WALKING out. Walking along. Me, Ben Jono, Mike Girling, Sam Brockle. “Don’t really know what you say about that one.”
Walking down towards the brow.
“One of them. Got to write a match report.”
“About that?” asks Ben Jono.
“Shape good. No threat. Just write that.”
“Robbo expects more.”
“Write that over and over again.”
The shape was good. There was no threat. Football always has facets. Divock Origi offered as little threat as he did against Spurs. But he did a job for the team against Spurs. The job the team needed tonight was ball into net and you couldn’t see how it would come for him, and therefore how it would come for Liverpool.
Football teams tend to be defined by the lad who plays number nine. What your number nine does and doesn’t want his team-mates to do tends to be what they do and don’t do. One who doesn’t demand enough, who doesn’t define enough leaves a side looking undefined.
First half Liverpool were defined by the lad who plays number 23. Twenty one players at times rendered barely relevant. Facets and Emre Can.
Which lens do you want to watch him through? Tonight, determined to enjoy the football, determined to enjoy the Emre. Emre makes things happen. For everyone. He can define any 30 seconds in different ways across those 30 seconds. He whirls. He dirls. He delights. He frustrates. He ziggles. He zaggles. He razzle dazzles.
Coutinho toiled. Lallana impressed for two consecutive games. Bright as a button, living his life on the half turn. The full backs look rejuvenated and the centre half Sakho imperious. The point is this — eight, nine lads can play well, but you can still fail to make it count against mediocre opposition down to 10.
But you can enjoy it. A crowd that wanted to know, a team that wanted to please. Tons of graft, not enough guile. But you tend not to win if it is the other way round as well. Look at it as a starting point perhaps. Look at it as a curate’s egg if you must. Look at it the way you want.
I’ll look at it as a stepping stone towards the number nines coming back. Towards the number 10 wearing 11 coming back. Only then will it look like what it needs to. Only then will you know.
So we’re walking along. Me and Ben Jono, Mike Girling and Sam Brockle. Laughing our heads off about turps on your feet to sort your blisters when you play, about Gérard Houllier making a fortune having lads get their wisdom teeth out.
Football always has facets. Choose to look through positively. Choose to look through negatively. Look any way you like. But it will, this evening, come down to this: “Shape good. No threat.”
Add threat. And then we will see.
Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda-Photo