INJURY-TIME equalisers never go out of fashion. Never have, never will. There’s something fabulous about them.
But before we get stuck into this — next season, next season, next season…
Next season: Chelsea will be good. Chelsea will be very good. They were quietly very impressive tonight, deserved their point and had chances to put the game beyond us. We had chances too, tons of them. Two good sides; two good, good sides.
It was a pleasure to watch at times, helped by the fact that both sides could play with a degree of freedom. The game had a lot riding on it, all the things football matches should always have riding on them — pride, desire, the wanting and needing to be better. Both sides showed that. But it didn’t have the next thing that so often leads to fear.
Liverpool started well, wanted to put the matter to bed. But that didn’t happen and never quite looked like happening. Balls bouncing against them, bobbles of luck going the other way, genius just lacking. The two very good things every goal needs or one brilliant thing just not quite happening and Chelsea not being interested in making a mistake.
Instead they grew into the half and by half way through the first period they were in the ascendancy. They are a side whose league position belies the quality in the squad. We think we are the same. Can we all be right? We will find out very soon.
Hazard carried the ball marvellously through the middle of the pitch, something which watching Sevilla scouts will have noticed. Liverpool can be turned around in the middle of the park, can be ran at. Liverpool’s weaknesses don’t seem to be wide areas currently. A diamond could cause us some problems at the moment.
Liverpool’s front four was fluid. Possibly too fluid. Liverpool were without a point man in possession. Both Sturridge and Firmino searching for it, Lallana flitting and making third man runs, Coutinho ironically being the most consistent in his position off the left.
We went in a goal down and then it got too hectic. I can’t work out if Liverpool spending the whole of the second half as if there is only five to go is a good thing or a bad thing. It feels as though it should be brilliant, bring about genuine urgency. And yet it seemed too hurried, too many attempts, too little pressure. Liverpool charging around and forcing issues, Emre Can especially guilty of looking to do too much too soon. There were endless shots. Liverpool bombarding but rarely opening the door.
Allen on felt like a change to improve this but Milner off and two up suggested the manager was happy enough with the state of affairs. Two changes that screamed out force it.
The contribution from Allen that drew the biggest cheer proved to be that of his daughter on the lap of honour. The lap of honour took place in good spirit because finally Liverpool did ultimately force it. Ojo crossed it in, Begovic flapped at it and Benteke nodded home a deserved point.
Liverpool have finished their domestic campaign relatively strongly. 2016 could have been better in the league but hasn’t been staggering. These things matter though. Those consistently involved can feel good about events.
Everyone will feel better should Liverpool win the final. Up the finalist Reds.