THINGS that are blows:
– The lack of chances created.
– The equaliser.
– The last minute missed opportunity.
Things that aren’t blows:
– The league table.
The league table still shows Liverpool top of the pile with a healthy cushion at this stage of proceedings, the league table is very much in our favour. You expected it to be easy? Surely you know as I do that league championships are battles, are grinds, are no barrel of laughs. League championships are about blood and bone and bottle. How’s your bottle?
Mine is more solid than you may think. There was something I liked in the second half. Liverpool should have gone in having conceded two but they changed that. They were firm and certain second half. But they weren’t good.
They will need to be good soon — they will need to turn this, to switch this soon — but they can look around the dressing room and know they were solid. Solid is a thing. Other things can come.
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There was something cheery about Naby Keita’s second half, a performance that nearly invited all of us to have a big bowl of soup. He sashayed, and shone, and needed a bit of luck, and to turn away from trouble rather than into it. He finds going backwards tough still, he needs to find his angles, but he is finding his essence.
We could do with it. Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum and Trent Alexander-Arnold all come through tonight with reputations enhanced.
The fact is that there were people missing tonight. Both on the pitch and off the pitch. You could see the gaps everywhere. The gaping hole where Trent should have been. The chasm that only Henderson can fill.
And then there is the gap in performance. Andy Robertson who has consistently played put of his skin, who tonight, for whatever reason, looked edgy in his own skin. He skipped and passed like always but the pace was lacking and the passing less accurate than we have grown accustomed to.
Mo Salah lacked edge. There is no other way to call it. He was great, but that sharpness, that edge, that killer sense just wasn’t there.
The midfield was full of holes and upfront we were a blunted instrument, Sadio Mane’s fits and starts aside. Roberto Firmino is a concern but then he always will be when it doesn’t click.
Meanwhile, West Ham were not at all bad. They are a top half of the table team and it showed.
They contained Liverpool effectively, even if it meant playing so deep they were practically in the stands. At times they broke with purpose, and while their attack never really threatened second half, they made us pay at set pieces. They’d done their homework; they reaped their rewards. The referee didn’t help giving them every marginal call.
The fact is that the biggest challenge we face now is momentum. We have carried it with us and it has carried us. How you respond to a switch in momentum inevitably defines you. Can you dig deeper? Can you find strength where others are driven mad by the pressure? These are the questions that face Liverpool Football Club now. Jürgen Klopp, more than anyone has to answer them.
But here’s the thing. We are not powerless either. We can get behind them. We can do our bit. We have an opportunity on Saturday to do so, and we can keep our nerve.
Where’s your head at? Don’t let the walls cave in on you.
Nobody said it would be easy. And we all fucking knew it would be this hard. These are our lads for the job. As ever they will do for me. Let them do for you.
Twenty-five down. Thirteen to go.
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I hear you Neil, and yes we would have been very excited at the start of the season with our place in the league. But it isn’t the early days and we just let a transfer window pass without doing the business that you and I know we needed to do. Gomez is finished, if we let Clyne go we had to replace him and we needed more upfront. We really needed to grab the title and we stood pat. I have hope but City are picking up steam and we are leaking oil.
Good stuff, Neil. Win on Saturday and hopefully City drop pts to Chelsea, (not expecting anything from Everton) and it’s our season back on track.
The injuries are starting to stunt us. But whisper it quietly, I don’t think the 11 day break we had did us any favour. And there would still be another 10 day break for us after the Bournemouth game, I think.
The article mentions “momentum”. I think momentum can be maintained easier if we get to play a bit regularly. We have lost a bit of sharpness since the Dubai trip and worse still, we are letting Spurs creep back into the convo. Need to knock that shit on the head this weekend.
Let’s do it, you Mighty Redmen.
Agree that the ‘warm weather training’ has turned us in to a lukewarm proposition these last 2 games. Also, the insane and spectacular December run, coupled with City’s miniature fall from grace, gave us a (possible/slightly improbable) premature position that may have come too soon. Still a long way to go, but, if we can regroup after these disappointing, if not , yet, season defining results , then we can still go all the way. Top by 3 points in Feb, actually isn’t a bad place to be. Let’s control the controllables, look after ourselves, and get back to winning ways ASAP
Agree with you Neil on seeing some positives in the second half.
Naby Keita still lacks the sharpness with those unnecessary and misplaced passes, but him playing more minutes might help with confidence.
Alisson needs to stop dicking around. He looks more clumsy than the assured 60 million keeper when he does that.
Lallana for all the gripe, did his best Cryuff impersonation and managed to get that ball to Milner who did enough for a well-taken goal, even if it was offside.
Their goal was well-rehearsed, and they also had better chances of scoring. We got off lucky as much as they did with Origi missing his chance.
Salah and Firmino are looking lost from lack of service.
The Defense, well, that’s Jurgen’s headache and he knows it. He lives and dies by his stubborn trait, as he did with at Dortmund. It eventually undid him or so think the Dortmund supporters.
Mind you, United are also creeping up the table. It would be terrible if Gollum and his master Sauron Ferguson managed to beat us ala Chelsea and Mourinho in 2014 and completely derail our efforts.
