One in the Eye for City

So what’s a few days between the same group of football fans?

Last Friday, there was despair when Liverpool managed to throw away a
game we all felt they could have won readily. But, that said, I suspect a large number would have taken a draw beforehand. Reactions however, seemed consistent overall and anger was easy to find.

For myself, I was nothing like as critical as many on the goals conceded. Mignolet was almost universally slated for letting in a long shot, but I’m probably in the minority at feeling the ball was
swirling all over the place and these were mitigating circumstances.
I’ve no idea what the air pressure was like deep down inside the Emirates bowl, but for sure, Cech found the flight of the ball every bit as unpredictable when he failed to keep out Firmino’s equaliser.

As for Joe Gomez, he repeated a near identical mistake of hesitation for the Arsenal first, which he’d made at least twice previously. It’s a habit which needs eradicating.

Arsenal’s third goal was excellent and I suggest Reds’ fans would have more than pleased to have claimed such a strike for their own team.

Five days on and bottom-team Swansea arrived at Anfield, apparently lambs to the slaughter. After only six minutes, that analysis seemed spot on as Coutinho scored a sublime opener. Yet, Klopp’s team have a different tactical approach these days, especially at Anfield, with
the first half seemingly a period of consolidation rather than the hell for leather of a year ago.

Even so, the half-time buzz amongst fans concerned a failure to have stepped on after the early goal, not least when Firmino wasted a chance which seemed easier to put away than miss.

In the end however, four more goals followed and we all went home feeling warm amidst the freezing cold. Still, a few interesting observations:

Right at the end, Mignolet made a blinding save to keep out a Swansea
header. The referee then blew the final whistle, but that didn’t stop several players making a bee-line to hail the Reds’ keeper. It was as if they were reacting to the savaging he got post-Arsenal and wanted to make their point. Such is Melwood team-spirit!

As each match goes by, Oxade-Chamberlain is looking increasingly like
a Liverpool (Klopp) player. Before he signed I did wonder about how fit he could be, given his bulk, but he’s dismissed those reservations already. In fact, if anything, at times, he almost tries too hard and I do worry about the way he tends to launch himself and take himself
out of the game. Worse still, it will only take a minor error of judgment to be on the wrong end of a red card. Regarding the same player, it’s interesting to reflect on how many times he was apparently injured at Arsenal. Or was that a piece of press management
by Wenger to save the player’s pride?

Thirdly, almost unnoticed in the past few weeks, has been the progress made by Klavan. He’s been so maligned by people who bizarrely expect a silk purse from rough leather and he’s simply got on with doing the simple things effectively. The advantage of playing several successive
matches has done wonders for his game and while Matip and Lovren consistently go ill or injured, he’s held the fort together.

Both Hendo and Sturridge are out for some time with hamstring issues and Can didn’t look too good on Tuesday, so finalising the XIs to play two very physical teams in Leicester and the thugs of Burnley inside two days will be interesting. What price a place for Grujic, I wonder?

The signing of Van Dijk caught nearly everyone by surprise, not least the media, and it felt wonderful to be on the right side of such a shock. Apparently it was signed and sealed before Christmas, so the Reds did well to keep it quiet. City were still preparing their bid apparently!!! One in the eye for them.

Might even see him playing against Everton in the Cup, though, if Klopp runs true to form, he likes to break his new players in gently to his way of playing.

I wonder if there are any other surprise cards up the German’s sleeve!
I love the way he keeps his counsel!