It should stick in the throat but credit where credit is due the contribution of Fergie, in trying to pave the way for a trouble free day on Sunday, was significant. He was persistent in the run up to the game with his pleas, verbally or via the letter handed out to fans before the match, for tolerance and an end to the chants we sadly hear when we meet the Mancs. On the whole he succeeded and although we’ve had plenty of run ins with him over the years, on this occasion, he deserves our thanks and respect?
It was also good to see Kenny back in the stands after this summer’s parting of the waves. No doubt he has been keeping away from L4 in order to give BR room? I wonder what he makes of everything that’s happened over the last few months. Clearly I can’t second guess him however I wouldn’t be surprised if he was a tad puzzled by the recent transfer window activity (or lack of it) and a tad miffed with the stance that has been taken by BR and others that Liverpool was in terrible state and in need of radical overhaul this summer. There were obvious issues however, no where near as serious as everyone seems to make out. It’s almost as if they’re exaggerating in order to give themselves more time or headroom to get their own plans in place, I just don’t buy it?
I also wonder what he thinks of BR’s attempts to introduce his so called new playing philosophy. I think Kenny can be proud the sides he managed and the one that won the league in 1987-88 was simply one the best I’ve seen. They passed and moved in a way that BR could probably only dream of and the 5-0 drubbing of Nottingham Forest at Anfield is still held up as one of the great games. This side was also pragmatic and could dig in and grind out results if needed (rarely as they were so good) and one wonders, as we keep dropping points, if BR’s purist approach should be tempered, in the short term at least, with a bit of realism?
That said we seem to be improving with every game. Sunderland was better than Arsenal and yesterday, with only ten men remember, was easily our best performance of the season. The fixture list hasn’t been that kind to us with our first five games and optimism is still the key word and Steven Gerrard echoes this
“… it is no time to panic. The fans can see what the manager is trying to do and they can see what the players are trying to do because they are educated supporters. We know if we keep applying that kind of effort and determination it will only be a matter of time before we go on a winning sequence. Not many sides will be able to live with us because we played some good stuff.”
It is also a testimony to the fans that the vast majority remain patient and willing to give BR time. How many fans of other clubs would extend their manager same courtesy if he was in the same situation as BR?
Meanwhile Luis Suarez continues to be a ripe topic of discussion. Having hopefully put to bed one incident with his handshake with Patrice Evra on Sunday the up coming issue appears to be his reputation with referees, specifically his alleged penchant for going down too easily in the penalty area. Steven Gerrard and Glen Johnson believe he is a wronged man, sounds familiar? Said Gerrard
“It’s down to referees to not judge him. I think even when Luis does get blatant penalties, now he doesn’t get them”
And then Johnson in relation to Sunday’s decision where by the Mancs were awarded a penalty
“Reputations go in front of people at times and because Valencia is not a known diver that is why he got the decision. I almost guarantee if it was exactly the same situation and it was Luis and not Valencia then it wouldn’t be a penalty”
I don’t quite understand the reasoning behind this. To my mind Suarez is bringing all this on himself, it negates Gerrard’s and Johnson’s stance. I “almost guarantee” that if Suarez stopped diving in the box and exaggerating every time he is touched he would have better luck with referees. However he hasn’t learnt (surely BR should have a word) and continues to, embarrassingly, play referees and opposition for fools. He is a great, great player but this is a massive fault, if it continues the club will continue suffer as they did on Sunday. Then he was denied a penalty. Why? Because the referee is biased or cr*p? May be but also because he has a reputation of histrionics and diving that goes before him.
As for Glen Johnson’s comments about Valencia getting a penalty because he “not a known diver” well what tosh! Valencia got the penalty because Johnson clumsily bought him down. Such was the obviousness of the challenge that I “almost guarantee” that had Suarez been in the same situation he would have also got the decision, reputation or no reputation?
Which brings us to tonight’s game against West Brom in the League Cup. I have no doubt that BR will field a different side from Sunday partly because every team seems to do this and because, ominously, injuries are starting to tell. After Sunday we have lost Martin Kelly until next year, Daniel Agger is awaiting a scan on suspected ligament damage and, perhaps more worryingly given our lack of personnel in this area, Fabio Borini (ankle). Jonjo Shelvey is suspended. I guess it’s at times like this that we will reap the benefits from giving the “non first teamers” a run out against teams such as Young Boys?
Whoever plays we will no doubt be looking to avenge the opening day defeat at the Hawthorns and of course, as cup holders, we will determined to go further in the competition. Why do I not feel entirely convinced by any of this!!!! Hopefully we’ll continue to treat this with some semblance of respect and I take us to build on our gradual improvement with a narrow win, 2-1.