A Smile For Christmas - Bournemouth 0 Liverpool 4
I liked the bit where we won.
From Coutinho scoring the goal of the month to Lovren’s diving header to Salah ruining Charlie Daniel’s weekend to Firmino’s header, that was fun from start to finish. More importantly, it’s nice to blow away the cobwebs from the Everton and West Brom draws/defeats (Home draws feel like defeats at times).
For a side who are easily knocked off course by something as vast as the hope of expectation to the more mundane obstacles such as a tight, compact defence coupled with a side not keen on attacking, there is something of the majestic in this Liverpool side.
When it smells blood it likes to first kill and then maim its prey. Today, as the cold tore off the nearby English Channel, Klopp’s men ran to a 3-0 lead and then simply carried on picking over the bones. There would be nothing wrong with keeping Bournemouth at bay in the second half and then replace the starting side with fresher legs, but these lads wanted more. To see Andy Robertson eat up the metres in either direction to provide either cover or a striking outlet was a wonderful sight. He could be forgiven for taking the odd breather, but that wasn’t an option for him. Liverpool were –as they should always be- relentless.
Christmas is almost upon us with Arsenal the next hurdle to overcome and though they will provide a sterner test, this dress rehearsal will do nobody any harm. It would be all too easy to allow the last two games to get under our skin so this win was an important statement.
Liverpool winning is all that matters. Not stupid vendettas against the favoured targets or the forlorn tone adopted by Sky’s commentator and co-host or even the journalist asking a man a question he clearly had no intention of answering. The only thing that matters is that Liverpool started the day on 31pts and ended it on 34pts. Everything else is hot air and bluster.
True, there are smaller victories elsewhere. The return of the 1970s flying header (ah, those were the days) and Oxlade-Chamberlain’s little ‘Jesus, did you see that?’ expression after Salah’s goal, but the points come first.
Winning is important, of course, it is, but not just for those reasons. Such is the disposition of the Reds that anything that calms the ever-jangling nerves can only be welcomed. There’s nothing worse than waking up, saying hello to your family and then have the chilling reminder hove into your mind that Liverpool didn’t win last night. It’s worse if you have a hangover created by that very fact. A win provides a balm to a fractious mind. We can worry about the Arsenal game tomorrow. The Reds are okay now – for today at least.
UK based readers may want to spare a thought for Sky commentator Martin Tyler and his cheery pundit, former Arsenal striker Alan Smith. The former was fortunate enough to witness Coutinho’s incredible goal in the flesh. It wasn’t a mere flash of genius. It was so much more than that. It was art. He turns their lads inside out before sticking the ball past the keeper like he was playing a computer game. He doesn’t even celebrate. He just raises those doleful eyes and accepts the congratulations of his equally dumbfounded team-mates. Everything that happened in the Premier League this weekend was merely a footnote to those stunning collection of seconds. Yet poor Martin spoke of it like he’d found half a worm in his apple. Conversely, when Jermain Defoe hit the post he sounded like he realised that he had a winning lottery ticket. I’m not saying this is evidence of a bias as I have United mates who say that Tyler’s heart belongs at City, and it’s okay to build up the possible drama of a comeback, but when you see something as beautiful as that opening goal, you at least have to acknowledge the genius of it.
Even when Diego Maradona handballed against England in the 1986 World Cup, commentator said of his wondrous second goal ‘You have to say that’s magnificent.’ He was right too. Tyler couldn’t bring himself to do that.
It made the win even sweeter.
And well done to Lovren, Henderson and Oxlade-Chamberlain. Dejan’s goal was lovely (Firmino’s work in it too), Henderson kept things ticking over despite several poor performances behind him and to Oxlade-Chamberlain for cutting off a stupid question and defending his mate. No PR or media training there. He knew it was unfair to ask Coutinho about his future, particularly after he started the afternoon’s rout, and he leapt in and did the right thing.
So a big two fingers to the agendas from people who slated genuinely human actions such as the teams visiting kids in the hospital or the skipper donating to local food banks. Both actions help people who are struggling and those lads provided a bit of succour in a cruel world. Well done to them.
Liverpool won and I’m fucking elated at that. Nothing else matters.
Karl is a regular guest on the weekly Anfield Index podcast along with host Trevor Downey and fellow guest Kam Brainch. You can listen to the show below.