THERE are three pieces here. Maybe four. Which one should we have?
There’s one which slaughters: “The Sun was right, you’re murderers.” I like that one because I like Manchester. Manchester is better than that. Manchester is a working-class city that has a ton of class about it. Manchester is the business. But that’s a vast majority of their end. A vast majority. Everyone is better than this. You know it. I know it.
There’s one which talks about the fact that Liverpool should have put the tie away from Manchester United. That we should be going to Old Trafford to lord it rather than worry. One which should be criticising Liverpool’s lack of ruthlessness, one which should be saying that was a game had to be taken away from Manchester United.
But forget that. Forget all that. Let’s write about these Reds who graft and are organised. Let’s write about these Reds who have touch and style. Let’s write about these Reds who want to be a credit to themselves, their manager and their football club.
Liverpool were excellent tonight. All over the park. Every single one of them goes to bed tonight knowing that they were excellent — part of a very good Liverpool performance at Anfield; an expectant and demanding crowd sated.
All over the pitch Liverpool wanted battle and then won it. They won it with both brawn and brain — Jordan Henderson booked early but then thinking his way through 88. Emre Can better than you. Stronger than you. And then smarter than you. Smarter than you, knowing where almost everyone is. Adam Lallana’s feet bright as a three-card trick. Now you see them, now you don’t.
And a paragraph all for Roberto Firmino — a paragraph which says maybe we need to stop considering him a modern day John Wark or a Brazilian David Platt. Maybe we stop comparing him to Luis Garcia because already the end product is greater.
Maybe instead we look at where he learned his trade and see him, as someone pointed out to me on the Twitter, as that most 21st century of players like Thomas Müller. A man who knows how a football match works innately and exploits it, a man whose touch may not be certain but whose brain is. A man who can play football on a different plane to those who are embedded in it.
Don’t say he decorates games, say he embroiders them, weaving his way through the chaos to offer beauty.
It’s easy to say all that about tonight’s Reds and forget a key point. This was against Manchester United. A Manchester United that has won four of its last four outings against the Reds. A Manchester United that has made itself resolutely hard to beat at Anfield — one which has delighted in its own gnarliness.
They couldn’t live with Liverpool. They couldn’t live with them.
The best 11 on show tonight looks like this: David De Gea, 10 Liverpool players. And Simon Mignolet did nothing wrong.
I’ve been to Old Trafford and been on the other end of that. I know how hard that is to take, how much that hurts. United won’t be as meek next week. They will be all for making amends.
Yet the gulf looks a tough one to swim. What do they change? How is it different? That’s tomorrow’s problem. Next week’s concern. They can still find a way. But leave that.
Look at this — wherever you are in the world you can swan around, stick your chest out, have one more drink. In the biggest game in world football (possibly outside of Spain) the mighty boys in Red won by two goals which flattered their opponents the other end of a ship canal and generations of civic rivalry which has become too bitter and too engrained and too pathetic for words.
- Liverpool 2 Manchester United 0: Player ratings
- Liverpool 2 Manchester United 0: Five From Fitzgerald
- Liverpool 2 Manchester United 0: Post-match reaction show
Stitch that. So just fucking stitch that. Stitch that with these appalling songs which don’t rile me as much as “20 times” but just disappoint me instead.
Stitch that, Fellaini’s endlessly Evertonian nature. Stitch that Manchester United. Stitch that.
The fourth piece reminds you that they may stitch that and fight back next week. They might do it, you know. They have winning in their DNA just as we do.
They might do it.
But that isn’t the piece we’re writing tonight. Not the one you are reading. The piece we are writing tonight is that the tricky, gnarly, organised Reds are a good football team.
Up the Reds. A set of lads you can go for a pint with. Up the getting their round in Reds.
A great set of lads. Our mates. Remember this the next time they conspire to let us down. These are our mates.
Up the matey Reds.
With love as per. Have a Thursday. Have a hungover Friday.
Up our Reds.
Fellaini is the best shit wrestler ever to give up and try his hand at football.
United have a rich glorious history and yet they sing about tragedy and death. The away end made a lot of noise and on TV you could hear every word. On the pitch Liverpool were fantastic the crowd and atmosphere what you expect, should have scored more. You saw the best of the reds and their support, a European powerhouse on the world stage, the paverotti of football singing their own Nessum Dorma, hitting the highest notes and reminding everyone what the benchmark is and what it is to be truly great; and in the away end you had that.
