ARSENAL have you on pins. Before the game we talk about how Arsenal away ties with City as the worst away. Because they have you on pins. Chelsea bludgeon you. United wear you down. But Arsenal and City have you on pins.
They probe. They pen. They ratchet up the tension like that kid on the trike in The Shining. They pull you and push you. They scare you.
Watching it in the boozer. Watching it with lads who know their football. Who talk talk talk their football. Ben Johnson, Frank Doran, Paul Cope, Rob Doran, Andy Heaton, Shaun Rogers (not that one), Paul Johnson, Rob Leighton, Steve Graves. Talk. For the first 10. Talk and talk The Reds through it. Lads who talk like they are playing and good lord above it feels like playing. Get through 10, it feels like 20. Get through 20 and it feels like 60.
Everyone shattered. Everyone goosed. Everyone stressed and strained.
Because Arsenal have you on pins. On pins. They have Gomez on both pins and toast, the step up suddenly a cliff. They stretch you. They stretch The Reds in black.
The Reds in black get to 20, they’ve hit the bar, Arsenal a good goal disallowed, and while the pins haven’t gone anywhere you think, Christ these lads are the better side. The better side.
The Reds in black close down. Emre Can. James Milner. Nathaniel Clyne. They close and work and stint stint stint. The manager in black. Dressed like he is going to a funeral. Every game: maybe he is. Maybe he is.
The Reds in black close down. They grind. Philippe Coutinho. Roberto Firmino. Joe Gomez. Joe Gomez, yet again he grows and grows. Learns and improves.
What else? The important things and the unimportant things. Because the match is the match. The game is the game. Things happen but attitude and application is everything. Heads in hands when Cech saves from Benteke. Heads in hands when Cech saves from Coutinho.
At half time Ben Johnson says this:
“Regardless what happens here, we’ve never gone there and done that. There’s a clear strategy. Everything that wasn’t there last year. Anyone wants to say a thing. Spot on that.”
It was. But second half Arsenal came, Arsenal built and penned again. Arsenal were good. They showed what they had, passes from angles. Passes round corners. Passes and passes. Chances and chances. They played ever so well but Liverpool were resolute and Liverpool were strong and Liverpool worked along the line. Across the pitch.
Arsenal were good. But never better than Liverpool. The important things and the unimportant things. They created chances and Mignolet stood firm. Giroud should score. Sanchez perhaps should score. Arsenal won’t stop and demand all three. They have attitude and application.
So do The Reds in black. The work never stops. The talk never stops. Milner immense and Rossiter solid enough when under pressure. Gomez growing. Moreno demanding. This isn’t about Arsenal but they are good. This is about Liverpool. Liverpool are good. They are good. They will remain good.
They may just be capable of anything, anything at all.
The Reds are coming up the hill.
MATCH RATINGS: Arsenal v Liverpool
Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda Photo
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That was sheer torture….arsenal were excellent second half but we were phenomenal at the back, need some more pressing in the midfield but can’t argue with 7 points…Gomez and Clyne are the best backs in the prem at the minute. Lovren was solid and Benteke was his usual self. When Sturridge comes back in this could be something special. Come on you Reds!!
Masterclass of a performance and a strategy. Credit due all round, not least to the manager and his coaching staff.
Unbeaten in the first 3 games. Three clean sheets. And we’ve already played Arsenal and Stoke away.
Rodgers out! Clearly.
great review, captures how I feel. quite remarkable how rodgers has changed the complexion of this side so quickly.
Ben is spot on. Result great but the performance and application was brilliant.
The on pins shout is about right. They love a probe with touches in and around the box. You feel greedy for thinking 9/9 points announces us and we should go in at half time with a lead to sit deep on. Our record at Arsenal away is fucking woeful for as long as my memory goes back though. If Titi Camara and Raul Meireles play that game we’re on our way to glory ;)
Great performance from the lads. I had the same thoughts at half-time: whatever happens, it’s a long time since we played a half like that at the home of one of the ‘big 4’. None of that is undone by that same opposition having a load of the ball in the second-half, in a game they must have thought they needed to win given their home defeat in the first game of the season. They probed and there were some chances and saves that needed to be made – when is there not at a top 4 club? – but it never felt like we were clinging on. And on the break we looked like we could score any time.
We have the best full-backs in the league and our biggest challenge next summer will be holding on to Gomez.
Carragher highlighted Lovren’s performance after the game and showed how he is now bossing the back four. He is the one calling the line and dragging up the rest of the back four, when last season that was Skrtel. He’s starting to find his feet as a leader and becoming the player we thought we’d bought as a result.
Coutinho is player of the season so far.
Benteke is a force of nature and I can’t wait to see ‘young Daniel’ buzzing around him.
Can had his best game in a Liverpool shirt and Milner is what I call a proper player.
And we are a proper team.
Beat West Ham with another clean-sheet and we are in business.
