Despite not seeing as many minutes as either of them would have liked so far this season, Harvey Elliott and Darwin Nunez continue to kick on…
WELL, we all won there.
Liverpool, far superior even before the cards, took the points and Everton the umbrage. We all got what we came for.
Derbies are like no other games. Nuance goes out the window and all previous crimes ignored. Jordan Pickford, who once took out our best defender for a year without seeing any kind of card, had the temerity to talk about poor decisions. James Tarkowski said the same when his trip on Diogo Jota could well have been a yellow before he was given one later.
No one’s mentioned Rio Ferdinand. The former Manchester United captain calling out supposed Anfield bias and the injustice of ‘homer’ referees.
I thought Ibrahima Konate was off. Oh, and I thought Branthwaite was excellent for them. There. There’s your balance.
And I also thought it wouldn’t make the slightest bit of difference. Liverpool huffed and puffed a bit, but that was enough against a team with only one shot on target. It took a very, very obvious penalty to settle it and Tarkowski even bridled against that. Ah well. Have the umbrage.
Cards change games and Everton’s midfield became centre backs and Liverpool didn’t bother with a left back for a bit. I can’t blame The Blues for sitting and taking a point. There’s a skill in that and they nearly pulled it off.
The difference was Harvey Elliott and Darwin Nunez. Both have had limited time this season, but have arguably produced their best despite that.
It must be hard for Harvey. The whole world advocates a brand-new midfield with the old guard leaving so he must feel this is his chance for regular football. Meet Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai and Ryan Gravenberch.
Curtis Jones takes the third place much of the time so the best Harvey can hope for is an injury to a mate, their loss of form or minutes from the bench. Heads would go down there.
But he’s been excellent. His attitude is first rate and he’s changed games. He’s always had the quality but I’ve never pictured him as a twenty-games-in-a-row starter. I think that will come with Jürgen Klopp’s guidance and as his levels increase further. He’s going to be a huge player for us.
Darwin’s faced the same issue. He must have thought the big fee and Roberto Firmino’s departure would have made him a starter at the very least. Ah, here’s Cody Gakpo. Oh, and Diogo and Luis Diaz are back.
The lad’s been shoved out to the left wing and only starts now and then, but he’s been fantastic from the bench. Both players do well against tiring legs, either through the trickery of Harvey or the drive of Darwin. The latter’s through ball to Mo Salah for the second was magnificent. We were celebrating before the Egyptian pulled his foot back.
It’s great to have quality midfield options. Last season we could only bring on lads who were still a bit injured. This season has seen such a difference in the middle three. The bench augments it rather than just fills it, in the same way Grealish comes on for City not just to make the numbers up. He’s just the next problem they’re going to have to work out.
You know the feeling you get when a big player goes off and you think ‘well, that’s it for the goals today’ as they’re usually lads who just get you over the line? Not so much of that this season.
We played without a left back to push more people up. I love that. Gutsy.
Harvey and Darwin will have their time. They’ll be starting more once the FA Cup starts and we’re playing 12.30pms after international breaks. We’ve had eight of those in the last four years. Any idea how many Manchester United have had since then, Rio? Go on, have a guess. No, go lower than one. Yep, Liverpool get all the decisions.
I know, yeah. A derby and I’m having digs at Rio Ferdinand. There’s no nuance in this.
Points always beat umbrage. You could have said the same after Spurs when I wanted to camp outside the PGMOL HQ, but there’s a difference here. I think. I’m no fan of Pawson but Ibou and the first penalty decision against Lucho were his only errors. This game didn’t have officials backslapping each other while Rome burned quietly in the background.
Toulouse next. Their fans were great last time they came here, so much so that The Kop briefly joined in singing their name after the final whistle. I love nights like that.
It’s nice to like football again.