It had to be, didn’t it? For all the moaning and bitching I have done over the past six months about how he wasn’t the man to fix all of our problems, how he was only going to add to them, how he was going to be a colossal waste of money, it had to be him. Of all the players on the pitch, it had to be Virgil van Dijk who rose out of nowhere with four minutes left in the Merseyside Derby to score the winner on his debut to dump the blue shite out the cup. What a fucking guy!
It wasn’t just that moment though. That may have been the icing on the cake as far as van Dijk shoving six months worth of shit back down my throat. To be honest though, it was a four tiered shit cake. His performance throughout the game made certain of that. Unsure with the ball at his feet? Bollocks. He rarely dribbled and made stupid decisions when in possession, instead playing sensible passes. Positionally clueless? Bollocks. His body position when being ran out was perfect, as was his position on the pitch when the opposition had the ball. Can’t command a back four he has just come into? Bollocks. Poor Loris Karius still has ringing in his ears from van Dijk screaming at him throughout the game to come for loose balls quicker.
It wasn’t just van Dijk who played well though, he just typified an impressive Liverpool performance. Andy Robertson was another who performed admirably. When faced with someone as direct as Yannick Bolasie, it can be easy for defenders to be overawed and end up in the arse pocket of the Congolese winger. Instead the opposite was true here. It’s worth noting at this point that Bolasie is still coming back from a major knee injury, but that doesn’t take away from the display Robertson put in. He was more than comfortable with the challenge of Bolasie. It was the latest in a string of good games for the Scottish left back.
To look at individual performances in a game like this though is to ignore the significance of this victory to the fans. It’s a Merseyside Derby, for fuck’s sake. Beating the blue shite at any stage of the season, in any competition – whether it’s the F.A Cup, the Premier League or the Tiddlywinks Championships – is always something to shout about. They came, they equalised, they dreamed of winning for fifteen minutes, but, in the end, they did what they always do at Anfield – bottle it and get beat.
It’s not that that is the most exciting part of this win though. This is the third win in a row where we have beaten a lesser side and had grind out the result to do so. This wasn’t an easy game at any stage. Everton were competitive throughout, much unlike they were a couple of weeks ago in the league game at Anfield. This was a different Everton side that showed up and they were intent on winning this game. It was stodgy, it was horrible, it was unpleasant to watch at times. But we stuck in there. We went down to their level and played by their rules. We let Sam dictate to us how he wanted this game to go and managed to fuck him over still. that was probably the sweetest thing about it.
So on we go to the fourth round of the cup and West Bromwich Albion await. They themselves came to Anfield before Christmas and managed to drag away a point from our grasp thanks to some annoyingly boring tactics. If this draw had come up about a month ago, then I would predict the same shithouse tactics would lead to a 0-0 draw and a replay at The Hawthornes. Not now though. These boys have figured it out. It was a tricky rubiks cube to overcome, this one of sides who put ten men behind the ball and beats with a sucker punch, but it looks like it’s been solved now. These fellas look they could annihilate West Brom now. In fact, they look like they could annihilate anyone. Say it hushed tones, but they could just go all the way.