Dan Holland has swapped his view in the Paddock for a view from the TV this season – and the first home game led to plenty of annoyances at the non-match-going version of life as a Liverpool fan.
The way I support Liverpool FC this season has changed. Due to a major knee operation my football boots have been swapped for golf spikes. The season ticket has had to go, for the time being anyway. I refuse to pay the price of Sky Sports so this season I will be spending a bit of time in the pub or knocking on friend’s doors around kick off time.
Last night I took a walk down to the local, which in itself is very charming, several big screen TVs, Carlsberg at little over £2 a pint and ample seating. On the downside the pub was also full of clueless plastic fans and regrettably I include some Liverpool fans in that damning description.
There was the warm kind hearted old boys who were talking about what it was like in their day and those who feel a referee should get every decision right and he castigated every time he gets something wrong. These people don’t bother me, I laugh at the Mancs who hate us that much they spend every waking minute talking about us and hoping we lose so badly that if we win they almost forget that they won this weekend.
What really annoys me is fans, and I use the term very loosely, of my club talking utter drivel. Liverpool fans are known all over the world and widely acknowledged for knowing about football. There were two such characters sat far too close to me last night, now I know I am extremely fortunate to have watched my beloved team on so many occasions and if truth be known I was little moody last night as I sat there looking at someone else sat in my seat just near the halfway line.
Even so, these two muppets were the kind who have never been to Liverpool, let alone sat in Anfield, the kind who read blogs and this forms their opinion on a player and/or manager, the kind who lets Football Manager or FIFA decide whether a player is a good one or not.
Before I give my thoughts on the game I’ll treat you to three little pearls of wisdom from these plastic fans. The first one revolves around James Milner, you remember that clever little free kick that followed Moreno’s mazy run. Possibly the only mistake he made all night. We all know what we are going to get with Milner is a minimum 7 out of ten in every game he plays and widely recognised as one of the ‘buys’ of the summer. Following this miss hit shot Muppet No. 1 said “I bet City paid us at least £5 million to take him off their hands – he is f****n sh**”.
Number two. Admittedly Moreno played well last night when he came on and has probably given Brendan Rodgers something to think about ahead of our trip to Arsenal. Muppet No. 2 though, obviously not one to form an opinion on a ten minute cameo, said “he should be playing every week he was our best player last season!” Really?
Full of promise I’ll grant you but he struggled massively at times last season and in Joe Gomez we have got a real talent on our hands.
The third and definitely the best though was aimed at the unanimous Man of the Match and match winner, Christian Benteke. Even by the big man’s own admission he should have scored late on to make it two nil and would have done, had it not been for Borucs fingertips and ultimately the cross bar. Other than that though he held the ball up superbly, was always available for a pass, pressed the defenders within an inch of their lives and made umpteen runs off the ball.
As I said clearly Man of the Match but not according to the Muppets sat next to me. According to them after missing that late chance and I quote, “you are fuc**n s**t, you should have scored that. Balotelli will be taking your place next week”. Yes you read correctly, just let the stupidity of that sink in for a moment.
They believe a player who has been frozen out, made to train with the Under 21s and made available for transfer, not featured in either game so far this season and watching from the stands, looking like the prick he is and possesses a work ethic similar to that of a sloth will leap frog Ings, Origi and the man in possession Benteke for a starting place next week!
Now the more forgiving amongst you will say these guys were joking but believe me there was no jest in their voices at all. I think I will stick to a friend’s house next week!
What can I say about the match? I think our performance, like last week, was typical of a team finding a new way of playing with numerous new pairings and partnerships. It will obviously take time for everything to fall into place but if you can keep winning until this happens then confidence will be high and it gives us a fantastic springboard hopefully to success.
Clyne looks a great signing, brilliant defensively and quick going forward. He had a great game last night and bossed his side of the field. Gomez was slightly less impressive than against Stoke but still looks a huge talent and for an 18 year old playing out of position he is doing very well.
My main concern defensively last night wasn’t with the scapegoat Lovren but with Skrtel. Yes he loves the club and will put his body on the line as he did last night when putting his nut in the way of a rare Bournemouth strike but he scares the life out of me from corners. I just want to shake him and say “GET OFF HIM”, he will soon give away a penalty which could be very costly.
Lallana and Ibe were my two real disappointments last night. Both showed glimpses of what they are about without really influencing the game. Ibe is quick and direct but no end product, reminiscent of Sterling in his first season. Lallana presses brilliantly and has a great first touch. Both however are absent for long periods, I think their positioning is to blame for this.
Our slightly more direct style means their area of the pitch gets bypassed to a certain degree and Coutinho is the one closest to Benteke and dominates possession in the Number 10 area of the pitch.
It is inevitable that Firmino will replace one of these players in the near future, so an improvement is needed from both players to keep their place in the starting line-up. The early signs are encouraging but a huge improvement in needed next week in North London.