PAUL COPE is insistent. Put it in context. Put this in context. So let’s put it in context. A side that has just lost at Manchester City, has never played this back four before, three of whom are new signings, giving Balotelli his debut have just dominated the side which finished sixth and has won its first four games of the season. Though they do have a new coach.
And this isn’t December, it is August. And the performance isn’t August; second half especially, it is majestic.
Last season’s defining performance took place at White Hart Lane. It was the game where Liverpool announced their pre-eminence. Today they confirmed it.
Throughout the 90 minutes Liverpool were by far the brighter side. Balotelli spurned a better chance after two minutes than Liverpool managed to create for 70 against City. But Balotelli brought this side into its third dimension. His very presence a threat, a distraction. A handful. It allowed Sturridge to be effervescent, flitting around the game, finding pockets and testing weak links.
But debutant centre forward and inexperienced defenders aside – this game was about Liverpool’s midfield. Henderson and Sterling especially good and both picking up where last season left off. Their tactical intelligence and ability to do everything football demands is immense. Henderson is 24, Sterling is 19. Football drips off them and both need to be central to everything this team tries to do.
Gerrard spent the first half poor on the ball but excellent off it. Allen finds his way through football matches, endlessly solving problems, educated not trained. The diamond’s return didn’t just make Liverpool more threatening but it made them more solid. Gerrard had less room to cover and more help because of his teammates and the shape but his performance is one to be proud of.
The centre halves looked like lads who haven’t played together. They haven’t. They also want to constantly play into midfield. This is better than the contrary. It just is. It means Liverpool will always look to play.
The young full backs impressed, both want to win the ball high. Both want to get on top. Moreno will rightly get the headlines, Manquillo deserves credit. A mature performance spending an hour on a yellow.
The season starts with prologue, not with Chapter 1. It’s half a beginning and we all start again in a fortnight. But Liverpool now have two of their toughest ten games out the way; three of their toughest 20. They’ve taken six points. They have also made winning at Spurs seem routine. Spurs will finish top six but winning at these grounds is what we do. We are Liverpool.
Performances and results mean something even in the prologue. If we are this good against the sixth or seventh best team in the country then what will we do to the rest of them? I can’t wait to find out.
Paul Cope is right to insist on context. Let’s go with him. The most important context to put this game in is this – the gulf between Liverpool and Spurs is significantly greater than that between Manchester City and Liverpool. The former is the size of the Atlantic Ocean. The latter is that between the Liver Buildings and Birkenhead and it is getting smaller every week. Stoke’s result yesterday tells you it’s the Cunard to Hamilton Square.
We get to paint the town red tonight. Wherever you are Liverpool have now confirmed this – we’re back on the adventure. We’ve loads of towns to paint red and these remain lads you can give your weekends to.
Go and end this evening the way you ended last season – singing songs with your friends. These are definitively now two connected seasons. They’ll make us dream again, these wonderful, gutsy young men, guided by the marvellous Rodgers and Gerrard.
Pics: David Rawcliffe
I was nervous before this game but the ease we dealt with spurs (again!) shows we are indeed back on it.
Pity about the international break though.
Such a fun match to watch. Worth getting up at 5am here in california. Danny needed Balo and now we will see the rewards of the diamond again. Sorry BR but we can’t afford not to do the diamond. Can’t wait to see Lazar develop that guy is gonna be a MONSTER!
I feel like Lazar has a lot of positional discipline, which won’t do in this side. Have a word, Brendan.
Not bacon and eggs. Not good for my arse. Have to start the day with AllBran, then a big shit. Done.
Cheese on toast, with red onion. Grill it nicely to caramelise the onion. Fuck it throw a slice of ham on. Red meat I know.
Hairydivas.com. Tissue. Walk around the tissue.
Walk to boozer. No music. Smashed phone last night ‘coz I was angry! Shit. Tit. Must buy new phone ASAP.
Pub. Banter. Fit barmaid. Wankers in, shouting shite down my ear hole. #christening. Yeah got a season ticket ‘ave ya? Tell whole pub.
