I’M fairly sure I have never celebrated a goal as little as I did yesterday.
When Liverpool’s equaliser went in I stood and clapped four times. Four times. One clap, two claps, three claps, four claps. No joy, no relief, no nothing. The only feeling knocking about was anger. The goal felt a bit like we were cheating. One of the most undeserved goals we have ever scored if we are honest with ourselves.
Liverpool, first half, were as bad as could possibly be imagined. No fight, no guile, no bottle, no quality; no redeeming features, just 11 scaredy-cats drifting around a pitch getting bullied by a team of massive wools. Think about that for a minute. Burnley, however you look at it, are shite. They have earned two points away from home all season. They’ve got a big southern doorman as a manager, a load of big lads, and Joey Barton waddling around centre midfield like he has invented and signed himself on Champ manager, in absolute defiance to rational thought. And yet the Reds, these Reds who in their last two home games ran and bullied the legs off of North London’s finest two sides, could not muster a shot, or a passage of play worth a carrot.
Sometimes — quite often, actually — football comes down to a battle of wills, a fight between one side and the other. Sometimes, you have to earn the right to play. It’s not a saying that’s formed out of thin air; people say it for a reason. You, as an individual player have to win a battle against your direct opponent to earn the right to play football. Your team-mates have to also do the same. That means you kick them, you get in their ear, you poke them, shout at them, tell the ref on them, stick your finger in them, beat them to the ball, beat them full-stop and kick them again until they sort of acknowledge the point you are making and then you can play.
Burnley, first half, won their battles, all over the pitch, with the possible exception of the lad who was up against Sadio Mane. That, from a Liverpool perspective, isn’t good enough. In fact, it’s unforgivable.
Just before half-time, I was all for selling and never seeing again at least nine of the starting 11. Seems harsh that, doesn’t it? In my mind the very least any Liverpool team needs to do is to fight. It’s a pre-requisite. There was too much of an acceptance of what was happening to them. A resigned collective shrug that this is what happens against bigger, stronger boys. No one on the pitch tried to organise, no one tried to rally their team-mates, no one dished out a bollocking. There was a distinct lack of leadership shown by all in red, too many of whom seem happy to defer all of the above onto the management team.
At half-time I was ready to get off and drown my sorrows until Adam Melia come back from the bar with two beers and a Liverpool lamb pie which he promptly half ate, got infuriated with, had a pitch battle with and lashed in the bin in a show of utter defiance against modern football, lamb pies, Liverpool’s shite side and their worrying lack of winners, Simon Mignolet and the fella whose spec we were trying to nick. Cop for that, you pricks.
Now I wasn’t privy to the discussions that took place in the Liverpool changing room but I’m fairly sure they were probably similar to mine and Adam’s, with the possible exception of Jürgen Klopp not blaming the performance so far and all of the current ills of the Western World on our goalkeeper. Liverpool lamb pies getting lashed all over the place, bollockings dished out left, right and centre, words had.
The second half was better. It wasn’t great, by any stretch, but it was better. Liverpool fought. They won second balls and started to challenge the first half idea that only Burnley were allowed to head it. That was all that was needed. Burnley started to look like what they are; a team of very limited footballers. Liverpool managed to grind out a result without playing at all well. That in itself is a positive. I don’t buy this re-branding of a shite performance as evidence that we are now able to win ugly, though. I will accept it as the first step on a long road but I don’t believe this team will be able to do that consistently enough to win things unless the lack of character on the pitch is dealt with. This squad has too many sheep and not enough lions. When things are not going well there are not enough people on the pitch able to rectify the issues. None of the central defenders on our books communicate enough to get us through 10 minutes in a match. None of the midfielders are able to organise, tighten us up, get us to the half. Too many of them passively allow things to happen to them and look to the bench for intervention.
Put plainly, not enough of the players in our squad are winners. Not enough of the players in our squad have won anything, and know how to win things. That comes from always looking for value in a transfer market that may not be there. Too often we have bought players from teams worse than us. Too often, we have bought players who other teams didn’t want, who had doubts over fitness, or who are happy to be at Liverpool, see it as justification for the hard work put in elsewhere. Who, of our recent signings, has won things? The only one I can think of is James Milner and the reason we ended up getting him was because he was free.
