There are no excuses and no hiding places. Everybody sees every game. Everybody knows where the bodies are buried.
If this season doesn’t result in the league title then the body wasn’t buried tonight. It was buried against Swansea or Bournemouth. The dirt shovelled on it by tonight’s opponent and their ridiculous 13 game winning run. Tonight was yet another mad game between the top six this season.
These games between the top six this season, not just involving us, have been unbelievably intense, physically, mentally, emotionally. They have been almost eternally draining. Lads ending them shattered, done in. They are in spells utterly chaotic, played at a pace that almost stops quality from emerging. In the end they become so clangingly physical, two separate acts of will, conducted by men driving themselves mad on the sidelines, screaming, urging for one more.
Passing lanes cut off, options closed down. One more, one more, one more. The ball goes dead and these elite footballers often looked one step from retching before going again because that’s what you need to do, how you need to compete.
The most composed centre mid on the pitch today was Jordan Henderson. This is mad. Because he kept booming it. Sometimes successfully, sometimes unsuccessfully. But look at the competition, all excellent players but none managed the game. It was unmanageable not least because of them. N’Golo Kante could win it but not keep it, barely able to recycle. Nemanja Matic stood firm but didn’t build. Gini Wijnaldum netted and scrapped, but didn’t find.
The best midfielder, best player in Red on the pitch for me was Emre Can. Albeit operating as much as a siege weapon as an actual footballer. He wrecking balled his way through the game, clattering about to fabulous effect. He didn’t solve a problem, didn’t manage a thing. He caused them, though.
This surely cannot continue, I tell myself. I’ve grown up on the football of control. The more passive control of Gerard Houllier. The more active control of Rafa Benitez. I find it hard to imagine Xabi Alonso playing in these games. Harder still to imagine Didi Hamann (I occasionally entertain myself and imagine Juan Roman Riquelme). They’d have found a way because they are good footballers but I can’t see it. Michael Carrick hooked at Old Trafford against Liverpool after months, years of looking imperious. Yes, he’s 35 but he was reduced to irrelevance when being their most important player before kick-off. Because of this pace. It is relentless.
It’s almost a different sport to Swansea at home. It’s certainly a different game, one Liverpool look a bit better at, broadly speaking. There’s been no intensity, no relentlessness that Liverpool won’t rise to this campaign. Every side that has forced it, Liverpool have forced it harder, gone further, gone one more, one more, one more. Every single time they found a way.
And in most seasons we’d be saying they have given themselves a platform to go on and push for the title. A pathway to circa 65 from 30. But tonight’s visitors have gone at such a clip that all we can do is what you should always try and find a way to do — worry about yourself. Put your points total together. Enjoy the process.
Never take a point at home. Never. But occasionally acknowledge that it happens and find a way to enjoy it. A great free-kick and some awful goalkeeping. A terrible chance missed by Roberto Firmino. A penalty save. Twenty-two genuinely good footballers, a cracking atmosphere because people chose to make one. Your night is what you make it. You choose. You opt in or you opt out. Let’s stay opted in, for us all. I told you Tuesday was everything, everything in your whole life. I meant it. This thing of ours — sweet as a nut, sweet like tropicana. We can make it that way. We can scream in a fourth official’s face. Get you a man who can do both.
Fifteen more hurdles. Fifteen more nights out. Fifteen more parties. Fifteen more great performances from The Reds hopefully. Take the intensity to Hull. They have our points. No excuses. No hiding places. Everyone back in the fold. Everyone fit. Everyone exhausted. For us.
Up the nobody can beat us Reds. That’s every team talk for me.
Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda Photo
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not sure how you can put these together so close to after the match. Brilliant
As always Neil you have a way with words, and the speed to boot with your reviews.
The team did fine today, but for me Emre Can needs to repeat the performance you saw on the field against Hull and better it. I didn’t think he was that good. Just can’t do much in tight spaces. Matip was off his game and Lovren was Lovren.
Milner is really an industrious player if I have ever seen. I wish he had support, and wonder what it would be like to have in Can’s place if we ever get a new LB.
Migs just baffles me. One minute he is busy trimming the grass on the left side, the next minute he dives to his right to save Lovren’s, the Reds’ and his arse.
Henderson was very good tonight and that saving tackle against Pedro was brilliant, though I feel bad for him when that free-kick whizzed over his head, as the lads in the wall for some weird reason were not ready.
The decision for the foul that led to their goal was wrong and Hazard is very good at that.
Overall this game was important to see if Jurgen managed to learn something from the last three defeats. I don’t know if he showed it in the first 45 minutes with the lads trying to force it through the middle of the park against the best defense in the country, that just parks a bus and a good one at that. The second half seemed a bit livelier.
Firmino needs to out those meaningful chances away. Would have swapped the two goals against Swansea with today’s missed sitters.
Gini’s goal was a relief, though I am still waiting for his target of 10-goals this season as he said he wants to deliver.
