Red Trenches Match Day 35

Match Preview GW 35

   Liverpool were victorious it what might have been the most complete performance of the season.  The boys in Red racked up 15 shots and won 9 corners, whilst maintaining a whopping 62% possession rate.  Chelsea was run off the pitch as the 12th man was in full effect.  The deafening noise shook the Blues to their core and helped just as much as the tantalizing play. 

    Liverpool’s focus must now turn to what many on social media are saying the tougher test of the last seven run in.  Southampton, Tottenham, and Chelsea may have been the tougher teams, but the Reds are now up against their own drive. 

    The next four games are very winnable, but with the pressure of the league and the weight of our history, we only have ourselves to trip over.  Supporters are also pointing to the fact that Cardiff is entrenched in an almighty relegation battle.  With recent results cruelly going against them, Warnock will surely fire his boys up to come charging on Sunday.  

    They sit two points behind Brighton having played a game more than their adversary.  They will undoubtedly be desperate to accumulate as many points as they can muster from the last four games.  If Liverpool is not up for the day, it could be a tougher game than many predict.        

For a complete pre-match report see Hooch’s article Liverpool vs Cardiff

Word on the Street

Unified Outlooks

It’s the Way You Lose

    Anfield Faithful stormed message boards across all platforms after the Champions League action Wednesday night. The main topic of conversation however, was not about our beloved Liverpool, but about Manchester City.   Supporters were delighted to see Pep’s mob get themselves knocked out of the competition but they were ecstatic in the nature of their exit.  Many on Twitter are suggesting that the final roller coaster VAR decision could very well be an emotional nail in the tires of the Blue Moon Machine.  Add that to the fact that it was against the very team they play this weekend, and blood can be smelt by those leaving comments.

    As carried away as I would love to get I caution against putting anything past City.  This is a team more than capable of achieve impossible feats.   Their deep bench and World Class coach still make them favorites to win out this season.  What I encourage Reds to do is focus on supporting our boys and help getting us over the line with the complete 12 points remaining.  If we spend too much time willing the defeat of others we will surely miss the last act of what has been an UNBELIEVABLE season.

     If we win out and fail to lift the premier league trophy, this season will still go down as one of the best in club history.  As disappointing as it may be, we can really hold our heads high. But let’s spare the grief and get it done eh?  We go again!    

Is Mané  from this planet?

    The Senegalese rocket is on another level, even in a team who is running at full capacity, he stands out.  Mané has netted the opening goal in 8 of the last 10 for Liverpool, and has become the catalyst for the team.  He now sits second only to his strike partner Salah and Man City’s Aguero in the race for the Golden Boot award. This is far and away his best season yet in a Red shirt and supporters are loving it.

    You will not have to look long to find Koppites praising their number 10.  Reds are littering social media with adulation for him and it is more than earned.  In order to close out the two biggest competitions in world football, the team will be looking to Mané to get things going. If he stays on this form many fans are confident that we can win every remaining game on our fixture list.

    It is not hard to see why either.  His form is contagious and it ripped Salah out of his slump, and brought Firmino back onto the score sheet more than once.  Many have pointed out that his form presents a tough decision for teams as they know give too much attention to Mané and Salah will find his groove.  Liverpool’s current form, especially with the midfield contribution spurred by Henderson is a Hydra that cannot be stopped.  Cut off one head and two more take its place. It will be interesting to see how these lower teams cope with us.             

Dividing Stances

VAR, Hero or Villain?

     The conversation of VAR is heating up in the comment sections of Facebook among fans. Despite working in our favor mid-week and disrupting Man City’s UCL pursuit, many still feel it is ruining the game.  However, these recent events seem to have swung some opinions in favor of the video assistant. 

    Supporters who have been openly against the implementation of VAR jokingly rescinded their claims to the amusement of readers.  Those for the video review of goals used the two Wednesday games to intensify support claiming that we may have been out and City would be in due to incorrect calls in huge games. Some fans who were at the game, assured fellow supporters that the lack of direction from officials takes away from the atmosphere.

    Regardless, in games with such an incredible amount of money on the line, it is easy to see why there is a push for VAR.  With Porto pushing so hard in the first and coming close more than once, Mané’s originally disallowed goal probably swayed the game in our favor. Obviously this is just a speculation, but everyone knows that goals can completely change games.  In the same breath, had VAR not disallowed Aguero’s goal, City would have unfairly knocked Tottenham out.  Two big teams lose out on big money on two blown calls.  Germany seems quite happy with it, but that will not be enough to please English supporters.  

Salah or Van Dijk

    To vanquish any negativity heading to our final four games, I am stealing a fun video I saw being shared by Liverpool supporters.  If you were Klopp, would you sell Salah or Van Dijk? 

    What a ridiculously hard question and one that stumped most fans who were asked.  The majority of fans seemed to side with keeping Van Dijk over Salah in terms of their necessity to the team.  When pressed, one fan said that Salah’s influence can be covered by those we already have whereas Van Dijk’s role in the defense has been monumental.  One older fan reasoned that it would not be wise to part ways because we’ve desperately required a defender of his quality for a decade.

    Luckily we don’t have to make those insane decisions.  More than luckily both players look set to stay and contribute to what we are building for some time.  Last summer Salah penned an extension which takes him to 2023 with the club.  Likewise, Van Dijk plans on sticking around just as long, as he signed for us until 2023 in his initial contract.  PHEW! Crisis averted.           

What do you think?  Let me know. Have your say below.