The manager, this year, will have learned much more about his players by the manner of our defeats than he has from our victories. He needs now to buy players of character to improve this side. There is another nonsensical saying that springs to mind here; apparently, you cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. No one knows what a sow’s ear even is any more but Liverpool have them in abundance and seem convinced that if you squeeze them hard enough they will magically transform.
Jürgen is good but he is not that good. He has managed to form a purse of sorts out of some manky auld ears. He now needs silk. Loads of frigging silk. There has been a silk embargo for too long in Liverpool. Fenway Sports Group, buy us some fucking silk, please.
Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda Photo
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Wonder whether Jurgen considered decking a couple of the wet wipes until that goal went in!
I’m patient, but it cannot be understated how wet we are when the going gets tough and that is what pisses me right off (and most others I reckon.) We seem to be a side with good talent, but bottles it whenever things aren’t going well inside the first 30 minutes. As you say that’s probably because we don’t buy winners. We rarely buy for the now, but buy talent to nurture for the year after, it cyclical.
Reckon we will come good if we get away with no more injuries. Think we’ll need to win at least 6 of our remaining games, it’s essential we do, as without the lure of the champions league we won’t get any silk…
Silk yes, but steel is also needed. I’ve been in agreement with the points made in this article for a fair while.
Not enough of our lads behave like winners. Examples include not confronting Vardy for his coward’s tackle on Mane at Leicester. They are also not disliked by opposition fans, which is another sure fire sign of a winning player.
We need to sign a spine in the summer. We need the kind of centre-back who physically monsters opposing strikers to the point where them scoring a goal is as unlikely as Jose Mourinho saying something interesting.
We need a central midfielder who can slow a game down and speed it up in equal measure. Someone cerebral who understands the inner-workings of a football match.
Finally, we need an ‘inevitable’ forward who barely touches the football. Someone who runs the channels and is always in the penalty area. The kind of forward who causes opposition fans to vomit in their own faces when the ball drops to him in the box. We’ve got Bobby for the big games who can drop off, create space for others and be generally brilliant, but we also need someone who is boring. Someone who scores ‘yet again’.
I think Gini summed it up perfectly in 3 words. We were lucky.
Chan’s winner was lucky. 99 times out of 100 he pulls that wide or dead centre of the goal for an easy save. It looked a great shot but it wasn’t a convincing goal by any stretch. I would have been happier with a goal line tap in that came from constructive play that opened up the Burnley defence.at least that would have shown ..yes we can dig in and we can make something happen even when we are playing shite. Chan’s goal just glosses over it for me, a lucky goal that masks yet another piss poor performance.
Surely Can’s goal was the perfect example of a player digging in and making something happen when not playing well.
if we’re now going to find a reason to moan about the style of the goal not being up to scratch then we’ve really got no hope. none at all.
Were gonna win the league!
You’re right Ben. I admit that straight after I succumbed to the ‘gritty win’ narrative, in the cold light of day though it’s clear we need more. More quality, more fight, nobody yesterday imposed themselves (Can’s goal apart) against inferior players. No-one was there (as happens too often even when Hendo’ is fit) to get the ball down, prompt and play. There is a ridiculous narrative these days that Stevie G couldn’t control games, maybe not in the Iniesta or Alonso (latter day) wise certainly, but he controlled plenty of games through immense will power, quality, and supreme athletism, not to mention ridiculous bravery. We just do not have that anymore and that is definitely down to the transfer policy. Barca’ play the worlds best football, still, but they also have two great fighters with quality, who simply refuse to be bullied. That those two players are both ex- Reds, Mascherano, and Suarez, just adds to the frustration. Klopp got at least three transfers right last summer, Mane (who actually does appear to have fight), Matip (a work in progress, but one who’s quality shines through) and Gini’ (getting better but needs to improve in these type of games). Now, we really need one or two ‘winners’ to supplement them, and a couple more of their level to bolster the squad. This summer simply has to be different, otherwise dissilusionment will grow, and quickly.
Rodgers inherited lads with character e.g. Reina, Agger, Carragher, Gerrard, Lucas & Suarez (perhaps Henderson could be included). We lack players with their grit and determination and I’m sure Klopp knows it. The 3 he’s signed Matip, Marne & Gini seem to have something that will mature into being reasonable bastards but by God do we need it all over the pitch. All top Liverpool teams could, and did, put it about, this one needs an injection of aggression. We aren’t top of the fair play league for nothing. Where’s Agger’s elbow when you need it?
