See? I told you last week….Simon Mignolet is allergic to Martin Skrtel.
With Dejan Lovren restored to the first XI, Martin Skrtel seated in the furthest possible seat away from Migs in the dugout, and what can only be described as a gargantuan quantity of antihistamines, Migs was back in form at Anfield.
He made a string of impressive saves, kept his flaps to a minimum and was only beaten by what I would describe as a ‘Fowler-esque’ finish from Kane.
He knows that his position is under serious threat this summer, but the public mutterings from Klopp about him have been nothing but positive. Will be be #1 next August? I know the answer, but that would be telling….
Back to his familiar right-back role, and like the other 20 players playing outfield yesterday evening, he was involved in a ferocious tussle for every single second.
In short, he did well, considering…
Considering what, I hear you ask? (I’ve got all your PC’s / Devices bugged, so yes, I can hear you ask, and quite frankly I’m disgusted by some of you. Your cousin? Really? Ick.)
Anway, considering the quality of that game is what I was referring to. I haven’t enjoyed a football match as much in a long, long time. This was a fantabulous tussle between two very, very good sides, both playing similar, high-pressing, high-energy styles. No inch was given, no quarter was yielded. They stood toe-to-toe, traded blow-for-blow, neither flinching. A draw was probably a fair result, but Liverpool had the better chances, and just that bit more precision would once again have yielded the three points.
Both of these teams are going to be contesting the league for the next few seasons. Add the usual suspects in City, Chelsea, Arsenal and United, and as Jim Ross would say ‘Bah Gawd, next season is going to be a slobber-knocker’.
What. A. Performance. It was almost perfect.
I know, typing those words about Dejan Lovren….If you told me I’d be doing that last August, I’d have had you sectioned. Yes, you. No, I’m not talking about anyone else reading this. I’m talking about you. It’d be a blessed relief though, aye?
However, here we are. For the first 45 minutes of this game, Dejan was sensational. He did everything he had to do perfectly, and he was kept busy with a number of clean-ups in Aisle Two, which is a nice way of saying that Mamadou Sakho was a little skittish for the first half.
The only blot on his copybook was that he was caught out by the Kane turn and finish, but again I’m being ultra-critical here, as that was world-class. With Klopp’s first summer looming large, a time when he will be able to mould the squad to his satisfaction, Dejan is making a strong statement to be considered first-choice for next season. His absence from the second half at St. Mary’s hinted as to how important he has become. His performance yesterday confirmed it.
A remarkable turnaround.
My review of Mamadou from St. Mary’s. Note the final line…
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.
I believe post-traumatic stress disorder is a very debilitating condition, and I can only put Mamadou’s 1st half performance down to the effects of the 2nd half alongside Skrtel against Southampton.
To his credit, he took the half-time break to pop some Prozac (NOT from Dr Mark Bonar, I hasten to add) and was far more solid. Sakho is a player that splits opinion among Liverpool fans more than most, but I am firmly on the side of ‘He’s fecking ACE and if you don’t agree you’re a flute’.
Frantic. Chaotic. Battling. Pacy. Intense. Rapid. Thrilling.
All of these can be applied to the game itself, and to Bertie’s performance. He had a tremendous tussle with Son/Eriksen as Spurs targeted the left-hand side of the Liverpool defence, and he came up trumps, despite a few ‘Bertie’ moments.
Klopp could consider him to be the future and if so he could be his greatest challenge. Klopp could consider him to be a liability and he’ll be sold this summer. Once more, I know the truth, but telling you would spoil the summer shenigans, right?
Nope, that ‘season’ was a flash in the pan. He’s not really got it. He’s a great kid, great engine but he’s not a Klopp player, he’s not the future of this team, let alone the Captain….
All of which I was certain about until 5.30pm yesterday…
Now, he is the future. He’s a leader, a real Captain. His performance yesterday was sensational. All-action, in a game that I’ve already described as being exactly that, and he stood up when it mattered. He doesn’t have the incisive passing of a Coutinho, the shooting of a Firmino, or the nimble feet of a Lallana, but then again, if he’s winning the ball and giving it to, ummm, Coutinho/Firmino/Lallana, does he need to?
