MARCH 12. Write it down. March 12, 2017. The last time Liverpool played poorly and won.
They played so, so poorly. It is hard to put over how poorly they played. Poorly has a scale. Winning doesn’t. Football matches end and you get three points, one point or no points. This Liverpool side has taken all three. That’s not the beginning or the middle of it but come the end of the season, come Friday next week, that is the end of it. You don’t need to tell yourselves any stories when there are three points in the bag.
Liverpool ground the points out. It wasn’t smooth or filtered. It was face in the dirt ground out. If anything, they reconciled themselves to how poor they were too early but having done that they embraced the situation and the battle and got the result.
Liverpool’s poorest period was the first half an hour. They were a mockery of themselves, really. All of their worst characteristics came through but then they found and pushed on from a foothold, straining, scrambling up a hillock of their own creation.
At the back Liverpool were no great shakes. Ragnar Klavan and Nathaniel Clyne both struggled in and out of possession. Everything seemed to come as a surprise to Klavan. That Burnley would put the ball in the air towards him should have been no shock but seemingly it was. He lost too many battles. Clyne was dreadful in spells. Not enough of an outlet and covering cleverly either. A poor halfway house performance.
Philippe Coutinho was the poorest performer in red to the extent you wonder if he had a knock. He was at his most infuriating. Nothing stuck and he had no impact on the match. Divock Origi grafted very hard indeed but couldn’t set the game alight. Sadio Mane was always on the verge. The verge of making it happen but the verge of the game. Burnley dealt with him reasonably well. Adam Lallana worked his socks off while lacking the spring and surge of his performances against Arsenal and Tottenham. It is so strange watching the difference between his pressing and its effectiveness between those games. It is off the ball, more than anywhere else and especially where that midfield is concerned, where you see a genuine difference between Liverpool’s performances against the top six and the rest.
In truth, Liverpool’s two moments of genuine quality were the two finishes from midfielders. Gini Wijnaldum showed tons of poise and kept his head as those about them flailed. Emre Can surged forward and powerfully passed the ball unerringly into the corner. It’s a lovely goal, a throwback of a goal. A goal from 1988; Steve McMahon, Jan Molby or the like, a goal Liverpool haven’t scored enough of for years.
Can had the most mixed bag of a performance, the most microcosmic of games for the Reds, he was dreadful in patches first half but in the second he scores, has the defining contribution and scraps for absolutely everything. Fair play to him and to his side. It is easier to win when it all goes well for Liverpool, to win when you are very poor is an effort of will.
Liverpool showed will and willing. In the most mundane of ways they had other ideas than bowing to the inevitable. It wasn’t a run of the mill home win but it was a game it would have been so easy to drop points in. Liverpool had other ideas today however mediocre their feet were.
Up the awful Reds. May they stink the place out and win every game they play.
Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda Photo
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Thank God for that. Don’t think I could bear watching George Boyd beat us again….
I thought we were ace. Not our football, the way we fought and fought when nothing was sticking or going right. On days like this all you can do is scrap it out and rely on touches of quality here and there. Too many times we’ve essentially been bullied against lower-mid table opposition. Winning ugly is a skill that must be learned, I feel today was a step in the right direction. You are right Neil, nothing matters apart from the points, you get nowt’ for ‘presentation’ in the run-in. Up the ‘win back-to-back for the first time in AGES Reds’. :)
Emre’s got that goal in his locker. Need to see more of it.
Horrible viewing today but great to hang tough and win ugly……very ugly!!!Every game is a cup final now, lets get behind the lads and win them all even if it is… UGLY!!!!!YNWA
An ugly win? That was Peter Beardsley. That was Beardsley without his dentures. Quasimodo stuff. Coutinho stank the place out. Bullied within an inch of his life. Without Hendo and Lovren we look spineless. Sakho also a big miss in games like this. Anyway, a win is a win. JFT96
Scully was a good scouse 80s TV show you could reference…
The first was poetry in motion. The second has no words to describe. The rest is irrelevant as we won.