Celebratory but cautious from Neil … are you the old ‘It’s only half-time’ feller from Fitzgerald’s piece? ;)
Powerful stuff from Trout, love that ‘glorious history’ and ‘tragedy and death’ juxtaposition.
We’ve got the beating of these and if the Diving Irons of East London can do them on Sunday and we can win our game in hand 4 nil the Manc misery will be complete.
Beautifully scribed Neil, it’s too easy to waste countless words condemning the twisted United support. Jurgen’s tricky reds go on. YNWA
Fantastic atmosphere! Shame about the away Mancs..
Should have tonked them (gole-wise), but saved it for OT which will be funny. One thing I couldn’t ignore was the gulf in general quality of play between this and CL games at Anfield 10 years ago. It’s obviously there, and there’s no shame in it for these lads, but English football really is struggling a bit at the moment! Can’t wait for the quality to improve again, which is a question of time as these things happen in cycles.
Apart from the fact we dominated from the second the pen went in, and missed a hat full the 2 that actually went in were like so many that we’ve conceded against them in the past.
A 50/50 pen sometimes you dont get them. I thought it deffo was and think Clyne gets tripped aswell as pulled back (although I’m biased).
The second was the most “united v us goal” we’ve scored against them if you get me.
Borderline offside poor clearance lovely from Lallana. Smalling gets a toe to it which helps give De Gea no chance if he would have had a chance anyway (he always has a chance, nearly saved the pen).
Not getting carried away still to much football to play. Them twats have broke my heart to many times with there flukiness to fully relax(Cantona cup final was the start for me). Another goal cushion would have been nice.
Has anyone else noticed the similarities between last night’s goals and those on Sunday? A penalty that we mightn’t have got – but definitely was – and one of their blokes passing to us to set up the goal.
I’ll happily take that every match for remainder of season.
Yes and there is no such thing as luck only probabilities and risk. You don’t win a raffle without buying a ticket.
Are you sure Manchester is a working class city? They imagine they live in stately homes with servants. For those unfortunate enough not to there is full employment of course.
Victories don’t get much sweeter than that. Gave Utd a real pasting. As has been said, were it not for De Gea we are looking at 5-0.
The back four were exemplary. Clyne’s no-fuss approach to defending impresses me more and more each week. Lovren was a picture of simplicity and composure. Sakho was frankly awesome. Power, assurance and even a bit of arrogance in that performance. The way he simply palmed Mata to the floor was a joy to behold, and I quite like Mata. Moreno, whilst he makes your heart stop, didn’t play too badly. His pace on the overlap is a serious asset.
Henderson and Can were energetic and complimented each other well. I thought Henderson had missed by miles on that chance but it was a reasonable effort actually. Can made a few of those inexplicable passes but like Sakho uses his strength to contemptuously brush opponents aside.
Lallana and Firmino are our form players at present. The leaders of the press-pack who combine fighting football with flair. Their work in tight spaces defies belief sometimes. Coutinho carried that air of menace and was only denied a goal that would have gone down in folklore but that infuriatingly gifted bastard in their goal. He was better when he drifted inside and gave Varela too much to think about, especially with the Moreno option always on.
Could have done with more from Sturridge but you don’t slate a player who steps up and scores a penalty of that magnitude against a keeper like that. Had Coutinho just used his left foot on the open goal he would have had an assist too, so can’t complain too much.
All in all a joyous night to behold and the sight of Klopp celebrating on our second is what it’s all about.
Firmino showed such utter class. Watch that goal back and take in how patient he is. It’s simple except it isn’t. Patient because the situation demanded it. Patient because he was already thinking two moves ahead. Lesser players would panic and crowd the space. He trusted Lallana and waited. He sat tight while white shirts shit their white shorts and ran around pointlessly. Then one kindly spread his legs to let the ball go through and Firmino’s wait was finally over. Brown stains on white shorts and Reds celebrating in the corner. Up these Reds!
watching my ten year old finally seeing a game bounce… priceless
sore throat, sore head, big chest…f*cking brilliant
Spot on Neil lad.
Boss performance. Boss night.
Save a few for next week. Humiliate the Septics in their own back yard.
Up our wonderful Reds.
Setting aside the Hillsborough songs for a min, they actually sang “Where’s your famous atmosphere?”
I mean, seriously, are yous fucking deaf!!??
They covered themselves in all sorts of glory last night, eh?!
I really like Manchester as well but Manchester United fans specifically are a load of cranks. Not as meffy as their Man City counterparts but they’re just bilious little bastards. I don’t understand why they’re seemingly so angry all the time: if I’d have gotten to watch Liverpool win the titles in the recent times that they have I’d never stop grinning.
