GETTING beat hurts. It is rubbish. Hold that close, Reds. Remember that pain.
Four clear. Seventeen games to go. Arsenal and City completed. You’d have taken it at the moment when Virgil van Dijk slices the ball towards Jordan Pickford’s goal, by god you’d have taken it. But.
This was the only worry for tonight. The only worry was feeling a tiny bit “what if”. Feeling regretful. What if we could have forced the issue a tiny bit more? What if Sadio Mane’s goal hits the inside of the post and goes in? What if Leroy Sane’s comes back out?
There is a reality dawning in these games that they are very 2005-2010. Fine margins, mistakes, pass the parcel football. You have five minutes, we have five minutes. No one playing frightening football but all the football is frightening.
All the football was neutral. There were classically good performances in these games, Vincent Kompany and Fernandinho arguably both shading it over Virgil van Dijk and Jordan Henderson, each pair the two who most stood up to be counted for each side. Neither James Milner nor David Silva could get to grips with the game, both were removed. Attackers were hunting for scraps, for moments. The referee bottled big decisions but they loved a bit of that in 2008 as well.
Basically this: the two best teams in the country knocked lumps out of each other at the end of Christmas. One won. It happens. But.
The game ebbed either way soundtracked at times by their frankly just plain weird bastardisation of the Allez, Allez, Allez song which is oddly about us beating them. Never has a crowd deserved a football team less.
Throughout it all Trent Alexander-Arnold battled with Sane, Sane probably getting the points decision without even counting the knockout blow of his finish. Arnold and Dejan Lovren came under real pressure and just wilted, were just found wanting today. It happens.
For the latter it may perhaps have happened a little too much but we get nowhere forgetting these are the lads who brought us to the moment they could have gone 10 points clear. Nowhere forgetting the brilliance of their collective start. Nowhere forgetting they terrified Manchester City and made City play, if not the game of their lives, certainly as though their lives depended on it.
Fabinho made a difference and can be thought unlucky not to start. He and Henderson look to perhaps be a pair to bring it home.
The grass was long. The goalmouths scruffy, the game both brilliant and scruffy. Manchester City kept the grass long for Liverpool. They played a back four, a proper back four for Liverpool, they made it scruffy against Liverpool, they fought for everything against Liverpool and they got their win. Their win to be four behind Liverpool. But.
It is not Liverpool’s job this season to contextualise how good Manchester City actually are. It was their job tonight to find a way and they didn’t quite find it, for all their effort, belief and momentary brilliance from many. It was their job to put five-minute spells together into more, their job to capitalise on a City side swaying before their eyes.
Liverpool’s job is clear: 17 more hurdles to be taken and a lead to build back up. We know they can do it; they’ve done it already. We know how good they can be. They have been that good. Tonight hurts, Manchester City could take 51 from the remaining 51, Manchester City will take some beating. But.
Forget “what ifs”. Stuff your regrets. Put them in the bin. Forget the frustrations. Remember the pain, but remember the table. Look to the table, look to fact that today is New Year’s Eve, tomorrow New Year’s Day in a footballing sense and we are top, and top with a cushion.
They are our lads, our lads for record-breaking starts and frustrating defeats, for better or worse. These are the boys who will do this for us, who have done it for us.
Forget the “what ifs”, go with what is.
Liverpool top of the league. Twenty-one down. Seventeen to go. No one better than us.
They’ll do for me. Je ne regrette rien. Because we are alive.
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Strange how nicking a goal at the death for a draw feels like victory, but losing the lead at the death for a draw feels like death. In the end, the result is still a point.
Right now, we have 54 points from 21 matches. More importantly, four more than any competitor. And, it should be said, that the most important thing in the world for City is the Champions League. The most important thing in the world for us is the title.
I’d place my money on red.
Yes. It’s only one game. We win our next game and we just keep going. Epic match, one we did not deserve to lose, one we can learn lessons from. We just win our next game. Top of the table. Let’s stay there.
Lovren just isn’t in the same tier as Gomez. We do not lose that game with him in the side.
Fabinho should be the 3rd name on the match sheet after VVD and Allison.
I dunno – you watch their first again and tell me who else deals with the movement of Aguero and Sane. Its split second stuff, its Lovren pointing to someone to pick up Aguero sensing the danger, it’s Lovren covering the movement of Sane, it’s sublime split second running and finish from Aguero. It’s in and past a keeper who is tight on his post.
Its a goal from a very, very good striker.