As for City, Everton are useless and so it’s going to be 3 points for them and top of the table on goal difference mid-week.
Chelsea with Higuain in their side on the last outing might give them something to build on. They did it against City at home, so let’s see. Tall order to beat City at the Eithad. Momentum is with City.
Only hope now is that we maybe see Trent, Gini, Lovren, and Henderson back, and some glimmer of the Ox. Wishful thinking.
Look at history…LFC championship winning teams, drew games. LFC Teams full of heroes and legends drew games, and lost games. They weren’t always in front. They didn’t always play at their best. They had to battle, they had to grind out results, cope with injuries, and had set backs along the way. They also had a bit of luck. Star players had off days. Let’s not forget how good this current team, and Manager have been this season. The fans – us – need to stay calm and support the lads. Let’s get behind them like never before…We ALL want the same thing. Come on you Reds. YNWA!!
We dhouldnt have let Clyne go. What a mental decision thst was. Or so everybody keeps saying. Yes on the face of it it does sound mental considering thr position we are in with players are are currently fit. However i think there is morr to Clyne going than meets the eye. Personally i wouldnt be suprised to learn thstvthe only reason we sold Solanke for 19 million was on the condition that we also loaned them Clyne. Not an unrealistic hypothesis and to be honest its the only one thst makes sense to me.
As for tonights game it was awful again. We are no longer playing bad and winning we are noe playing bad and drawing. Thr next logical progression is playing bad and losing.. lets hope we turn the corner pretty wuick otherwise the old chants of “finished 4th in a twonhorse race” will get chanted at us again
Thanks for the article.
Think this may yet prove to be a point gained rather than lost even if it doesn’t feel it. West Ham will be thinking they should have all 3 points.
Personally don’t agree with the Keita point. Seems to get lots of credit for a couple of runs with the ball when he spent the rest of the match out of position, passing to them, slow to react. That he’s been the same for the majority of the season has to be a worry. Can’t understand the clamour to “play him into form” – he should be in or out of the side on merit. At the moment – he shouldn’t be anywhere near the starting 11 of a full strength squad. Which brings me to …
Mike Nevin said on a show re: Coutinho sale last year that you shouldn’t let your best players leave and, if you do, you need to replace them. I think it cost us in the CL final. We let Clyne leave without replacing him, still haven’t replaced Coutinho following the Fekir thing and are left with 4 senior central defenders (1 who is covering full back and 3 who are very much injury prone). Forget nerves – I think it’s squad depth that might cost us again this season.
Good post. Our squad depth is poor and this Clyne decision is proving to be a strange decision.
We had a window to strengthen and didn’t… in the past we got some useful players during the January window (Suarez, Coutinho, Mascherano) so they can be found.
I am with you regarding Fekir. Was genuinely excited when it looked like we had got him. Last night I feel he would have made the difference. We certainly needed something and not sure those that came on
Last night we’re it.
Yep. We can talk about injuries but none are in the top 3. We had a guy we’ve being trying to sell for two years as our first option up top. It’s as clear as day we are light up front for one comp, let alone too.
The window closing without reinforcements there is a much bigger blow for me than dropping points at West Ham.
I love optimism. You have it in spades Neil. I’ll back them until May but citeh are in the driving seat. 3 pts are nothing and they know it. Our lads are playing with those tyre on a rope core fitness devices. Can’t get our lads back soon enough. Who knew young raw centre backs and full backs would so needed. Come on red men. Prove a tired 44 year old wrong.
Ps can you ask Caoimhe is her name pronounced ‘qweeva’ please, Neil ?
If our current run of 8 points from 4 games is as bad as it gets this season, if this is our wobble, then I am fine with it. If 2PPG is as bad as we get then think about that. Its what we averaged for both of the last 2 seasons in finishing 4th.
Anyone who thought we almost had it won 2 weeks ago will almost certainly now be saying we have blown it. Neither is true. This is a football season, this is literally how it works. Even the “greatest ever side” last season didn’t have this won at the start of February.
We need to hold our nerve here. We have 3 points in hand. We’d die for that at the start of the season.
Fully agree with all of that, Neil, but it’s hard not to allow the definitive appalling vista to edge in to view, unwanted, unrequested: Everton capitulate as per against City and yet make our lives awful (possibly under a new manager), then the dreadful United shitshow where they jammy the points (or worse, again, in Europe). I know, it’s negative. I’m half saying it in the hopes that it can’t come true. But maybe I’m afte hexing it just by saying that?! I might need a bottle transfusion. Just hammer Bournemouth lads, for the sake of my crumbling sanity. We love you.
Lads. The stats dont lie. 62 points after 25 games. Lost only once so far.
We are witnessing an incredible season. But unfortunately so are City and Spurs.
Nobody expected us to get a 100% record against teams outside the top6. But we have a pretty good record so far. Everyone just needs to hang in there and go again. Fight again. Now this team really has the opportunity to showcase what they are made of. Me reckons we still have a lot of moxy and grit left.
