I DON’T know about you but I had a great day out.
One of them where everything comes off. Our minibus turned up when it was supposed to, the driver wasn’t a Bluenose and he was sound (well in, Paul).
We got to London without hitting any traffic, found a spec to park no bother, in a boozer for 1pm, got boxed for tickets by two great lads at face value, got bevvied with mates and sang some songs.
Everything comes off. Everything. Except the Reds didn’t win. I’ve sort of just remembered that now.
The game was a bit of a non-event first half. Like most finals, neither side wanted to lose and so the end product was a cagey affair.
It’s fine though, because it is now half time and the Wembley gang have been kind enough to turn the concourse into a winter wonderland coupled with -15 temperatures and a wind chill that could freeze your grid like Walt Disney’s.
I buy a pint and have a chat with Steve Graves, Mike Girling and Phil Blundell and the general consensus is it’s a cagey game but we will grow into it and Divock Origi might end up being the difference.
Suitably frozen, I wander back to my seat having fought past three polar bears and a penguin queuing for the lemo bogs and eat a packet of crisps to try to warm up.
Everything is set and then Big Si, the smallest big fella in the world, does that.
Good keepers, the best keepers in the world, make the saves he makes throughout the rest of the game without handing the other team a goal out of nothing. They don’t let a half-cross-half-shot go through them.
He will never be good enough for us because he has always got one of them in him. Always just round the corner. Waiting to jump out. If we are keeping him to sit on the bench and stay silent I am fine with that. If he starts next year as our first choice I might cry.
I’ve had enough of him, I think we all have. Let’s leave it there and never mention him again.
The Reds did great to get back into it in fairness. The change worked. For the first 60-70 minutes Sturridge was too deep, offering no threat or danger.
It’s interesting that he is trying to link play much more rather than get on the shoulder and get in behind. Is it tactical or a sign he is lacking the pace he used to have? Maybe both. I don’t know, I’m guessing here.
Maybe it’s the players he’s playing with or maybe my memories of him are skewed and this is how he always played.
Maybe I haven’t got a clue what I’m going on about, but I seem to remember him always in behind, always on the shoulder, looking for a half chance. I prefer my mind’s version of him anyway.
Big Divock stretched the game and gave us more of a presence. He did really well. We looked a better team with both players up front; much more of a threat. Something to think about for the rest of the season perhaps.
Taking off Alberto Moreno will never ever be a bad decision and the only way it could be improved is if the decision was to not start him in the first place.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a man with the positional sense of a drunk cat is targeted by the opposition. It also shouldn’t come as a surprise that we were better without him. Once he had gone off, and Jimmy Milner started to run the game from left back, we improved.
I was convinced we were going to score and I was convinced if we got one we would get two. Convinced.
We got the one and it was lovely, a boss celebration; it’s always nice to jump about and be happy with people you don’t know, especially when it staves off some sort of mass hyperthermia breakout. Without it our end would have needed them little silver blankets that they give out after marathons just to get back to our buses.
The second doesn’t come. We worked, we tried, we kept the ball, but couldn’t really break them down. A bit of a common theme that.
Hopefully it is something we are working on with plans afoot for the summer to address it because teams are relatively happy to let us have the ball. Good teams aren’t stupid. We bladdered City away because they wanted the ball and we were able to gegenpress their heads into submission.
Yesterday, they just let us have it. Happy to break. Sixty per cent possession wasn’t a coincidence. We need to figure out how to win with that level of possession. We basically need to learn how to score more.
Once the final whistle on extra time went it was mad that we had all pretty much forgotten that you can lose on pens.
We lost on a shoot-out this time last year to Besiktas. Before that, it was to Northampton under Hodgson in 2010. Before that, you’re going all the way back to Wimbledon away 1993 in the League Cup under Souness.
Out of 18 shoot-outs, Liverpool have lost four, including the one yesterday. They’re a lottery and perhaps we were due to lose another. It is what is is and it is tough to take but there is no point crying about it.
No point at all — unless you are Lucas. Lucas is allowed to cry there. Getting man of the match playing centre half against one of the best players in the world isn’t easy.
He deserved to win and he deserved to score his pen. I feel more for him than anyone else. He’s a hero, I love him and I wish I could make it all better.
On current form he is the best centre half at the club. And given that he isn’t a centre half and we have spent about £400million on centre halves in the last two seasons that takes some doing. Pair him with someone with pace beside him and he could possibly be first choice next year.
Kloppo makes this result feel like a little minor setback on a long road to glory and that, ultimately, is what it is all about.
You can’t have the highs without a couple lows and it just feels great to be part of a collective again with everyone seeming to be pulling in the same direction.
The Reds will be back and there will be better occasions in the future. Let’s hope it starts with us battering Manchester United in a couple of weeks.