Mmm, he hits that five more times and three hit the post and two go wide. He was turning and firing … unlucky for us.
“Forget the “what ifs”, go with what is.”
Negatives for me
– sloppy passes, etc everywhere
– the midfield did not look even semi-competent in the first half
– we conceded more than 1 goal
– both City goals were really difficult to finish but scored by world class players.
– front three not making enough runs, Salah especially not on his usual game. too much hand/arm/shoulder wrestling for me
– City wanted it more
– Referee allowing Kompany to stay on after that challenge. I might be mistaken but it looked as if Kompany was mouthing “pussy” to Salah. Oh well.
– Klopp’s timing of his subs again. What is Sturridge supposed to do? I give up. Klopp knows best.
Positives for me
– enjoyed the football
– Liverpool’s unbeaten (invincibles) run has ended by a top team instead of bottom three – thank goodness. Less pressure.
– Liverpool are still on top by a healthy 4 points
– We were unlucky with the attempts on goal
– We played without Keita, Matip, Gomez and the Ox
– We might be able to lose another match and still remain top just maybe.
– Fabinho needs more game time and so does Shaq
– Alisson saved us from humiliation
– On another day, with the right players on the pitch from kick off, we would have won it
– We still have Klopp to fix this moving forward.
– We have top 3 of the six left to play, and lots to play for.
So let’s keep our heads up and move on to the next game!
“Alisson saved us from humiliation” – ???? You were watching a very, very different game to the rest of us. Cheer up, it’s 2019.
Alisson saved an attempt on goal from Sane which was a real good shot normally would be routine for keepers, but if we had Karius in goal you would be on his case for letting it through his fingers.
Alisson saved an attempt from Aguero who normally scores when he rounds a keeper.
Alisson saved a Bernardo Silva shot from 5 yards after they were 2-1 up.
With momentum City would have unleashed on us if any of these had gone in at the time of their attempts.
To me that’s about 1-5 to them and humiliation at the Etihad at their hands.
Go get yourself a coupon for Specsavers and use it before the next match.
Totally deserved a point tonight but these things happen. 4 clear after Christmas. We would all have taken that in Aug. Every other team would swap with us, even City. They celebrated like they won the league. They will. If we let them. Our boys in red won’t let them. They will keep their nerve. We as fans have to do the same. Do that, this is on. Let’s do that!
We’re still fucking better than City. Keep that in mind!!!
Didn’t anyone else see, they are NOT the dominating force everybody says they are?!
Love your reviews Neil, but in my opinion this and the Pink day ked to mention that City did what they do so often and gambled physically on the first 60. We can’t string passes together because their midfield pressing is absolutely ferocious in the first half and that’s how they make us look mediocre.
I said it at half time in the boozer that City might blow themselves out. I said at 60 mins that City HAD blown themselves out. And then we scored right on cue as soon as they stopped their manic pressing in midfield. And I was certain we had them then.
But this is where the huge disappointment lies for me. What followed was our worst half an hour of the season unfortunately. We lost our discipline a bit in the excitement of equalizing and I genuinely think the players sensed (as I did) that City had physically shot their bolt and that the game was now there for the taking. We allowed it to get stretched and they found a few last drops of energy from somewhere. The Sane goal was a great finish, but in my opinion a lucky final punch from them where they had fuck all left.
Unfortunately I think going behind again knocked the stuffing out of us and we were frankly very poor in our decision making and composure over the final 20 mins. City were just sitting off and we simply didn’t or couldn’t give them anything to worry about, Salah shot aside.
Disappointing, but it’s not any kind of turning point as long as we go and beat Brighton.
This is a very good post. Fully agree.
I agree it was a disappointment that we didn’t press on after the equaliser. Thought we had them on the ropes there and could have pushed on for the win. Sanes goal was quality though and can’t really complain about that.
Hopefully the pressure release of trying to remain unbeaten will do wonders for the squad moving forward. A chance to hit a bit of a reset button. In a way, this also gives Klopp a chance to say to the reserves to show him against Wolves why they deserve a place in this side.
4 points clear. Up these fuckin Reds
We’d already lost 4 games prior to last night. Whilst none of them in the league they still count as losses.
Yes, I should have specified unbeaten in the league, but I believe my point still stands
Really disappointing. I don’t think Klopp intended to keep it tight by picking that midfield, that’s not the way he thinks, but I had misgivings about it from the off. We needed to take the game to them – we were 7 points clear at the top of the league FFS – so we should have at least started with one of Fabinho and Shaq.
