In the 73rd minute, not long after the travelling Crystal Palace support had serenaded Jordan Henderson with chants of “You’re just a shit Steven Gerrard,” Sadio Mane broke a scoreless deadlock that had no business being a scoreless deadlock, giving Liverpool the advantage. Jurgen Klopp had made five changes from the side that beat Hoffenheim away in Europe four days earlier, and still Liverpool were the demonstrably better football team; they had outshot Palace 23-4 by the time it was all over, with 13 efforts on target to Palace’s solitary one. On the day’s evidence, Palace fans would have a shit Jordan Henderson patrolling their midfield in a heartbeat. Continue reading
The first six weeks of the Premier League season have come and gone in a blur, taking nearly a sixth of the long and arduous campaign with them. Already, the table has taken a specific shape — and unlike last season, when a league deprived of any legitimately top-tier quality sides provided the vacuum for Leicester City’s unforgettable triumph, the moneyed hegemony that has traditionally dominated English football has already assumed its place at the top. Continue reading
The notion of “character” as an imperative characteristic in a successful soccer team has taken outsized importance in the contemporary dialogue that surrounds the sport these days. In post-match interviews after a hard-fought result, former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers would often note that his side had displayed character. By the end of Rodgers’ reign at Anfield, fans on Twitter and observers in the media had adopted the term as a stick to beat Rodgers and his team with — right up to the point when a sequence of relinquished 1-0 leads, apparently indicative of a flaw in that character, led to him losing his job last October. Continue reading
On a weekend that saw league football commence in Spain and Italy and witnessed the Premier League in full, unpredictable swing, the football that mattered was played on an entirely different continent. Brazil, to be exact — the spiritual home of the very concept of the beautiful game, where the eyes of the world have been fixated over the past two weeks during the Games of the XXXI Olympiad. Continue reading
Originally published on Premier Punditry.
After a week spent watching film of the great triumphs of the past in this fixture, in preparation for what felt like the most important match of the season, so came the inevitable gut punch. I should have known better: it’s stupid to tempt fate, especially when these two giants of the game are involved and things rarely, if ever, go according to plan. Continue reading