“It’s not football anymore”, sang the visitors.
Yes, there was a degree of bitterness over the decisions and, obviously, these were the same petty snarks who’d revelled in our discomfort at the end of last season (so why sympathise?) But they’re right aren’t they?
I’ll ignore the conspiracists’ nonsense, arguing with them won’t change anyone’s ‘mind’ anyway, but we’d all be better off without VAR. The sooner it’s fumigated, the better.
It’s obviously been a great week. Being world champions is like something you cross off a bucket list. With top clubs, outsiders are obsessive about what you can’t do. The kind of people who’ll say “Fraudiola” with no awareness at all.
You will end up with people trying to play that godawful Queen record, so obviously there’s drawbacks. “No time for losers”; how apt for the times we live in. How doubly apt for the team we’re all watching in disbelief.
The beauty of our front three is that at least one turns up trumps at any given point. It was Firmino’s chance to shine this week.
While our boys soaked in whatever sunshine was going, Leicester were being brought down to earth by the other City, meaning their game with us had plenty riding on it for them.
The pre-match atmosphere bordered on frenzied, with a light show that Hawkwind might have thought ostentatious (ask your granddad). Good job nobody’s got epilepsy any more… It was a real treat watching the Reds respond with such disdain. Leicester reminded me of the boxer who knows he must hustle the favourite, get in his face.
A few early, sharp jabs and they weren’t quite so eager to dance, dropping back and leaving room to manoeuvre.
The only real problem was the finishing — again. The penalty confirmed where the points were going 50 minutes after it should’ve been all over.
But get me, trying to pick holes in a virtually perfect away performance against the team in second place. Got to keep in practise for whenever doomsday does arrive, I suppose.
There was enough to grumble about with Salah. I was amazed we didn’t see another Mane strop, such was Mo’s selfishness. The substitution, hardly needed at the time (and Origi did nothing anyway), was Klopp’s irregular reminder that the world doesn’t revolve around him, but that’s nit-picking in extremis, really.
Leicester (well, Schmeichel) complained about the penalty, a ludicrous attempt to divert attention away from a heavy loss perhaps or from the small delightful detail of Firmino sending Schmeichel himself into another post-code for the third.
Trent provided the coup de gras, aptly enough. He’d been great all game, even indulging in solid defending to confound us critics who say he’s rubbish at it. These players are making idiots of us all now.
There was delight in Man City’s collapse at Wolves, only to realise Nuno’s warriors were marching our way.
After a scandalous two-day break, of course. Like VAR, everyone thinks this is a nonsense but somehow Klopp’s the only one who’d regularly denounced the December schedule.
Not that anyone’s bothered about who pays to get in. Concern for supporters at such an expensive time went out the window long ago. Did it ever exist? It almost feels absurd mentioning it nowadays. They don’t care.
Wolves are a good side, tough and talented. They were far more resilient than Leicester and almost caught the tired Reds out on a rare off day.
We keep confounding detractors, who now almost sigh with relief whenever they’ve got a juicy referee controversy to deflect attention away from where and what we are.
Chances went begging in the first half, but it’s far-fetched to believe we can sail through the rest of the season without anxiety of some kind. This’ll be the way of it from now until May. Stock up the medicine chest.
Farewell, 2019. It’s been a lot of fun.