SECOND half Liverpool remembered they were Liverpool. Everton were left with the stark reality of being Everton.
Redshite that sentence? Perhaps. But this is what happened. One football side expressed superiority over the other and that superiority drained and drained and drained a football team. There is this idea — that superiority leads to chance, after chance, after chance. Leads to the joy of being alive over and over again. Leads to everything. Instead this — superiority can lead to exhausting a football team till their will breaks and they sag before your eyes. Can sap a side. Can destroy a side. And finally, finally, finish a side.
Everton sagged before our eyes. Sapped. Destroyed. Finished.
The game wasn’t a classic though, the result was. There is no better way to win the Derby than that. Sadio Mane adds himself to the litany of lads who have done the decent thing against Everton late on.
It was a scrap. First half especially. If anything, Liverpool were too eager to win the right to play rather than actually play, but Liverpool wanted to assert themselves albeit cack-handedly. The Reds found solidity from Ragnar Klavan and Dejan Lovren. Jordan Henderson’s composure not what it has been. Adam Lallana not on the ball and Divock Origi holding nothing up; bringing nothing into play, frustrating the balls off you. One more, Liverpool, whereas Liverpool are offering one less.
Everton played quite well, put 40 into 20 and needed the goal that never came. James McCarthy buzzed about the gaff and Idrissa Gueye showed his class. It was Aaron Lennon and Enner Valencia who didn’t have what was required, lacked one moment of quality, ceded that ground to the Reds.
Throughout the first half all I could think was get to the break, get to the break. Not because I didn’t think Liverpool were hanging on, but because I thought these lads would be capable of so much more once they had sat down and had a think and a chat about it.
Quick things to have a think and a chat about:
Quick note — This should be the night Gini Wijnaldum is adored as a Liverpool player. He’ll scrap for you. For me. The extent to which he is against his press prior to arrival isn’t to be sniffed at. Because he will not be scoring any goals any time soon.
Quick note — Daniel Sturridge made a world of difference. Brought all the cutting edge. Touch, touch, touch, touch. Live with this. Touch. Touch. Liverpool. Liverpool.
Quick note — “Always The Victims…” is not only a Hillsborough song but one which criticises the quest for justice. It’s a song Everton are better than.
Quick note – Moody as onions that from Ross Barkley. Genuinely bad tackle. Henderson did well to keep his head. He showed the composure second half that was lacking first. Kept shifting and moving. Think about what you would have done. He’s a strange player, Henderson. He needs friction in the game at times to be smooth when his game is often a smidgeon too rough.
Quick note – Emre Can on Romelu Lukaku. Great tackle.
The end was marvellous. It was a joy to be alive this evening. It becomes this: cop for that, take that, stitch that, deal with that. It becomes everything because everything is winning just that game of football, not just because of the league but because that game of football is everything in this neck of the woods and it always should be. It becomes everything because of Christmas and families and life. It is everything because football is everything, this city rocks and rolls to it. It rocks and rolls to our rhythm.
There is nothing left but that joy, that raw joy. The league table is irrelevant to my interests before tomorrow. One thing is relevant to my interests — Liverpool. That dominance. We were due that.
The goal took a yonk to come and a yonk to be scored.
I want one thing — Zapruder footage of the goal. Sturridge. Sturridge. Ball. Post. Mane. Mane. There. I want every frame from every angle. I want every face in the crowd. I want the 90 seconds that followed the goal. I want everyone’s name. I want an investigation. I want to look at all the documents. I want to see all the faces. I want every move and shift till the ball hits the net. I want that goal over and over through dot theory. Every dot means something, we all have something. Below tell me where you were and how it happened, tell me what you did, tell me how it felt. I want everything.
Tonight Sadio Mane has scored a goal we will think of a thousand times, watch a thousand times more. That’s football. It’s Liverpool.
Up the Zapruder Reds.
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