Do you know what sucks more than waking up at 430AM to watch a game? Waking up at 430AM to watch Liverpool lose. And you know what’s worse than that? Watching them lose for pretending to be a bunch of bureaucrats instead of football players. This game was like watching, not the Reds, but a bunch of red tape. Everything was done according to the checklist, and every possession was a series of hole-punching exercises. Pass to the right? Check. Pass to the left? Check. Control the ball with that extra careful touch before delivering an obvious cross? Check and check.
When Liverpool can’t match recently promoted Forest in creativity, then it deserves to lose.
And so Liverpool did lose.
Forest, for their part, actually tried, taking a risk here and there, trying a bit of one-touch football, occasionally doing something surprising. It was fitting that the match winner was scored by none other than Taiwo Awoniyi, who couldn’t make it at Merseyside. It must have felt very special to him. He showed good awareness in taking the goal, but it also highlighted the gulf of creativity between the two teams; the cross to him was ridiculous, a gorgeous slam across the box in the hope that someone might pick it up, rather than Liverpool’s deliberate, slow, and utterly boring whiteboard sketches.
Liverpool did show a bit of creativity towards the end, following the introduction of Trent Alexander-Arnold, but it was too late. Harvey Elliott was the only other who tried at all to do the unexpected, and it led to the Red’s one big moment. Were it not for Van Dijk’s shocking act of creative generosity in trying to set up Firmino, which was so out of line with the rest of the game that Bobby simply wasn’t prepared for it, Liverpool might well have been one up. In a game as dry as this, one goal is usually enough. It’s just a matter of who gets it first.
Other than the aforementioned Elliott, nobody in the chance-creating department showed up to the game. Salah was a shadow of himself and bungled a couple of key chances. Jones was good in terms of checking the dribbling box but otherwise pointless. Firmino pressed but otherwise went unnoticed. Carvalho was enthusiastic and just as pointless as Jones. Fabinho was… well, there.
And so our intrepid team of office workers punched in for the day and then left for lunch. They did, however, rubber stamp one short form while there, the one that says “no fight for the title this year”. The one right underneath it, which says “no top-4 finish”, with the “no champions league next season” appendix, beckons.
Oh, right, man-of-the-match. Forest’s Ryan Yates, I guess? I can’t really tell, I was yawning too much.