There is nothing worse for a fan than a loss on match day, or so I always thought. I was wrong. I realize now that it is less painful than a loss engineered by an ex- player of the team you support (and who recently left). That was to be the case on Monday evening when a former Red tormented us to no end at the Liberty Stadium. Yes, we were away from home but the sting by a bee that was part of our swarm last season was more painful especially because it happened so early on in the night’s confrontation.
If the fulltime scores were to hold after that early Jonjo Shelvey strike, a lot of doubts would have been raised by naysayers. In previous seasons, the Swans would have gone on to hit a couple more. After all, our form away from home was not much to write home about. What the team previously lacked is a spirit of grinding results out of such fixtures. The urgency of goals was there but not the technical ability born from players well steeped in a winner’s mindset.
However, in response, the first half brace was as good as any fan could have dreamt of faced with such a situation. Nobody though could have guessed the extent of drama that followed the early goal. Sturridge’s rich vein of form continued into the season with a goal in every game played. Dan wrote his name in the history books by becoming the first player to score in each of Liverpool’s first four games of a Premier League season. That was notwithstanding the fact that he isn’t fully fit to even play. It was also great to see two deadline day signings having a debut game to be proud of. Sakho was immense at the back despite losing his footing a few times, but it was Moses who capped a fine first half performance with a nice strike.
At half time, fans could almost feel the positivity in the Liverpool dressing room. It was a comeback befitting our status as league leaders. All that was left was a return to the field and a repeat of that first half. No pressure.
Injury is not something any coach desires, but it is a scenario that is anticipated nevertheless. However, in a game operating on fine margins like this, a playmaker is somebody you hope will go on and give ninety minutes of pure elegance. Coutinho’s withdrawal ten minutes into the second half was a big blow to the team. That injury coupled with the Michu goal (assisted by Shelvey’s flick) would test the Reds ability to withstand their opponents onslaught.
We now had to hold the wall and prevent it toppling on us. We have struggled in the second half since the first game of the league at Stoke but this game was different. Our keeper, who was unbeaten in the league, had twice seen his goal breached, adding to injury to our playmaker, vice captain and right back. The last twenty minutes was a pure ‘heart-in-the-mouth’ experience that no fan would love to go through again.
At the final whistle, we had protected our fort. A resurgent team, aided by the cruel hands of injury had conspired to deny us victory. Unlike last season, when we were happy snatching a draw against Swansea, we were now disappointed at our failure to gain all three points. That is testament to our improvement. We are developing the mindset of champions and the team is gelling into an unstoppable force.
It is still early days in the Premier League, but Liverpool is showing all signs of a team worth looking out for. The Swansea challenge gave us lesson areas that need to be rectified. It also gave us a display of blessings we’ve acquired so cheaply.
I take this earliest opportunity to thank the Chelsea management for agreeing to do business with us. Here’s is a toast to doing more in the near future. Finally, The Saints beckon and Kenya’s finest Wanyama is part of the opposition. I hope we’ll give him a reason to join us next season.
I have practiced ‘The Sturridge’ dance in advance, have you?
Author: John ‘JT’ Thuku ©JayTee254 (2013)