What went wrong? The first 45 minutes were played in a high tempo against an Arsenal side devoid of any attacking threat despite their obvious quality in the final third. We took a deserved lead on 41 minutes, but that was it! Howard Webb, who denied Stevie G a blatant penalty in the opening 15 minutes, blew the half time whistle a few minutes later and the teams went back to the dressing rooms to face their respective managers.
Was this 15 minutes the complete antithesis of those famous 15 in Istanbul? Wenger went into a rage and it worked. What did Rafa say? What could he say? We were winning, Arsenal posed no threat, our pressing, high tempo game was working. The game was ours for the taking!
Then the second half kicked off. Within 5 minutes of the restart, Arsenal were level through a massive slice of good fortune as the wrong footed Johnson gifted them their equaliser. 8 minutes after that, Arshavin scored a sublime winner.
Watching on TV, Anfield seemed strangely subdued despite our good first half performance. Yes, there are times when fans can point to what they see on the pitch and complain that they have nothing to cheer, see nothing to inspire them. Today, I am sad to admit, was far from the case. Our men in red did all that was asked of them in the opening 45, yet all seemed relatively quiet. Where were the passion, songs and inspiration from the stands?
Its not just the fans that were present and Anfield today that are letting down the ideals for which Liverpool FC stand. I ask you all one question, whether you are pro or anti Rafa, how many of you did not think ‘Oh no, here we go again!’ when the OG went in? To my shame, I must admit that I thought that too. The two signings Rafa needs most, you cannot buy at anytime, let alone the January transfer window. He needs good luck and confidence in the team, but no amount of investment will get him those.
3 wins in 15 is not good enough, but to those who have questioned our team, compare the match day squads today. We have the players. Of Arsenal’s matchday 18, I would only take 6. What we need most is belief. Neither our players nor our fans believe we will win, and that is a huge problem. This negativity is transferring from team to stand and vice versa. Perhaps, now is the time to begin to believe again!
To quote the Greek philosopher, Epictetus,”The greater the difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests”. If ever there was a time for Benitez to step up and show us his skill it is now. Fourth place just became both more difficult and more important over this weekend.
Remember: You’ll never walk alone is our anthem for a reason! We will emerge from this storm! Until then hold your head up high & dont be afraid of the dark! At the end of the storm is a golden sky, and the sweet silver song of the lark. Walk on, walk on!
You’ll Never Walk Alone!