He’s been playing second-fiddle to Emre Can for the past few weeks, even months, but when the title-chasers came banging on our door looking to loot the 3 points from Anfield, Jordan stood up and protected our territory. Of course he’ll have to continue do deliver these types of performances every week, but why won’t he? He got his game up to a certain high standard not so long ago, so let’s see, shall we?
Moussa Dembele (the one at Spurs, not the one at Fulham)…
We could have witnessed a birth at Anfield yesterday. The birth of a new midfield rivalry, the likes of which we haven’t seen since Keane and Vieira were butting-heads 15 years ago.
Emre will have to accept that he met an opponent that has similar pace, similar skill and similar strength, as well as a similar desire to be the best midfielder on the park. It was a fantastic tussle, and one to keep an eye on in future years (assuming they both stay at their respective clubs). If I were a boxing referee, I’d have to give a split points decision to Dembele yesterday, but it was close.
Over to you Emre. Time to respond.
Many months ago I mused that Adam Lallana operates in a ‘bubble’ that puts him a split-second out of time with the rest of the world, particularly on a football pitch. Now, I admit that this was a negative point at the time, but maybe I was onto a correct theory, but wrong on the finer details…
Adam Lallana operates on a higher plane of consciousness than you and I.
- He sees 9 colours in the rainbow, not seven
- He knows the 4th secret of Fatima, let alone the third
- He goes on holidays to Area 51
- He edits Stephen Hawking’s works before publication
- He knows what’s inside a Quark
In football terms, he’s the best player in the world at being the guy that gives the assist to the guy that gives the assist. He sees moves developing 26 passes in advance.
He’s also now completed more Cruyff turns since the death of the great man, than the great man ever did in his whole career.
Our friendship has now become common knowledge through this blog, so I have been sent some questions to ask you from other people who contacted me:
- What do you wash your hair with? (submitted by @HeadAndShoulders)
- Do you think Batman is hotter than Superman? (submitted by @BenAffleck)
- Will you have my babies? (submitted by @ConfusedAboutBiology)
- Do you think The Donald is the worlds greatest man? (submitted by @DonaldTrump)
- Can you keep scoring screamers every week? (submitted by @NiallHawthorne)
You don’t need to answer number 5 now. I got my answer yesterday.
James Milner was James Milner yesterday.
Shake a leg. Move your arse. Run you f*cking gobdaw.
Just three of the comments I made about Daniel as I watched him stroll about the Anfield turf yesterday.
Yet I make allowances for Daniel. Maybe by standing still he’ll find himself in space? He’s conserving his energy so he’ll sprint onto a through-ball and score? He’s coming back from injury?
I was almost right. As his teammates robbed Spurs high up the pitch through sheer industry and hard work, he was suddenly played through on goal. GREAT! Now he’ll do what he does and score…and he didn’t.
Here’s the thing Daniel. If you don’t work your ass off like your teammates, and you then go on to fluff your lines in front of goal, you’re going to get criticised. Christ, even when you’re subbed you can’t shake your arse to get off with any pace. You’re the biggest conundrum for Klopp this summer. To sell or keep? To build a side around or jettison?
Today’s Klopp Countdown Conundrum is:
A quality weapon to have on the bench. Pace when defenders are tired. Strength when defenders are…well…tired.
Now we just need to add goals.
8′ to show what he can do. He got kicked up in the air which led to a chance for Coutinho.
Oh, he still exists! Splendid.
Manager: Jurgen Klopp:
Alright Jurgen, here we go. The business end of the season. The final dash for glory…
Let’s forget about the Top Four as a realistic option for the Premier League. A home draw to that Spurs side is not a killer blow, but the defeat away to Southampton was. You have a maximum of 5 games in the Europa League to get us into the group stages of the Champions League next season. Two of those games are against Borussia Dortmund. If you don’t know how to dismantle a team that you built, who does?
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.