There are times in your life when the truth hits you like a smack in the gob. The veil is lifted, the fog clears, and everything suddenly becomes clear.
Like Isaac Newton getting beamed on the bonce by an apple (that’s a fruit kids, not an electronic device), I had my own EUREKA! moment yesterday…
- Simon Mignolet is allergic to Martin Skrtel.
Skrtel causes him to breathe erratically, sweat profusely, shake uncontrollably and sporadically lose control of his limbs. It’s a very serious condition that can only be cured with surgical intervention…cutting Skrtel out of the team, forever.
Let’s look at the evidence…Migs has been a figure of fun for his howlers and general calamity since he arrived at the club – however Skrtel has been a first team regular all that time. Since December, with Skrtel injured, Migs has improved considerably, and the Liverpool defence has appeared coherent/competent throughout.
Yesterday, Martin returned. As with many allergies, it took a little while for the symptoms to manifest. In that time Migs saved a penalty and tipped a screamer over the bar. However, this poor man couldn’t fight off the sweats/shakes forever, and soon they consumed him and he was beaten not once, not twice, but thrice in a gut-wrenching period of hilarious incompetence.
I don’t blame you Simon. You poor, poor man.
Shifted to left-back to accommodate CAPTAIN FLANAGAN, Patsy had a quiet if effective first half as his teammates put Southampton to the sword. To be honest, he had it pretty easy during that time.
When the team then started to implode in the second half, you looked around for leaders, for warriors…for heroes.
Patsy was picking his nose and telling everyone around what the clouds in the sky looked like. Bless.
For 45 minutes of this game Liverpool fans winced and moaned and groaned as Dejan was given a torrid time by Shane Long, who was providing the only threat for Southampton in the first half. We wondered if the ‘solid’ Lovren we’d seen for the weeks prior were just a mirage, an illusion. At times like these we are guilty of perhaps not appreciating the threat and quality of the opposition, because…
For 45 minutes of this game Liverpool fans longed for Lovren, wept openly at his withdrawal and cursed Klopp for taking him off.
While Lovren struggled to contain Long (he isn’t the first and won’t be the last by the way – in fact, if LFC are looking for a decent squad striker for next season, they could do a lot worse than Long), he was just about managing it. He’s an experienced professional and in my opinion he should have been trusted to continue doing his job and trusted to eventually get the better of his man. Let’s face it, an inanimate carbon rod would have been better than his replacement, more of which later.
Sometimes your stock can rise considerably when you’re not involved. The second half yesterday was one such example for Dejan. Now a GUARANTEED starter for the remainder of the season.
I can only liken his performance to that of Fireman Sam taking on the Great Fire of London all on his own.
He was imperious once more in the first half, shackling Pelle and mopping up whenever Long got the better of Lovren. Then Martin arrived, and that was akin to someone pouring petrol, firelighters and napalm on a small bonfire….
He desperately, manfully tried to stem the Southampton tide, but there is only so much that one man can do. He had his own opponent to worry about as well as the YAWNING CHASM that Martin Skrtel left behind him time and time and time again. It just wasn’t possible.
I just hope this doesn’t do mental damage to Mamadou, the poor pet.
Boyhood fan, born in the Boot Room, becomes Captain for the day. It’s enough to bring a tear to a glass eye.
It’s a pity that it all ended in tears too….
Not at his best, but certainly not as bad as some of his teammates. He’s got a new contract, and his future is bright. I’ll leave it there so.
Has a nickname ever been so apt? Well, has it????
Given a rare start by Klopp, Joe was superb, showing for the ball, spraying it left, right and centre and keeping the fluid Liverpool attacking moves going throughout the first half. All was going spiffingly, until….
When you’re slid in, 12 yards out, centre of the goal with just the keeper to beat, your team is two up, your opponent is on their knees, the game is at your mercy, you’re an international footballer and you’re playing for Liverpool in the Premier League….
YOU HAVE TO F*CKING SCORE YOU WELSH WAZZOCK.
That was the game. Right there. I said it at the time. The referee would have run up to the tannoy and announced ‘Game, Set & Match Liverpool Football Club’. But no. Chance spurned, match still alive. Game bloody on. Poor, Joe. Poor.
His nickname took on a second meaning when his neat shot found the bottom corner only to be ruled out by the linesman four days later. That’s unlucky. Poor Joe.
Of course all of this was compounded when Ronald Koeman made a tactical change that led to Southampton flooding the midfield and throttling Poor Joe for the entire second half. He wasn’t exactly helped by his manager, but more of that anon….
Emre found himself in a similar pickle to Mamadou Sakho in the second half, as the aforementioned Saints tactical tweak left him with a knife in gun-fight. Totally overrun and unable to cope, he tried as best he could, but with Poor Joe alongside him and Martin Skrtel behind him…well, he’d have been better off staging a sit-in protest, going on strike and demanding decent working conditions.
Our future leader. I’m certain of it. Unless Bayern nip in and take him in the summer.
