If that wasn’t the footballing equivalent of a “perfect storm” I really don’t know what could top it and I’m not simply talking about the inclement weather over the weekend either.
We put up a decent show against the mighty Liverpool and even had the sheer effrontery to score first courtesy of Milot Rashica’s first-ever Premier League goal but as has been said before that only served to annoy the opposition who responded in quite some style, let’s face it.
Sure we gave the mighty Reds a bit of a scare – for around an hour in fact. But then the inevitable came to pass as we were hit by two pretty decent goals within three minutes and a sublime third followed 10 minutes later which meant No Way Back.
The boy Jurgen knows what he’s doing with his subs as he proved in Milan on Wednesday and again at Anfield on Saturday. The introduction of Divock Origi and particularly Thiago Silva was a bit of a game-changer as the latter got a stranglehold on midfield and, frankly, started to run the show.
Dean Smith presented a bit of stiff upper lip afterwards, saying:
“I’m really proud of the team in terms of what they’re giving at the moment. They’re learning all the time.
“I was disappointed last week with the goals we conceded against Man City, and we needed to step up and learn from those mistakes. I thought we did that today.
“I thought we looked a threat, we had a goal disallowed in the first minute. We started the second half really well and took a deserved lead at the time.
“Ultimately, we’re up against one of the top teams in the world and their front three are the ones who have taken the game away from us today.”
Rashica added: “I am very happy but I would have been happier if we had collected something from the game because it was really possible. We just need to stay together and work all together, because we have some very important games coming up.”
I often pick a random comment from my post-match inbox and this time it’s from MFW regular Bernie Owen, who must have been in bullish mood when he declared: “Seven points behind Brentford with a game in hand over them? Game on.”
Maybe Bernie, maybe.
The stats read as follows [Liverpool first of course]: Possession: 69%-31%; shots: 26-6; shots on target: 8-1. Make of that what you will. Regular MFW readers will know that I put very little store by statistics. Even the BBC were pretty gracious in their appraisal of our efforts [Final Score more so than MotD] and that has to be something of an unexpected bonus.
So where am I coming from with this “perfect storm” line then?
No big surprise, it’s the impact of results elsewhere on Saturday of course.
The early kick-off gave us West Ham United 1, Newcastle United 1. What followed was worse as in Brighton 0, Burnley 3. And it was all topped off with Aston Villa 0, Watford 1.
So guess who’s bottom of the Premier League once more? Nobody needs me to spell it out.
But giving Liverpool a good game at Anfield and making them work very, very hard for their win is absolutely no disgrace and I’m not raising the white flag just yet. We won’t be facing that level of quality every week. Actually, we will next week, courtesy of the FA Cup tie at Anfield for our fourth meeting of the season with the Reds.
I’ll see you good readers with the preview for that one although there is the small matter of Southampton [a] this Friday night first.
As for the many hardy souls who made the long storm-battered trip on Saturday, I salute you.
This little diamond from Ritchie Blackmore’s final appearance with Deep Purple really couldn’t be more appropriate. Enjoy.