Liverpool's Win Was Grim, Gritty, Terrifying & Brilliant
“Exactly the same” said our Captain, “we go Norwich, exactly the same.”
Not entirely sure that a repeat of a nervy 3-2 victory was exactly what he envisaged. He’d said in a radio interview that we needed to treat Norwich as we had AC Milan in ’05. ‘Possibly not the best idea that, Steve’ I thought. ‘We were 3-0 down at half time in that one.’
Obviously we didn’t have that handicap to overcome at Carrow Road but the handicaps that did arrive were largely self inflicted and quite possibly related to nerves.
Never underestimate the strength of the survival instinct in teams battling for their position in the Premiership. Chelsea know this, City know this; both have suffered setbacks in the last few days through Sunderland’s need for points with Chelsea obviously being the more satisfying of the two. Here, Liverpool came close to becoming the third of the top three to succumb to the exertions and desires of the bottom two with a strong and determined Norwich dominating both possession and pressure for long, long, far too long periods of the game.
Luckily Liverpool were 2-0 ahead before Norwich realised that we may have defensive frailties that they could exploit. Twice we allowed a two goal lead to slip; each time Norwich looked likely to force an equaliser. Each time Norwich looked as though they could inflict psychological damage at the heart of our beliefs.
It was grim. Again. It was gritty. Again. In places it was basically bloody terrifying. We missed the threat of the injured Sturridge, we missed the energy and commitment of the suspended Henderson far more. Lucas, as the latter’s most obvious direct replacement, looked rusty, looked unsuited for the team’s current formation while Glen Johnson seems to have reverted to his most wasteful, most disaster prone tendencies. Uncertainty was everywhere, edginess, caution; we never really took control of the game although Raheem Sterling having scored two and made the third in a man of the match performance might suggest otherwise.
And in amongst all this nerviness and caution and worry and apprehension and uncertainty and terror Liverpool went five points clear of Chelsea at the top of the table with only three games left in the season and Jose’s lads next to visit Anfield’s reborn, revived, revisited cauldron of noise. And Liverpool ensured Champions League football returns to Anfield next season. And Liverpool won their eleventh straight game. And Luis Suarez scored his thirtieth league goal of the season and Liverpool scored their 96th.
I think that I may have moved beyond simple mathematics by now but I think, I THINK that seven points from the last nine will do the job now. I THINK seven points will win the league but I KNOW that three wins will. The job hasn’t changed. Three wins.
We go again.