Nice to have Sadio back, hope he can recover for the next game.
Anyways 15 games to go. One game at a time. The real big test is coming up against Hull Bus.
Up the Bus Wrecking Reds!!!
Chelsea won the league tonight with Arsenal and Spurs fucking up to varying degrees (which they did all last season chasing frigging Leicester and will continue to do forever). We needed to beat them to keep the season alive unless you’re a gimp who cares about ‘aiming for top 4’ and in that case crack on. Another trophy less season. Title less run is stretching to 28 years at least. See everyone in August when hopefully I’ll be over that first Firmino sitter.
The good news is I still reckon Klopp wins us a league like (I reckon 18/19 when he’s had windows to build a proper squad where one player being out doesn’t kill us). Guardiola at City has to win one you’d think so maybe next year. Mourinho’s United can piss off.
We won’t the league, it’s gone now but the fight for the top four is on and we are in the mix for sure…these players now have fifteen games left to do it….performance wise it was only the midfield three that stood out …the forward line was more miss than hit and the back four was…Liverpools back four…inconsistent…so, off to Hull wemail go
Well I care about the top four. I care a lot about the top 4. How can you watch Diego Costa and not care about the top 4? The Diego Costa who wouldn’t come to us in 2013/14 (what if) but then signed for Chelsea. I want to be in the top 4, every year, not so much for being in the CL as for the fact it helps us with player recruitment. Better players = better team = more chance of winning the league = me starting to find football less of a torture (and not having to listen to otherwise excellent Italian commentators put Chel$ea’s success down to the fact that while Klopp is a very good manager, Conte is better, again and again and again).
As Neil says, last night is a decent result made into a poor one by the Swansea result. In general, fully support TAW’s reluctance to have a go at refs, especially Clat, who is excellent. But this run of ours isn’t helped by refs seemingly forgetting the rules in the opposition penalty area. Bad as we were against Wolves, clear foul on Wijnaldum just before half-time which could have changed the game and if Costa throwing himself over Matip’s leg is a pen, then surely so is Moses flattening Milner. Up the finishing top 3 and two of the other 6 missing out reds.
Costa, like a whole slew of elite players that win you leagues, would come if you offered them the right money. We’d have pushed the boat out if Suarez would’ve ended up going to Arsenal.
And champions league football did us the world of good summer 2014. Yeah…
Ah, social media, don’t bother trying to grasp what someone is saying, just disagree with them, preferably sarcastically. The point about CL is players need to be convinced you are going to have a fair chance of playing in it more than once, otherwise Kante would have stayed at Leicester wouldn’t he. I would have thought that was pretty obvious, but apparently not.
Don’t be getting your nose bent out of shape just because you’re wrong. It’s about paying enough league-winning level players the wages. End of.
We spent practically all of the 2000s in the semis and quarters of the champions league and had about one and a half title challenges in that decade.
Only saw this from home but am surprised at the degree of praise for Can to be honest. Yes he was better than of late, not in itself that much of a compliment, yes he was a wrecker, but his inability to make basic passes and the lack of speed he does it at? Not for me to be honest. Still not convinced he’s a midfielder. Clearly there is talent, just not sure what he is.
Neil, as you said before about Shelvey, there may be some player there in the future, but he is very very raw and has many mistakes to make and learn from. I don’t want to see him make those mistakes.
The other 2 midfielders I thought were excellent, few sloppy passes aside. Henderson with a true captains performance.
I want to talk about nark. Why are we so soft? helping Costa up after a dive. Checking if Costa is okay after a dive. High fiving Terry on the touchline. Giving them the ball back after them slowing the game. Not being over Luiz screaming cheat and dragging him off the pitch when he has gone to slow our momentum before a corner. Accepting the refs decision when a procession of Costa, hazard et al have dived.
We are soft
I want 5 men around the ref to dispute a throw-in.
Pointless the crows being intimidating if our players want to arrange a night out with the opposition. They may be friends/international colleagues but from before the game until the final whistle I dont want our players even acknowledging the oppositions presence.
Anyhow, mixed feelings about the result. never happy with a point, home or away. But after the recent rot, its positive. Its such an important game at hull, not just to build the momentum but to show we can do so against ‘weaker’ teams.
Great to have Mane back and I feel with time on the training pitch and decent recoveries we should be in for a strong finish.
In the summer, assuming we have a strong finish, lets not forget that this period has exposed the squad a little for whatever reason and that will need addressing, particularly with hopefully Europe next year. Not just about transfers but some rotation strategy to keep the whole squad fit, aligned and ready.
On that, I liked how Costa had a hand out to high-five Mignolet for his own save and Mig fucked him off.
Yup – i forgot about that. More of that and some verbal. We are never going to match Chelsea etc on spending & wages, we need every % we can get. Passion, anger, spite, whatever.
