What a wonderful advert for the Premier League; a match full of blood and thunder; two fully committed sides; a frenzied Anfield crowd.
It was as if Liverpool were playing the Leicester of a couple of years ago and, from the home side’s point of view, that made turning the game on its head after a 2nd minute reversal, all the more admirable.
As it was, perhaps Leicester scored too soon and, by so doing, awakened the true spirit of Anfield. The old place was noisy,
boisterous, belligerent and most definitely, given the circumstances
of the game, in anything but festive mood.
Schmeichel was the focal point of much of the crowd’s anger. It appeared at times as if he were getting a nod and a wink from the referee to take as much time as he wanted to take goal-kicks, though
in actual reality he wasn’t as bad as some visiting keepers we’ve seen in the past.
It perhaps didn’t help that he is the son of Manc Legend Peter and at times you had to ask yourself if there wasn’t a brazen grin on his face as the screams of abuse came pouring down from the stands.
You did wonder, mind, if there wasn’t a sense, perhaps even a hidden admiration, at the surety of the Leicester ‘keeper and the way he had complete command of his own area.
Should he be even on the Reds’ wish-list? Personally, I’d like to think so, though whether the player would be available and whether he would be willing to come to us given his pedigree, is another matter. And besides, I’ve heard that his father is in fact his agent!
Liverpool really flourished and finally came through not least because the raucous crowd was so onside with them. When Mo Salah scored the winner, the placed erupted; in contrast the Leicester body language was so different.
I’m sending this early, because I reckon tomorrow’s task at what will likely be a wild and windy Turf Moor, cannot be underestimated and not just because the home side are a bunch of thugs! Have any of you wondered why any club other than Burnley has been willing to take Sean Dyche on as their manager?
Might I suggest that his hooligan style of his game is simply not appreciated. I wish I could be confident that tomorrow’s designated referee Roger East will be able to spot the location of Ashley
Barnes’s elbows for a full 90 minutes!
Tomorrow’s other big factor is one of fatigue after just 48-hours’ rest. A years ago, the Reds went to bottom club Sunderland having beaten Man City only 38-hours earlier. Klopp’s mistake was to play an unchanged side. It took the team the best part of a month to recover!
We’d all like to feel the manager will have learned from that. Two very quick games in the English Premier League is a massive undertaking and requires some brave rotation.
Burnley will seek to bully us, readily creating small battles all over the pitch, but hopefully their exertions at Huddersfield will have been every bit as demanding as ours. The last half-hour will be crucial tomorrow and we can but hope that our class will emerge in that final period.
Happy New Year one and all!