Probably more like 'The Tornado' in Morecambe's [ex] Frontierland than the 'Pepsi Max' at Blackpool's Pleasure Beach but you get what you're given. As you all know from my constant whining, I don't get to see the football matches I want, or the amount I want (first world problems...), but tonight was rare in that I did get to see Liverpool play. Half of their game against Arsenal, but you get what you're given (HORSE).
I come into the pub just as the first half finishes. One - nil to us I see, Suarez has scored I see, 'excellent' I think. I get my drink and impatiently await the second half (seriously, waiting for it was almost as tense as my last blood test results, but I digress...). Seeing Hendo's goal was just magical. Sustained pressure from our lads, a bit of a lucky rebound but then the cool head to side-foot around an outstretched keeper and into the back of the net. Riding pretty damn high.
Then within seven or eight minutes we were drawing... It was kind of funny in a way, we've not being doing well against higher-table teams, and this was comedy by repetition. How could we throw that lead away?
Where oh where could Arsenal's first goal come from? A set piece? Absolutely! That was the funniest, they had two really ridiculous dives (one drawn from Lucas, the next from Agger). Neither had any contact, as replays showed, but at least one of them resulted in a yellow card for the dive, rather than the false offence (take that Giroud :P). But anyways, the first goal came from a free-kick. It wasn't an inspirational take by Giroud, but it was perfectly weighted and placed. Reina didn't have much of a chance, and all I say is fair play to Arsenal there, good fighting spirit.
Their next one... blimey... They seemed to be doing what we wanted to do but much better. That knock-around between midfield and front line, casual yet precise as you like, before our defenders are so confused a goal seems almost inevitable. A ball breaks out to Walcott (when's he going to be thirty, I wonder...) and from a pretty damn tight angle, he bends it around Reina. Past couple of years I've not been Reina's 'biggest fan'. He's making more errors and doing less of the basics correctly. This one, not to take anything away from a great strike by Walcott, I think Reina could have adjusted his feet a lot better (he had the time, he could have seen it coming) and should have stretched his arm out across the trajectory the ball took.
Brendan Rogers, our glorious manager, is entitled to sleep very well tonight, despite 'losing two points' (if that's how you want to look at it). Playing a 4-3-3 was a good idea, plenty of attacking possibilities, bringing the fight to the 'enemy' rather than stagnating at the back. Again, I only saw a couple of highlights from the first half so I'm no expert (as if I would be anyway...), but it seemed to be paying plenty of dividends. Since Arsenal started scoring though, for a while it didn't look like they would stop. Walcott, after his goal, seemed like a man possessed, I have a few brown stains on these pants of mine. Rogers saw this, and introduced another defender onto the pitch. It was great in the sense Arsenal didn't score again, but you could tell from that point on that our attack suffered slightly. Suarez and Henderson got caught in 'pass tennis' rather than going forward at one point, which was, I think, a direct result of the substitution. But then Sturridge (who was taken off) squandered a fair few chances. One of the reasons I didn't want him to come to the club was because of how he behaved today: trying ridiculous shots on his own for personal glory, rather than being less of a dong and passing it to a team-mate clearly in loads of empty space.
But that's the question. Should we have attacked and tried to get the three points, or defended a one-point profit. Personally, it doesn't matter. What I saw of the game was so compelling, I might just have been happy to lose outright. To get such a deserved result can be refreshing, no matter what it is. For once it didn't come down to bad decisions. What was ultimately great was that Liverpool fought hard at the end. It didn't work out perfectly, but what ever does? You get what you're given.