Already this season there have been four red cards issued to Liverpool players. While one was rescinded, the feeling remains that as a collective the team is sailing close to the wind. They simply cannot rely on the type of comeback staged against Newcastle to be on the table in every game where they go players down and a goal behind.
In Saturday's game against Spurs, the breakdown in discipline bears a higher degree of responsibility for the defeat than a wrong offside call which saw a fine strike by Luis Diaz ruled out by a bizarre blend of incompetence and inefficiency. Jota who came on as a substitute to strengthen a side already a man down 'curtis' of Jones having been sent to an early bath, gave into petulance and deservedly walked the same plank as his colleague. The second yellow was as inevitable as the first. As for that Curtis Jones tackle, no matter how often I look at it, it seems a straight red. Leg breaking lunges merit only one colour of card.
Rightly complaining about Video Awful Refereeing might be soothing but it is not the spot where the ointment needs applied. Discipline doldrums is something Jurgen Klopp can influence much more easily than he can VAR.
Five us from the union had agreed to meet up at The Pheasant in Drogheda for a session and to catch the Spurs-Liverpool game. Both sides undefeated, it had the making of a hi-octane encounter. With Wolves having just defeated Manchester City, the top of the table spot was Liverpool's for the taking.
Prior to arriving I had two quick whiskeys in the Black Bull while talking to a friend about books before the five of us perched ourselves right across the bar in front of the Pheasant's big screen. It wasn't a day for union business so we chewed the fat and spewed the chat as the drink unlocked whatever inhibitions might be ailing us. Ask me now what we talked about and I can't remember. That is how a good day on the booze should be remembered, barely at all.
Normally I don't do long sessions other than at Christmas when a few ex-blanket men hop on the Enterprise in Belfast and make the journey down for a day on the swall. Exceptions are occasionally made and our foray into the Pheasant was the second time in a month that myself, Andrew and Paddy hitched our wagon to the beer circuit. On each there was a Liverpool theme. Shelley and Les joined us on the second outing but they are not Liverpool supporters so didn't add to the decibels of the collective groan when Joel Matip stuck the ball into his own net while trying to defend a cross.
No point in blaming Matip for that. He was part of a nine man side battling against the odds. Spurs in the final minute made the two man advantage work. Far from letting the side down both Matip and the team were abandoned by the indiscipline of Curtis Jones and Dioga Jota. Yet for all of that, and as dispirited as we were, it was hard not to feel serious admiration for the fight a seriously depleted Liverpool side put up. That would not have happened last season where the Reds all too easily buckled.
For sure, the refereeing was terrible but if Liverpool are to put in a serious title challenge to the Manchester City hegemony, they need to keep men on the field.