Caveat: I’m writing this after the game, on New Years Eve, with a very tolerant (and sexy wife) waiting for me. I’m also travelling tomorrow, so I’ve got to squeeze this in. Please bear this in mind…
4 games back.
3 clean sheets.
1 alley-oop over the head of an onrushing Sergio Aguero.
54,000 heart attacks.
1 Liverpool Number One.
A certain Pep Guardiola clearly decided to test a Liverpool full back tonight.
Patsy Clyne wasn’t the one he chose to test.
Ergo, Pep Guardiola is terrified of Patsy Clyne.
Incredible at the back as usual, but under more pressure than is normal. Patsy also has an incredible talent for getting himself into wonderful attacking positions…but he really needs to improve on his ability when he’s there.
Yes, that’s harsh. It’s incredibly harsh. However I’m a hard task-master, and everyone needs goals for the New Year. There you go Patsy, get on it.
‘He’s a liability’
‘He’s an accident waiting to happen’
‘He’s worse than Djimi Traore’
The above have all been on my Twitter timeline over the past couple of years. At times I’ve agreed, but I’ve also known that he’s better than that…
Against Sergio Aguero / David Silva / Kevin De Bruyne / Raheem Sterling / Yaya Toure, Dejan Lovren stood tall and dominant, swatting away threats like Donald Trump swats away criticism…and common sense.
While the injury to Joel Matip has been frustrating, it has almost by default allowed a centre back partnership to blossom. A tricky away trip to ‘Boro, a very trick derby away to Everton and a Brexit-level threat at home to Manchester City and there are three clean sheets to show for them.
The question is, will Joel Matip get back in the team?
Jack Bauer in ’24’
Tom Cruise in ‘Mission Impossible’
Jim Carey in ‘Liar Liar’
All epic characters who have somehow dodged numerous bullets and gone on to live long and happy lives (I assume…)
After less than 10 minutes tonight Klavan The Barbarian picked up a booking for a cynical yet wholesome yellow card on Sergio Aguero, in one moment eliminating an immediate threat and also kicking an Argentinian up in the air. Marvellous.
However he then had to negotiate the majority of the game against the same opponent (and friends) without another bad tackle…and boy did he do it….
There were numerous occasions when he had a tackle to make, or a man running at him and you’d have loved him to throw himself into the tackle, but he showed far more self-restraint than I have over the Christmas period *pats belly*
A man with over 130 caps for his country picks up a few tricks and tips over the years, and tonight showed why Herr Klopp plucked him from relative Bundesliga obscurity to be a crucial part of his Anfield defence.
Again I ask, will Joel Matip get back in the team?
Last season Jon Flanagan booted Raheem Sterling up the hole in the first few minutes of this fixture. Anfield erupted in joy and satisfaction at the sight of the money-grabbing, soulless, history-ignorant w*nkweasel getting what was coming to him.
This season James Milner was in the left-back slot, and it’s fair to say that James is a different kind of character to Flano. For a start, he’s from Yorkshire, not Merseyside, so he has a different approach to things.
Tonight, rather than boot Raheem up the hole (which I still say is a valid and much appreciated approach), James decided to quietly place Raheem Sterling in his pocket, zip it up, and leave him there all night long.
I admit that the first 10 minutes were a bit hairy, but that was just James giving Raheem hope. You know what hope is like, eh? It’s the emotion than Raheem felt when he left Anfield to head to The Etihad, before realising that he had made the biggest mistake of his life. That emotion is called despair. You’re welcome to it Raheem.
Stick him in the top three and he’ll produce a sublime cross for the winning goal.
Stick him in the middle three and he’ll run his arse off to ensure that Liverpool stood up to, and subdued, the best that City could muster.
Towards the end of the game he turned into the nearest thing I’ve ever seen to an actual player from FIFA ’16, controlled by someone who knows what he’s doing. He was playing passes with eyes in the back of his head. He was seeing movement before his teammates had even made a move. He was in another dimension and helped us see out the last 15 minutes with the minimum of fuss, which helped me stay alive to see 2017.
Thank you Adam.
A tough night for the skipper in many, many ways.
He had an opponent dominating possession at Anfield for the first time in a long time, but he showed his true grit and stuck in there making it as difficult as possible for them.
There were numerous periods of 5 – 10 minutes when Manchester City had over 75% possession, but never threatened the goal, so a lot of credit has to go to Jordan Henderson for his work on the night.
He’s not your typical Kante type of player, but that’s fine with me. For a start, Kante can’t pass the ball more than 15 yards without closing his eyes and hoping. Hendo can cover the midfield area as Kante does, but can also spray a pass 60 yards and smash a worldie into the top bin at Stamford Bridge.
Have you seen Kante do that yet?
No, neither have I.
Geordie Wine Gum:
In 2017 there shall be a new flavour of Wine Gum released, in honour of Gini Wijnaldum tonight.
