TERRY’S header hits the net and Steve Graves turns to me and says: “What next?” What next indeed. What the hell next? What could be next? A wrecking ball sweeping through the boozer. A personalised rainstorm like in The Truman Show following you around. What next?
I have the most enormous respect for the Reds who have travelled to today’s game. Astonished by their indefatigably. I am defatigabled. The most defatigabled I can ever remember being. Cap doffed. Forelock tugged. Well obviously forelock tugged. It’s the in thing.
By the time Terry’s header hits the net on five minutes we’d already had the trademark Chelsea first-minute leg breaker, this time from Fabregas on Sterling. My favourite thing was Mikel saying to the referee it was only his first tackle. Yep. Hard for him to have two or three in his back pocket, Obi lad.
It was also dangerous and part of an undoubted pattern. It’s a tactic. It’s a choice. I’d like someone from the club to come out before this game next season and emphasise the recurring pattern here. It was a red card tackle but there isn’t a referee in England who does the correct thing in that context.
What next? What was next in the first half was that some of The Reds were good some of the time and some of The Reds were bad some of the time. Chelsea were impressive — Hazard in particular was terrifying. Yet Liverpool had their chances and things that should have led to chances. Henderson’s lovely curved pass to Lambert on around the half hour where the number nine was unable to react to and/or reach the ball could probably be an entire article in itself. It told you more about this Liverpool side than I’ve managed with all the words this season. It should be on the end of season DVD. It could be a book: The Ghost Of Daniel Sturridge.
Gerrard heads it in with sense and aplomb from Henderson’s excellent ball and for the first time since Thursday you don’t feel like you are about to collapse. Football doing some of the business again.
Second half The Reds started much the better side but we’re short of cutting edge against a parsimonious Chelsea back line. They were great until the 18-yard box and then short of ideas and options. Chelsea got back on top in a ding ding affair. Chelsea’s games against Liverpool this season while low scoring have been oddly more open than their games against City, United or Arsenal.
It might be that they fancy it more but I think it is because of Coutinho and Sterling, both able to take Chelsea players out of the game in twos and threes. This ability those two have — supplemented by Ibe, Markovic and Lallana — make positivity about next season possible.
Never has the task in a window been as clear. Two forwards of significant quality with pace and energy, ideally able to play wide too. Just wait until the meltdown I have when we sign the clearly capable Danny Ings. Ings would be fine in a universe without Origi. But when you now probably need Sturridge to be three of four, Ings can’t be two.
Regardless, next season aside The Reds acquitted themselves well and I thought they dropped off only when Lallana went off. He’s a funny one Lallana. He’s clearly making the lads around him better players while not really doing enough himself. Elsewhere, Johnson is determined to leave this club as a self parody. Perhaps even an art project. Turning lads with backheels one second, just passing to them the next.
The game finished with a fair result. Gerrard brilliant post-match obviously. It’ll be hard next weekend. But hard seems to be the way of it at the moment. I’d quite like the season to stop now but then England will start and have you ever fucking despised England more in your whole life?
We’ll plough on. Hopefully see more of Sinclair against Palace, have a great day out against Stoke. See it out with six points because why not? Still, what odds will it make?
Liverpool. By far the most fifth-placed team, the world has ever seen. And it’s Liverpool. Liverpool FC.
Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda-Photo