LIVERPOOL neither attacked nor defended nor midfielded with conviction against Bordeaux. It was frustrating to watch. There is a pleasure to be taken from the following 1-1s away from home in Europe:
a) A swashbuckling side hammer the opposition goal but their man-of-the-match goalkeeper keeps them in it and they snatch an equaliser.
b) A backs-against-the-walls performance where our keeper keeps us in it, our defenders are trojans and we break, go 0-1 up but then leak a late one.
c) Seeing a gang of young lads play some football well, wise beyond their years, free beyond our dreams, get it, give it, perhaps go nowhere a bit too much but accentuate the positive, man. 1-1, yeah!?
And we got none of the above, really. Very little pleasure. But we got the 1-1 and that will almost do.
Of course football matches exist in contexts, experiences almost always exist in contexts (the ones that don’t are either astonishing or awful), and the current context is the fume. The fume or the fume about the fume. Or the fume about the fume about the fume. Whatever. I’m tired.
It’s hard to know what was a reasonable expectation. It was hard to gauge a thing prior to this football match. Europe should be an adventure but it felt like it came not as a crucial moment, but instead interrupting our league campaign which will dictate everything. There’s no respite — a defeat would have been three on the bounce, a win would have meant nothing without beating Norwich as well.
It was a game and a performance which in context has non-plussed steaming from it. Liverpool did nothing well. Liverpool did nothing dreadfully.
Jordan Rossiter probably deserves better because he played well. He always seemed sensible — got it, gave it, knew where he was on the pitch and knew where his teammates were.
This may seem like faint praise but did you see Liverpool’s midfield three against United? There will remain concerns around his physicality, but there really should be few around his brain. Pedro Chirivella did well too, Liverpool’s midfield becoming two 18 year olds as the game wore on — the concern would be that the change that accompanied Toure’s injury led to that midfield getting more intelligent.
Some of you readers will believe that to be harsh, but this is just one man’s view and what do I know? Emre Can in the eyes of this one man remains entirely enigmatic, arguably outclassed by midfielders and defenders on both sides yet almost certainly the footballer with the highest ceiling.
He has had a ton of time on the pitch in 2015 and the answer as to what sort of footballer he will become is seemingly no closer. Emre is either going to suddenly kick on at some point in the next 18 months and make me look even more ridiculous than I tend to, or he is going to leave Liverpool and look at best a terrific Match Of The Day player elsewhere. I hope it is the former because he seems like such a nice chap.
Mamadou Sakho passed the ball well into midfield, also showing something lacking against United. Danny Ings looked good when he came on, a farm hand glistening in the evening, full of purpose and ideas. Have you seen Lady Chatterley’s Lover? Yep. Him.
Lallana’s goal was lovely, the frustration around him dwelling on the ball first half almost forgotten in the excitement. Coutinho yet again demonstrated why he needs to not be the best player in any 11 he plays in while Ibe never got himself going.
Liverpool got themselves a result while seeming pretty flat. Bordeaux had a couple of chances they should have done better with, but The Reds can say the same thing. It wasn’t a call to arms. It wasn’t something to believe it. It wasn’t a battle. It wasn’t dominance. It was some lads kicking a ball around a field without an outcome. Every season these games happen. Every season these games are determined by what happens next.
What happens next is the most interesting thing — it always is. Neither O’Driscoll nor McAllister appeared to be there, six or seven didn’t travel, Firmino didn’t get on. The point is, on paper, a good one with an eye on progression. But it’s a squad, a bench, a side which is fixated on Sunday.
And so now, there is only Sunday.
Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda-Photo