We Don’t Need no Stinkin’ Badges

[Arsenal 2 – 1 Liverpool]

One of my favorite pop trivia challenges is “name the Humphrey Bogart western”. It is usually greeted with blank stares, maybe accompanied with an incredulous “wait, Bogart did a western?”. Well, he sure did, and it was so good, it is by far my favorite of the genre. It also happened to create a meme that lasts to this day, the one I refer to in the title, even if it is actually a misquote. Because if we are to judge by Liverpool’s performance today – which I am happy to do on all of your behalves, kind readers – it was obvious that records are for, you know, other people.

And so are the badges that go with them.

Since the resumption of games in June, the 4-0 loss to City hurt, but it was City, and the Reds at least tried. The draw to Burnley on the weekend was a bitter pill to swallow, because the team really tried, but got caught by maybe the most determined group in the premier league except its very own self. But today? Today’s performance was nothing short of shameful.

There are no two ways about it. Arsenal created literally zero chances of their own. None. Their two shots were both on target, and they both arrived following an excellent assist delivered, first by Big Virg, and then by the best keeper in the world. Liverpool, meanwhile, had some twenty attempts, with quite a few on target, but other than Sadio Mane who was actually trying and who scored a superb goal, nothing they did showed conviction. The Gunners actually did go about doing the things they often do, including actively trying to lose the game towards the end, but Liverpool wasn’t really paying attention.

The most intense team in the world? I get more intense than this playing boardgames.

The one positive side of this result is, I suppose, that now that there are no more badges at stake, the manager can give some of the senior squad a rest in the last two games. There is no question in my mind that Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott would have eaten Arsenal alive today, and both could have ended up on the scoresheet. Minamino improved things a decent amount after coming on as well.

Let them play.

I refuse to pick a man-of-the-match. As far as I’m concerned, there wasn’t one, on either side. Klopp’s face above tells you everything you need to know. At least the game was entertaining, in its own way, keeping at least one tradition alive, namely that Liverpool vs Arsenal is usually a fun theme park ride. As in “Look, boys, this is what serious soccer looks like… well, sort of, anyway”.

(for those of you who are interested: the movie in question is “Treasure of the Sierra Madre”. Watch it. It’s excellent)