LARS Leese, you might not remember the name, and to be fair I had to double check.
For those that listened to our pre-Burnley Team Talk show on TAW Player, you’ll remember that I spoke about not giving the opposition goalie a chance to settle, especially if he’s a reserve coming in wet.
We talked about Tom Heaton being out injured and the importance of not allowing understudy Nick Pope his chance to be a hero.
Reserve goalies that have been lashed in tend to have one of two performances, they’re either absolutely dogshit or walk off with the man of the match champagne.
Which brings me back to November 1997 and Lars Leese.
Barnsley had arrived at Anfield as lambs to the slaughter, Danny Wilson’s men mere spectators to Roy Evans marauding Reds.
Wilson and the Tykes chances were further impacted by the loss of first choice goalkeeper David Watson, with his deputy, Lars Leese, stepping into the breach.
Sometimes Anfield can be too polite for its own good, sometimes we need to be a bit more hostile, sometimes we need not applaud the opposition keeper.
On occasion, especially in big European fixtures, this is the case but far too often our laissez-faire attitude towards the opposition comes back to bite us on the arse.
It goes without saying that Barnsley left Anfield that night with three points, an Ashley Ward goal towards the end of the first half proving enough to vanquish Roy’s Reds.
But that only told half the story with Leese taking the man of the match magnum of Carsberg for one of the strangest displays I’ve ever witnessed.
Leese was possibly the most nervous man at Anfield at kick off, but a couple of soft shots to warm the hands and pick up a rhythm saw his confidence sky rocket.
The lack of nous in the Liverpool side to unsettle him was evident.
Fast forward 20 years and while we might have bagged a point, we’ve let some jarg stopper with a terrible haircut take the headlines.
That in the end it was Pope getting on our nerves shows just how much the failure to exploit an clear weakness has cost us again.
And that doubt spread throughout the team as the clock ticked down, knowing that given the week that has just gone, a goal the wrong way suddenly plunges Liverpool into crisis.
The tell is atmosphere in the stands and the clock checking every five minutes.
55 minutes? Plenty of time.
62? We’ll be sound.
And so on and so on, the perpetual argument with yourself to the point where you’re equally sure of both outcomes.
The madness of this chronic doubt is that for the most part it only tends to rear its head against the cannon fodder, the shite of the league.
Swap Burnley and Barnsley for Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund with 20 on the clock to score a goal and the atmosphere and mentality couldn’t be more different, the defining defiance that is the hallmark of every great Anfield result is front and centre.
What’s surprising about today’s result and performance is that it isn’t.
For Liverpool to recover from what can only be described, even in the kindest terms, as a fucking crap week they need to vanquish the collective doubt that has haunted them for over 20 years and start putting shite to bed.