Guys, how did we all wake up this morning? Feels good the days after, doesn’t it?
How does a team that plays this beautifully end up fighting for Europe and not title? There are a number of reasons for that but two stand out –
a. The performance in the first half of the season. Manager, players wanting to leave, players being out because of injuries or cards, players out of form, players uninterested, ownership issues etc etc all contributing to that performance. A very broad point but coincides remarkably with the tenure of the ex-manager.
b. Our performance through out the season against weaker teams – although this still stands somewhat.
Unless we see a real red blooded home stretch, the above two would have probably cost us Europe for next year. [Although, personally, I don’t like Europa – Europe means Champions League or nothing. Europa’s feel for a viewer is that of a flyer having to downgrade from business class straight down to a budget airline. The thing about budget airlines is that they make you realize its budget. Europa does that very effectively. Only one commentator, the sound-mixing ensuring that spectator volume is much lower than it is on other games on TV, the presence of much much smaller clubs, hell even the trophy doesn’t have any ears! If UEFA charges exorbitantly for the tickets of the CL finals, I want our fans to be the most complaining!]
Anyway, I think there is one more thing remarkable to this season that is severely missed and might either have contributed to the sorry showing or have stemmed from the sorry showing. That is the lack of brilliant moments on the field. The long shots, the curling free kicks, the dribble through the legs of 3 or 4 defenders. We have had very limited. Actually let me try and bullet them here:
- Lucas’ long strike in early stages of Europa
- He-who-was-once-a-red-But-Roman-took-him-to-bed-And-who-left-his-shoes-in-the-shed’s curling strike against Chelsea at Anfield
- Stevie’s triple in Europa
- Raul’s super volley against Wolves
- Suarez’s assist for the first goal against Scums
- Suarez’s zero degree goal Sunderland
and very little else (please feel free to populate it with whatever you can think of). This was before last night. I’d be honest to God when I tell you that when I was constructing this article before last night’s game in my head I wanted to write how much I crave for someone to score for Liverpool in the manner Carroll scored against us at SJP.
How many moments we got last night? For me, the entire first half barring a 5-7 minute spell before the second goal was a huge such moment. There were plenty punctuating the second half too. How did we like the Carroll goal? What a strike! Almost as good, if not better, than the one against us. The pressure that we created for the second goal! Did anyone notice how Kuyt took his ball away from the pressure of 3 City players? How quick were we to pressure and steal the ball back as soon as we lost possession?
Days like yesterday make you also realize how short was the end of the straw we were being given. Liverpool FC always bought well and trained well. Not just one of those two. However, over the past decade or so, we only had either of those two aspects. We earlier had academy stars making a name for themselves in nineties and early noughties. Then we started buying players and suddenly the academy supply dried up. Then, for a brief but dreadful period of time, we had none (Summer 2009 – December 2010). And now, we have both. Leading the attack are two most expensive players in the club’s history and on the other hand are players like Kelly and Flanagan who are destined for nothing but glory.
We now have a great management with a fat but objective cheque book, superb support team with ‘Sports Scientists’ et.al., a great breeding ground in the academy, great coach and all in all, held together with a wonderful wonderful manager. The next season (Europe or no Europe) promises to be one long moment of joy and, perhaps, glory.
Finally, here are the best pictures from last night.
PS – if someone could decipher my attempt at prose earlier in the article while listing the bullets and wants to call me bitter, save it. I am bitter.