The only thing we need to do for the rest of the season is to wrap D Sturridge up in cotton and pack him off somewhere on a romantic and relaxing Mediterranean island. We will then fly him back only to play two more games in our season. First the League Cup Final against Citeh and second the Europa Cup Final later in May. And that would probably mean two trophies for J Klopp in his first half-season as Liverpool manager!
Anyway, this is the first time this season that we have had the chance of playing a front three of P Coutinho, R Firmino and D Sturridge and they are clearly our best frontline. The question mark at the start of the game was whether Firmino, who had done so well recently as our lone forward, would continue to be such a threat in attack since he now plays slightly behind Sturridge who leads the line at the top. But i think after hitting six against Villa we can see that Firmino can perform just as well in his deeper attacking position. And another positive is the fact that Sturridge and Firmino were inter-changing their positions throughout the entire 90 minutes. Many a times we would see Sturridge drifting deeper to the ten position while Firmino makes a run from deep into the penalty box. Coutinho on the other hand stays pretty much on the left-side in our front three but because there is now so much movement in front of him, his game becomes more effective too.
After the game the mass media was flooded with praises for Sturridge who marked a return to our starting eleven with a nicely placed header into the far post on the 15th minute mark from a right-foot Coutinho cross from the left flank. But as T Sherwood said and i agree, the key really was our little magician, Coutinho. (Who was Man-of-the-Match for Whoscored too) Coutinho had 1 dribble out of 1, 2 key passes, 3 tackles out of 5 (Yes still putting in his defensive shift although he looked short on match fitness having just returned from injury.) and 1 clearance for the game. But these statistics don’t do enough justice to his influence on the match. His passing in the attacking third in particular was a joy to behold. 43rd minute a great reverse no look pass to J Milner inside the penalty box which caught the entire Villa defense flat-footed. 52nd minute a great outside foot ball behind Villa’s rightback for A Moreno to get in a cross. 62nd minute another great outside foot throughball behind M Richards for D Origi to score our fourth goal. But football is a team-sport and what makes me especially optimistic is how well Sturridge and Firmino complemented Coutinho with their movement and link-up play. Sturridge often hangs on the shoulder of the last defender and also mixes it up by drifting in and around the penalty box into pockets of space. Firmino on the other-hand is perpetual movement, either closing down defenders or making runs from deep behind the defence. And all these movement allows Coutinho to really use his passing to great effect. If the three of them can stay fit and continue to gell then we would have one of the deadliest frontline in the league.
I always had hope that he would be awesome for us and i got to say i really like the looks of Origi now. He is stronger on the ball and battling harder to win possession now than at the start of the season. Origi did really well when he came on and not only is he strong he also has a lot of pace and is willing to make runs into the channels and behind the defence. For his goal he had the composure to run across the path of J Lescott when through on goal but then scuffed his shot a little into the near post. The idea was there and hopefully the finish will improve with experience seeing how he is but just 20 years young. I sure hope he develops into a complete striker like R Lukaku on the blue side of Mersey.
E Can is another Liverpool player whom i know many Liverpool fans have great expectations of and today he did really well. Besides his physique of course, Can can really play ball too, and his first Liverpool goal at the 58th minute really showed what he is all about. Being brave and strong, Can bite into a tackle and was fouled by L Bacuna in Villa’s half after a poor long pass from Milner. Firmino was the first to get to the loose ball and slipped the ball into the path of Can, who had quickly gotten up after the tangle with Bacuna and was now running up to support the attack. Taking the ball in his stride, Can took one touch before hitting a long shot into the corner of the net. Strength, desire, technique. Emre Can and so can you!
But at the end of the day this is a very poor Villa side so let’s not get ahead of ourselves until we win those two cups!
And seriously can anyone dislike our blonde-haired German manager? “It’s not a day to sing songs or things like this for us. That’s part of the respect for Aston Villa, a great club in a difficult situation.” And you cannot buy class. And how about giving the Villa mascot a grinny hug? It is indeed sad to see Aston Villa in this state and they look like a team without much fight at the moment. Sad sight indeed when Villa Park, one of the biggest stadiums in England, was already half-empty by the 70th minute.
And to bring it all to a close i would like to force my opinions on the world with regard to what is proving to be one of the most exciting finishes to an English League season in recent years. I am really enjoying the English League at the moment because i do like all the top three teams now. So if any of them win the league i would feel happy for them although Leicester remains my favourite since their story is by far the most romantic and also because i am a Socialist. In an era where money seems to be more important than anything in life, Leicester being crowned champions come May would be such a glorious victory for the working class. But to be fair, although the conspiracy theories started to flood the internet immediately after their injury-time loss against Arsenal, i think the result, though harsh, was a fair one. Yes D Drinkwater’s first yellow card was pretty soft but the referee definitely made the correct decision by showing him his second for hauling down O Giroud when there was really no need to. R Huth blocking Giroud’s scissors-kick on goal in the 75th minute with his arm was also a penalty for me. And lastly, i think the referee was exceptionally generous to award Leicester their penalty in the first place for the perceived foul by N Monreal on J Vardy. To me it sure looked like Vardy ran on purpose into and tripped over Monreal. So the harsh red for Drinkwater is pretty much evened out by these two incidents. 2-1 it is and the title race is wide open now.
Surely you also cannot but be impressed with the quiet rise of Tottenham Hotspurs under M Pochettino. The team is young (Like ours) and they look really solid and balanced. Not only do they have the best defensive record in the league, having only conceded a miserly 20 goals so far, at the other end they have also managed to score 47 goals, behind just Leicester and Citeh. (Spurs has the best goal difference overall too) And i had always liked their white jersey don’t ask me why. And call me traditional but their old full white one is much nicer than their current white with some nonsense diagonal blue stripes across the chest. Although they were indeed lucky to get a penalty against Citeh, since M Clattenburg seems to want to live his imagination and believe that R Sterling’s arms grow on his back, they were not lucky to win the match. And it still drives me mad that we could have gotten C Eriksen instead of Spurs for a paltry £11 million two seasons back.
Finally and lastly, what a total lack of respect for George Orwell, Ernest Hemmingway and Haruki Murakami (My favourite writers), for The Cure, The Smiths and Beyond (My favourite bands), and for all of humanity that instead of taking a proper penalty, L Messi stroked the ball to the side for an on-rushing L Suarez to finish for his hattrick, when Barcelona beat Celta Vigo over the weekend. What an utter lack of shame that they dared to do something other than the normal! The normal as all good and wise people know being to take two steps (And strictly two steps only and not that stuttering run-up nonsense!) before hitting the penalty and then not celebrating the goal and indeed running up to the opposition keeper to give him a firm warm hug and words of condolences in case he feels humiliated and has to cry himself to sleep for the rest of his life because he failed to save the penalty and worse still, had to then pick the ball out of the net. I say we lynch Messi and Suarez, and since he is also South American Neymar too, to make them an example to the entire footballing world! That the beautiful game should not be played beautifully with moments of brilliant skill. Indeed to make sure nobody is emotionally-scarred from playing and watching football, since it is disrespectful and ungentlemanly to be joyous and celebrate scoring goals, let’s simply ban the scoring of goals altogether. In this way nobody would feel slighted or humiliated or shamed. All matches would end with hugs and kisses and a point to each team. Won’t that be a wonderful world? Football would bring peace and harmony to the world!