CATCHING one like that so late in a game always reminds me of that punch Herol ‘Bomber’ Graham took against Julian Jackson, in a WBA World Middleweight Title fight in Benalmadena, late 1990. The one where he was spark out before he hit the floor totally planked out, after bossing the fight up until his chin wound up in the wrong place at exactly the worst possible time. The footage was heartlessly a part of the Grandstand opening title sequence for years afterwards.
I’m in no rush to see Phil Jagielka’s once in a career offering from Saturday’s derby game again. Got a gut feeling it will be thrown on TV a few times over the coming days though.
There’s not much you can do about a goal like that. Not really. The only thing we could have done about it was to have made it a goal of little consequence, to have had a larger lead going into the final minutes of the game. We didn’t have that larger lead and they instead caught us with a sucker-punch. Sometimes you just have to wear it. You don’t have to like it and you can learn from it, but sometimes you have no option other than to wear it.
Just like the vast majority of Liverpool games so far this season we have again been left with some positives and some negatives. Saturday had more positives than negatives. Simon Mignolet again fell into the negatives bracket on a day when he stubbornly refused to come for the ball. It’s a condition that cannot continue. It at best undermines his frustrated defenders, and at worst destabilises the entire team by domino effect. Beyond a few mild aesthetics the only other glaring negative was the failure to put the ball past Tim Howard more often.
On the positive side we put in our most fluid home performance of the season so far. We were widely untroubled and restricted Everton to pot-shots from distance, one of which of course hit the bullseye with little time left to respond. As frustrating as the final outcome was it was definitely a step in the right direction performance-wise. Raheem Sterling is fast becoming a monstrous player; Adam Lallana looks like he’s got what it takes to thrive in this new variant of Liverpool FC (and be under no illusions this is a new variant of Liverpool FC). Be patient with it.
Jordan Henderson bounced back from a now uncharacteristic poor performance at West Ham with an assured display. Steven Gerrard was enthused within the derby day environment. He will never have problems stripping away the years that are layered upon him to stride around the field like a man a decade younger when it comes to facing Everton. Lazar Markovic looked a little more at home than he did against Aston Villa. Mario Balotelli again worked hard. He should have put the game beyond Everton when he instead clipped the bar via a Tim Howard touch, but there are inklings that he can be a dangerous option for us. He perhaps just needs the support of a returning Daniel Sturridge to take a little bit of the pressure and expectation away. It’s arguably a slow-burning relationship he’s so far having with Liverpool, but it’s one that will grow from game to game. In the post-Suarez era, with Sturridge sidelined a lot is currently being asked of Balotelli. Be patient with him.
Defensively it was far from a fraught afternoon. We dealt with most things adequately enough on a day when Mignolet indeed was backward in coming forward. Individually all our defenders are good players. They just need a system that enables them to work in unison on a more regular basis. Saturday wasn’t one of those ‘bad day at the office’ days for the back four. Dejan Lovren looked more composed, Martin Skrtel was solid and both Alberto Moreno and Javier Manquillo performed more disciplined roles in the full-back positions. Neither given carte blanche to bomb forward given the amount of attacking intent in the line-up higher up the pitch. They were patient.
We should have won but we didn’t. That’s pretty much the bottom line when push comes to shove. We move on to the next game and hopefully take on board the lessons provided. The next game this season will more often than not be coming up very quickly. A European state of mind needs to be attuned to over the coming days in preparation for Basel. Anger and resentment about what should have been on Saturday can’t be carried forward to Wednesday. Different lessons await us in Switzerland.
I’ve said it before, yet I can’t help but feel some of the reactions to our start to this season are born from the simmering frustration of how last season finished. Take a deep breath and be patient.
[rpfc_recent_posts_from_category posts=”7″ meta=”true”]
Pic: David Rawcliffe/Propaganda
Nicely put Steven, thoughtful and articulate analysis and a nice counterpoint to the wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth from some members of our fan base. As a football fan we are fans for life ,therefore a little patience , especially this early in a season is a must. Definitely more good than bad in yesterday’s performance and that’s a step in the right direction.
I think as a fan base we’ve become very polarised. I actually think society has in general. What happened to sitting on the fence. It doesn’t exist anymore. People seem to becoming more black and white in their views. It’s the same with the team. The general rule seems to be if we’ve won the last game then everyone connected to the club is doing well and if we lost then they all should be sacked. I understand it in some ways. If Liverpool lose (and I’m including Saturday in that) then the weekend feels ruined. If someone ruins your weekend then you feel resentment towards them.
Then there’s social media. After a defeat I dread going on FB. I know who the status’s are gonna be from and what they’ll be saying. I’m old enough to not let it bother me but it does. I shouldn’t even log in but I can’t resist seeing what they’re saying. Then I lose my head and start biting on the threads. The truth is, it doesn’t matter if you think you’ve outsmarted them with your comment. If your team lost then it’s you who’s the laughing stock regardless of what point you make. Only last year I had to be separated from a mate in the pub because a FB “discussion” had got out of hand. Some may read this and think – that’s not me because I’m not a complete tit. The problem is, there’s loads of us that are. The source of that anger, resentment and humiliation is the club. They let us down when they lose and they have to take the blame.
