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Liverpool 4 Norwich City 1 (Aug 9 2019)

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Report by
Dave Usher

 

A 4-1 home win to kick off the season isn’t anything to be sniffed at, which is why I had to chastise myself at full time when I realised that my pleasure at the result was tinged by mild disappointment and a sense of missed opportunity. 

 

I’m aware that’s daft and goes against every traditionally held viewpoint, and that’s why I had to check myself. That being said, City’s win the next day does kind of validate my initial reaction, to some extent at least.

 

Before you stop reading, log off and call me a miserable, impossible to please bastard, allow me to explain. It’s a mark of how special this team is - and also of the almost impossibly high bar that has been set by Guardiola’s side - that a 4-1 win isn’t wholly satisfactory anymore, especially when it was 4-0 at half time.

 

This team is so good that winning by three goals at home is almost level par, nothing special, just what we’ve come to expect. That’s the standard they’ve set for themselves in recent years. Unfortunately the standard City have set is marginally higher, which they demonstrated again by topping our 4-1 result with a 5-0 win away at West Ham. Annoying bastards.

 

Despite the tinge of disappointment at letting a really big score get away from us, I’m trying not to allow what City do lessen the enjoyment I get from watching the Reds. It isn’t always easy though. After how last season went it’s always in the back of your mind that we need to try and match them, not just point for point but also goal for goal, in case it comes down to that. Trying to do that and constantly thinking about it is fucking tiring though, isn’t it? Last season was torture at times, and it’s almost like the summer never happened as I’ve just picked up those exact same emotions I was having last year. Even though it’s fucking August!!

 

We can’t control what they do except when we play them but if we’re going to challenge them again like we did last year then we’ll need to take every opportunity that comes our way. From that perspective, I think we let one slip through our grasp a little here, because goal difference might end up being important. 

 

That said, I enjoyed the game and it was refreshing to come up against an opponent that didn’t just pack their own box and try to stifle us. Norwich’s approach to the game was actually quite astonishing I thought. Other than Man City, I bet we won’t see anyone else try to play that way against us. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. 

 

The amount of times Tim Krul just passed it five yards to his centre back from goal kicks was incredible. They tried to play their way out time and time again and in fairness they managed it more often than not. They’re going to be fun to watch this season.

 

I thought it was foolhardy but that’s how the coach wants his team to play and fair play to him for being brave enough to do that against us, especially at 4-0 down. At times early in the second half it looked like we were going to overwhelm them as they were trying to play out from inside their own box while we were pushed right up on them. 

 

Doing that against us is like throwing a used tampon into a shark tank. Our lads were swarming all over them and the only surprise was that we didn’t score from one of those situations. We almost did when Salah bent one inches wide after Fabinho had won the ball in their half, but overall Norwich played through our press far better than I would have expected them to. 

 

 

This is just a teaser, click to view the full article

 

Please note that Match Reports are only available to website subscribers. Subscriptions cost just £2 a month (you need to register first) and can be purchased here. 

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You're angst is perfectly articulated and relatable, Dave.

 

It's exactly the way I felt when I watched West Ham/City on Saturday.

 

I'm not watching another City game until we next play them.  It absolutely gives me the shits and I'm not torturing myself watching these cunts, or teams rolling over against them.

 

I'd rather wake up to a surprise result - like their loss to Palace last year - or check the scores on my phone as I walk to work - like their loss at Newcastle earlier this year.

 

I'll just try and enjoy watching us do well - which we will - and pretend Abu Dhabi doesn't exist.

 

Your insight about a 38-game sprint/run-in is brilliant, and chilling.

 

The shitness of modern football, brought on by money and corruption, not managerial genius... certainly not the managerial genius that the Paisley 1981/82 season you referenced definitely was.

 

Cheers for, contextually and mood-wise, a spot on report.

 

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Captures my mood perfectly too - on a high at half time, a little deflated after a disappointing 2nd half, and a tiny bit depressed after the City match. Ridiculous state of affairs on the first weekend of the season,especially after a 4-1 win!

Another thought - we'd have done a Premier League and Champions League double  - think about that - last season if we didn't have to compete against the FFP-trampling, sports-washing of City, and this team would be even bigger legends than they already are. 

 

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Can I please continue reading, call you a miserable bastard and then log off? 

 

"We were dangerous in attack but they were able to play through us far too easily at times and there are definitely things we need to tighten up on pretty sharpish." - just like the Charity Shield then? City were doing the same to us at times in that game too.

 

Third today. Fucking United. I just hope that's a VERY temporary blip.

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I think you need to get on the prozac Dave or it's going to be a loooong season.

 

I assume City will win the league , avoid all of their games and see us as the glamorous outsiders and try to enjoy every brilliant performance.

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Good report, Dave.  Short and sweet and to the point - did you edit out the paragraph where you worked out how Norwich got in behind so many times? 

For me there wasn't one overriding reason, just individuals switching off at key moments and relying on someone else to cover/bale them out.  Plus Pukki's movement was pretty good all night and Norwich shifted the ball pretty quickly at times - as you say something other teams don't even try to do against us, especially at Anfield.

Another factor in the low-key final quarter was the wind getting stronger and we were kicking right into it.

All-in-all a very good start with room for improvement, a well-earned 3 points.

 

PS Did anyone else notice that the Kop forgot to sing YNWA at the end?

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The thing is, I look at Man City's team - well, their defence anyway - and i dont think they're actually that great. I guess that's Guardiola's talent in getting his players to keep hold of the ball for so long. But still, they're not invincible. 

 

My guess is that City (and ourselves) might lose a couple more games than last season. 

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I think city will lose fewer games this season while we lose a couple more. We had a record season in the PL and just equalling that never mind beating it will be very hard.

 

That said, Im hoping city draw a few more games if only as it will mean fewer sides will have rolled over for them. Guardiola continues to 'innovate' getting his players to create 'tactical fouls' to spoil their opponents play and it's going to need ref's to be on blob to nail it.

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You never know what obscure references you're going to read in a match report, but I can say with absolute certainty, I've never read a match report, anywhere, by anybody, that referenced a used tampon! A touch of surreality, and a little history, there.

 

The second half was also a disappointment, but not so much for the lack of goals, as the tempo was always likely to be toned down with Wednesday in mind. For me it was the goal conceded, though we got plenty of warning of that throughout. With Alisson out, I don't expect us to be as miserly with goals conceded as last season, but nor should we be accepting a goal a game like the 'old days'. When Virgil and Joe or Joel are back in the groove together, I'd be expecting them to give Adrian plenty of protection.

 

I get the 'back of the mind' thing, but, que sera, sera. We can only enjoy the ride while we're on it and let what comes after, happen as it will.

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