As if a point at Anfield needed any more headlines, Russell Martin’s brother chipped in with a post-match pearler .
He revealed that late last night the skipper drove the four hours from the team hotel back to Norfolk to witness the birth of his son. Then this morning, no doubt accompanied by some bleary eyes, he flew back to Merseyside in time to lead out the Canaries and chip in with an equaliser.
And we thought Grant Holt was Superman! Yet, to top it all, his post-match interview on Canary Call reached Churchillian levels, with barely a dry eye in the house.
That Russ played a part in the Liverpool opener can be forgotten, and attributed to said bleary eyes, particularly for the way he marshalled a back-four that was given a stern second-half test.
Yes, they rode their luck at times and yes, John Ruddy was absolutely magnificent (and, by my skewed logic, cancelled out the ‘worldie’ display of Jack Butland) but this was not a point borne solely of fortune. It was a point chiselled out by a combination of neat inter-play, organisation, discipline and good old fashioned guts.
And, most importantly, it means Anfield is no longer a place to be feared.
While Suarez has long since departed the scene, the pain is still raw. Ruddy feels it, Russ feels it, so too Wes and the whole of the Yellow Army. Mention Liverpool, close the eyes, and you see the Uruguayan scoring.
But maybe today is a turning point.
In the future, when we talk of City heading to Anfield, it’ll be the day Russ popped home, became a dad, popped back, and nonchalantly knocked one past Mignolet to equalise. And I much prefer that.
He’ll not forgive me however for making it about him. In his post-match BBC interview he described beautifully just what makes the Class of 2016 tick: “The manager has set us certain targets…You can’t just aim to finish 17th. We’ve not got any superstars but a real team.”
The manager too confirmed the same and the importance of picking horses for courses when setting up to play away from home. He described how the skills of Wes Hoolahan were sacrificed in order in order to accommodate “workhorses through the middle who cover a lot of ground”.
As ever – despite the pre-match protestations of Twitter – he called it correctly. The workhorses did the job well.
And it wasn’t the Alamo of previous seasons. As an attacking force City did pose a threat throughout and, while Ruddy’s save from the Coutinho one-on-one was worth a point for the Canaries, Mignolet’s late save from Matt Jarvis’ close range effort could well have saved the job of Brendan Rodgers.
For their part, the Reds did improve after the break and asked more questions of the City rearguard once Danny Ings entered the fray but few could argue that City, while second in the stats department, were worthy of a point.
And that makes me happy.
During the week, pundits aplenty were queueing up to dismiss City’s chances, citing our miserable record on Merseyside as a perfect and timely fillip to Rodgers’ ailing fortunes; the Canaries’ chances of emerging with a point or more seemingly written off with the shrug normally associated with cup minnows as they head off to tackle Premier League royalty.
Fortunately, talkSPORT’s finest were wrong to a man… and woman. And it was great.
As ever, those who are not part of the Yellow Army will scoff as we celebrate a point as if it were a win – and we were quick to pour scorn on the ‘celebrations’ of Ipswich fans following the draw at Portman Road – but given what’s gone before at the southern tip of Stanley Park I think this is one draw we’re allowed to wallow in. At least just a little bit.
So, eight points from six games, which represents City’s best start to a Premier League season since the heroics of 1992/93. And all of a sudden there’s a feel-good factor around the place that seemed a million miles away when that bloody window slammed shut.
Even Lewis has re-entered the fray.
Hopefully the spirit of Anfiled can be captured, wrapped in cotton wool and released into the Carrow Road air again on Wednesday evening, where the oddity of a cup run can be attempted. And there’ll certainly be one or two keen to make an impression, not least a certain Northern Irish centre-forward who’ll be desperate to stake a claim.
I’m sure Russ – unquestionably the hero of the day – will forgive me if I leave the final word to the gaffer.
Quote: “We believe we’re a good team…we’ll never quit…we’ll be fine”.
And who’s to argue.