Anyone else think the Coutinho’s shot last night had got deflected wide for a corner? Due to the poor television signal and perceived lack of luck, that’s exactly where I thought the Brazilian’s effort was heading.
As a supporter coming off the back of two defeats to teams the majority of my colleagues just happen to support, the thought of victory in a tough looking cup replay seemed ominous. Although, perhaps, that’s my West Midlands upbringing naturally casting doubt on my opinions.
Will this be a turning point? Who knows, well we will when the 25th May shows itself, but at the moment the positivity around the result has eroded thoughts of defeats to Man United and Arsenal.
Watching games as a supporter means that sometimes you’re unable to take in all the tactical points that can define a game. On the back of two crucial defeats you begin to wonder if your luck is in, worry whenever your centre back goes up for a header with their striker and hope that any loose ball goes your way. It’s only when you watch the highlights that you realise you weren’t under too much pressure, your defenders were winning the majority of the aerial battles and the loose balls were falling your way. This is how the game at Ewood Park played out last night.
Football fans, pundits and the sport itself can be fickle when it wants to be. Before the Man United game we were the form team in the league, destined to beat our rivals and stride into fourth place. On Monday morning the mood changed and the complexion of the season altered. After the defeat to Arsenal this doubled. The FA Cup suddenly became more imperative than ever.
Brendan Rodgers himself has admitted the chances of reaching the top four are slim but with the boost of a semi-final place booked who knows what that could do to league placing’s.
This next part is quite hard to right, what with the bunch of straws I’m clutching. With the Manchester derby taking place before our Monday night game v Newcastle at Anfield, we could know by kick off which team we’ll need to be chasing. If it’s United we have the bonus of knowing they have two more tough fixtures approaching – against Chelsea and Arsenal – and if it’s City then we’re chasing a side who’s form is on the rapid decline. Either way, a win over Newcastle is imperative and could get us back on track.
If that is to be the case it would mirror the way we played at Blackburn last night, keeping things ticking over and not panicking.
The impressive part of last night’s victory, for me, was how we didn’t let the recent slump affect our play. Seeing the manager make changes that were needed, not drastically but efficiently, and not be stubborn to a system that had proven so successful. It showed that Rodgers is constantly thinking, implementing ideas to his team and never settling for one way of winning. It’s a trait that has won him praise from many of the players he’s trained on the fields of Melwood.
Fourth place may be too much of an ask but the run in the FA Cup has still shown signs of progress. If it’s something that can be used as a springboard for a positive 2015/16 season it’ll be looked on fondly.
By Michael Williams