Always feel somewhat piffy doing a post-match write-up as it’s something that can be dissected with far more polish on The Anfield Wrap weekly podcast but to hell with it, we’re in a wittering mood… and have had chance to apply some perspective that was sadly lacking across forums and Twitter around 5pm on Saturday.
First things first, it’s safe to say this wasn’t akin to our hapless, impotent shows in the Potteries over recent years and – if anything – was more impressive than our away performance at the Emirates a few weeks back. Hear me out. This was unadulterated dominance, 100% effort and a team playing fluid, attacking football creating chance after chance. In fact, it seemed we had more opportunities than in our previous three, dour visits to the Britannia which yielded one goal and two points between them.
When the ball won’t go in from five strikes on goal in the space of 10 seconds, you tend to realise it’s going to be one of those days. A dogged, workmanlike Stoke side – buoyed by a soft decision – had something to hold onto and they did so by the skin of their clenched teeth.
But – focus on the bigger picture and a good display at a venue where we’ve too often been insipid. Another tough game follows hot on the heels and another ground where we haven’t got results in recent years but if we play like we did on Saturday, the chances are we’ll be heading back up north with three points. The lads will be aggrieved and hungry to get back on track – what’s important is that there is no cause for alarm, results like that simply happen and they happen to all teams. Even Barca threw away a two-goal lead at Sociedad this weekend…
A few nods in particular to the performances of Dagger and Lucas; the former was at his imperious best, whilst I’m quietly content for the latter to keep going about his business with others deriding him; he’s been brilliant for well over a year in my book yet the penny still hasn’t dropped with many.
Overall, the team is evolving game by game which can only instil confidence within the ranks. We’ve got depth, we’ve got hunger, we’ve got youth and we’ve got some genuinely world class players in this side managed by the only man we’d ever want. In what is often dubbed a ‘results business’, right now we need performances and for 3.5 games this season we’ve had them… if we carry on it that vein we’ll be just fine.