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  1. After the damp squib of a league cup semi final first leg that showcased our distinct lack of cutting edge without Mo and Sadio, we welcome Brentford to Anfield for the first time in the league since the 1940s. Lack of firepower notwithstanding, one of the main concerns is that we don’t do enough to upset teams that want to defend deep and in numbers. Keeping the ball moving, playing the width of the pitch, pulling players about, getting into goalscoring positions. The sort of thing it sometimes appears the players insist on doing the opposite of. When we lacked a central defence a year ago and were forced to play our first-choice midfield in there, we had a similar lack of cutting edge. Anyway: Nous. Audacity. Toughness. Accuracy. Liveliness. Invention. Energy. Speed. Attentiveness. Work-rate. Youthful fearlessness. Expressiveness. Rage. I don’t ask for much. Brentford gave us a tough time in west London earlier in the season. This was during that period when some newly promoted teams ride the crest of a wave where they are outperforming all those metrics that statto virgins wank themselves silly over, like xG. They were physical sure, but they were enterprising and turned the game into a cup tie. Things have tailed off for them since then, and they’ve been in that lower half position where you have enough points not to need to fret yet, but not enough points to not get sucked into a relegation battle if results and performances really begin to nosedive. That last Anfield league encounter came in late October 1946 when the country was still rebuilding after the war. Liverpool had a goalscoring hero from the north east, Albert Stubbins, and it was the club’s then record signing who clinched the points. 1946/47 was the first full season after World War 2, and the Reds would go on to clinch the title by a point from Man Utd and Wolves. Brentford finished in the bottom two and were relegation to the Second Division at the end of the season. The Liverpool side, led by George Kay, contained Stubbins, Jack Balmer and the club’s first real superstar Billy Liddell in attack. The team also featured one Sir Bob Paisley in the back line. No specific video footage, but I did find this nice little video review of the season, plus photos of the match programme and the Liverpool Echo’s match report (best to zoom in for that one!). The big draw at American fleapits (and drive-ins I guess) in October 1946 was the musical Blue Skies, starring Hollywood legends Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. It features a version of Irving Berlin’s ‘Puttin On The Ritz’ performed by Astaire. I know sod all about this one so I’m cribbing of Wiki I’m afraid. I don’t know if it’s any good or not but then I suppose films of the time didn’t have to be brilliant or talk about the relevant issues of the day, they just needed to entertain and it was all about escapism for audiences. This film had two people who were adept at providing that. Covid has been a factor in the team’s form over the past few weeks. Some players who need the rhythm of regular football haven’t been able to find it, and others who are squad members have found themselves being utilised much more than intended. We might be short of our two most dangerous attackers while they’re away at the AFCON, but the midfield in particular need to start finding some cohesion to help the guys in front of them. We can’t ask players to do what Sadio and Mo do, but we can try to be more dynamic with the way we approach teams and look to break them down. There’s a job to be done. Go out there and do it.
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