Worked as hard as he always does, but to my mind was largely and frustratingly ineffective for the first hour at his old ground…but then he suddenly clicked.
He created two wonderful chances – The first for Emre Can was denied by a toe from a Saints defender, and the second was denied by a toe from a bumbling Belgian buffoon in a Liverpool shirt.
He’s entitled to stop, throw his arms in the air and yell ‘What more can I fecking do’?
Stop it. You’re just taking the piss now. THAT goal? ALL THE LOLZ. Majestic.
THAT pass to release Origi for the second goal? Oh…behave….
Do one thing for me, aye? Don’t look around the dressing room at the likes of Skrtel and Benteke and think ‘Sod this, I’m off’. Please? Pretty please?
He’s exactly like Mel Gibson, apart from the fact that he’s not deranged and allegedly racist. He’s a LETHAL WEAPON this boy.
That goal was sublime. He squared up his man, the goalkeeper and 2,763 fans behind the goal before slamming the ball into the bottom corner. It looked ridiculously easy…it wasn’t. It was a fantastic finish, something he can do with alarming regularity.
Now if we could just build up his fitness and/or interest so that he can play for longer than an hour….that would be ACE.
Honestly, all that’s missing with this kid is goals, and you get the feeling that once he starts, he will be hard to stop.
I know that’s a potentially stupid/obvious thing to say about a striker, but he does everything aside from the goals very, very well. He’s strong, holds the ball up, runs in behind, stretches defences, gets flick-ons, has searing pace…he’s the full package.
JUST START BANGING THEM IN!
*Takes Deep Breath*
You bumbling, incompetent, woeful, pathetic, fraudulent, laughable, flatulent, smelly, dopey, ignorant, Donald Trump voting, Global Warming denying, Tory supporting wankbag.
Yesterday, in 45 minutes, Liverpool conceded as many goals with Skrtel in defence as they have in three thousand years previously, without him.
That may be an exaggeration, but I’m not sorry. That was a performance of such ineptitude that George Osborne was laughing at him. How he even got on the pitch is a mystery that I will deal with later, but once he was on it he was beyond terrible. Constantly racing out of defence to try and win balls he couldn’t win, constantly racing back into defence to make up for his mistake that he couldn’t make up for, and making more, hauling players down, missing headers, missing kicks and infecting Mignolet.
I’ve seen some impressive resignation letters in my time, but this was the coup de grace. The end of his Liverpool career. Finito. Dead. Over. Done. I’d suggest putting a fork in it, but his career at Liverpool is so overdone you’d damage the fork.
Goodbye Martin. Don’t let the door hit you on your incompetent arse on the way out.
Eminem has a classic song that says ‘One chance, that’s all you got’. It’s an uplifting song, designed to stir the soul, to make you charge head first into whatever challenge awaits you, to grab whatever opportunity that is before you….
He’s re-written it for Benteke. It now says…
‘One chance, that’s all you….ah feck, it’s Benteke. Don’t bother lads. It’s all over’.
I’m hearing rumours that the Chinese billionaires have put in a new offer. £35,000,000 is what they want FROM Liverpool to take him TO China.
I actually feel like crying now…
I’m not rating this poor kid who was thrown into a Laurel and Hardy sketch without being given the script.
Manager: Jurgen Klopp:
From the sublime to the ridiculous. From hero to zero.
His decision to withdraw Lovren is questionable, but maybe (and I stress maybe) understandable.
His decision to replace him with Martin Skrtel is baffling. KOLO has been a rock for Liverpool in recent weeks when required. He hasn’t put a foot wrong and has even scored a bloody goal. Martin Skrtel on the other hand was sent-off playing for the U-21’s in midweek before this game.
What was he doing? Why Skrtel?
That’s not all though. He didn’t have to put on Benteke. A training cone would have been better up front instead. Or Sheyi Ojo could have come on and gotten more time and experience – he’s in form for the reserves at least.
But what really worried me, and made me howl at my PC like a rabid rabbit is how he failed to spot how overrun we were in midfield…
Just before Southampton got their equaliser, Jordan Henderson was seen pulling on his top about to be introduced into the game. I was kind of relieved for two reasons:
- I could see we needed help in the middle for over half an hour at that stage
- I thought Jordan was dead and his appearance on the bench was a ‘Weekend At Bernies’ style set-up. That was the only explanation I had for his non-appearance up to that point.
So there you have it. TWO glaring errors, and another you can make a claim for.
I love Jurgen, I really do. He’s injected vim and vigour into this squad, and we must remember that these are not his players. However if he fecks up, I’ll call him on it.
Jurgen…you have messed up.
Note: If you enjoy the guff on this blog, you can find me on Twitter (@NiallHawthorne). I’m also regularly contributing to ByTheMinSport.com. Finally I’m a co-host for the best weekly Premier League Podcast in the whole world – @ByTheMinEPL Podcast, which can be found on the website. If you’ve read this far, pat yourself on the back.