THEIR manager has had our manager’s kecks down there.
I am going to talk about this for a while so brace yourselves.
Their manager has absolutely had our manager’s kecks off.
And that’s OK from the point of view of criticising our manager. That happens to everyone. In that, last season, in February, our manager had their manager’s kecks down. Absolutely made a show of him. We are here today with those roles reversed.
We don’t need — as they tend not to — to make this unbelievably macho. We don’t. The language around kecks being had down does admittedly suggest we do but we don’t. We just need to shrug a shoulder. Acknowledge it happens. Because it does.
The language aside, up and down the country every week managers have each other off. It doesn’t mean that x or y is better than one another much of the time. The reality is, as these men who work in the industry know, they all have good and bad days. Being able to acknowledge that is important.
All Liverpool managers have found themselves shown up from time to time. It’s why we shouldn’t get too carried away when it happens in our favour as much as we shouldn’t get too indignant when it happens against us. This is sport.
And so what worries me much more is two things. One, that our players are so very short of what is required. Two, my endless worry about this campaign, my articulated worry around this season — that every top six side and manager is psyched for Liverpool home and away. The game you need to work hardest, the game you need to be smartest. The game. The one to watch.
All that to one side to deal with one. Dejan Lovren was fucking shite, wasn’t he.? Absolutely shite. A teensy bit better than fucking shite — Emre Can. A teensy bit better than a teensy bit better than fucking shite — Joel Matip. And by Christ do I need the Liverpool goalkeeper to give me something.
In fact, the finest review of this game right now is the fact that I would start Danny Ward, Trent Alexander-Arnold and therefore Joe Gomez at centre half next weekend. I would just, right now, in this moment burn everything the fuck down.
And my kecks haven’t even been pulled down.
Philippe Coutinho was an absolute mess for Liverpool today. A state. He was so very poor. But he gets that one, it is allowed; every player has a poor game here and there. That was his. He can have that one to a certain extent but the sheer lack of grabbing the game does knock on.
The rest can have a little look. Jordan Henderson and Mohamed Salah both probably get a shrug, not least that they hook up for that goal. But that goal is as infuriating as anything. Henderson plays a fantastic ball for the goal because that is what you have to do to score for Liverpool.
To score against Liverpool you just have to wait for your gifts. Gifts can come in abundance. For the first Simon Mignolet, Lovren and Matip make it easy. For the second, Lovren makes an absolute show of himself. For the third Can is at 6s, 7s and 8s. All over the place. Then a terrible header. The fourth had Mignolet coming for no reason anyone can understand followed by Harry Kane just turning it in. Tottenham are a good side but, bar one neat Kane ball and tidy Heung-Min Son finish, what do they have to do well to get their goals?
I wish there was an easy story, an easy line. There was a neat bit of wrapping up. There isn’t. Liverpool need to now pull themselves together. Two big games come and they need six points. But they also need a plan, a thought process. They need to know what their A to B is. In short there aren’t many positives other than our gaffer now finds himself under no illusions. That’s the end of “one”.
“Two” is deeper. If you mark yourself out as the side who takes the most points from the top six battle by a distance; an absolute distance, then watch out. Watch out that what happens is that you are in every manager’s top three opponents they want results from. Watch out what happens when you are everyone’s toughest game. We are everyone’s toughest game before a ball is kicked.
That’s a problem because this is a league full of clever coaches and clever men and players with pride. Liverpool are the scalp you want. Why? Because you never got them last year. Because every puzzle has a solution.
The next two league games are enormous now and must win. Liverpool need all three points. In this thing of ours we know it can slip away and today it did. Today it had our kecks down. It can’t happen again any time soon.