Gearing Up for GW 13
It’s hard to believe it was nearly two week ago that we swept aside Manchester City in a tactical master stroke. International breaks can be a double edged sword for teams. While cobwebs need to be shaken off and air mileage rack up, it does afford some players time to heal from injuries. It’s always hard to know which teams will show themselves after a break but if one thing has been consistent this year, it’s Liverpool’s unwavering form.
While Selhurst Park has seen some of the darker days of recent years (think May 2014) I have no doubt that Klopp’s men will get the job done. While at times the wins haven’t been convincing, we are still walking away with points. Looking at Crystal Palace’s recent form, they will be hungry for points in from of their home fans. After a blistering run in the first 7 weeks, finding themselves in the top 4 for multiple weeks, they’ve gone off the boil. Despite their eagerness to knock down the top team in familiar territory, Palace will not be the team standing in the Reds way. The only thing that may hinder us from playing our best will be the cheerleaders on the sidelines. Put the Liverpool FC issued blinders on and we should make short work of the Eagles. That being said, let’s take a look at what is hot in the world of Liverpool’s social media fan base.
Word on the Street
Across the Fence
The Big O-lemma
Way back in week 7, Salah took a professional foul from Choudhury in their 2-1 thriller with Leicester City. While professional, it was dangerous. As Salah marauded forward, released by Mane, Choudhury slid from behind and injured Salah’s ankle. Fast forward 7 games, and it’s been a consistent problem for our Egyptian King. As the international break began, Salah linked up with his Egyptian teammates and Liverpool fans breathed a shallow sigh of relief. Unfortunately, within a day of his return, an Instagram video showed Salah receiving a massage and medical attention on the ankle. It was later revealed that the Egyptian and Liverpool med staff decided it was in the player’s best interest to sit out of their two games.
With the situation looking more and more like we could be without Mo for Saturday’s game, social media fans turned to who his replacement should be. Battle lines were drawn for Team Origi vs Team Ox. Origi is the obvious choice. He slots in on the left so often for Klopp when he’s in need and coupled with the fact that Mane loves the right wing it’s almost a no brainer. Fortunately, or unfortunately enough for Klopp, the OX’s form has been absolutely tantalizing, netting again for England last week. The kid is hitting the form he displayed just before his injury during the Roma game of the 2018 UCL run.
Origi: A natural, and familiar alternative to one of the front three being dropped for health reasons. Without too much disruption to business as usual, Origi would be the smart choice. What he doesn’t offer is the ability to drag defenders from the middle like Salah and Mane do for Bobby. We see it so often, but without his first choice wingers, the space Firmino operates in is almost non-existent and it caused a bog in the attacking third of the field too often. But let teams sleep on Origi at their own peril, because on his day, he isn’t afraid to take a man on, shoot from distance, or get himself into the box and head the ball. The biggest issue his effectiveness is almost always neutralized when he’s asked to start games. The man is a SUPER super-sub, but every so often he can put a phenomenal 90 together. Will Saturday be the day?
Oxlade-Chamberlain: A player who was cruelly chopped down in a dangerous form in 2018 and really, up until recently, had yet to find it again. Mind you, it was almost a year of time off before he was pronounced 100% fit, that’s an incredibly long time to be off. If you’ve ever played the sport competitively, you’ll know it takes 3-4 weeks to regain playing shape and about a week to lose it all. Multiply that week by 52 and your Sunday or high school league’s competitiveness by 100 and it was easy to see the mountain of a task the Ox had ahead of him. It’s often not Klopp’s method to play the hot hand, but given Alex’s recent goal return, it may be too hard to ignore. If the gaffer gives the Ox the nod Saturday, it may come with a change of tactic and/or formation as it wouldn’t be a natural change.
I think Klopp plays it safe this weekend and slides Mane right and releases Origi to perform the right’s responsibilities. There is however, one option that everyone seems to be sleeping on, and probably for good reason, is Shaqiri. Instagram revealed the Swiss Hulk was back to full training. It’s been a while since we’ve seen him play, but it’s another tool in the utility belt for Klopp.
Concur and Conquer
We are Scouse, NOT English
If you’re new to supporting Liverpool, you may have found last week’s England game a shock to the senses. As news broke on the Sterling-Gomez bust up in the England camp, social media erupted with how furious England supporters were that Gomez got Sterling banned from a qualification game. It baffled a few outsiders as they were left scratching there heads as to why A) anyone cared that Sterling would miss a game against Montenegro and B) anyone thought it was Gomez who got him banned. Without getting too political, here’s the cliff notes. Que the old film projector noise, and cheesy narrator voice.
The Northeast was always seen as different from their Southern counterparts in England but the complete separation began in the 1980s with Margret Thatcher’s hellbent vendetta on bankrupting Liverpool. Liverpool would be saved, in part by the rest of Europe, but ultimately by sticking together and using their tenacity to keep their heads above water in some awful times. Since then, Liverpool have felt they are on their own, and that suits them just fine. Time and time again England proves they fail to value the contributions of the City on the Mersey, and football is no different.
Rather Have the Euro but Sterling Is OK
After his on field antics, flailing himself about and crying to the ref, Sterling followed up his attitude by assaulting Gomez at the England team breakfast the next day. Despite all of this, he took the suspension maturely (first mature thing he’d done in 48 hours) and took to social media to apologize to the country and specifically, to Gomez, for the outburst. He carried it into the following day. Sterling showed up to the game and even stood to applaud Gomez as he was brought on in the 70th minute. The fans didn’t react the same way however, and took to booing the 22 year old, despite the team being up by 6 at the time.
The situation justifiably shook Gomez and England manager Southgate revealed that the young Liverpool defender had to be consoled afterwards. Once again, Sterling took to twitter to condemn the fans that decided to make Gomez feel unwanted in the side. While, many may say it was England’s National Team’s PR, forcing his hand, it still speaks volumes in the grand scheme of things. Sterling is becoming a world class player at City, while I never want to see him in a Red shirt again, I hope he continues to mature and doesn’t blemish his career with incidents like this.
What do you think? Let me know. Have your say below.