Three points. Mario no where near as good as Sturridge. Feel sorry for Lambert. Better than Mario.
(There you go glasses. boring aint it?)
Have to disagree Bob. Certainly not boring. Best comment I’ve read of yours. Looking forward to more comments in this style. Curiosity got the better of me. It’s a real site (literally).
Next weeks opening question. Which member of the anfield wrap is using the alias crazy bob?
Feckoff I wouldn’t go on that shite…. #banterdoodledo
Great game, great article, but something has been bothering me about Emre Can.
I think we can see it for ourselves here:
That was just what was needed. Even though we’ve been great for the 18 months I’m still paranoid that it’s all going to fall apart. That feeling fell away after 60 minutes though and became “Oh yeah, this is what we do isn’t it”.
Wish we were playing again tomorrow.
You have Victor Moses! on cover of your book, could of made him Sissoko at least:) not player who contributed to us losing Title, Hendo caught by susprise then sent off, day Liverpool lost title, ask Brendan,
Here’s to you Jordan, tackle, pass, run, pass,
2 goals at the Flanagan end, Alberto ‘Riise’ Moreno! I went nuts!
Cor Blimey. Love the lyrical waxwings on here tonight.
There were a lot of facial expressions last season that were insignificant but brought me real joy and hit home to me how much I was enjoying the season. Some examples would be Sunderland away and the look Sturridge gave Suarez while celebrating his goal. There was Suarez’s look of awe of himself when he scored his 2nd or 3rd against Norwich and was celebrating in front of the scoreboard and the most obvious one was Sterling’s face after Gerrard’s ‘this does not slip’ speech. Rodgers face today when Balotelli shot very wide was another of those moments for me. Southampton and City failed to live up to expectations but today cast me back to the end of last season. It felt great. I’ve been watching Rodgers like a hawk when he talks about, or interacts with Balotelli. I’m intrigued as to his game plan with him. That laugh today though gave a huge clue and they’ll be no Mancini type incidents between those 2.
A lot of people compared Rodgers to David Brent and although a compliment, Rodgers is far shrewder and more intelligent than that. In truth, Balotelli looks like he already knows his place and Rodgers never fails to impress me.
A mate txted me before the game
“I’m thinking about putting a bet on Liverpool. Spurs are **ite.”
“oooh” I replied “4 wins in 4, team starting to click, players keen to impress manager, our morale may be down after last week etc. I’d go for 2 all.”
Well, I’m happy to say, I was a knob, and happy to be wrong!
White Hart Lane 2: Return of Brendans Tricky Reds
We have a new American diner in Dinard that stays open late so my 10 year old and I went there for the city game, the staff were friendly and sympathetic, we went again yesterday and when we asked to change Chanel’s from Bordeaux vs ? We were given the French non; I protested there was nobody watching the game and quickly the owner arrived and told the barman to stop being a twat and turn the tele over there was other LFC fans that had already asked to watch the game.
Within seconds we realized the tricky reds were back, Sturridge seemed everywhere (but that’s because we kept mistaking him for Balotelli)
On Monday I was saying I didn’t know what a Liverpool goal looked like, after 8 mins I did and my heart sang. We were back and going again. Even David Ginola on Canal plus was purring about the tricky reds as they once again dismantled his old club and its fair to say that everyone in the canal plus studio loves Liverpool, you always get the full YNWA prior to kick off when at Anfield ( advert brakes are long gone) and today we even got a heat map of Balotelli s touches and a montage of his defending.
So many good performances but the moment of the game was when I shouted Alan Kennedy as Moreno’s shot fizzed into the corner. Funny looks in the bar from the French quarter but we have had a big LFC flag flying from our first floor balcony since the city game last season, this messes with lots of heads as we live opposite the Tourist infomation center.
We walked into the bar with trepidation and sauntered back to the beach with the secure knowledge that Brendons team are no one trick pony but a stable full of thoroughbreds.