So we ended up with a decent result against Bournemouth and signs that we can still be a decent team, but what of those first few scary minutes? It’s a bit like Jurgen in his pre-match team talk was a bit like ‘Hey boys. I want you to defend so badly at the start of the game to show FSG that we need a new centre-back, and a defensive midfielder’ Mission obviously accomplished.
All the other stuff has probably been talked about enough over the past week. Mac Allister’s sending off was obviously ridiculous; I think Mo should probably be taken off pens (I’ve never been totally convinced with his pens to be honest) but not if it upsets him too much. I really don’t want him sulking and heading off to Saudi in a golden carriage. Darwin Nunez isn’t getting a game – I’m not sure JK fancies him as a player. He didn’t mention last year that he wasn’t learning English as quick as he’d like, so couldn’t communicate adequately. I still think there is something in Nunez we can develop. He’s a whirlwind of athleticism; some controlled, some not so. This can bring fear into opponents, as it does with us when he’s through on goal.
So onto Sunday. Ibrahima Konate is injured, I hear. This takes me onto another issue, which I thought about when considering a possible replacement in Joe Gomez. I’m a massive believer in the importance of football intelligence. Some players can have all the attributes to be a top player; speed, strength, skill etc, but they can’t quite see the bigger picture. I think Gomez comes into this group. He can be safe as a defensive RB who occasionally goes forward, and a decent CB when Virgil ‘looks after’ him, but on his own he can look ill at ease, with poor decision making. Moreover, once he’s made a mistake, he can go into ‘tilt’ as poker players might say.
The best players have it. Kenny Dalglish was the master – he played like he had in the back of his head – he seemed to have a constant 3D picture of the game in his mind at all times – wonderful to see. Of the modern-day players, and not necessarily our own, the likes of Kevin de Bruyne and Lionel Messi have it in spades (hence Messi’s superiority over Ronaldo). Different positions require different football intelligence qualities. Ian Rush’s movement and ‘knowing where to be’ was incredible. If you look at our what appeared superficially to be a workmanlike midfield of Henderson, Milner, Wijnaldum and Fabinho, they weren’t the fastest, or strongest, or even the most skillful midfielders you’ll ever see, but they were so good as they always knew where to be. Countering this, the likes of alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was technically excellent, but don’t see the big picture.
Finally, a brief word re Jurgen having ago at the crowd for singing ‘his’ song, I gather. He does get a bit ranty towards the players during the game, so I suppose having a go at the ‘twelfth man’ at Anfield is vaguely acceptable. I think he’s wrong, however. We’ve got two basic ways of creating atmosphere – shouting and singing = and it’s a damn good song. a Beatles tune nonetheless, and it gets the crowd going. Some songs are so good that they raise everyone. I’m think ‘we conquered all of Europe’, and I loved the Bobby song. Anfield at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon for some reason can leave the crowd needing a bit of inspiration. I do get what he’s saying about supporting the players. Back in the day, during the warm-up, we chanted every player’s name in turn. Some chants were a a little odd, but we grew to love them. ‘Oh oh oh, Alan Hansen, Alan Hansen Alan Hansen’ in a ‘tune’ I never really quite mastered (if there was one) or even five claps then ‘Souness’. But everyone had their turn.
So onto St James Park on Sunday. Newcastle have a good, young manager who seems to be using the money carefully to build a decent team. I’ve always liked Newcastle and the Geordies – always supported their team with passion when they’ve had so little to shout about. I think it’s an important game; they’ve taken our Champions League spot, and it could be them again we’re battling with for the position at the end of the season..
Enjoy the game, and the next week.
I’m bored of endless talk re. lack of transfers and potential transfers. Sadly I think our ‘business’ is done. At least the window shutting this week will move us all onto supporting the boys in Red!
Come on you mighty reds and remember, as a red, you’ll never walk alone!