REMEMBER when Marc Overmars scored from a Nwankwo Kanu cross to knock Sheffield United out of the FA Cup to a nation’s disgust? Fucking great, wasn’t it?
While Maribor might be no great shakes, you can only beat what it’s in front of you and Liverpool showed a ruthlessness tonight that far too often has been missing.
There has been a narrative over the course of this season about missed chances and letting teams off the hook, but this is nothing particularly new, Liverpool have been guilty of being too soft for years.
Bar the annual Anfield Merseyside derby cakewalk, the only time in the last few years where The Reds have really turned the screw was against an Aston Villa side so wretched that even Kolo Toure got on the scoresheet.
Liverpool have been far too nice for far too long and too often they’ve took their foot off the gas, too often slowing the game to an exhibition pace thinking they’re home and dry and this softness has come back to bite them on the arse.
The good sides, the really good ones put teams to the sword and attack the game with the same intensity at 5-0 as they do at 0-0, Liverpool haven’t always done this, they’ve lost the knack a little, lost the mentality.
As much as the scoring seven goals is to be celebrated, seeing James Milner balling out his colleagues with five minutes to go and Emre Can busting a gut to fill in at full back while The Reds hunted for a sixth was just as encouraging.
Scoring goals and putting shite to bed for a change is refreshing, but the next step is for Liverpool to take this arrogance, ruthlessness and unwillingness to give an inch into other areas of the game — they need to get nasty.
Sometimes you don’t get decisions, sometimes you don’t get the result you deserve and sometimes you deservedly get beat, but how many times have Liverpool taken every advantage they’ve been offered, pushed every rule to the limit and made the most of every situation. Are The Reds streetwise enough?
It’s no coincidence they don’t get decisions other teams do, when Sadio Mane got his marching orders at the Etihad, why was the referee swarmed by Manchester City players, where were Mane’s teammates getting in the referee’s face?
When Romelu Lukaku was leathering Liverpool players five foot in the air last week where were the appeals?
When Phil Coutinho gets a brush on the edge of the area in the same game why aren’t his teammates in the referee’s face making sure he’ll give it next time?
And it’s not just restricted to pushing the margins of the game, even when offered a clear opportunity to take advantage Liverpool simply don’t make the most of it.
During the Spartak Moscow game The Reds had a 10-minute spell when they had a goalkeeper that couldn’t move, did they put him under pressure? No. Not because they didn’t want to, it just simply didn’t occur to them because they’re not ruthless enough.
Liverpool showed a hunger tonight to take everything they could, they need to take this attitude into every game regardless of opposition.
The only thing that could’ve topped it off is bullying the referee into showing one of theirs a red in the 91st minute.
And what the fuck is this two minutes of injury time in a second half of three goals and six subs about? Anyway, one for another time.
Nous isn’t developed overnight, but it has to start somewhere and hopefully showing Maribor no mercy tonight is sign of a more ruthless Reds.