- Jul 19, 2016
Having had a bit of time to re-watch and process, I think it's a little from column A and a little from column B (and a bit more from column C)At the risk of making myself unpopular, I think the focus in this thread on the ref and the VAR is a massive distraction from facing up to the fact that that was a really bad performance. As with so many visits to Old Trafford we just didn’t turn up yet again. The team looked flat and intimidated, quite a few players were lacking confidence and our main tactic for long periods seemed to be hoofing crosses in from the wings for a non existent target man. Worrying about the ref glosses over what was a poor game from us for 80 minutes. Hopefully we pick it up against the spuds.
Atkinson's referring was diabolical, there's no two ways about it. There seems to be a consensus floating around that dickhead was just “letting things go” since it’s a NW derby. In theory that’s ok, but regardless of how lenient you’re attempting to be, it’s a blatant foul on Origi. The other issue is the fact that he also seemed hell bent on only applying his leniency to one team, as evidenced by the ridiculously lopsided foul count. He was in their pocket the whole game and it didn’t help matters in the slightest. Fuck him.
In saying that, the gap in quality between the sides is so large that it should not be bridged by a completely useless referee. We were really, really poor for a majority of the game. As you say, it was a characteristically frozen OT performance by a squad that I thought by now would have the experience and the confidence to impose themselves, particularly on a weak and out form opposition. Sure, it’s probably one of the more intimidating grounds to play at as a Liverpool player, but it was depressingly familiar outcome, even with Lallana’s late equalizer. Obviously it’s not a problem confined just to JK’s time as manager, but I’d really like to see us get over this mental block away at United before he moves on. Particularly while they’re so rubbish.
Column C is the fact that despite still being generally shithouse, United and Gollum did a great job of nullifying our two main attacking threats/creative outlets, the fullbacks and Firmino. There’s no doubt, like our friendly neighbours across the road, they raise their game for the derbies so begrudging credit has to be given. When we finally responded and started playing a bit more creatively through the midfield, we looked instantly the better side and could've easily taken all 3 points. Unfortunately, it was left way too late. Hopefully we can see continued improvement from AOC and Keita, as I felt they were big contributors to the shift in momentum we saw in the last 20-30.
For me the prevailing thought is, “thank fuck that one’s out of the way and we at least got a point”. No doubt they’ll roll over for City at OT later in the season but at least the L column is still unblemished. Expecting a big response against Genk and Spurs.