Neil Atkinson’s post-match review for The Anfield Wrap after Arsenal 0 Liverpool 2 in the Premier League at the Emirates Stadium…
There was a point they were 14 behind. But you know they were never 14 behind.
There was a point where it felt they’d thrown too many cheap points away. But you thought they could click into business.
There was the idea it could become a procession. But you suspected they’d never stand for that.
They are the heroes you always wanted. They are the heroes you always needed. Whatever happens next (well well; well then) they’ll do for me.
My favourite thing is they know how to suffer. They believe in suffering. They believe in it being difficult. They believe in the notion that you take one step forward at a time.
Today I was in row four. Row four through the wind, through the rain. Drenched with heavy drops from the Emirates roof. Soaked by the gale blowing the rain in.
In front of me, right in front I saw Andy Robertson take one step at a time. Saw him win it back with aggression and precision. Saw him stride. Saw him take a breath and a look. Saw him pick out Roberto Firmino. Through the wind and the rain, saw him take his steps with certainty and desire and saw Liverpool win the game because of those steps.
Make no mistake, Roberto Firmino still had work to do. The flick was one thing, the celebration another. It was reminiscent of Kenny in London in ’78. The goal and the celebration all as one sweet, sweet move. The graft from elsewhere, the delight for us all.
Give me this before my very eyes. Give me this through drenched lenses. Give me this because this league isn’t going to win itself and like you I always, always knew. I promised you. I told you it could be there.
For the full 90, Robertson was impeccable. Nobody has ever wanted to win the football league more. His anticipation in all phases of the game is a credit to him and his manager. He is the brightest of footballers. He understands both game and contest. He wins his battles in all the ways they can be won. He is man of the match and man of the hour.
Diogo Jota opens the scoring crowning the moment that Thiago Alcantara owns the game. It belonged to him second half and that included his sloppiness in one moment and his excellence in all the others. Jota’s simplicity in finishing makes it all the more incredible that he keeps doing it. He strikes it hard and low and surprises Ramsdale. The ball leaves his foot and finds the net in an instant.
The whole game is firstly a vindication of cutting edge. Liverpool have it and, when it is the blood and the bone in the pouring rain, Arsenal just don’t quite.
But secondly it is a confirmation of the brilliance of Liverpool’s centre backs. Second half I was immensely impressed with Ben White. He played very well indeed. He was the third best centre back on the pitch.
And that is the truth about Arsenal at the moment. Thomas Partey was excellent. He was the second best deep-lying midfielder. Kieran Tierney did little wrong. He was the second best left back. Ramsdale showed the breadth of his ability. Alisson Becker is markedly better and that is fine.
One of the reasons why this league is so alive is that Arsenal are the fourth best team in the country and, man for man, they aren’t as good as Liverpool. And they are good.
The hard part hasn’t even started yet. Crampon by crampon Liverpool have clambered up the mountain. They’ve got to the hard part. The league isn’t going to win itself. It will take some winning. But I like the look of our lads. I like the glint in their eye.
Whatever happens, they’ll do for me. They, their manager, they exist in a state of grace. Grace with gritted teeth, grace with a glint in their eye, but grace nevertheless.
They can win this league and I think they will win this league, but whatever happens from here they’ll do for me.
I shall not be moved.
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You can’t get a better tell than that! Are we gonna win the league? Well that’s one hell of a sign that they are! That’s a massive game and the Reds have just ticked it off!
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— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) March 16, 2022
I was at this, my first Liverpool
Game in a quarter century (the actual first was against a League of Ireland selection). And it was amazing and I could only wish myself and my young lad were among those crowdsurfing with Bobby but we were close enough to feel it and see it and glory in the goals going in. Whatever happens, as you say – but they are deserving of it. They are champions.
games like today is where the league is won!
It feels like it’s games like like this that win the league, but All these wins count the same. We shouldn’t, but do seemingly perceive beating Arsenal as greater value than beating Brighton, or Burnley…I don’t, they’re all tough. It will be a tough game against Watford.
Is that an open top bus I see on Queen’s Drive?
Neil there is such a joy in following this team, this club, this city, this wonderful leader of minds and men. I feel that joy myself and in you and your great writing and presenting. Great stuff from you lot! I can see that joy in the vast majority of the increasing hoards who want to connect to LFC too. The spirit that connects this magnificent club, is appreciated by Jurgen Klopp in a way that transmits the value and importance of unity with its supporters and players…..and back again, more than any piece of silverware or title ever can. The appreciation of this spirit, this grace, already feels enough….but if we were also to enjoy number 20, well that would be nice!
Great stuff The Anfield Wrap. YNWA