Leicester vs. Liverpool vs. Lee Mason [Round-table discussion]

Posted by Aristotle on December 2, 2014, 11:02:31 PM

What an utterly bizarre game of football. From minutes 19-21 Simon Mignolet had a worse time than any man since the time Garth Algar tried to pick up a woman (if you didn't expect a Foxy Lady reference after waiting years to see Leicester in the PL again, you were sorely mistaken). He started off by demanding the ball loudly. Then he ignored the first touch option and instead, with the firmness of a Belgian chocolate waffle, decided to pass it to Esteban Cambiasso and leave the net wide open for him to score. Luckily for us Cambiasso slid the ball past the open net, meaning a weight was finally lifted from Kolo's shoulders for his incredible miss against Arsenal after Suarez hit the post. Their goal was then a perfect summary of this strange aura that seems to define Goalkeepers as a species, they either have it or they don't. Mignolet at the start of last season looked like King Kong and came into every 50/50 like he'd just done enough PCP to dry up Detroit. This season's Mignolet negated his own, wonderful, save by having the ball strike him in the back and into the goal.

Our equaliser was then a moderate vindication of Rodgers' summer shopping. Lambert provided a dangerous presence in the box. Lallana was the player we lacked last season, someone who comes on the second wave when defenders are caught between dropping deep and pushing up and scored with a brilliant bouncing shot. It was also quick enough so the momentum Leicester had sort of died out, equally their own undoing as our foothold on the game.

Gerrard's goal was an instant throwback to his hat-trick against Everton. The type of goal he scores after his umpteenth operation. It was as close to an open-play penalty goal as he was going to get. We saw in the Crystal Palace game that when he puts his foot through it it's not going to happen. This was clinical. This was everything it needed to be. It's the type of goal Frank Lampard made a career of - without the discomforting of having to experience Frank Lampard scoring a goal. And most importantly I thought this was, to go absolutely fucking cliché, a moment where Gerrard's head overruled his heart. I was thrilled to see it and so clearly was everyone else. And lastly, let's be honest here, it was made just a little bit that much sweeter that it nutmegged Konchesky on the way in.

Henderson's winner. It was a particularly strange goal. Liverpool broke quickly through Joe Allen's clever footwork. Rickie Lambert dropped deep to offer the outlet. Sterling's run and Gerrard's clever movement took the Leicester defence by surprise. Gerrard broke down the left, made a weird pass with the outside of his boot, which was intercepted partially, hit towards Schmeichel (that shouldn't have been on the pitch at that point) - the Dane clearly felt bad about it so rather than catching a relatively slow ball he dropped it. Sterling then was the first to react, channeled Daniel Sturridge in Cardiff, backheeled it to Jordan Henderson who managed who hit the defender staring 2 inches to the right of being dead-center in the goal - but still scored. It wasn't so much well worked (Sterling's run & backheel aside) as it was an accumulation of the last 60 minutes of the game finally switching back round in our favour.

What all this meant was that having lost 3 league games in a row the mighty Reds have now picked up 2 in just 4 days. Much like last call at 3 in the morning at an airport bar, it's not pretty but you'll take it and chalk it in the win column.

Talking points:
- 6 appearances for Kolo Toure this season. His only defeat coming to reigning European Champions at the Bernabeu. He might have the odd mistake in him and he doesn't always appear like he's ready to cope physically. But is there anyone out there who doesn't feel that the world is a better place with Kolo Toure in it?

- 34 year old Steven Gerrard was spared putting through the grind of a midfield lobotomy against Stoke City for the first hour. 34 year old Steven Gerrard had arguably his best performance since Spurs away. Seems a fairly straightforward formula doesn't it?

- There's been talk of Brendan Rodgers bumping heads with the incredibly mysterious transfer committee but I raise the point whether the bigger disruptive influence at the club is the newly signed club sponsor, Subway. Despite signing a number of players with the plan to upgrade the squad and increase the quality of the depth players it seems that ever since signing with Subway Brendan Rodgers has been contractually obligated not to make any subs that upstage the restaurant chain. Is there a logical explanation behind this or is there a genuine problem with Rodgers' reluctance to try and impact games.

- It's incredible what a win does to your mindset. I mentioned pre-match that on Friday I was absolutely dreading this, on Saturday night I couldn't wait or this game to come. After tonight I've got this odd serenity about me. Winning football matches is just genuinely a good time to have. Having said that what are your opinions to keep these feelgood vibes going? More of the same, paraphrasing the Catholic  motto of the Dark Ages; if it works - don't fuck with it. Do you think we need to see Player X in for Player Y? And if so who are your X and Y?

- There are now 7 fixtures until the corresponding match between these two teams takes place at Anfield on New Year's Day, marking the opening of the transfer window. Are there any players you think that are in with a chance to prove the manager wrong and cement their positions at the club in those 7 games? And alternatively are there any players who might see their position under threat come January 1st who will step it up a gear and remind everyone that this is their spot in the team?

- I won't even waste time on Lee Mason and his impact on the game. I can communicate in 6 (or 7 languages, depending on definitions) and I'm completely lost for words in all of them. But if anyone wants to have a go; here is your shot.

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