The above title seems an apt proviso for this piece. Of course, there were other matters of some incident in the Premier League this weekend.
Saturday saw Chelsea come up against a surprisingly tenacious Leicester City. Admittedly, the outcome was all but written in the stars. You don’t go up against one of the most expensive teams in the league at their home ground and expect it to be a doddle.
Which brings us to Arsenal and Everton at Goodison Park, which started with Everton showing just why they will be a team to be reckoned with this year, only for the Gunners to fight their way back to a draw. I actually expected more of Arsenal, frankly. When you have quality like Arsenal have, not least Mezut Ozil and the much celebrated Alexis Sanchez, it’s fair to expect more from your team than 2-0 down at half-time. Perhaps I’m being naive though. Anyone who watched Arsenal last season could comfortably look forward to them being 4-0 down at half-time. Arsenal are going to have to dig deep if they want to hoist the Fourth Place Trophy aloft at the end of the season.
Manchester United drew against Sunderland. Some people (many of them doubtless Liverpool supporters) seem to be getting some joy out the ongoing tragedy at Old Trafford. Can’t say I blame them. As a Liverpool supporter myself, I’ve had my fair share of dirt thrown in my face by arrogant United supporters high off their club’s success.
It seems just that these fans, particularly the fair weather, plastic sort, get a chastening. And yet, even as a Liverpool fan, I can’t bring myself to entirely revel in their downfall (I do revel in it for a bit though. As I write this, United are 1-0 down to MK Dons, a team I had not heard of till four hours ago). It’s like seeing a once mighty Tiger detoothed, reduced to a shell of its former greatness.
With the Glazers, one gets the feeling that United are experiencing something akin to what Liverpool experienced with Gillett and Hicks, which was a bit like having Count Dracula in charge of a blood bank. By the end of their tenure, Liverpool was but a carcass, and it’s some minor miracle that the club is where it is today in spite of their mercenary efforts. United would be wise to cut themselves loose of these bloodsuckers before things get any worse. And as a Liverpool supporter, I know just how bad that can be.
Still, even as I dispense those kind words of advice, I still reserve the full force of my laughter for the fans, and let me tell you, it’s a wonderful thing to indulge yourself in.
But I digress.
Because none of this matters. Mario’s here.
He was there at the Etihad Stadium to watch his new club as they lost to his former club. I guess there’s some poetry in that. City didn’t seem to miss him while his new club would surely have welcomed onto the pitch then and there, with all his much renowned baggage in tow.
It was a first half where Liverpool, if they didn’t shine outright, was almost surely the better team. For all Liverpool’s fine display, when a goal came, it was at the other end of the pitch. While it’s fair to say that the defense has seen improvement, it’s was an error on the part of new boy Moreno that saw City snatch the opening goal courtesy of an in form Jovetic. After that, the balance of the game shifted, and while the visitors enjoyed a few brief moments where they threatened, City pressed on and the final outcome seemed more and more likely with each passing moment.
To be sure Manchester City are definitely one of the more frightening sides in the league when on the offense. When you’ve got guys like Silva, Nasri, Toure, Dzeko, Jovetic and Fernando in your squad, nevermind Aguero and Navas sitting on the bench, it’s a nightmare for defenders. More frightening still when you consider that they hardly seemed as if they were firing on all cylinders.
Still, Liverpool can take solace in a few bright points. Moreno, for all the blame he gets for defensive lapses seems a fine buy, particularly when he’s tearing up the wing. And Liverpool fans must surely get a lift remembering how our performance kicked up a notch when the boy Markovic came onto the pitch. I get a fizz of excitement in my belly at the thought of him achieving full potential.
For a team that was renowned for being The Attacking Side last season, it’s worrying to see how much Liverpool struggled in that regard. Remember how we were smashing them in with giddy abandon? Those were the days, eh.
Much as I’m loathe to admit it, we’re going to miss the bite-happy Uruguayan, Luis Suarez. Daniel Sturridge himself must be just as unwilling to admit how much Suarez will be missed but it was plain as day to see. Barring the wonderful catch-and-turn by Sterling from the inch-perfect pass by Gerrard, or that brilliantly cheeky shimmy from Sturridge that left Kompany looking hilariously baffled, Liverpool seemed disappointingly bereft of flair and daring. Disappointing in light of last season, which was, frankly, all about flair and daring.
Sturridge wouldn’t want to admit it but perhaps he fares better with someone up front with him. The Sturridge/Suarez partnership was a thing of beauty to behold and the threat of two strikers left defences’ attentions divided.
Look at Liverpool’s game against a Southampton, which looked to be going for a draw until Rickie Lambert was brought on, leading to a goal a mere three minutes after his introduction. Look again at the City game. Lambert is brought on in the late stages, and guess what, Liverpool gets a goal four minutes later.
While the possibility exists that Rickie Lambert might be some sort of talisman for Liverpool this season, the likelihood is that Liverpool operates best with two strikers working in tandem. And lo, look what we have been blessed with but a quality, proven scorer for a bargain price.
This closing line might strike some Liverpool fans as foreboding, others as a soothing balm. It depends on how you see the man, I guess, and how strong the standard Liverpool pessimism sits in you.
Look, here’s the thing:
Nothing else matters. Super Mario is here.