So, I think a lot of the negativity is just anger manifesting itself in negative thoughts. To a lot of people we’re only as good as our last game. Another phenomenon I see is the number of comments when we’ve won compared to when we’ve lost. People seem much more inclined to comment when we’ve lost. If we win we seem to move on to the next task of the day. Football gets forgotten about. If we lose then people are more inclined to want to dissect every aspect of the game. It eats away at us and we mull over it again and again.
Make no mistake, there’s a lot of idiotic Liverpool fans around in the same way there are in all walks of lfe.
Great points Robin, I don’t use social media for all the reasons you’ve made above, concerning football and in a wider context life in general . I think it’s too immediate and thus favours reactionary comments and “one upmanship” . Fully agree with you on the polarization of our fan base. It’s been as frustrating as the results so far. I’m sort of an optimistic fella myself, so I try and lean towards the positive ,no matter how difficult it feels sometimes.
I try myself mate. Saturday didn’t warrant the ridiculous comments I’ve read. Like I said though, I feel it comes from people who can’t mask their anger.
I’m all for being upbeat after a result but free kick aside, Gerrard once again had a game pass him by and for long stretches, Sterling looked poor. Lallana however looked an exciting and energetic player who could bolster our ranks and Henderson was everywhere
I’m sure it will come – there are glimpses of it – Lallana was excellent and there was more movement. Trouble is it still sees us falling further behind and you know we should be at least 5 points better off…
patience is a virtue and after last season it’s hard mate it’s really hard.
We were ok but a million miles from the sort of play we saw last season.
For all the talk about us ‘not doing a Spurs’, we sold our best player, bought several players who weren’t cheap but were nowhere near as good and are now playing much worse, scoring less goals and winning less games. That’s pretty much what happened to them when Bale left. If it walks like a duck, etc., etc….
Can’t really complain too much, as we had no choice. Thank God for Sturridge and Sterling. Give those men a pay-rise. A daft amount of money that no other club would want to pay. Right now, they look the difference between us and Everton.
Nice article again, always good food for thought. Patience is the key imagine us losing Kenny in his prime and Rushie being out injured would those mighty reds have struggled ? you bet your bottom dollar they would. So it is now, once we get Studge back things will start to turn around. The games will come thick and fast this season so we won’t have time to mope around. Despite the poor start there are enough flashes to give us hope of better things to come and this team has a habit of coming stronger after Xmas.if we can hang in there who knows where we will end up.
Don’t get me wrong, I completely agree both with your point and the authors points.
What if Sturridge gets an even longer injury though. It appears we’re completely reliant on him.
Without him we have little chance of winning as we can’t score. It’s worrying how few options we have when he’s out. I’m sure we’ll look again in January but by then our top 4 challenge could be over. Let’s all pray he stays fit.
Oh Crazybob. You say it best when you say nothing at all…
Robin the key point is we will turn that corner before January, the more these guys play together the stronger they will get. Studge is important but who wouldn’t be reliant on a player who scored so many goals last term ? Balotelli needs a bit of luck and I reckon he will be on the goal trail. We are hyper critical because we were all hoping we picked up where we left off, unfortunately it wasn’t to be so let’s be patient and see what the next few weeks bring.
I agree mate. I’m not that worried about things. I’m of the belief we need to give the team time. Just saying that we’re over 50 goals down from last season without Sturridge and Suarez. We need Sturridge back and we need to keep him fit. If we don’t our season could go downhill. I think Mario will do well but I don’t see him as someone who will get 15 goals.
Definitely not in the league or the CL group stage, seeing as we won’t get any further. BR and FSG fucked up in the summer. Fattening the squad while weakening a starting 11 does not work.
This side is like the bad days of Rafa’s last season, Roy and Kenny’s clueless dross. They’re a mess, not a team, not top 4 worthy.
I don’t follow. Who weakened the team? Do you honestly think we had the power to keep Suarez?
We’ve got a few major issues.
1) We’ve had injuries to key players. Go back to before the injuries. We’d beaten a Saints team that no one has beaten since. We lost away to the champions and beat Spurs away convincingly.
2) Since then we haven’t had a striker. Mario and Lambert don’t suit our play. No wonder Coutinho is running into brick walls. With Sturridge and Suarez he played intelligent passes. He’s got no one to feed.
3) The club aimed high in it’s transfer targets. Possibly too high with the strikers. Mario became a last minute punt. Lambert was only ever a 4th choice striker, content to be in the squad.
4) When will Liverpool fans learn? We wrote Sterling off 12 months ago. Markovic is new to the league. It’s gonna take someone of his age a bit of time to adapt. These aren’t cliches. People refer to it for a reason.
Given free reign in the summer – who would you have bought?
Absolutely superb sentiment to this article – patience is key at the moment. Brendan and the lads will get it right eventually of that I’m sure!