Not as much patience this time, son.
Well, at least Liverpool won't have to return to the Hawthorns any time soon. Now that I've said that, here comes the League Cup draw throwing up a hilarious bit of comedy whenever that is.
Right, one game. That's what I'm supposed to say here, right? And it is one game. Perhaps in a couple months we'll barely remember this happened. A blip on the opposite path. Of course, there's always the chance we'll look back on it and say we should have, or did, know that it was all going to go balls-up then. Either is just as likely at this point. That's the trouble with openers. You're just as far from any answers as you were before they started. Almost.What this game did examine is a couple questions I had before the season. And I would have had those questions no matter how today went, or how the next few go. It's one thing to bring Swansea swaggering into the league and do what you want. No one's is adjusting for Swansea, or at least very few teams are. There's more space and surprise for you to exploit. But when you're at Liverpool and everyone knows what you're going to do and are setting up their team to stop it, what will the Reds do? Because this won't be the first time a team packs the middle right outside their 18, and demand Liverpool come up with an answer. Now, it's one thing to combat that when you have Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, and Villa trying to pry open chances in tight spaces. It's quite another when Stewart Downing, Fabio Borini, and Joe Allen are attempting it alongside an impatient Steven Gerrard. You wonder.
The other question I had is would Gerrard be reserved enough in a system that demands patience and discipline. Today he was not. A giveaway machine, including one that resulted in the passage of play that saw the whole match go away. Through balls that weren't there, overhit switches of field, whatever else. Just one game, but the captain is going to have to lead the team better. Especially now with Liverpool trying to play a high line and pressing game, because needless turnovers are going to leave everyone exposed. Players aren't in position to press, which means the opposition has time to get their head up to exploit the big spaces behind the defense. It's like in basketball where if you're going to front the post, you have to pressure the perimeter man attempting that pass.
Oh, and we've already seen this game. It was last year over again. Dominant first half, but creating few chances and those that were were not finished. Last season I brushed off Luis Suarez's off-finishing to a departure from his usual lethal tendencies. The patience will not run nearly as long this term, especially if he's going to be at the heart of everything Liverpool create. When they didn't finish, they couldn't provide a final ball for a simpler chance. Having Downing and Johnson on their 0ff-sides probably didn't help (did Rodgers not watch any video of Downing on the right last season?). All that huffing and puffing left them open for a moment of brilliance, and Gera didn't ask for a second. Nothing to be done about a goal like that, but it really shouldn't have been putting the Baggies ahead.
Once Agger was sent off, probably rightly, you knew where this was headed.
-Phil Dowd seemed to be waiting for an excuse to card Suarez, and he barely got one at the end of the first half. But he didn't refuse it. I'd like this to be the last time I write about a ref looking for Suarez. But it won't be.
-Can we stop wasting time with Joe Cole?
-If teams are going to pack the middle against Liverpool, and the only space to be found is going to be on the wings, are we sure that Andy Carroll doesn't have a role to play here?
-Joe Allen was the pick of the Liverpool players, being the link between Lucas and Gerrard we thought he would be. Something to build on there.
-Lucas looks a half step off of what he was, which is natural for someone missing so much time. It'll come.
-Less said about Martin Kelly is probably the better.
-Hey, Reina saved a penalty! Though it would have been more threatening if Shane Long had picked it up and handed it to him.
Ok, that's enough. I'm getting dizzy again. Besides, it's only City next week.