I had to cogitate on this one a while before I wrote anything. I hated losing to a lesser team like that. Seeing Luis Suarez stymied all day was tough. He appeared to be missing his new running mate, Daniel Sturridge, whose presence previously had opened the defense and given our forward element room to roam.
But, what I saw on Monday, looking back, was a very bright future. Yes, a lot of our short passes were off the mark; and, yes, a couple of times I was wondering what our back line was thinking (or, if they were thinking at all). And, then, I would see a majestic, 60-yard, across the field bomb that struck the target right at his feet. Again and again, the long-range passing of these very young players astounded me.
But, the short game seemed to misfire. Guys would turn to pass to a teammate 15 yards away and skew the pass off by 6 or 8 yards essentially giving the ball away. But, you could see what they were thinking. You could see that they were thinking. And, don't underestimate the importance of that. A thinking man will win way more often than the physically excellent, brain dead wunderkind. The more they practice these passes the better they will get at them.
And, this team thinks. I can only remember one or two passes the entire game where there was no apparent target. All of the other passes had thought and a plan if not the desired execution. Then, there were those glorious rainbows into the opposition backfield. Wow.
Twenty-three (count them again, twenty-three) shots on goal. Many of them were quality shots. Zero success. Do we attack our guys for that failure? Or, do we tip our cap to the other side for marvelous effort predicated on a desire to support their coach who had been sacked by our side just the previous season. Sometimes, you just hit a buzz saw and you have to bandage yourself up and move on.
But, it hurt - especially so soon after our ouster in the FA Cup. Our aim to move into the TopFour now rests on life support and will require a miracle to accomplish. However, our goal of becoming a Premier League Champion in the near future blazes as brightly as ever.
And, the youth of this team will lead the way. Mentored by the elegant, charismatic Captain Steven Gerrard (just named England's 2012 Football Player of the Year) and zippidee-doo-dah firecracker, Luis Suarez and backed by newcomers Daniel Sturridge and the still very young Philippe Coutinho, we've got some winning coming our way.
I'm looking forward to it.
Walking in Texas with you so YNWA (and, loving it).