Being right isn't something that one should always be proud of, but sometimes there is something deeply satisfying, like chocolate cake after a workout, about getting things right. Stoke were swatted aside as predicted, sort of. Everything was the best after a first opening day victory in 5 years, but reality loves to bite Liverpool fans in places where we'd rather not share.
Let's take a bite out of the potentially bitter part of today's meal. Lots of discussion has taken place worldwide with Liverpool fans awaiting the confirmation of the transfer that will transform Liverpool's season. This player has been a success at FC Shakhtar Donetsk under Mircea Lucescu in a visually pleasing hybrid possession-based/counter attacking system. Unfortunately, one of football's hottest young managers agrees with Brendan Rodgers and is intent on adding him to replace the departure of a key player. If Liverpool cannot attract this player then all must be surely lost. Enough about Henrikh Mkhitaryan, let's focus on Willian Borges da Silva.
There's not much to say apart from keep refreshing your pages and checking twitter for any morsels of hope. If Willian does arrive, he'll be a valuable addition to quite a creative Liverpool side. Willian's game is all about dribbling, vision, creating chances, set-pieces, technique, touch, flair, and all the yummy associations people traditionally have with Brazilian football. Liverpool appear to be trying everything to attract the player to the club and we cannot fault the team for trying to bring in top players. There's nothing parsimonious about FSG's approach to this window to date and it appears that money is available for the right player.
Back with players actually at the club, Simon Mignolet made a few friends in the Spion Kop, Main Stand, Centenary Stand, and Anfield Road stands. It was the keeper who ensured that Liverpool took all three points against Stoke but the side deserved much more than a one goal lead. The improved performances seen in the last 19 games of last season weren't some teasing mirage. Liverpool played with the effervescence that characterises the best sides with a relentlessness that will surely humiliate quite a few sides this season. Pressing, combination play, teamwork, fluidity in attack, coordination in midfield, and composure in defence.
Transfer worries may currently engulf many a Liverpool fan, yet looking at the ones we've already signed there seems little to worry about. 2013 has been a good year for picking the right players and if that continues, Liverpool football club will make progress and return to its rightful place.
- Apparently Liverpool aren't throwing all their Super Mario coins at one Princess. Willian might be Princess Daisy but Leandro Damiao could be Princess Peach. It's good to see that Liverpool believe that contingency plans should actually exist with just two weeks left in the transfer window. However, Damiao is not a similar player to Willian at all: he plays in a different position and it is difficult to see how he'd fit in as seamlessly as Willian.
- What is going on at Arsenal? Wenger and Gazidis have had plenty of time to add some players but 17 players have exited with only one youngster from France arriving. Wenger has done much for the club and knows how to steer Arsenal to the promised land of Champions League football. Losing one match is not the sign of a crisis but failed bids for Higuaín, Suarez, and Gustavo haven't inspired much confidence. Newcastle have rejected a bid for Cabaye, a good player but is he someone who will anchor the Gunners' midfield? Arsenal fans generally seem a good sort but patience appears to be dissipating. This gentleman from London and this chap from Belgium are passionate Arsenal fans who have some salient points for the Arsenal hierarchy.
- La Liga kicked off this past weekend and Tata replaced Tito in the Barcelona hotseat. The reigning champions destroyed Levante and Iniesta, Neymar, Alba, and Tello all started on the bench. The Gerardo Martino era has begun in spectacular fashion. One has to wonder whether it is in the interest of Spain's big two to have a more egalitarian TV deal like the ones in place in Germany and England. La Liga still provides enough of a challenge for Madrid and Barcelona to sharpen their teeth but also enables squad rotation as both are so far ahead. Perfect to make Champions League challenges. In Football Weekly's season preview, Sid Lowe pointed out that all the La Liga sides had been weakened apart from Barcelona and Real Madrid. That cannot be right. There is still some depth in La Liga, Bilbao dismantling Man United a couple of seasons ago was a particular highlight, but it is weakening with every passing season.
- Dortmund sit at the peak of the Bundesliga on goal difference with victory over Eintracht Braunschweig thanks to a goal from another German youngster, Jonas Hoffman. Scoring a goal and winning a penalty in 22 minutes is excellent work. Bayern and Leverkusen kept up the pressure with narrow away victories but two results really shocked Bundesliga fans. Going to Hamburg SV and thrashing them 5-1 on their own turf isn't something that's usually expected but that's exactly what Hoffenheim did. Hoffenheim were last season's running joke and had to win a play-off against Kaiserslauten to remain in Germany's top tier. New signing Anthnoy Modeste scored two but it was the delightful performance of the Brazilian youngster, Roberto Firmino that confounded Hamburg's defence. Maybe the good times are back for Hoffenheim. Luis Gustavo's new club, Wolfsburg, hammered Schalke 04 4-0. Gustavo indeed had an excellent game but Diego was sublime. What a talent he is but his antics and consistency have prevented him from becoming a global name.
- Jamie Carragher is full of passion on Sky Sport's Monday Night Football. He wasn't impressed with Newcastle's defensive efforts at half time and it's great to see that what seems to irk the Liverpool legend the most is a lack of application. His frank appraisal of Aguero's talent after Manchester City's easy 4-0 win against Newcastle wasn't one in line with popular opinion. As a summariser, it is difficult to step away from an individual moment or match in providing an opinion. He's someone who will always have the club's best interests at heart and it will be one of the highlights of the season to see Carragher dissect a Liverpool match after 45 and 90 minutes respectively.
Liverpool started the league season with three deserved points. Let's relive the moment where victory was assured and continue the week with the smiles we had on Saturday.
Liverpool vs Stoke - Mignolet Saves Penalty - Fan Reaction (via DeanCoombesAnfield)