Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Liverpool 1 - Chelsea 1 - Some thoughts...

This was exactly what we wanted to see. After possibly the worst week under Klopp where the dreams of a sustaining a title challenge were dashed, and we exited both domestic cup competitions we just wanted to see some fight, a better performance and a bit of guile.

If we'd ended the last week having beaten Swansea, reached Wembley and made it through to the next round of the FA Cup then this point would look incredible.

There was the usual ridiculous overreaction and short term idiocy associated with modern media and football supporters in the last week. We need to remember just how far we have come in a relatively short space of time. 6 out of the last 7 seasons I think we have finished below Spurs and outside of the top 4. The fact that Klopp still had us dreaming about a title past Christmas is testament to the work he has done - all having made a profit on players!

We also need to remember just how good the other sides around us are this year. Arsenal, Spurs and ourselves have got their highest points totals at this time of the season for years and years. Chelsea are just a different level, it's virtually impossible to get near them. And tonight they showed that. Without being brilliant they were easily the best side to come to Anfield this season, defensively solid, gnarly and difficult to play against, a constant threat.

But we were equal to it - we weren't brilliant either but we FOUGHT. The toothless feel up front that has been a signature of 2017 still lingers, but we found an equalising goal from somewhere and a great goal it was too. Firminho should have scored, undoubtedly, but players miss sitters, it happens.
What can you say about Chelsea's first goal? It was a world class free kick but a premier league goal keeper should not take his eye off a dead ball like that. I don't care whether he heard the whistle or not. Mignolet has been brilliant since he came back but it is because of those big errors that he just can't be our long term first choice keeper.

Of course he made up for it with a wonderful penalty save and that should be celebrated, regardless of the mistake for the first goal he rescued a point for us (and him) in the end. When a keeper makes a mistake like that, best you can ask for is that they redeem themselves.

There will be a slight feeling of "what if..." about the game. Could we have got the 3 points? Especially with Arsenal losing and Spurs drawing but this is a great point, that's all there is to it. We are still well in the fight for Top 4 and that was THE target for this season.

The crowd turned up tonight and the team  turned up as well, that is all we can ask for.

I'll leave you with words from the boss himself and the "exchange" he had with a "supporter" behind the dugout...

Klopp explained: “One back pass pass. We had it in the last game already. If we don't play possession football tonight then it's ping pong.

We played high pressure so Chelsea does it smart, played a few long balls. If we do the same we all have a stiff neck after the game.

“That means we played football and sometimes you play a back pass. I then hear in this moment 'nahh, nahhh, nahhh'. In the last game we actually turned the wrong moment and played a pass in this direction. So I say keep your nerves please."

Yes. Keep your nerves please. I Klopp we trust.