LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 23: Liverpool fans hold up a mosiac in tribute to the Hillsborough disaster before the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield on September 23, 2012 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Sorry for the delayed wrap. I'm sure you'll understand when I say this one took a while to come to terms with.
Anyway, the headline is a quote from the movie version of Moneyball, when Jonah Hill tells David Justice that the money he's spending on soda is on the field. And that's kind of how I feel about Liverpool today. We're going to be barraged by articles and taunts pointing out the point total and the place in the league and the worst start since the Renaissance and all that. And those are all true. And so are the problems. And so are the deficiencies in the squad.
But it's there. The growth, the potential, the changes Brendan Rodgers wants to make. You can see them, but they're not obvious to everyone. Maybe I'm deluding myself after a crushing loss. But I've heard from two Man U supporting friends today, and both pointed out quickly that they see the change from Rodgers, and if given time, players, and funds, we may get what we've all been waiting for so long. They see it. You can see it.
But that's hard to say when you have two points from five games. It's hard to say when you feel you have a victory stolen from you (though I don't think that's true). It's hard to say when injuries are mounting in a thin squad. And you wonder how long the mental side can hold together from this. It will be a true test for Rodgers.
Anyway, on to the bullets:-Well, first we have to get to what changed the game, the sending off. We've talked about Jonjo's Scholes-like tackling, so this was always coming. He's been reckless and over-exuberant before. I didn't realize this until after the match, but his lunge was no worse than the one Evans was making against him. Does winning the ball justify all for Evans? It shouldn't. Does the fact that he got hurt negate his transgression? It shouldn't. As for Shelvey, maybe it was a tad harsh, but hardly scandalous. If you leave your feet in that matter, you are asking for it. This is a lesson Shelvey should have learned long ago. He will now, hopefully.
-I know I shouldn't, and it's the wrong thing to do, but part of me smiled at the braggadocio it takes for a young player to jaw at Alex Ferguson on his way out. He probably was alluding to how Man U have attacked and surrounded refs for years. Can't say I disagree.
-So disappointing, because Liverpool were having their way with Man United in a fashion you usually pay and have to rent a hotel room for. My fears of Gerrard and Allen not being able to dominate in the middle were washed away, aided by Ferguson's baffling decision to put Giggs there. Giggs is still useful, but these types of matches have passed him by, at least as a central midfielder. It just makes you wonder what if. But they don't give points for what if.
-I said I wanted to see more of Suso, I didn't think it would come today. And he immediately had a hand in the goal for Gerrard. Again creative and brave in the attacking half. It's nitpicking, but on United's first goal he showed Rafael the inside when he didn't need to, which led to the buildup. And I wish he along with three others didn't get mesmerized by the ball as Rafael went into the area. Still it took that finish, and of course it fucking would because I motherfucked him in the preview. Maybe I shouldn't mention opposing players by name any more.
On the second United goal, Suso's pass to Agger was ill-advised. But so was Agger's loose touch. Overall, I thought Suso had a good game, but a bad pass leading to the winning goal against as well as possibly putting out our most important defender for months might render the Spaniard's confidence to some level it will take months of therapy to recover.
-I didn't notice Van Persie until he scored. What I'd kill for that on Liverpool right now, instead of the strikers who do the reverse.
-It's a real fear now with Agger looking very seriously injured and Kelly as well. Because Kelly moving into the middle was going to be part of the solution to deal with Agger being out. Now Coates or Carragher will have to partner Skrtel way more, and we know what happens when Skrtel doesn't have the Dane with him. Johnson is going to be needed on the right, which means Enrique is going to need emergency cranium-rectum separation surgery if he's not going to be an abortion back there. Jack Robinson and John Flanagan are going to see more time than we want. It's bad, y'know.
Not much else to day. The performance was there, the result wasn't. It's a tired story. Because of where Liverpool are now, they're going to have games where mistakes by very young players are going to cost them. Will they be better for it in the long run? Probably. Will it hurt now? Yes. Will it make you feel better? No Are you tired of me asking questions and then answering them? Yes, you are.
But i think much better days are coming, and they're coming soon. Or maybe I just hope.