Archive for February, 2017
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In the days before this game I’m sure we’d all read and heard the countless comments about how Leicester players had let their manager down, their supporters down and themselves down. How they’d shown no desire, no fight, and no heart and looked tactically clueless and useless. We saw all of that again at the King Power Stadium…only from Liverpool. I was reluctantly prepared to accept January was a bad month and lot of that could be put down to the stupid fixture congestion so what was last night’s excuse…ring rust? I’m sure we all knew Leicester would be up for it, had something to prove but didn’t we and shouldn’t we have been up for it just as much? Leicester want to stay in the Premier League because of the riches and rewards it brings, we’re supposed to want a Champions League place for exactly the same reason but you wouldn’t have known it last night. Some of our supporters started to leave after the third Leicester goal; by the time the added minutes got showed the away end was almost deserted. There can be no doubt Leicester showed fight but by comparison we were nothing more than Pacifists, conscientious objectors almost. How bereft we are of talent might be summed up by the fact that 3-0 down we sent on Moreno and he shouldn’t even be near the squad let alone in it. I’ll give credit to Leicester but our display was once again, shameful.
It had been a bad week on the football front; in fact it has been a bad year. The stench from the Hull defeat lingered and in the modern world there’s no escape. Travelling to Anfield yesterday there was as much pessimism in the air as there was cold and it was apparently one of the coldest days of year.
There’s surely too much speculation these days and yesterday it was about our goalkeeping situation, would Mignolet start or Karius. The words “Not exactly spoilt for choice” came to mind and the same could be said about who’d play at the back alongside Matip? However, no matter what the situation there’s only one place apprehension can be lifted and that’s on the pitch.
And that’s exactly what happened. In fairness the first fifteen minutes saw little to separate ourselves and the North Londoners but then came the opportunity to go ahead and going back to how we were playing pre-Christmas we took it. As Manè bore down on the Spurs goal those of us in the cramped Lower Anny seats were just begging him to have a go and unlike post-Christmas he didn’t mess about. When one became two only minutes later Sadio Manè had changed the whole mood around L4, the ground so subdued against the smaller fry who we couldn’t get past was visibly rocking. Oh if he could have made it three just moments later we might have even started to think about sitting comfortably.
It was a former Spurs great who often used the words “It’s a funny old game” but if Jimmy Greaves was watching his words weren’t far off the mark.
Tottenham came to Anfield on a long unbeaten run, and whilst not exactly threatening Chelsea’s title charge they have been making them occasionally look over their shoulder. On Saturday night, however, they looked like we’ve been looking since the turn of the year. The highly touted Kane and Alli and the rest of their frontline rarely troubled Mignolet and although we have to give some credit to our defending [for a change] the back four hardly needed to break sweat. We, in turn, looked like a team in command of the situation and that’s probably the most annoying bit.
We know what this side is capable of, we’ve played the likes of Chelsea [twice], Manchester United [twice], Tottenham [twice], plus Arsenal and Manchester City and have not just matched them all, but in most cases been better. We’ve got at least a fortnight to dwell on this result before we play relegation threatened Leicester away. That might be when we find out if the wheels have been put back on.
This was Hull; bit like hell but the fire and brimstone, plus a bucket full of fury came from our fans – and hopefully the manager. They say you don’t become a bad team overnight but we’re sure as hell looking like one at the moment. There’s no point in blaming one individual because it’s all down to the team and the Kaiser. We can all have our thoughts and our theories as to what’s gone wrong but they count for nothing because it’s down to the manager and his players to put things right. Unlike in some of the recent games this was just about our best line-up and it still never looked like getting us out of the hole we’ve somehow landed in. The incentive was there when Arsenal lost but it made little difference. After we’d beaten Manchester City Jürgen said Chelsea had won all those games in a row and we’re still breathing down their necks. Well that was then, they’re over the hills and out of sight now. Best find the drawing board I guess?
Thank God January 2017 has been confined to the history books, brought back memories of Black November 1995. At least last night we saw a game and the fact that Chelsea are the best team in the country at the moment, the table never lies, we’ve bettered them once and matched them once because we certainly earned the draw we got last night, altogether a fair result.
There was also some noise in the ground which makes a change and tells you the crowd can turn it on when the game is a biggie which isn’t what the team wants, it’s what they want every game. Maybe our support now sees Chelsea in a similar light to Manchester United because there was a bit of ‘hate’ floating around.
Even though we again dominated the stats we didn’t do enough when in and around their goal, one shot in the first half that the ‘keeper saved is all I can remember. A few months ago we were having half a dozen shots on target in each half, in fact sometimes many more. Firmino should have knocked in one of the two chances he had in the second half because when teams defend in depth chances need to be taken, although that’s stating the obvious. I can’t think of too many more real chances apart from our goal.
I’ve not seen the penalty decision and I’ve not seen the replay of their goal but regardless we give away too many free kicks and inevitably we will pay the price. From where I sat I don’t know whether Mignolet should have done better with the goal but to be fair it was a hell of a shot and caught everyone unaware, including the crowd. Jürgen was right when he said Costa wasn’t a nice guy but I wish we had a few unpleasant ones in our team. He reminds me of Suárez, so much determination coupled with the nasty streak. We could do with a bit of meanness in our midfield but that doesn’t mean you give even more free kicks away; it means the opposition don’t like it.
Now January is out the way, the game every other day [or so it seemed] has been laid to rest, only a top four finish to concentrate on we can still turn this into something far better than expected. I’d have taken top four in August; I’ll definitely take it now. Don’t lose to the Gooner’s, Spurs or Manchester City, beat the others and we’ll be back in the Golden Egg draw come next August. It’s down to the Kaiser and his boys.