Joe Hart, Please.
Couldn’t agree more. Joe Hart is terrible
You cannot fault Simon Mignolet on his perormance today: in complete command of his area; imperious in the ruck. He has been great for the last three games now. Credit where it is due. Joe Hart, no thanks.
His kicking and punching seem miles better.
His kicking has been as good as any other keeper in the league this season. No qualms about saying so at all. I’m glad somebody else finally stood up and said so.
We can be guilty of judging players on their past, developing a distaste for players based on this, and then revisit these past impressions of players in the present. This a case in point with Mignolet.
I see plenty of other keepers in the league and in other top leagues. He compares fairly well. He rarely fails to surpass the far side of the centre circle. Which is fine. Today he received a ropey bobbly low pace backpass in his own 6 yard box and he nailed it. Plus, he is more than occasionally getting a better flight – like a punched 3-iron into the wind……..which makes it easier for Mane/Origi to win headers ahead of the grock CBs today. Pity Origi didn’t react better to a few of Mane’s flick-ons.
I don’t think this makes him Neuer or Buffon. He is just better at kicking now. Someone on staff noticed and they’ve improved it.
At times, the needed was done. Showed a team effort today. Shite team, yea at times, but still a team. Something to build a dream on.
Love victories like this. Just love them.
Two moments summed it up for me:
Mignolet coming out for a punch and not caring who he cleared out, and Matip performing one of the most elegantly timer tackles I have seen on Andre Gray as Gray tried to pass him in the area, almost as if to say: ‘I do not fucking think so mid-table striker. Not today thank you.’
The Battle of Wounded Mee, a hard fought victory, against, a cunning enemy, Hugely significant now other teams of Burnley’s ilk can be put to the sword and we have another easy top 6 game, next against City. That said could not call that a bench more like a stool, unacceptable for side with aspirations of champs league, illustrates our lack of squad depth perfectly.
On a side note, Alonso has been offered an ambassador role with LFC…. Well if we want to act like a big club, phon ecall should already have been made, clear where his heart is at, WW, forgotten what it felt like
Can’s goal is a throwback, but so was Gini’s. That was pure Suarez. The audacity of the backheel deserves mention, to be sure, but really it was that sense of operating at a slightly faster speed than everyone else in the universe. Reacts hours before everyone else, sets himself and waits as the others move in a slow motion clockwork, then buries it with the dispassion of a serial killer.
Something should be said for Can’s ability to mug to the supporters after months of being rubbish. Lord knows the boy has a sense of self-belief. It can’t wait for the day when his performances actually catch up.
Told my mate “Too easy, they know we are always looking for Milner to overlap.” That Coutinho looked an injury, and without his foil Bobby was all part of it.
Games like this call for tactical work from the manager. Not sure I’m even right about this, but Woodburn cam on and it gave Can just a little room in that space Coutinho normally fills. I think it just unbalanced them for the goal, not too much, but they didn’t think Emre would have a go, so they stepped off a touch.
Migs did nearly everything we’ve asked him to improve on today, except that goal. I’d put most of the goal down to Clyne’s terrible marking. Albeit, the blame could go around to the whole of the back line for that monstrosity.
I want us to win every game playing the most exciting football in the prem. While I’m waiting for that to happen I’ll take every ugly 3 points on offer.
Couldn’t believe the atmosphere where I was sat in the back corner of the main stand. The negativity and abuse being hurled at the team was massive. Who thinks berating Origi will make him play better? It’s got me seriously considering taking a season off visiting Anfield. Compared to Hull at home, it was night and day. Obviously no one near me had listened to Gareth’s rant and that made me even angrier. I’m taking credit for Winaldjems goal by the way. In true Gibbo style I walked out at 44th minute for a piss. Bam. Goal. You’re welcome!