And again the subs were not bold enough – Shaq should have come on before the 78th minute.
Anyhow what do I know, just think we missed an opportunity that’s all.
I agree wholeheartedly. Poor team selection and it says something that in all the huge games for Klopp teams that they don’t play like Klopp teams. We have 3 finals that testify to that and he has a few more. Last night was a real opportunity to make a statement, to truly deliver what would been a knock out blow. We didn’t do it and it was all because our manager wasn’t bold enough last night.
Agreed. For all the talk of a ‘free hit’, that midfield was never one that suggested we were going to swing for the fences. I don’t want to see that combination again unless we’re shutting down a game with five minutes to go. The painful irony too that City won this ugly, imperfectly. Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking their eye only covets the Champions League this season. Take it as a compliment Redmen. You’ve well and truly got under their skin. Hopefully we get this out of our system, by taking it out on Wolves, on Brighton. Hurry back Joe Gomez. Time to step up Naby Keita.
It would be nice to see the Keita we are hoping he can be. Last night our midfield was ‘flat’. We lacked far too much.
That midfield, Klopp’s trusted 3 in the big games, just isn’t good enough against genuine quality midfields. The sort you come up against at City, or in CL games (CL Final last season, Napoli & PSG away this season etc). Whenever it’s confronted with pace, guile and a motivated opposition, they can’t get near enough to the ball and they spend their entire time legging about to stop the other team’s midfield, that the link and passing to our front 3 is broken. Whilst I could understand Klopp setting up with them for this one, given Fabinho still seems to be a fraction of a second off the pace in the faster tempo games (a run of games will cure that), he makes a massive difference when he comes on as all of a sudden we have a presence and a ball winning midfielder, who when he does win it, gets his head up to look forwards. Wijnaldum and Fabinho has to start becoming the first choice midfield, an then ahead of that, one of; Milner, Keita, Shaquiri, The Ox when he’s back…Henderson, Wijnaldum and Milner needs to be retired now, if we genuinely want to compete on all fronts. Unfortunate as it may be, it’s time for Henderson to be used as a back-up option for Wijnaldum in the #6
Just on the game and where we are now, if someone offered at the start of the season that we’d be 4pts clear at the top on Jan 4th, having won the derby at Anfield, only lost one game all season and it was away to the prior season’s champions, arguably the best football side the Premier League has ever seen, with only 1 more away game to play against a top 6 side and with the added bonus of what i think is a winnable tie in the last 16 of the CL…i’d have snapped their hand off.
Roll on the red machine!
Bit of a downer. City played well but not great. They did not outplay us, “blow us off the field”. It was not “backs to the wall stuff”, not really.
Our team can play. We have some team here. Just watch the creation of the Mané chance and the (full) build-up to Firmino’s goal.
Agree with Si here, I think we had them around 60mins. Again watch Firmino’s goal. 15-odd passes and we open them up. We had them. Somehow we let it slip. We lost our cool. Lost our patience a bit. Lost our focus.
Anyway forget the FA Cup. It’s the Brighton game that matters!
Having a blast this season!
“Beauty comes first. Victory is secondary. What matters is joy.”
Up the Reds!
On Klopp that and unfortunately. For me, and I hate saying this, I lost a little faith in him last night.
I thought those days of reverting to type were done, off the back of a sensational run with a new formation and the bedding in of 100million of midfield talent, but no.
Playing those three, with the record they have is a recipe for disaster, not to mention Milner didn’t even look fit enough for such a game. City were terrified of us, had a makeshift backline and we gave them 60 minutes to put their mark on the game.
You have to ask questions – when the stakes are high with Klopp, we are found wanting. He just isn’t bold enough when it matters. This article is spot on, what is annoying me this morning is the ‘what if’ rather than the result. Would rather have lost going for it, then spending 60 minutes of the match playing cautiously, we gave ourselves too much to do in the end. It makes it worse that City were haphazard and hanging on at the back for the last 15 minutes.
Hindsight’s a great thing is it not. Ok, our manager isn’t perfect, but he’s the same bloke who’s got us where we are now. You know, 4 points ahead and all that. He trusts his players, but he also learns lessons. I trust him to see this through. Keep the faith.
You are right, he is the man who got us here, he’s not perfect, but he is still bloody good!!
Well I hope he does. That midfield three has a poor track record unless they press like crazy. A missed opportunity.
