Winning at less that full throttle

If anyone were to ask what was the most significant scoreline of the
weekend, I’d suggest it was Man City’s demolition job of Spurs at
Wembley. After all, Guardiola’s now official champions had only just
been turned over deservedly and definitively by two superb Liverpool
performances – not forgetting the early Premier League thrashing at

We all know that football matches are not won on paper, but
nevertheless, the question must be asked, on that basis, how good this
Liverpool side really is.

Yesterday, from the start, they were half-a-yard short of their best,
almost certainly as a result of their exertions over the previous ten
days. Chances came and went and the sense was that sharpness was not
at its most absolute.

Yet still, the Reds were good enough to turn over a spirited and well
organised Bournemouth side which played a back-five throughout.
Certainly, the impact was that neither of our fullbacks was able to
make any impact down the flanks. Trent’s sublime 40-yard pass for Mo’s
header came from 40 yards back and during the whole 90 minutes rarely
did he manage to overlap. Salah himself did find several openings, but
rarely got his timing spot-on.

Although our strikers got the goals, it was the midfield trio of Hendo
(who missed the Etihad), Alex OxC and Winjaldum who provided the
energy. The skipper, in particular, is quite magnificent in the way he
does all the dirty work and is always there to mop-up and be available
to assist under-pressure team-mates. His stamina resources have to be
seen to be believed and it never ceases to amaze me that there are
those who see fit to criticise him. For certain, Liverpool are a
stronger and more complete side with him in it.

A full week’s rest now before West Brom, (a clash suddenly providing a
different  complexion after Old Trafford yesterday) and then another
surfeit of three fixtures inside a single week. It’s tough going, but
aren’t we all so excited that every match counts for something at the

I wonder what it’s like being a Bluenose right now?

By Mike Hopper