Often Partisan

Reflections on the Liverpool game

Here are a few thoughts from watching today’s game against the Scousers.

1) Two points dropped

Before the game I think I’d have taken a draw and a clean sheet, but I came home feeling robbed (which in truth isn’t an unusual feeling when encountering scousers). Pepe Reina denied Blues with two wonderful saves, and Scott Dann missed a glorious chance in the second half when he really should have buried it. Still, it’s a good point overall, and it continues our unbeaten home record.

2) Roger Johnson and Scott Dann; best centre half pairing in the country.

I know this is quite a hyperbolic thing to say, but I’m betting Rog had to shake out his shorts back in the changing room, to get Torres out of his pocket. Not only did Liverpool not score, they never looked like scoring; because Rog and Dann completely nullified their attacking threat. Both look composed on the ball, strong in the tackle and excellent in the air – it’s going to be a game holding onto these (Dann especially bearing in mind his age) because soon the big clubs will be calling.

3) Hoofball seems to be a thing of the past at Blues

The change in our style of play since we were in Championship is massive, but we’re such a good passing team now. So often you’d see little interchanges between Gardner and Ferguson in the middle, or give and gos between the full back and wide player on either side. Both of our best chances came from good buildup play and a good cross, and it’s pleasing to see it’s not always just the strikers attacking the ball in the middle.

4) Scousers have no shame

Sat in the paddock, I counted no less than seven people around me openly wearing Liverpool shirts in the home end. Admittedly two of them were young kids, but in my mind it’s unforgivable. Sure, if you’re quiet and subtle it’s okay for an away fan to sit in the home end – we’ve all done it – but to wear the away team shirt is taking the piss. Good on the stewards for making them cover up, and telling them that if they celebrated anything Liverpool did they’d kick them out; although part of me says that they should have kicked them out anyway – it’s just not done.

5) Halsey back in the middle

It’s not often that you see a ref getting a round of applause whilst he’s warming up but after what Mark Halsey has been through this year, it’s good to see him having conquered the big C and back in the middle. In fairness, I thought he had a good game too; he didn’t stand for the play acting from the scousers, and he tried to keep the game flowing by not blowing up for everything.

All in all, it wasn’t the best of games for the neutral but it’s an important point for us, and I think it’s proof positive we’re heading in the right direction when a visiting manager such as Roy Hodgson tells Sky that “Birmingham are easily a top ten team.”

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