I wish he hurry up and learn that playing the 3 in MF he does doesn’t offer anything and certainly not when Milner is also not fit.
Four points clear of the most expensively assembled squad around, one defeat after half a season with a Club record points haul and you have “lost a little faith “ in our manager. F*ck me you must have been suicidal before he joined us. The guy is absolutely brilliant and it’s people like you that he rails against for doubting him and his team I would have preferred a different midfield combination and earlier subs but the highest level I’ve managed at is u14, so I accept that Jurgen is just a bit better informed than me. He isn’t perfect but neither was Shankly, Paisley, Kenny and Rafa. The guy knows what he is doing so restore your faith and enjoy the fantastic journey Jurgen is leading us on.
I think we all are aware how great Jürgen is and we all love how he’s taken us forward. However each time he does the conservative thing, then it doesn’t play off. He tried it 3 times away in Europe this season with identical results. Last night he paid touch respect to City with his selection.
If we’d of needed the win then you can guarantee the heavy metal football would of been on show. We could and should of gone for it last night.
You are correct. We broken all manner of records. We are still 4 points ahead. This is about keeping faith etc, etc. However last night we could have really issued a huge statement and regardless of how City just won it, they won and the door has been opened again, when in truth it shouldn’t have to come to this.
So now it’s all down to breaking records to stay out in front, as City can go on and take the next 51pts from their remaining games, it’s whether we can take 48points from ours.
Suicidal? Do one. I’ve seen us lift Championships. I’ve also seen us lose them. And games like last night can derail a season.
Klopp is not infallible. His lineup last night backs that up. Even now we are weakening the squad in January whilst in the midst of a title challenge and still in two cup competitions, its fucking madness to me.
Keep your powder try, keep your depth and play to your strengths. That’s what he had been doing apart from the CL and last night. We lost 3 games in the CL and one in the league with that formation and midfield. It doesn’t bloody work. You’d think an expert would be able to see that.
Be interesting to see our reaction.
I agree that had we gone at City then they would have seccumbed. When we did go at them they were actually hanging in and balls were dropping dangerously around their box.
It can’t be fluke that in the biggest tests, when Klopp plays any of his teams reservedly, then the same results manefest themselves, even with Dortmund. The last 5 cup finals for him and no wins says a fair bit… last night I was hoping for us to bring chaos and go down blazin
There are some who will point to the nearly and what ifs of the night and how we came so close with out MF 3 and reserved style. However City, despite 2 good goals weren’t brilliant last night.
Today I am sitting here fuming. Not arsed about Wolves and the FA Cup. Give the back ups and the kids a run out. I now just want Klopp to get the anger back and make Brighton feel our wrath.
I really thought we’d go on to win it after the equaliser. If that happens our manager looks like a tactical genius and everyone rolls over and concedes the title to us. But it didn’t happen and they catch us on the counter. Fine margins. But we matched them all the way without quite being at our absolute best. They had to give everything just to sneak past us.
So, we recharge and regroup. Now isn’t the time for knee jerking. Now’s the time for cool heads and clear thinking. It’s vital we get back on the horse at Brighton. Win that and all’s well again.
Jurgen trusts his players. Let’s all trust in Jurgen.
Win a game and there’s maybe 15 comments. Already 30 comments on this. Unbelievable.
All week I was really wanting Keita to start. Someone to take the game from midfield to City.
I can’t believe it’s as simple as that but I agree with the view we perhaps tried to be a bit too clever last night.
But playing a City team at home fighting for their lives was always going to be a colossal struggle and those lads gave it everything and nearly got what would have been a massive point.
A lot of measured reaction to the defeat bodes well that we can get the team back on a roll next weekend.
Tranmere on the box tonight for some light relief!
Seems funny that people are slagging the midfield. Looked to me like it was meant to provide extra defensive solidity in an away game against the champions that they had to win. If Mane’s goes in it would be a totally different story and no doubt the same people would have been happy with the team selection. The Milner selection was almost inevitable as most former players get up for it even more against their old teams. Fabinho coming on also coincided with our passing improving significantly as well as the overall play. At that point in the game that new formation worked so much better but who knows if that switch was in the plan all along? I was happy that Fabinho didn’t start as I think his lack of pace would’ve been a major issue earlier in the game. In the end the result could easily have gone any of three ways so I won’t be dwelling on the defeat. If we play like that in the next 17 games, we won’t have too much to worry about come May.
This is a big opportunity to win the league we don’t have to mess it up UP THE LEAGUE WINNING REDS