LIVERPOOL V SUNDERLAND, FEBRUARY 6, 2016


Liverpool are going through a Jekyll and Hyde period and their own fans don't know how they're going to play from match to match. They've certainly got a suspect defence and we could take advantage of that this afternoon. Kaboul is available again and that's a definite boost. Tuesday's game (0-1 at home against Man City) was a strange one for us too with us putting in a battling performance despite another defeat. Kirchhoff in particular did well and it was great to know we finally had a player who could complete a pass regularly while the other new signings showed promise as well. All in all I'm feeling vaguely optimistic about today's match. If we're going to get out of the bottom three, we've really got to start getting some points soon and I think we'll get one today. Norwich play Villa so something's got to give there while the Mags are playing West Brom, who are starting to slip as well. I'm in Liverpool staying at the home of my Liverpool-supporting mate and we're off in a minute for a pre-match pint. He says Liverpool have no way of breaking down a resolute defence if Coutinho's not playing and he reckons it could be 0-0. My match prediction is 1-1.

As the final whistle went I raced downstairs to avail myself of the facilities and a gentleman to my right captured the feelings of many of us when he exclaimed, "How the fuck did that happen?" With nine minutes to go we were 2-0 down and as a freezing wind blew around the balls we were staring defeat in the face once more. Then somehow it all changed and we went home happy.

The first-half was a dire spectacle. We managed two chances when PVA shot wide of the right post; well wide to be honest. Liverpool had produced a better effort when Firminho shot just over the bar shortly before the break. Other than that little of note happened. Our fans were in great spirits from the off but Liverpool's were strangely reticent and they were reminded of this on numerous occasions. We defended stoutly and I thought Kone was worthy of the word 'pivot', which was a term used in the old days for major defenders such as Charlie Hurley. Our build-up play, however, left a great deal to be desired and often consisted of a boot from defence to nobody in particular. Still, at the break I was fairly happy that we'd kept a clean sheet.

During the break I was pleased that 'September' by Earth, Wind and Fire was played in commemoration of the late Maurice White, who died this week.

Anyway, just before the hour Liverpool took the lead when Firminho, who'd looked their most dangerous player by a mile, headed home from a left-wing cross. I couldn't really see us getting one goal, let alone two at that stage. Our chant of, "Your support is fucking shit," was replied to with, "Going down. Going down. Going Down," and I have to say that was looking rather likely. It looked like Kahzri had clipped their left post but hopes were soon dashed when Lallana got their second with around twenty minutes on the clock. Jones needlessly lost the ball as he was coming out of defence and the subsequent cross was knocked home by Lallana from close range. It felt like we were dead and buried then. Jones was subbed by Yedlin and he was booed as he went off. This was in strange contrast to Henderson who was replaced ten minutes later to applause from our fans and a chant of, "Jordan Henderson. He's one of our own." In between many Liverpool fans had exited the ground in the seventy-seventh minute as a protest against exorbitant ticket-price increases. I'd say about 25% of them left, including my mate Mick, but they missed what was for us the best part of the match by a mile. With nine minutes to go we won a free-kick at the right angle of their box and it took a while for it to dawn on many of us that Johnson had slotted the ball just inside the right post beyond the diving Mig. Suddenly we got a bit of fire in our bellies all round and began to press forward. I had the feeling we were going to score and about a minute before full time we put together a move down the left and when the ball came across Defoe was there to smash it home and send us into delirium. Liverpool pressed forward but we held out and it ended 2-2.

Maybe this is the turning point? I can't say that we played well for most of this game but to come back like we did with less than ten minutes to go displayed the kind of resilience we need. Bring on Man United.


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