Fuck that. We’re already in business.
Take West Ham (caught Arsenal cold but shipped 4 to Bournemouth) to the cleaners at home and a point at Arsenal with that first half performance is spot on.
You can see Rodgers was thinking similar taking the Brazilian potentially match winning lads off for Ibe an Moreno to sure it up. He’d made a decision to try an go after the 3 first half then predict Arsenal’s usual dominance of the ball at home in the second. Fair play to him for that. Smart.
The only thing I would say is that Ibe doesn’t appear to be at the races right now. It’s never easy getting to the pace of the game when you come on, but he looked miles off to me. Before anyone gets the wrong idea, I’m not writing him off. He remains a tremendous prospect but he looks to me like a player who could do with a spell rebuilding his confidence out of the spotlight. I think Origi could do no worse right now (assuming Rodgers is happy with his fitness, which I presume he is if he’s on the bench).
Yeah, agree with all of that. A rough first few touches and then he wasn’t really in it. The Europa is ideal for him to rebuild his confidence and look to get his first Liverpool goal. After August you’d probably want league minutes for Origi and Ings as apart of that forward line.
Almost like Ibe is being told to stay so wide and it’s hindering him. Doesn’t seem to know where he needs to be. Anyway, not getting on his back, confident he’s got a good future with us.
* A PART. Fucking hell. Poor form from me there. Reads dreadful with that ‘apart’ carry on.
Ibe had an absolute shocker and seems to be struggling understanding what he is meant to be doing at the moment. Thought it was only when he came on for Firmino that Arsenal started camp out on our right flank and really get on top.
Totally agree that he needs a game with a bit less pressure to get back up to his barnstorming best. Would have loved to see Markovic get a run in the mean time.
Said this before with Coutinho, but I reckon we stop with all the “we are going to have trouble hanging on to xxx”. We are a big club that a guy like Gomez would love to play at. Not everyone is going to act like Sterling.
Skrtel is an absolute monster..What a game!
Thought Skrtel was immense. Migs was huge when needed, on the two deflections especially. Show of hands, who saw the Lucas start coming? He was great on his first minutes of the season. Rossiter sub was a head-scratcher, but he did well, got some important toe pokes on the ball to stop some shots from coming in.
Cech was the difference in this game. Well fought game from both sides, take the point and run!
I thought it was probably to protect Lucas’ legs and to give us a bit more energy after Firmino came off. Big ask to come on and play 90 minutes in a game like that straight away.
Delighted. Outstanding. Brilliant. Fortuitous. Resolute.
Supposed to be asleep!
Are you Jackie Chiles? :-)
He’s my dad :)
Poetry.. well written. Loved it and tells the game. We were in it, we didn’t win but they’ll walk off the pitch knowing they had to dig deep for just a draw.
All the talk this week was ‘we’ll see at Arsenal, they’ll show us where we’re really at’. Well, fuck you. This is where we’re at. We’re good. I said I’d take a draw and I would. We did. Made up. I can’t criticise anyone tonight (well, maybe Ibe’s selection is winding me up a bit but then he’s better than Sterling, isn’t he)? Knobheads. I also said at half time ‘whatever happens now I know where we’re at’. We’ll be fucked without Hendo. Well done Brendan, got it spot on. Swivel on that, haters. Skrtel was fuckin great second half. They all were. Benteke’s a threat. Coutinho’s a little magician. How did we not score? All you need is luck da da da da da. Looked onside to me but then I only saw 1 replay. Fair play to Lucas. Not match fit. Tough little fucker though. What about the fullbacks? Get in there. Lovren still worries me on that front foot but he’s done well so far. Really pleased for him. Milner’s my favourite player now. Love him. How did we not score. Surprised at Sky’s plaudits for Mignolet. I could have saved that from Giroud. Still flapping a bit. Few Arsenal in the pub being near the law college and all that. They admitted they were lucky to come away with a point (despite the second half). That second half felt like the Germans at Stalingrad except we never surrendered in the end. Kin head went when Skrtel intercepted that cross that Walcott was gonna put away. Takes some balls to cut that out. I’m in the Emre needs to impress me camp. Gave the ball away a few times but friggin good tonight. My mantra is and was the same as Neil’s, 10 from 12 would be good. Brilliant lads. Good stuff. We’ll no more after tonight. I know what I know. Fuckin buzzin lads.
Another step in the right direction: 0-0 sure beats 4-1. A more ruthless side puts that game to bed before half-time, but we’re a work in progress. Firmino made an impressive debut, he was in an out as you’d expect, but always a willing runner and Benteke should have scored from his cross. He showed enough to suggest he should be starting games ahead of Lallana and Ibe. Lucas was peerless, we really should keep hold of him. Can was ok but concerns about his fitness remain. He was knackered after 70 and faded from the game. The defence was excellent to a man. What a player Joe Gomez will be. What a player. Walk around him.