Yep, the ‘Salmon Flavour’ Wine Gum will be hitting stores in January 2017, to celebrate the fact that Gini lept like a f*cking salmon to head home the winner.
You are all wonderful people for reading my rants about this wonderful, wonderful team over the last 18 months, so this was my present to you to say thank you.
What do you mean you don’t know what I mean? Read this from my review of him from the Everton game, then think about what happened tonight. I keep telling you the lads read my reviews, but so few of you believe me….
Here we have a player who scored quite a few goals last season playing for a team that were frankly rotten. He knows where the goals are, and he knows how to put the ball into them.
Why he now breaks out in a sweat every time he sees a net baffles me.
I heard that his missus asked him to buy some onions the other day but he fell to pieces in his local Asda when he saw how they were packaged. He can’t watch NBA without breaking out in a rash. He doesn’t own a phone or computer as he can’t bear to have access to the ‘net.
Everything else he does, he does reasonably well. However if he doesn’t start throwing in some goals, you feel that the team as a whole are missing out on something that maybe someone else could provide. I mean, Emre Can has banged in a few this season….just saying….
In arguable the biggest game of the season, Jurgen Klopp decided to break glass in case of an emergency…and out popped Emre Can.
There’s no doubt that Emre carries the full trust of the gaffer, and he earned that trust with an incredibly disciplined, energetic and committed performance tonight.
He made it so damn difficult (along with Hendo / Wijnaldum / Lallana) for the City players to get any rhythm going in midfield. In fact I’d argue that they made Yaya play like Kolo in midfield tonight.
That’s probably what the darts fans are debating…every 10 fecking minutes….
Barbosa de Olivera
A very good friend of mine (and fellow LFC fan) texted me about 15 minutes into the game to ask if I was live-blogging it or just watching it. It soon emerged that he was not watching the game as he doesn’t have BT Sport on his TV (understandable) and that he had invited friends over for dinner tonight so he couldn’t go out to watch it (NOT understandable).
Anyway, he was trying to follow the game on a certain popular football website and they said that ‘Barbosa de Olivera’ was playing upfront for Liverpool.
My mate was confused. With Origi and Sturridge on the bench, why would Klopp put a Melwood kid into the game ahead of them?
I explained to him that Bobby Firmino was actually called Roberto Firmino Barbosa de Olivera, and that the website he was looking at were being wantonly obtuse twats. Yet it got me thinking…
Tonight, and for the past few games, we’ve been watching Barbosa de Olivera play for Liverpool, not the Bobby Firmino we all know and love….
The lack of control from the sumptuous James Milner through ball….The delay on the pass to the clear through Adam Lallana…
Neither of them were Bobby Firmino. They were the work of Barbosa de Olivera, and he’s a bit sh*t.
Darting here…Darting there…Darting everywhere…
Sadio Mane was like MVG tonight, always a menace, always looking to cause the maximum damage…
D’ya like what I did there? Christ, tough crowd….
The biggest question over the Liverpool title charge right now is how they’ll cope without Sadio Mane during the AFCON.
AFCON? The Alex Ferguson CON??? The B*STARD! He’s taking one of our best players away from us! What a dastardly plan! What can we do?
All we can do is hope that Senegal lose every single game they play…with Mane on the bench….
A huge night for ‘Shut Up Shop Ltd’.
They may still be expanding into the Italian market, but they’ll never be forgotten in the Merseyside area.
They do a hell of a job.
I love this kid.
Big. Strong. Aware.
Running into corners. Running off the last shoulder. Running into my heart forever.
A great cameo. His introduction stemmed the tide of the City onslaught and provided Liverpool with out-balls and options further up the field when they most needed it.
Manager: Jurgen Klopp:
After 24 years, Jurgen Klopp has led Liverpool to the best opening half of a season ever. 43 points from 19 games, 1 point better than Rafa Benitez managed in 08/09, before he became obsessed with ‘facts’.
Do you think that Jurgen is going to get obsessed with ‘facts’? Nah, neither do I.
When Chelsea embarked on their frankly ludicrous run (and all credit to them, the b*stards), their league record was:
W 3 D 1 L 2
10 points from 6 games. Not bad by any means, but apparently Conte was on the verge of the sack. F*ck sake, football is a joke.
Anyway, they’ve since won 13 games in a row and now read:
W 16 D 1 L2
Yet they’re only 6 points ahead of Jurgens’ Reds…
They’re going to have a blip. They’re going to get injuries, bad luck or bad decisions, and Liverpool aren’t going away….
Note: If you enjoy the guff on this blog, you can find me on Twitter (@NiallHawthorne) or on Facebook (facebook.com/rantsofarebel) If you would like to pay me to write like this, please do get in touch. Christmas cost me a fecking fortune.