It’s just a song they sing because other fans sing it. Just like the boring Gerrard song and the ‘sign on’ song.
Tiresome bunch of repugnant cretins.
Sublime atmosphere in the stadium last night created by our lot. The sight of The Kop was hairs on the back of your neck brilliant.
Yous are right what yer saying lads, thing is whether we like to admit it or not, they’re a club with a rich footballing history full of successes and yet they still have to sing songs like this or songs about who they hate.
They sing more about Gerrard than we do ffs.
Sad bunch of fans!!
Herculean effort. A hidden reservoir brimming with the spirit of Graeme Souness, Steve McMahon and Luis Suarez.
Alberto Moreno running with impossible speed and effort to snuff, block, WIPE OUT a Man Utd counter attack.
Henderson playing for 88 minutes on a yellow card – in THIS GAME.
A defensive unit that said to Marouane Fellaini, come with your elbows, your dirty tackles and your height. We will STAND FIRM.
We outfought them – and then we outplayed them.
The players should be very proud.
As a fan, Spring has come with a promise of more to come…
I find it surprising that a club with such a successful history and by proxy a lot of ‘stories’ to tell, have no club songs. I couldn’t imagine a day when LFC stop chanting about its legends and triumphs and instead spent 90 minutes shouting insults, it’s just bizarre. However, I will say it’s very disappointing that whenever this sort of thing happens the media drag Liverpool fans into the mix. I’ve read several articles today suggesting we do exactly the same thing and are just as bad as United. Sorry lads, but we’re not, we’re just not. There wasn’t a single unsavoury chant from our end the entire game and yet several sources are already reporting it like we’re both as bad as each other. How about they report what actually happened for a change and not what paints United in the best possible light. This has been going on for years.
Anyway, great performance from the boys, proud of every last one of them. I’m predicting the second leg will finish 1-1. Not because we aren’t good enough to smash them again, but because we don’t need to win. I think we’ll do a proper old school European job on them, grab the away goal and then sit back, frustrate them and let them run themselves into the ground chasing the game. It’s going to be glorious watching them implode.
“But that’s a vast majority of their end” Sorry Neil but I disagree. That S*n song was loud and went on several times it was the majority of that end singing it to get it going that loud and keep it going, you know what an away end is like when a few morons try to sing something shit, they get ignored and drowned out, for it to be that loud most of them were singing it. Rest of the article is spot on and its a shame we even have to mention it cause there’s no need. Agree the majority of supporter aren’t like that btw but it was the majority of the end singing song about Heysel and Hillsborough for a lot of the first half.
Sorry just looked again and i think I misread first time round I thought you were saying the vast majority of their end were classy and the business where now i can see actually you’re saying the majority of the end was singing that song. Correct. Spot on great article as ever, I’d quite like it if you could bring it up with Set Armstrong if you’re talking to him before the away leg like you did for the home one. Not in a lets lynch him way or in a lets drag this out way but I’d just be interested to hear why they sing that stuff and why they think its ok especially given their history with Munich
Yeh, GTS! Would be interesting to hear Ste’s take on their singing as he seems like a ‘reasonable’ Manc. Despite the massive rivalry I find it baffling!!
For the 2nd leg a big flag with Munich 58 RIP and show them some class!
Don’t think there is a comparison for Firmino. His ball winning for an attacker is really unparalleled. His scoring and playmaking is obviously very good, but the work he does when he doesn’t have the ball is what makes him indispensible to the style Liverpool is playing.
I wouldn’t trade him for Muller, to be honest.
Surely we have enough LFC representatives who ply their trade as local and national Journos who can put the record straight in terms of accurately reporting the goings on, off the pitch last Thursday to mention 1 occasion, and to bring some context and perspective to the bitter Septics (love that descriptive slang btw, it’s so apt) and why they have this toxic obsession with hating all things LFC which far outweighs their support for their own Club, even though as All have already sited before me on this post, Man U’s dominance over us since the 90’s the last 20 years belies the negative chants coming from their quite frankly, mentally disturbed supporters.
Isn’t is about time we had a podcast where you invite a couple of shrinks to the show in order to dissect this behaviour in the TAW inimitable whit. That would indeed be a show not to miss. Not that I miss ANY, naturally.
Those of us who are old enough to remember the horrible Manc bastards of the 70s, especially during their relegation season when they destroyed every town and city on their travels. They were headline news every weekend for their hooliganism and notiriety. Let’s just face facts, they are a wrotten shower of Septic Tanks