In the News: Salah is getting awards for nothing now, but it was at the expense of Bale and his topknot so I can’t bring myself to care. Sunderland have had to sack another player for not coming to work. Their record club-signing. Who hasn’t turned up to any training session since they were relegated. Ouch. West Ham risk losing Declan Rice because they’ve offered him twelve grand a week. Bellends. At the other end of the scale, Sanchez is getting half a million a week for doing a lot less work. And Evra has gone up in my estimation with the admission that he once took a dump in Pique’s shoes. Chequebook Pulis and Pogba have plummeted to news depths in their soap-opera like relationship, people actually seem surprised that the construction on the Qatar world cup is a corrupt farce, and a fifteen year old has made his debut for Fulham. I can’t remember what I was doing when I was fifteen, getting drunk in a pub in Godalming and missing the last train home with Patsy (sitcom alias) I think.
The Others: Bahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Sorry. One more. Bahahahahahahahahahahaha. Get in there Frank. I love Phil Jones. He is the most entertaining thing in football. Probably. CP has admitted that he knew they were f*cked when he went forward to take a penalty. Sadly the Sp*ds came from behind and floundered through a penalty shootout against Watford. Bournemouth managed to spare their blushes, Burnley’s resurgence was short-lived when they got punted out of the competition by Burton. West Ham scored more goals against Macclesfield than they have in the last year. City had no slip ups, Leicester needed penalties to dispense with Wolves and the Goons, Fulham and Palace went through comfortably.
Them: Mignolet makes his first appearance since January, Clyne, Lovren, Matip, Moreno, Fabinho, Milner, Keita, Shaqiri, Mane and Sturridge. Couple of names on the bench but I think across the match day 18 probably slightly weaker than us on paper. But then on that basis we should have destroyed West Ham. And we didn’t.
Us: Big Willy, Dave, Christensen, Cahill, Emerson, Fabregas, Kovacic, Barkley, Moses, Willian and Morata. So possibly only two or three you’re probably guaranteed to see start at the weekend. Luiz, Hazard, Kante and Jorginho on the bench though, along with Hudson-Odoi and Zappacosta.
So a big deal for a lot of players who are used to playing starting football and have fallen out of favour on both sides, plus some fringe players and newcomers looking to make a showing. A good chance to see who has got the deeper reserves in their squad, perhaps.
How else do you start than with a rendition of Slippy G falling on his arse? Hurrah. On the pitch the impetus was with us. The first shot on target was ours, but Christensen’s headed effort never had enough power on it to trouble even Mignolet. Moses was industrious but rusty, not helped by Moreno fouling him every thirty seconds. Moreno, who seems to be hiding under a shit wig from the embarrassment of his past showings. We dominated possession in the opening ten minutes and wholly had the better of them in midfield. Barkley was spritely. A little too desperate to sock it to them with a long rang effort on 10 minutes, but clearly looking to impress the manager again.
They had begun to stir, but thus far anything they had tried had died at the intervention of Gary Cahill. Willian was next to have a go on 12 minutes, but still nothing too troubling for Mignolet to deal with. Where’s your famous atmosphere? We taunted. We looked more like a team. Morata came closest of all on 17 thanks to a fabulous ball from Cesc with a double attempt that just couldn’t bend a little further to cross the line. Inches away. Genuine inches. Not man inches. He had another saved a minute later, but he would have been very lucky if that had gone under the keeper at his near post, even if he is sh*t. He was trying. You had to give him that. The Beard given the night off midweek. That should tell you everything about his plight at the moment.
Observation. Klopp’s tooth-job just highlights how dirty his face is. This was already looking like it was going to have to be decided by the power hitters coming off the bench later on. Half hour and a penalty shout from them, for which the referee showed no interest at all. Blatant dive from Keita. Horrific attempt at cheating. We were winning all the second balls, they didn’t have any creativity to match Cesc on the field. And yet we hadn’t scored.
35 they moaned again, against Cesc for a penalty, but no chance – ricocheted at him from close range. But straight afterwards they broke, and despite Morata powering, yes powering back to help defend they put it in for Keita. Great save from Big Willy. Another counter attack on 38 minutes ended up on the head of Mane, but again, Big Willy was in the way and there was nobody coming into the box to thump it home. Do not now concede Chelsea, for God sake. An error from Christensen under pressure from Mane set up Shaqiri, but he hit it like a bellend and we remained on terms.
