Liverpool: City Carved Us Apart But We Must Remember The Positives
Look, I’m really not in the mood. The 5pm euphoria of the Balotelli signing.
The week of ‘Balotelli? Is it happening? It’s happening, do you want him? He’s a liability, no go ‘ed, it’ll be a laugh’ has kind of dissipated. We’ve been brought down to Earth with one hell of a thud. The match has been viewed via the auspices of Sky’s self styled ‘MNF’ and filtered through an increasingly large amount of wine as the match wore on and on on.
What an appalling start to the season. Three points from two games. So one more than the Mancs or the bitters, yeah? Oh yeah, that. Yeah. But compared to the same fixtures last season? We’re three points better off. Oh yeah, well there’s that as well. Yeah. There's also that.
There’s no hiding the fact that last night was basically no fun. Whatsoever. Not in the slightest. But for forty minutes there we were, playing City off the park in their own ground. We were the only team that seemed to have any idea of how football should be played. We were putting in a damn fine away performance. we were going with that 4-1-4-1 formation that worked so well in some of the bigger games last season and we were controlling. Looking threatening without actually threatening but in charge.
And then City woke up. And City were clinical. And City were efficient. And City were ruthless and devastating and hideously effective.
And it looked like the match was running in half hours and we’d had the first half hour and they’d had the second and we were beginning to probe again, beginning to exert pressure, beginning to edge back into the game. And then they sent this Aguero bloke on. And within 23 seconds the game was over.
Two from Jovetic, muscular and then intricate and graceful by turns, one from Aguero with the kind of ball that we hadn’t played all night - fast, sharp, incisive, over five feet in length. And it was over.
Apart from our rally obviously. Apart from the bit where we decided to do to City what Palace did to us. 3-3 from 3 down? Yeah, go on then, we’ll have some of that. Markovic appeared, cameo-d, put the fear of God into City’s back 4. Unpredictability, surprise, creativity - amazing what those three can do, isn’t it?
He linked with Moreno and suddenly the fact that we had players who’d never played together looked a good thing - if they didn’t know where they were going then how could City? Lambert appeared and claimed his first goal in a ‘real’ red shirt. Claimed it even though it went in off Zabaleta but let’s not deny the lad shall we?
And he had a second chance, a glorious chance, an obvious chance. But he passed instead of shooting and suddenly it was over again. 3-2? We’d have had hope. 3-1? Not quite so much. Which was when our defenders started to drop like flies.
Johnson first. Gone, finished, game over. All subs used. Ten men. Moreno, his foot slipping on the astro turf at the edge of the pitch. Skrtel's knee. Five minutes of added time, one fit defender. The night got worse. And worse. And worse.
There are no excuses. Those 40 minutes where we were the better team? You need to score in those bits, lads. The nice football’s lovely but …..back of the net if you would. Ta. City were better. City were magnificent. "Ominous", as the lads on Sky kept saying. Extremely ominous. Nothing for 40 minutes and then picking us off at will. Playing with us.
But - and I love a good 'but' - we lost at City last season. We’ve lost there again. We lost to a very good team, a team who are Champions of England, a team who can introduce Sergio Aguero from the bench. The bench gives hope. Suddenly we could introduce players from the bench who made a difference. Not an Aguero sized difference but quite definitely not a Victor sodding Moses-sized difference either. We lost there last season, we lost again this season, we’re no worse off.
A bad night, an unpleasant night but not a disaster. Take the positives (they were there, embrace them) and move on.
Going again and all that.