Never in doubt.
New season; new kit; new forum, even. Same old Liverpool, though.
Our tame end to last season (we were generally poor post-lockdown) and indifferent pre-season (only drawing with Arsenal? Really?) led many to question if we were resting on our laurels. The lack of BiG nAmEz over the summer was used by some as an indicator of our owners’ “lack of ambition” (ignoring the fact that FSG had enough ambition to hire Klopp, buy Virgil and Alisson, win the Champions League and then end our thirty years of hurt but, well, you know…) and the ongoing Gini/Thiago saga hasn’t helped at all. I’m not going to cover the entire close-season in this post, or we’d be here forever, but I will say that I’m glad that the owners aren’t taking out loans when future revenue streams are so uncertain.
A great start- arguably a fortunate penalty decision, with the ball deflecting off Koch’s thigh and onto his arm- was soon negated by Harrison’s cracking equaliser. It must be said that Trent, Gomez (who looked shaky from the start) and Ali-beaten at his near post, once again- didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory, however. Fortunately, a towering header from Big V soon restored our advantage. Virg turned from hero to zero when he casually gifted the ball to Bamford for Leeds’ second equaliser; fortunately, Mo restored our advantage with a breathtaking strike in the 33rd minute- beautiful control and finish. He certainly likes scoring on the opening day of the season!
The second half couldn’t possibly live up to the first… or could it? Virgil headed over when unmarked; Trent had an own goal disallowed after Harrison was adjudged to have been marginally offside; Mané should have done better when played through by Salah. At the other end, Hernandez was thwarted by Alisson and then Costa played an exquisitely timed pass to Klich, who controlled and volleyed home with aplomb. It really was a terrific goal and no more than Leeds deserved, to be honest.
Two disallowed goals in each half and for each team as well; all looked legitimate decisions, although you would need the vision of Eagle Eye Action Man to have spotted in real time Jones’s trip on Koch which caused Virgil’s close-range finish to be chalked off in the 83rd minute.
Still: cometh the hour (or, in this case, the 88th minute), cometh the Mo. Salah bagged his hat trick with a second penalty, awarded for Rodrigo’s senseless and totally unnecessary foul on Fabinho.
Three points; job done. Jürgen won’t be happy with the defending, but that’s for another day.
MOTM: Every single one of you. I only joined TIA in 2014, having previously led a somewhat peripatetic online existence on the official LFC forums, RAWK and the now defunct TCAA. I was an admin on the latter and I know just how hard it is to build a community, then sustain it and the satisfaction in watching it grow and flourish. Seeing so many of you switch over from TIA to TAN, and settle in so quickly, has been wonderful; while my sincere thanks go out to Matt and Max for bringing us all together in our previous home, it’s all of you who deserve today’s award. Let’s make TAN a bastion of invincibility.