Imagine if we’d “done a Maidstone!” Mainly because imagining is as much as we can do. Matthew McGregor did his best to extract meaning from a very empty afternoon at Anfield.
I get it, I get it. The FA cup isn’t magic anymore. It’s treated with the same fervour Norwich managers of yore treated a Zenith Data Systems Cup game. Scrapping for sixth place in the league is our priority; I understand. But it still rankles to travel and pay to watch a weakened team.
Not great. It’s unclear whether it was down to the way the Norwich fans are situated with Liverpool fans above us, and that we were fairly spread out. Apparently there were pockets of Liverpool fans in the away end, not that I personally saw. Being on the back foot throughout in a game where we chose not to play our best starting XI didn’t help. Whatever it was, it’s one of the poorest atmospheres I’ve been at in years. Liverpool fans made some noise at points but it wasn’t anything special. Why should they, on a day like today – they can’t all be games to get the juices flowing.
Pfft. Slim pickings isn’t it. I did enjoy the lusty shout of “Fuck off man bun” aimed at Darwin Núñez from near to me.
Otherwise I’ll have to lump for the rather self-centred hurrah moment of a superb chicken shish acquired on the walk back to Lime Street. We may always lose here, but it’s a decent away trip, all told. A good city, with good pubs, good food, mainly decent fans, a generally okay stadium.
Pfft. Slim pickings isn’t it. The players picked did a decent enough job against a Liverpool who are far, far above us in quality. The one-division gap on paper doesn’t cover it. We didn’t help ourselves with some woeful passing at the back, but even at our best we’d have been way off. Tom said on this week’s ACN pod that Maidstone beating Ipswich would be less of a shock result than us beating Liverpool, and the outcomes of the weekend don’t lie.
So I’m not going to dig out the players, or even the head coach. I’m going to reserve my boooooo for the number of half‘n’half scarves in the away end. It was an embarrassment. I’m generally averse to fan policing. Some fans are happy, some are clappers, some are whingers, some mix and match depending on their mood. We all love our club and can do so in the way we choose without the snooty tellings off that are trotted out on Twitter. But come on, people: half ‘n’ half scarves are surely over the line.
Borja Sainz gave us the only thing worth getting properly excited about. A superb goal, right in front of where I was standing. He can’t half hit ‘em.
The last time Norwich beat Liverpool, it was 1994. It was the last day of the fabled Kop and the pundits were waxing lyrical. All of the romance, the history, the pomp of Proper Fans. Jeremy Goss scored a screamer and knocked Liverpool off their perch that day. It was glorious, and funny. But in doing so, we angered the football gods and since then it’s been two draws and, after today, seventeen defeats. In all that time, how many times have we even come close? So, we expected a difficult game, and we got one. We feared a drubbing and we – relatively speaking – avoided one. What does it tell us about our league campaign? Not much. What does it tell us about Wagner’s abilities to coach this team? Nothing we didn’t already know. We move on.