Best of the Rest Weekly Game Segments

A Beastly Tale

Whenever a game ends with a 3-0 scoreline, it’s usually safe to assume that it was pretty one-sided. And in the end, this game was that. Nothing like that loss in Camp Nou in May.

Of course, Burnley is no Barca. But they do have a beast on their side in Sean Dyche. To achieve what he has already with this side is beyond remarkable. They are always dangerous, always ready to punish, and never seem to bow to the seeming inevitability of playing a much stronger side, be it Liverpool, or City, or anyone, really. That a trip to Turf Moor always has a tinge of anxiety associated with it tells the whole story. And the first 30 minutes of today’s game were illustrative of why.

Mark my words. Mr. Dyche will get the England post someday. It was no walk in the park.

At least not until another Trent moment.

Look, folks, I know it was an own goal in the end. I know Trent probably never meant it. But for quite a while thereafter that freak hit the inside of the far post, I sat there wondering. Because Trent is so crafty, so cheeky, that you can never quite tell what he is going to do. Just ask Gerard Pique, Arturo Vidal, et al. So when he hoisted that ball, and as you can see in the replays, held this sort of curious view of it, his head slightly cocked to the side, a part of me was going nuts, screaming “he meant it! He meant it!”. I’m still a little bit suspicious, even if he denies it.

But think about this for a moment. This player is so unpredictable and clever, that you can never tell what sort of magic is going to happen in the moment. The word “magic”, in fact, pops up ever so often when the commentators discuss his efforts in-game. It did today. Alright, this isn’t unusual, right? Plenty of players are special like that. Liverpool has another one, in the form of the mighty Bobby Firmino.

Thing is, Alexander-Arnold is not a creative midfielder, or a sensational forward. It can be hard to remember sometimes, amid all the shenanigans, that he is a full-back. And that makes the whole thing entirely unusual, unexpected, delightful, and extraordinary. And then one must also keep in mind that the kid is only 20 years old. I mean, can you imagine how good he is going to be when he grows up?

I can’t. It’s impossible.

That Mane and Bobby scored is not a surprise. That Salah didn’t was unfortunate, and yes, he was greedy and selfish a couple of times. But he was also brilliant at others, and look, greed is part of the game for an attacker of Salah’s caliber. So we will forgive him this, and see the return on another day. That Van Dijk almost had his own version of the Kompany title winner from last season was nigh glorious – the ball had so much power, so much venom on it, that my guess is it was a difference of less than an inch at the launch point. That Adrian is proving to be a solid cover for Alisson is a relief.

Which brings me to the other beast on the pitch.

When he joined us last season, Fabinho consistently failed to impress. I remember wondering what Klopp saw in him for quite a while. It was clearly a difficult adjustment. But take a gander at the guy now! he’s not a defensive midfielder, he’s not even a destructive midfielder – he’s a bloody terminator. The way he repeatedly stared calmly at the Burnley attacking play and uttered: “I need your clothes, your boots, and your motorcycle” before proceeding to rob them blind had a Schwarzeneggerian quality to it. He is turning into a beast of mythical proportions. Dunga should be proud.

Fabinho is my man of the match.

“Hasta la Vista baby”.

“You are terminated”.

Copyright Barak Engel 2019

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