AROUND two years ago, me and some friends started a Whatsapp group titled “The Random Song Group”.
The concept was simple enough; If you were listening to a song, any song, and you wanted to share it with everybody else, you would take a snapshot of it and add it to the group.
This grew and grew. As did our list of contributors until I eventually caved and created a Spotify playlist under the same name. Some 1,700 songs later, the playlist is an accompaniment to all variance of my menial habits, such as tidying the flat, running, being stuck at my desk in work and, on the odd occasion, walking to the game.
Today was one of those occasions. My pre-match amble today was filled with a number of diversely multi-faceted melodies which stretched a plethora of genres and generations. Yet one song stuck with me throughout Liverpool’s supremely enjoyable 3-0 win against Southampton. That song being the wonderful, electrically sombre Someone Great by LCD Soundsystem.
Today, of course, had the much-hyped subplot of a certain centre back. A player whose potential worth to this Liverpool team divides the opinion of supporters across the globe. A player no doubt felt he had something to prove to himself and the watching brief at Anfield this afternoon. A man who it has been clear has been engulfed in some of his own personal troubles and botheration’s over recent weeks and months. It’s worth noting that Virgil van Dijk was also on the pitch, however I am referring in this instance to Dejan Lovren.
I wish that we could talk about it. But there lies the problem.
The emergence of Joel Matip’s thigh problem on Friday night meant Lovren’s reintegration to the side became a formality when you had the feeling he had been thrust back in among a full plethora of defensive options. The selection would have been debated much more contentiously among the home fans, amid pre-match talk of form and meritocracy surrounding Ragnar Klavan and Joe Gomez.
Lovren was imperious for Liverpool today. Winning first balls and being positionally sound while continuously enduring the tedious Southampton fans and their ability to resemble an ex-partner who just wont accept a relationship that, in your eyes was never that serious to begin with, is now over.
Ironically, you feel the only slight caveat you can put to Lovren’s performance was the inability to pull in those around him and organise in the first 15 minutes of the second half when a void between him and his otherwise brilliant right back had emerged. The irony being that organisation is up there with van Dijk’s strongest attributes. But this is a minor observation on what was an otherwise hugely impressive and hugely important performance by the Reds’ number six.
It feels like the ghost of Tottenham Hostpur away has gone someway to being buried by Lovren today. You got the feeling this was a performance he may have felt owing to his manger as well as himself, such has been Jürgen Klopp’s desire to keep faith with him, injury permitting.
With someone new I could have started. Too late for beginnings.
At the other end of the pitch, van Dijk will have encountered similar feelings to Lovren pre match, albeit in a widely different context. The Southampton centre back came up against a club who had courted him until a somewhat premature conclusion halted interests this summer. This was a courting he had fully reciprocated in, which abruptly culminated in a lost opportunity under an antediluvian Blackpool backdrop.
We all know what happened, it is not worth going over again. Similarly, only van Dijk himself would have known how he was feeling prior to going into today’s game. It was the kind of performance every Liverpool fan wanted. He was tidy enough in a convincing Liverpool win. There was nothing that left you glaringly bemused as to why Klopp was so desperate for his signature. Conversely, he didn’t bullet a 90th-minute winner at the Anfield Road which would have left us all beyond fatalistic.
As referenced above, it is clear that van Dijk is a supreme organiser, a player who deserves to be in a better side. His frustration is clear when witnessing his attempts to constantly organise and shape lads nowhere near his level. He is evidently a big character who would add the characteristics we’ve seen absent from Liverpool under Klopp. In a more cognitive machine, you can see where he could potentially thrive. Especially when not burdened with having to make up for others’ deficiencies around him.
There shouldn’t be this ring of silence.
But what are the options?
This will no doubt have felt like a massive game for both players in their own way. Any ramifications on the future of both players after today is something only time can tell.
Yet Liverpool and Lovren can take heart from a performance that shows all is not lost for him and The Reds this season, and the depicted saviour in waiting can’t rescue things all by himself.
The ethos that the collective wins and shines through is becoming more and more prevalent as The Reds continue to dance to their own, uniquely random tune.
We’re safe, for the moment.
For the moment.