QUITE the achievement a 3-3 draw against top six rivals where both sides come away disappointed.
But Liverpool and Arsenal are second to none in delivering disappointment to their supporters in new and innovative ways.
Fair play to them. A Merry Christmas to them and theirs.
For Liverpool they have two massive individual errors for Arsenal’s first two goals and a catalogue of errors on the third when heads had gone. It’s shocking from Joe Gomez and whatever shocking is doubled by Simon Mignolet.
There are errors in decision making and execution all over the pitch in key moments from Liverpool. In the run in towards the break Liverpool should make it 0-2 and instead flash at too much too often. All game Sadio Mane was poor.
But that doesn’t matter. You get to win games 0-1 or 0-2. Mane gets to be poor because he gets to be absolutely brilliant. He gets to sometimes be a passenger. It’s the nature of the beast.
After Liverpool go 0-2 they needed a big five minutes. It was do or die for Arsenal. Instead The Reds have the smallest five. The tiniest five imaginable. And then it becomes a game of moments and a game of errors.
When it wasn’t a game of moments or a game of errors Liverpool showed the gulf between the two sides. Liverpool are better at football than Arsenal. They really are. Significantly so, and yet we are where we are now, disappointed and cross with our side — a side which is downright strange. There is something strange about the way we control games.
Make no mistake, Liverpool were in control of this game but this Liverpool side’s grip is never vice like. It’s the grip of a brilliant juggler, balls shifting and moving and it is never in doubt until the balls are all over the floor, a baggy trousered juggler left bereft and confused.
Liverpool go in 0-1 at the break and it should be more. When they make it 0-2 it should be more. This isn’t the territory of “he should be scoring from there, Clive,” more the dominance and chances to create chances should have led to so much more.
The point is tidy in the grand scheme of things for Liverpool. The bigger picture makes this a good result for us but it doesn’t feel that way. When, in April, we’re up the wall this is one which will return to this consciousness, a chance to steal a three-point march on Arsenal and to hurt them. Instead we have given them hope both tonight and in the bigger picture and this is a Liverpool side which distributes hope in great big spoonfuls. Hope to their rivals. Hope to sides who come to Anfield. Hope to all opponents at all times.
It has to stop. Hope has to leave the building. Too many points are being clawed back from this side. Too many sides Liverpool are far better than are getting away with it.
Liverpool are irresistible until they are too easily resisted. In control until there is chaos. Unstoppable until they stop. They remind you it is sport until you despise the fact it is sport. I loved Steve Davis. I admired Stephen Hendry. Jimmy White can fuck off.
That this is a football team with character is without dispute. They dig themselves out of their home and equalise for the love of everything holy.
Friday night football delivers a thriller. London delivers a blinder. But in this thing we have to just deliver. The better side needs to win more often. Because if they don’t everyone will tell you the table doesn’t lie come May.
It occasionally does. The scoreline does tonight. Liverpool deserve three points. They deserve no points. They don’t deserve one.