So thin and under invested is our squad, Emre Can has been playing at less than 100% fitness. How can we seriously compete for anything when we dont even have depth despite having no euro footy? We are the 9th richest club on the planet for fucks sake.
And people defend these fucking owners.
You’re seriously boring
This. Fucking stuck record.
Then don’t read my comments you fucking Nimrod.
Agree with everything that has been said. I described the team as a bunch of Fancy Dan’s after the Leicester debacle, collectively they have no bottle. Origi is a big unit but never wins a ball in the air when challenged and shirks any sort of physical battle. Others are just too lightweight. We may yet finish top four but this threadbare squad is going nowhere . Urgent cull of a number of players and quality reinforcements required this summer.
This threadbare squad beat the runaway leaders at their place and is currently outperforming the most expensively assembled squad in football history despite the fact their keeper gives them a several point start. Why is there always so much anger?
I seen a photo of the team that beat Madrid 4-1 coupla days ago.
Reina, Arbeloa, Carra, Skrtel, Auerlio, Masch, Alonso, Babel, Gerrard, Kuyt, Torres.
Plenty of winners in that team.
Plenty of players of quality.
Plenty of players with grit.
Plenty of players with mental strength
Plenty of leaders.
Millions upon millions spent later and we are searching for quality leaders with mental strength and grit.
Note how the vast majority of that team weren’t promising youngsters.
Two of the biggest leaders in that team were once ‘promising youngsters’
Sorry, Ben, man. Your article sucks. It reflects all that’s wrong with our club. If things don’t go out way, they are terrible; even if we win! Our lads need to be shipped out; there is no development process to be had. Very few are good enough for our amazing team. The other team, in this case Burnñeu, doesn’t have our history or budget and so they are automatically shite, and so we are suppose to roll over them. Well, I think all of that is madness, years of frustration impatiently expressed. First, credit where it’s deserved: Burbley proved they are a good team and they played a courageous, outstanding game. Second, our lads did not play well, for sure, but struggle and try they did. They are a development project. It took many years for Ferguson to (unfortunately) turn Man U into winners. Klopp, if given time will get there. Last, your article goes a long way to feed the self deprecating monster and undermine our long term aspirations. The backpack our players have been carrying for two decades now is our fans unresolved grief for what we once were, which has been turned into unhealthy anger, to protect us from the reality that we are not elite anymore. If we want to go up there again, we need to keep working on the training ground and the pitch; and that includes lousy days, which don’t mean we are hopeless. It’s time we stop feeding the hating and embrace the loving. And we won for f***s sake!
You counted your claps Ben…because you have such high standards?
You are a microcosm of what is wrong with our fan base. Our team tied but that just isn’t good enough for you. You barely cheered, you were disgusted right? You’re a Liverpool fan from Liverpool and you know better than any what the expectations are so you won’t cheer for them if they are not meeting expectations.
This is The Anfield Wrap. Week in and Week out. Liverpool Need New Players, Liverpool Need New Owners everyone not from Liverpool is responsible for the terrible atmosphere…YET Ben Claps 4x because he is a local and that is how many the locals on their high horses clap when they are disgusted. The rest are responsible for the atmosphere not ol boy Ben. Way to let it all hang for those of us who would die to get to go to a game one time Ben. You don’t have a right to go to the games Ben, it is a PRIVILEGE. Look it up. PRIVILEGE. Millions watch from home (including me) dreaming about just one opportunity to save enough money to get to go the stadium one time. Yet here you are Ben part of the problem perpetuating it and pawning it off on out of towners and foreigners. And if I ever get to a game, I’m buying that dreaded match day scarf and if I don’t know all the songs you sing its your fault. You own it. Do you set anything up with the club pregame to help the new fans learn? Why the hell not…? It’s your club you are there every week and you don’t open your arms to foreigners and embrace and teach them…you mock them and you mock the team with your 4 claps.
I feel Josh has got a point, Ben. Don’t get me wrong, I know you care loads about our Reds. Loads. I know. Unfortunately you are just acting out your anger. I’m across the Atlantic and I’d also clap my arse off for the privilege of watching a home game. You acted out the cancer man. Get healed. You don’t have to spew this poison again. Up the sometimes shite, sometimes sublime Reds!