with is a testament to how much this team has grown.

Though they’d only beaten us the once, Dyche’s Wimbledon-lite did score first in five of the previous six meetings. They nearly did it this time, too.

When it’s going your way, Trent’s speculative cross hits somebody and balloons into the net. The big test comes when these little moments start falling for the opposition instead, but so far not a hint of it.

Dyche is a hard man to like.

Does anyone complain as much as he does? He was fairly restrained after Saturday, so even he must sense how ridiculous he sounds sometimes. It’s a start, I suppose.

He’s clearly got something on the go; big fish, little pond.

If he chose his next move better than Moyes did (couldn’t do worse) he’d be a genuine threat somewhere else, but he needs that chip surgically removed from his shoulder.

Van Dijk dealt with the aerial threat comfortably, not that anyone expects much else nowadays, and we took enough chances to ensure a smoother ride to the finish than in previous weeks.

More was made of Mané’s little strop than seems necessary, but there must be some drama, I suppose. Salah’s greediness was never in doubt.

It works for him and for us generally, but something in Sadio just snapped.

It’s not like he hasn’t shot himself rather than passed in the past. What’s Klopp supposed to do, tell his main goalscorers there’s no ‘i’ in team?

Good luck with that.

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