An eventful Sunday it was!
It had begun oh so beautifully with 96 red balloons released by the captains. And then, the sense of astonishment slowly crept in.
Astonishment at the referee’s decisions that greatly influenced the course of the game, astonishment at how United’s players were treated to home advantage at Anfield and astonishment at Liverpool attacking even when down to ten men.
Of course, a referee’s influence on a game has become somewhat of a debatable topic in these times.
It is a widely known and understood situation that Alex Ferguson’s men receive favourable decisions even when on road. Nothing wrong in that as it is just a little incentive for having remained on top for such a long time.
However, the rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester United is too deep-rooted to permit either team from enjoying such privileges on either side’s home turf.
Sunday’s game quietly dispels that myth. It proved beyond doubt that Manchester United can have their way anywhere.
But, when faced with adversity, the admirable quality of this new look side under Brendan Rodgers came to the forefront. This young team showed that it takes an exceptionally executed goal (and the interference from a twelfth man) to crack them up.
Although the defeat was disheartening, the fact that it was a “young” Liverpool side that went down “fighting” against a full-strength Manchester United team is reason enough to carry on the hope.
That said, Liverpool’s goal scoring woes persisted throughout Sunday to the point that it bordered embarrassment.
If a right back (Rafael) is able to execute a curled shot after a brilliant run-off play to get in the opponent box, then what good are our “strikers” when they can’t match, if not outperform the Brazilian youngster’s efforts.
Anyway, here’s a rundown of potential winter window signings…
Liverpool scouts have kept a keen eye on Spanish starlet Isco’s development.
Recent reports suggested Tottenham to be co-plotters with the Merseyside club. But the latter seems to have a bit more leverage as they have presented themselves as serious pursuers.
Malaga too, with their well-documented financial troubles, will look to offload their man if a good offer comes around.
Wanyama is a Kenyan international midfielder playing in the Scottish Premier League.
Following an impressive debut season with the Bhoys, with his consistent performances, Wanyama was a hot transfer target, consistently thrown around with big clubs.
A defensive midfielder by trade, Wanyama’s presence could bolster that department at Anfield, currently weakened by the absence of Lucas Leiva.
What’s more? Wanyama could be available for peanuts when his contemporaries (Read: Javi Martinez, Javi Garcia) are being sold for multi-million sums.
Sturridge is still a hot target for Liverpool.
Although, he is determined to fight for recognition, it is likely that the Chelsea board will decide in favour of putting him up in the transfer list.
Liverpool, and Brendan Rodgers, will be hoping that that happens as early as the January window.
Alan Pardew, the Newcastle United manager, recently revealed that Ba’s controversial £7 million clause will be kicking in come this January.
Whether Pardew did that to send a message across to Ba’s camp, who have been feuding with the club hierarchy over an improved contract, or he plans to use any incoming funds to develop his own team is unclear.
But, Mark Lawrenson clearly believes that this is a signal for Brendan Rodgers to act. The former Liverpool defender feels that signing Ba would be keeping in mind the best interests of the club going forward.
Is Ba the answer to Liverpool’s striking troubles?
Rodgers will know better, Lawro!
Can Llorente bring that something which Andy Carroll couldn’t to Anfield?
Both of them are of the same mould except that Llorente, with his greater experience at the top level, is more agile and probably likely to hit the target.
But, is he a feasible option for Rodgers?
That hasn’t stopped the transfer mill from speculating and Llorente finds his name thrown around amongst Premier League biggies.
That elusive first victory has put extra pressure on Brendan Rodgers.
He would want to right the wrong this weekend when Norwich hosts Liverpool. But will that be the day he breaks his duck?
Let’s wait and see…