I thought we were excellent in the first half, solid in the second. I do worry that slow second halves is a habit under Rodgers, but Arsenal are a good team. Beat West Ham and it’ll be an excellent start to the season. But we must beat West Ham……
No mate, better second halves under Rodgers. Definitely. Tonight an exception to the rule
Leicester? West Ham? Sunderland? Palace?
Are you having a laugh? How many games has Rodgers been manager for? 6? 7? 8? Try over 100. We start slow then improve second half. It’s been a trait of his time here.
I disagree. But that’s ok. I mean second halves of matches, not seasons btw. D’you not remember all the talk of second half fades in 13/14? It was a regular feature on the AW.
We certainly came out the blocks fast in the first half of games in the second half of the 13/14 season. It seemed to changed last season. I remember around the time of beating Stoke with the late Johnson goal we went through a spell of giving up first half and saving everything till the last 10. I think we played Sunderland and Hull at home around the time too. If I remember right we were scared of going 1 down. I may be wrong but I associate Rodgers with trying to come in at HT not behind and winning it second half. I’m rarely worried when we’re level at HT and playing poorly. I always know the second half will be better
7 out of 9 is better than anyone expected. Thought we might have got 3 at half time but a point was fair. Milner is proving to be great signing, Gomez a real bonus for someone who was probably a long term bet (?). All in all a very encouraging start to the season
Great review that,
Gomez, composed and looks the real deal straight away,
We have sorted these positions for years to come with two shrewd purchases,
Milner ran himself ragged, passed well & has a lovely aggressiveness in the tackle that I didn’t pick up on whilst he was at City,
Emre did well and brings the gnarl,
Can someone at the club put the foot fu*king down and say Lucas is now not for sale as yet again he shows he still has a lot to offer esp in a 60 game season,
Thought he was excellent considering how little game time he has had and he had a mare there last season which probably doesn’t bother him but it makes me edgy all evening so well in Lucas Leiva ya auld Lazaraus,
Benteke showing more than I thought he had, every game he shows a bit more and I’m almost ridiculously afraid to type this but Studge is still to come back into this lot,
All played well but this is what jumped off the TV to me on initial viewing.
Managed to get a good stream in the cave.
Had to turn volume down coz Navy Seals hanging around. T ‘ was a decent point.
I heard you’re a gooner.
I heard he’s a goner.
What is crystal clear is that the players have bought into the vision Rodgers has put forth. There is tremendous work ethic and collective spirit on display, qualities that were hallmarks of the 13/14 season.
The talent is clearly there and, with Sturridge imminent, our attacking threat will only increase exponentially as the players learn each other. On the flip side, Arsenal’s squad have already established their relationships, except Wenger still doesn’t know how to configure them.
In true barroom savant mode, I proclaimed the game effectively over when he took off Giroud for Walcott, who wouldn’t have much use for his speed when we played so deeply. It only took one corner for me to realize how wrong I could be. Luckily, our CBs were up to the challenge, but I was hopping in excitement/anxiety from the first kick.
Hope we demolish the Hammers. I’d love to have the TAW folk visit NYC when our tails are in the air.
Can hear the gnashing of teeth of the Rodgers Out-Anfield Unfaithful brigade from here as they delete their pre-prepared posts of doom and put the Klopp Kop banners back under the bed. Never mind lads, there’s always next week, eh?
Great game, good result and a performance that showed a real upward curve from last week. These players are starting to gel.
Come on Jase, I want Rodgers out but I might be wrong – hope so, as that will mean the guy’s winning lots of games and trophies and the football is a joy to watch. Just because I don’t rate the manager doesn’t mean I want my club to do badly and like you say “Great game, good result and a performance that showed a real upward curve from last week. These players are starting to gel.” Amen to that.
The notion that Liverpool didn’t need Sterling and Ibe would step up to the plate now look absurd.Ibe needs to be stood down
Superb performance from the men in black.
1st half was better but the 2nd half superb as well for the discipline shown.
Gomez, Millner & Benteke the stand out players for me. Benteke’s intelligence & hold up play is what we have lacked massively.
This season promises so much ! Buzzing
Lot more assured at the back…maybe refreshing the coaching team and o’driscoll was a good idea after all. Certainly signs we are going to be a real force and once Sturridge is back, that front 3 looks frightening!
After last nights result and waking up to this news; I am a happy camper! Mario Balotelli is a spoof, a scheister, a con. He is ni footballer but a ‘cat-walk’ model posing in football kits. Arrrreeeevaderci you fake!
Great article Neil, really good read. As I sit at my desk in the middle of London, (i’m a scouser, honestly) surrounded by quiet Arsenal fans, I’m really happy to be able to read this with a smile on my face. After absolutely everyone had written the red men off, weeks, months before it even kicked off.
A happy liverpool fan