Agree – thought Can looked a big beast. Gutted Roberto Dazzler didn’t take a touch and smash it in. Oh well. Jean Gini with another tasty header against big rivals. Feel better after that.
I hope the players don’t have the same mentality as some of the fans. The title is not gone. Yes, it’s Chelsea’s to loose, and 99 times out of 100 they don’t loose it from the position they’re in.
But there’s this chance…
There’s this chance that Arsenal beat them. City Beat them. United get a jammy 1-1. Add in there that maybe, just maybe the kings of Turf More, Burnley take a shock 3 points. Or the cold, rainy Stoke afternooners upset the odds.
That happens and we’ll be kicking ourselves if we had given up on that dream at this stage. Jurgen will no doubt we getting this team to give everything for this title until the maths say no. So lets do the same. This team of ours is born in fire and they live for the fight, the intensity, the heat of the Anfield cauldron. Keep screaming at these shite refs. Sing Adam Lallana’s name – King of England, Best in the land. Coutinho, Firming & Mane. The gang are back together. Tear through Hull again. Tear through the other 11 teams. City away? We love playing City.
We’re too far behind to be snapping Chelsea’s heels but they can still hear us bark.
Roar these reds all the way.
I’ll say the unthinkable: it was a really good, intense game between two sides determined to win. Chelsea are the best side we’ve played this season, its easy to see why they’re top of the league, but we made life hard for them last night and had we played a proper striker, rather than a grafter up top, could have have won the game. Can’t bring myself to hate Chelsea quite as much this season, Conte’s a good egg.
Agree about Conte. Wouldn’t have been out of place with us. So I have to focus on Costa’s villainous mug to get myself in the Two Minutes Hate mode (why are 1984 references suddenly so topical?) I’d say the same about the Spurs boss. I miss the days of looking at Redknapp in disgust. Now I find myself in quiet admiration for another gaffer who you could imagine at Melwood.
But, let’s be frank – Klopp is the Bossest Boss who ever Bossed. Just a fabulous human being. And I wouldn’t trade him for another manager in the world. Even ones who know when to put on a sub and/or manage a rotation.
Costa is definitely a worthy recipient of the two minute’s hate. Conte is however most likeable. I really want to dislike Spurs as well, I’m not sure why. I cannot dislike Pochettino despite my best efforts. He said he felt Alexander-Arnold should have been sent off in our League Cup win against them, which I pretended to be more angry about than I was.
Haha. Love that.
The atmosphere compared to the Swansea match was night and day.
Why cant we be like that for all home matches?
This is what Klopp is asking himself.
Having come from “the yellow wall”, I think he is a little surprised (disappointed even?) at the lack of belief.
We need a “Red wall”. One that bounces for 95minutes!
Not sure if that is possible in England at the moment …
Nobody Can Beat Us.
Loved that. That needs to be our anthem. Bloody sing it as relentlessly as it needs to be sung, until the 90 minutes are up. And then sing it some more
Can this team go on a 13, 14, 15 game (unbeaten) run?
45points. Where would that leave us? 91points. We might not win the league even with that.
Best to enjoy this moment. We have a team that when they are motivated are a match for anyone.
And when the are motivated they are a joy to watch.
Up the motivated Reds.
I think Chelsea will drop more points.
They must still play the majority of the “top 6” and then some.
I think they will drop more points.
We just need to focus on our game.
And we just need to enjoy it.
Kenny lad, love the enthusiasm but chelsea play arsenal, city at home..and United away..even if they drop 9 points I carnt see them running out of steam…Liverpool play spurs arsenal at home city away …not to mention Everton so potentially 12 ponits lost or gained …sorry to put a dampener on it but it’s the anyone in the bottom half I’m worried about..that said I’m sure we can every game but chelsea to loose 9…nah
Phil, I was looking at the Chelsea team, which of them would you have in our team? Kante? Costa?
Victor Moses … I am dumbfounded that Victor Moses might win the league!
Not the sharpest tool at the business end of the pitch.
But I am thinking Conte is doing a Ranieri with that group of players.
Anyway, I am just trying to enjoy the games.
As a wise man once said,
“Beauty comes first. Victory is secondary. What matters is joy.”
This all-out winning mind-set plays havoc with my blood-pressure!
Just wanna see great football from Liverpool.
And I think we are getting that more often than not.
Hi Kenny, love your enthusiasm. I wish it was spread throughout Anfield at all games irrespective of the result.
If I were allowed a wish, I would have Kante in my team no doubt.
I wouldn’t slate Victor Moses for his past performance, but at Chelsea he is a cog in their system that Conte setup very well, and so he understands and does his job, unlike the rubbish we saw when he was at LFC.
For me it’s, “Keep it simple. Beauty comes next…etc…”. That’s what Chelsea decided to do after we beat them. No nonsense.
I wish Jurgen and Redmen don’t repeat their mistakes against Hull and get that Red machine in full effect!
Up the Reds!!!