We had got increasingly sloppy at the back of midfield, not so many second balls for us now. One more minute to survive, announced the sad Scouse Eeyore/Beatles impersonator on the tannoy. A corner to end the half just missed the heads of Cahill and Morata and we went into the break at 0-0.
They burst out of the blocks in the second half. Presumably after a roasting from Wurzel Kloppage. On 45 minutes Sturridge was one on one with not the keeper, but the empty goal. He missed. Possibly the best display of footballing karma I’ve seen since Gerrard fell on his face. Then tried to get up. And fell over again. Or since the Champions League Final. But another Christensen error and we’d almost conceded again. The game was swinging their way now.
Refwatch: Kevin Not-My-Friend tonight. There was a baffling moment where he did something pro-Chelsea and my world was askew, but then he reverted to form with what was obviously a heinous and unwarranted vendetta against Kovacic. Mane managed to miss another sitter after Barkley headed the ball on for the opposition and the resulting corner ended up on the roof of the net. Little wonder that Eden was getting ready to come on for Willian on 56.
Too late as it turned out. F*cking Sturridge of all people. What are the odds on him being fit for long enough to play an actual game of football against us then actually scoring. Not sure where half the defence was. Too busy punching things to care. Kante came on for Kovacic too, who was hamstrung by having been booked just after the hour and not having any fun now he wasn’t allowed to kick them. We’d not been in it yet in this half. If Mignolet manages to keep his first ever clean sheet in a game of football against us it will be marginally f*cking disappointing.
Mane off with twenty minutes left, to be replaced by a giant set of plastic teeth greased up with Nivea. In the meantime in blue, Barkley had faded away, as had Moses, but more importantly Fabregas looked to be running out of steam. Christensen looked to be injured and the last sub was used on bringing on Luiz. Unfortunate for Hudson-Odoi.
Then out of nowhere EMERSOOOOOOOOOON! Of all people! Morata punked them all by going early – master of the dark arts that he is – the Scouse line held but then when the other’s started running they were left behind. 1-1. Or possibly not. VAR. Of all f*cking things. Where was that when they were scoring goals with their hands? That’s all these whingers need, an excuse to have all the supposed footballing injustices committed against them reviewed. Nonetheless it stood. F*ck ‘em.
Henderson put a cross in straight after but Firminho, weighed down by his fake chompers, couldn’t reach it in time to go for the header. Sturridge almost put them back ahead but managed to hit the bar. That really would have been taking the p*ss. It looked like we were going to have to scrap our way to penalties, then along came Hazard and crushed all their sad little hopes and dreams. Shrugs off three players, one of them twice, launches forward and leaves Mignolet flailing on the floor as he puts it past him into the far corner.
Have that you gits.
Obviously Salah was their next move. On with about five minutes to go, the guy who couldn’t kick a football straight when he played for us comes on as their big gun. Furry, Machiavellian little git. But it didn’t do them any good. Fabregas of all people was winning the ball back in midfield, we were looking go forward again and all Henderson could do was drag Eden down, then knock him down with both knees in the back, and then shout at him like a petulant little c*nt as he was penalised for it. Just over a minute for them to try and equalise. Expect a truck load of injury time for them at home. Henderson repeated his donkey like endeavours to stop our main man and got booked for it, stomping off chuntering away like a drunk denied service at half eleven in the morning in your local Wetherspoons because he’s had a skinful already.
What a surprise. Five minutes. Wurzel Klopp having a right rant on the touchline. Any opportunities coming their way were being squandered. We were inexplicably still playing on 96 and a half minutes and Mignolet was up. He can’t even function at the right end of the pitch half the time so Lord knows what they thought he would be doing. Thankfully he was as flaccid as the rest of them in the event and they were out.
So: Tatty-bye f*ckwits! We may have just handed them a couple of nights off midweek before Christmas, but sod it. I’m ecstatic. Unlike Klopp who was going full rant at Shaqiri. I watched Eden’s interview after: Says it means more when it’s it at Anfield. But he doesn’t know if it qualifies for his top five. Which is depressing for everyone else. BECAUSE IT WAS AWESOME. Apparently on the bench Kante told him to sort it out, because he didn’t want to end up taking a penalty. Like he says though, the game on Saturday is more important. They’ll be fired up now, but we want a repeat. Without the going behind bit.