Last night was a tough watch, first half was cagey, tense and nervy, second half was more frustrating than anything else not helped at all by Kevin Friend and his inept officials who gave every decision, every 50/50 and everything in between to West Ham, maybe this was a case of making up for the Lino’s shocker first half but still these ‘humans’ who make mistakes like everyone else are still paid a lot of money to get basic decisions right no matter how big or small and regardless of what has gone before, that said if Origi had done his job with the last kick of the game then all would have been forgiven, I would love to have seen the ball fall to Salah or even Sturridge in that position rather than the Belgium.
West Ham are a funny team, desperate for a result, a scalp, a big performance and who better than the league leaders under the lights live on the tele, this was always going to be a tough fixture, but one we should have overcome, going one up against the run of play was a bonus but to let them back into the game with a well worked free kick from a passage of sloppy play was typical of the last two game, you could see it happening before it did, playing ourselves into trouble.
Keita let his man run free from the free kick who leaves Allison flat footed and there it is, 1-1, heads drop, panic sets in and the assured Liverpool of only a few weeks ago are a distant memory.
Second half was as mentioned was more frustrating than anything, so many nearly moments, too many ‘one to many touches’, too many poor lay offs or bad first touches (Firmino gets that crown, sorry Bobby) Milner doesn’t look the player everyone bangs on about, he looks his age, he looks tired, he looks like a midfielder playing at right back who attackers cant wait to get at and certainly not the player who made the left back position his own the season before last albeit with only Moreno as competition, Firmino isn’t at his best, although unless its all clicking he rarely looks good, Mane looks the main threat going forward, Keita definitely grew into the game, he also did against Leicester, I really hope it clicks for him, anytime soon would be great Naby!!
The decision to allow Clyne to leave on loan baffles me as it does everyone I have spoken to about it, the injury to Trent was unlucky and untimely but knowing Gomez wasn’t going to be fit for a prolonged period and adequate cover wasn’t in place should Trent get injured could prove to be catastrophic, a typically stubborn Klopp decision, he should be held responsible for that transfer, our squad looks thin now, the bench last night proved that.
Its not all doom and gloom mind you, City go to Everton Wednesday who will do us absolutely no favours and suddenly City are top and most likely that is where they will remain, I hope to god I am proved wrong.
And then there is the little matter of both Everton and United away for us, playing like this these fixtures will be unboreable, imagine one or both of these games completely derailing our title challenge, the press, the ‘neutrals’ who seem hell bent on loving seeing Liverpool falter, the City fans……. Please Jurgen, please lads…get this thing back on track, big win Saturday and off we go again.
Thirteen to go, unlucky for some, here’s hoping it’s lucky for Liverpool.
Andy Robbo is performing at work exactly like I did when I was a new dad.
Me too! I was a mess for 3 months.
Feels to me like we will get 90-95 points. Would be by far our best PL haul if we do. May not be enough to take the title and I totally agree the lack of business in January is frustrating when I saw close up last night at the London Stadium how far off the pace Lallana and Milner seemed;
but we must not lose sight of how far we have come from 3 years ago when we were in danger of disappearing into the abyss. Second in the league amen CL finalists is better than 6th and 8th amd no CL football for years and we may need a few second placed finishes before we take the final step. We have to suck that up and keep backing the team who are the ones who have to battle against possibly the strongest ever PL team.
That’s being realistic and if we get a few players back quickly we can kick on again and push City all the way. They have shown they are fallible.
Sorry Neil, not at all convinced.
We’re conceding that equaliser which allows those teams to sit back behind the ball and leave with at least a point.
That wasn’t happening first half of the season. The opposition had to keep coming which generally led to our second and the match winner.
That resilience is gone now. I expect us to drop points to Bournemouth and Utd as they will take their chances and deny us a second goal.
Oh, and we need to call keita out for what he is. Light weight in the extreme. Flaky too.
He wants to play CM but can’t tackle, has zero physical presence, gets into trouble and struggles to focus and position himself well. His one trick of dribbling from deep will be found out soon enough and he literally offers nothing else.
£53m and £130k/week? Truly dreadful. Pretty major miss in the transfer game there given what we need.
Games won’t improve him, it’s the wrong approach to his problems. Why do academy players have more physicality than him? We just pulled another current day llalana who himself needs to be shipped out.
Yeah, these Redmen will do for me too, whatever transpires this season. All points count and a point away is good. Naby getting better with each game. Let’s give it everything for the rest of the campaign, cheer these Redmen on. They’ve provided us with some brilliant times over the last few years. Let’s keep going. Get as many points as we can.
London-based massive Red here. I was there on Monday night, sat in the middle of the West Ham fans as couldn’t get any other ticket.
My biggest take-away of the game? The constant, unchallenged racism from many fans around where we were sitting (in some of the nicer season ticket seats). My partner and I couldn’t believe what we were hearing. The worst was during Shaqiri’s introduction. The horrendous comments about Albania and the jobs Shaq ‘should actually be doing’ went on for many minutes, with lots of laughs all around us.
Glad the Salah abuse is coming out today as it’ll hopefully shine a light on a fan base that clearly still has a significant and loud minority of hardcore racists in it. Wish I’d recorded some of the other abuse that I heard.
Aside from feeling shit because of the result, we left the match feeling even more disenchanted with this wreck of a country.