Red Shirts Rather than Red Faces

Sometimes it is hard to think that a life goes on outside of the ‘slogging it out’ one that has become emblematic of the Boston College controversy. Good soccer is a welcome distraction, so yesterday I made a rare foray up to the local boozer for the second half of the clinch Liverpool match against Manchester City.

Having already spent half of Saturday in it - another rare event although it might not sound as such - with a few friends from Belfast including two former blanket men, I was not in the mood for downing too many pints on this occasion. I contented myself with sitting over one for the duration of the second half. It was a solitary affair, even my eight year old soccer mad son declined my offer to make the short journey and watch what remained of the game. Our previous visit there together resulted in a City victory over Liverpool.

I had not expected the Red half of Merseyside to be doing so well at this point in the season. Brendan Rodgers had put together what looked like a top four side but championship contenders, next season maybe, not now. I had believed it would take a post-Gerrard team to deliver the trophy. But there is no quarrel with success.

Liverpool had gone in at the end of the first 45 two goals to the good. Yet they had blown that advantage within 17 minutes of re-emerging on field and looked destined to concede even more. City were denied a clear penalty from an obvious – to all but the referee – handball while missing a sitter to boot.

Defence is the one area where Liverpool have looked suspect all season. Their saving grace is that they can score goals and move forward like panzers during a Blitzkrieg, ruthlessly punishing any weakness. On occasion even the defenders attack better than they defend as Skrtel demonstrated yesterday. The badly functioning back line could be the undoing of Liverpool’s championship hopes yet.

Not much that can be done that now, other than keep the momentum going. Next season, if Rodgers can bring in some quality defenders over the summer period or introduce players he can shape into something other than the leaky vessel currently patrolling the back strait, he could plausibly launch Liverpool into the stratosphere where it cruised in the 1970s and ‘80s. More European glory would seem destined.

While Liverpool are current Premier League favourites the points are far from being in the bag. Anything less than a victory yesterday would have taken their own fate out of Liverpool hands. A draw would have tilted the balance decisively in City’s favour. Yesterday’s win while a crucial step in the right direction is no reason for resting on laurels.

If Liverpool manage to lose their next league game it will easier to be philosophical. But to have failed yesterday at Anfield in front of their own supporters in the week of the 25th anniversary of the 96 lost lives of Hillsborough Stadium would have been unthinkable. Too many fans from the city died watching a team that was renowned for searing soccer. A dodgy back four dithering and looking at each other forlornly for having failed to man the pass and let none through is a blight on their memory.

To observe a rerun of the 1989 side that unpardonably lost to Arsenal in front of fans who had been to Hillsborough was a no-no. Luckily a brilliant strike by Philippe Coutinho ensured that Liverpool walked off and for now can walk on with red shirts and not red faces.


  1. Liverpool will win the league a cara,it gives me little pleasure as a Utd fan to say so,the Pool are now on their way back up and as I stated before Stevie Gerrard has been a main stay, the team were very impressive yesterday, and for the premiership and football in general that is no bad thing,enjoy the time in the sun a cara while Utd are a work in progress .

  2. Anthony , even though I’ve had piss thrown over me at Anfield as a Man Utd fan ,Liverpool would be my pick of the contending clubs to win it this year. Sterling , Sturridge & Suarez are a frightening front three that will only improve.
    Hillsborough was a tragedy , and as usual the media ensured the lens of scrutiny was focused elsewhere by smearing the victims with innuendo that blamed them for their own deaths, very similar to what happened after Bloody Sunday in that respect.

  3. I would have been more surprised if Liverpool were not chasing the title ..they've played 13 less games than the other top 3 teams and so are much fresher - that's over a quarter of league games and them, like the others such as Everton are only where they are due to a very poor Man Utd season...they may seem to be playing well but without penalties they wouldn't be where they are....normal service will be resumed next season and the pretenders to the throne will find themselves removed from the top win the Premiership this season when Utd are playing so badly is a kin to Bubba Watson winning the Masters without Tiger Woods competing....a hollow victory! You haven't won the Masters until you beat Woods at his best too.

  4. Martin goes to Windsor to meet the Queen that I can barely put up with ..but a Man Utd fan saying he would to see Liverpool win the league I give up I really do

  5. Boyne Rover, I guess I'm not a ‘top red’ like you.

  6. Anthony had to put it to Google because, because my Yank compatriots dont know what they're missing ...... ( :