Your normal host for this sort of thing, Neil Atkinson, is currently in Boston living his other life as a screenwriter who doesn’t get to watch Liverpool win 6-0 away from home and see Kolo Toure kiss the ground as if he’s just discovered Aston Villa after sailing around the world for two years.
So you’ve got me instead.
First up, here’s the serious part of my match review for all the football purists out there.
The context in which this game took place is one of a Villa side that are genuinely awful. Honestly, no-one has given us less of a game all season and that includes Exeter and a bunch of teams in the Europa League that no one’s heard of.
They’re playing like what they are — a team managed by a Frenchman who isn’t Arsene Wenger. Remember that time Portsmouth got that fella in that looked like Seinfeld? Yeah, it’s a bit like for Villa at the moment.
Notwithstanding the lack of a competent opposition, there were some real positives for Liverpool — namely Ðaniel Sturridge.
Just him being on the pitch makes everything SO much better. Firstly, he’s obviously brilliant but, secondly, he puts everyone else in the right position — looking to do the right thing.
No longer do we have Philippe Coutinho shooting from 20 yards because he feels he has to, or Alberto Moreno or Nathaniel Clyne whipping poor crosses in for small number 10s and a static, often labouring, front man.
No, instead partnerships are formed on the wing, no-one is trying to do too much, and everyone is playing towards something that’s obvious rather than confused.
Sturridge does that — just by walking on the pitch.
It’s remarkable really. Despite being at the apex of the side, everything pivots around him. His very presence makes everything work as spectacularly as his absence makes everything collapse.
I know, I know. Someone is looking at the screen and shouting: “BUT HE WENT OFF AFTER AN HOUR AND WE HARDLY COLLAPSED, DID WE?”
No, but Villa already had. That’s my point. And stop shouting at screens — that’s my other point.
With Sturridge, Coutinho and Firmino up front together we had our rhythm section back. That has to bode well for the future — whoever the opposition.
Now that’s out the way, here’s some other observations that will probably result in Sky trying to recruit me for that Monday Night Football thing where people touch a screen and stuff happens.
1) Some Villa fan offered out the whole Liverpool end and then ruined it by vaping. Either that or he was playing a clarinet — it’s quite hard to tell these days to be honest.
2) It’s good to see Emre Can score but it’s even better to see him get annoyed when his hair gets messed up as part of the celebration. Priorities, Emre, priorities.
3) Remember that time Kolo Toure thought it would be better not to jump at a corner and just let the ball hit him on the head? He was right you know.
4) That Klopp song, like the Colin Pascoe song, is never gonna happen. I don’t care that it’s a big hit on the concourse — so are Liquorice Allsorts . My advice would be to pick a pop song with a catchy tune instead. Young Guns (Go for it) by Wham is pretty good, I was listening to it this morning and found myself almost dancing by mistake. No idea what words you’d choose for it. Not my problem to be honest.
5) I liked that bit in the game where loads of people who never score were scoring goals.
6) I hated that part in the game where they brought Benteke on and it ruined point 5
7) They played Hi-Ho Silver Lining by Jeff Beck before the game. I hate that song but did you know the b-side was his version of Ravel’s Bolero which he, quite arrogantly, called Beck’s Bolero? Can you imagine that? It was also at that session that Jimmy Page came up with the idea for Led Zeppelin.
Atkinson never does this pop trivia stuff, does he? No, he bloody doesn’t.
8) They did a weird Valentine’s Day thing at half time where they picked two people out in the crowd and showed them on a big screen inside a big pink heart. They should probably go down for that alone — although Rob Gutmann and Gareth Roberts did make quite a nice couple to be honest.
That’s it. I’m done. We won 6-0 and I’ve enjoyed Villa away yet again.
I’ll miss them when their gone. So much so that I may even consider going to their games as a permanent away fan just to see if everyone else has this much fun.
Up the Reds. Up The Away End at Villa Park.