Two games in a week. Two similar teams. Two vastly contrasting results. On Friday night, these two games looked like two wins on paper. You’d have thought nothing else. West Brom in the F.A Cup – sound, let’s look forward to the draw on Monday. Huddersfield in the league – bit trickier but should still be a win nonetheless. Now, here we are, Thursday afternoon and the dust has settled on a strange old week. Out of the F.A Cup after being beaten by West Brom, but holding onto fourth place after brushing aside Huddersfield.
I still can’t get my head around this week. They are two really strange results for very different reasons. We really should have beaten West Brom, especially considering that we took the lead. We never lose from winning positions yet this game was practically dead before the half time whistle was blown. VAR fucked the game completely but it gave us opportunities for redemption that we didn’t take. It ruled out a goal against us. That should have been the kick up the arse we needed to pull our fingers out. But we didn’t. We continued to make stupid errors. We were given a pen, the perfect chance to pull level. We gave it to Roberto Firmino who missed his last penalty in September against Sevilla – and stepped up to miss this one.
We didn’t even play particularly poorly. West Brom didn’t play particularly well. It just seemed to…happen. The first two goals were in a period where it was difficult to catch your breath watching it, never mind actually playing in it. In fact, the entire first half seemed to play out that way. It was like we let the events of the opening period get to us. It was a really strange first half. We woke up at half time but, by that time, West Brom settled into the usual shithouse tactics that teams employ when they come to Anfield. We ploughed on regardless, offering width only from the full backs and getting little joy from it. Salah got a goal back but it was obvious it would be the last of the night. We got dumped out the cup and we got what we deserved. Bye bye to our only realistic chance of silverware this season.
That meant that we all went to Huddersfield with even more to be negative about. It was clear before a ball was kicked how both teams would set up. It became even more apparent when you saw the lineups. Huddersfield played a 5-3-2. Need I say more?
But what we thought would happen, didn’t happen. Huddersfield looked a little lost in this formation. Yes, they were OK (at best) at the back to begin with. Going forward though, their strikers didn’t seem to know what they were supposed to do, so they offered little threat. Playing Dejan Lovren over Virgil van Dijk was a massive risk and it’s a good job it paid off for Klopp. Lovren was made to look like Franco Baresi by the opposition attackers, not putting a foot wrong all night and reading the game superbly. Maybe the threat of losing his place is exactly what Lovren needed given that his two best performances of the season have come since van Dijk signed.
For about 25 minutes it looked like Huddersfield would frustrate us. They had had the best chance of the game so far. But then…
Whoa, hang on?! Is that a goal to Liverpool? Christ, it is! Emre Can from 20 yards. We’ve actually managed to breach a horrible, stubborn, immoveable, shit defence. That’s not what we do. We play left to right, and cross to no one, and run into dead ends, and play into the opposition hands, and come too narrow. We don’t actually score past these teams. We concede against them.
It was a free for all from there. Huddersfield went to bits. It was like they completely forgot what they were doing. Firmino finds himself clean through but doesn’t pass. There’s blue and white shirts in the box but they don’t seem to be doing anything effective. They don’t mark anyone but they don’t close the ball down. Firmino is too much a genius to let you get away with that. Is that a gap at the near post? It fucking is now! Jesus, what a finish. Who needs Coutinho when Bobby’s whipping out finishes like that? Get to bed Lossl, you fucking loser. Bobby’s just made a show of you.
The second half just became Liverpool’s. We usually concede a goal when we look most comfortable and, from there, proceed to give everyone a cardiac arrest when the opposition go forward. The result never seemed in danger however. It was partly down to Huddersfield being fairly ineffective up front but mostly down to how calm our play was. It was almost as if we knew what we were doing, like we knew how to see out results and win football matches.
This was good. I know, it’s mad init? I haven’t been able to say that for a few weeks. Let’s have more of this Reds. We’ve got Spurs at home on Sunday and they ALWAYS shit out at Anfield. Let’s keep good going, it’s boss when we’re good.