Nearly but not quite was the comment from Mr Moyes and you know what? He’s right. Sod all of the Liverpool possession – they shot wide so many times they couldn’t have complained if they’d lost. Oh, and they had the man with the worst haircut in the history of football. Forget any of those early 70’s Football League Review Millwall team photographs. Firmonho has to possess football’s most embarrassing barnet – and by choice! How stupid does he want to look? Sorry, in this age of political correctness and all that, but would Bob Paisley (or Bob Stokoe for that matter) have allowed him in a team photograph? No, because he looks stupid.
Anyway, enough of my tonsorial fixation. A splendid cloud inversion between the A1 and the North Yorkshire Moors made for a nice bit of viewing, then we got to Leeds and the lights went out. Freezing fog. Zero visibility across the M62, but a nice ride into Liverpool, and an early drop-off near Anfield – and an equally early taxi to the Ship and Mitre to meet up with the Woods brothers. No Burnsy this time, as he’s a mag and although he works for himself he had a job in Manchester. Pffft.
Anyhow, we were in the ground with plenty of time to spare, which is just as well considering the lavatorial provisions, which are surely the worst in the Premier League. One way in, one way out, hold your breath it you don’t want to be a passive smoker.
As we’d expected, in came O’Shea for the silly Papy, and Pienaar for the unfortunate McNair. We kicked away from the away end, which was 100% full thanks to the £30 cap encouraging those of an undecided disposition to make the journey. Actually, the away end is a bit of a hole, what with the setting sun blinding you at the start, and that nutjob waving his arse at us. How cheap are drugs in that part of the world?
Look, we’re not stupid. We know Liverpool are a bloody good side who can pass you to death and score goals while you’re not looking. We raised Henderson, we know what he’s about – but we got in his way. Without it being the bus location afternoon that Moyes had spoken about, we defended well. OK, Liverpool’s shooting was about as accurate as Snoopy playing darts after ten pints, but that’s their fault and not ours. We did our job, and Jones found Pienaar but the shot was deflected wide. Ooh, canny, there are spaces in there where the light might just get in.
Just after the half hour, Coutinho came off second best in a tangle in out box, and had to leave the field on a stretcher, which is never a pleasant sight. He’s a good player who doesn’t take the mickey, unlike a few of his team-mates. On came Origi, but Denyer switched his marking duties to him to good effect.
There was a lot of Liverpool attacking going on, and Kone raised his game to cope. I’ve said before that he plays his best when O’Shea is in his ear, and that’s what happened today – Kone was into the challenges first, taking no prisoners, and getting the ball away.
Wijnaldum, for some reason booed every time he got near the ball (money-grabbing ex-mag with a heart the size of a pea?), tried to get his team-mates into the game, but we got in the way. Kone was playing more like the man we’d seen last season, as he clattered into challenges and won headers in the style that gets us on our feet.
So there we were. Half-time approached, we nearly but not quite fashioned a couple of chances as Liverpool continued to make Pickford look good.
No changes for the second half, and there was more of Anichebe’s good hold-up play – even though he was penalised for backing in when he’d just tried to trap the ball. But I’m very biased, which is why I thought we should have had a penalty in the first half when Watmore was cleaned out. Anyway, we had a good spell early in the second half and looked like we might actually get something for our efforts. After all, they were shooting wide at every opportunity, and Hendo actually looked like he had a bet on himself not getting a shot away all afternoon. He’s a canny Lad, is Jordan.
Anyway, with half of the second half gone, we broke into their box, had a clear sight of goal, and took the extra touch which spoiled things. Watmore should really have done better but I’m not going to call him names for that one- there was precious little time to make that crucial decision. Anyhow, we’d done all of that good work when Pickford kept out what seemed like half a dozen corners (but was probably only three) but could do nowt with Origi’s curler. Cruel, Cruel.
We got caught out for their second, with Denayer being left in their player’s wake before Ndoing gave away an obvious penalty right on 90 minutes. Boo, shame, bugger, that’s life
Gooch and Januzaj had come on to try and get something, but while the former will run his bits off, the latter challenges John Oster – you guess for which award you can argue amongst yourselves.
Man of the Match? More of the usual from Defoe and Big Vic, and more solid play form unsung hero Jones. What we saw last season was a centre half we could relate to, and that’s what we go t to today. A proper centre half display from Kone.
A cracking bit of driving from Ron got us back to Bish Vegas in time to see the bairn’s band at their spiritual home of Bishops Sports Bar, and just enough time to indulge in a cuddle (and a whisky tussle) with old school-mate Micky Ruud who’d bought the Charlie Hurley picture the previous evening, signed and everything. The lucky beggar
Keep the Faith
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