How often have us Norwich City types come across the phrase *Boys against Men*? Quite a lot if you’ve seen its use as many times as I have recently – I’ve lost count in all honesty.
But on Tuesday night against Liverpool at Carrow Road there was a novel twist on the oft-used cliché.
The Boys won.
A largely second-string City selection were roundly and soundly put to the sword by a team of Liverpool’s brightest young things which included 20-year-old Curtis Jones, who was making his 50th appearance in a red shirt. He was joined by three debutants, as in the much-vaunted Kaide Gordon [who celebrated his 16th birthday earlier this year] and 18-year-old Conor Bradley. At halftime Tyler Morton, also 18, came on to replace Naby Keita.
The relentless high press forced more than its fair share of errors and at times this ridiculously youthful Liverpool squad made football look a very easy game indeed. Unlike Daniel Farke, I’m not going down the route of criticising individual players but Penaltygate Mk II cannot be swept under the carpet and that’s for sure.
When Dimitris Giannoulis, who at least looked like he was fighting to get a start over Brandon Williams, was brought down by Bradley, designated penalty taker Adam Idah was *persuaded* to give the ball to Christos Tzolis. We all know what happened next as a tame, down-the-middle effort was saved by the legs of yet another Reds’ youngster as in the rising star RoI keeper that is Caoimhin Kelleher.
Echoes of the incident between Robert Snodgrass and RvW during the Chris Hughton era and what the aftermath of that was anyone?
Farke called Tzolis out afterwards but as if there aren’t enough question marks against Grant Hanley already, why oh why didn’t he step in at the time? The captain is supposed to be the manager on the pitch after all.
If you’re li’l ole Norwich you don’t pay some £8million for a teenager and publicly say words to the effect of: *do that again and you’ll never get in my team*. Sorry Daniel, these are empty words as far as I’m concerned.
And as if we needed our noses rubbed any further in the doo doo, that loveable sense of humour often displayed at the Carra by travelling Scousers was in full effect as they sang their Luis Suarez song, so ironically to the tune of Depeche Mode’s *I Just Can’t Get Enough*.
I don’t blame them for singing it, but hearing it started to heat up my wee-wee nonetheless.
In the grand scheme of things, early dismissal from the Carabao Cup doesn’t bother me one jot. But a look at the immediate future doesn’t exactly fill me full of confidence regarding our Premier League security because whatever side we put out the basic individual errors are still there and I see no tangible attempt to eradicate them.
Teams know that if they press high, pick off an early mistake and score as a result of it then we won’t be coming back at them.
This week’s potentially good news is nothing to do with anything Norwich City have achieved on the pitch of course but more that HM Govt has agreed to allow certain sections of Premier League grounds to trial *safe standing* next year.
The pros and cons of that decision are worth a whole dedicated article of course but as I’m happy to sit in the Upper Barclay these days I’d better let one of the younger MFW writers have a crack at that topic.
For the first time I can recall, this musical selection is dedicated to the opposition rather than ourselves. The chorus relates to the body language exhibited by the majority of those players in a yellow shirt the other night.
Play it loud.