Dull competence and three points from a rather somnambulant match may be far better than the alternatives, but in the end it doesn't lend itself to many points of interest to discuss over the following days: No goals to break down; no mistakes to dissect; no scintillating or incompetent performances to dig into. Thankfully, some places have still found things to talk about from a Liverpool point of view. Plus the good folks at the FA are doing their part to keep everybody entertained when there isn't an actual match taking place…
* Speaking of the good folks at the FA, there's a decent chance that later on today judgement may be passed in the case of Luis Suarez and the charges of racism levelled by Patrice Evra. Though right now, about the closest you'll get to any news on the subject is Kenny Dalglish passing along a no comment kind of comment:
I can't comment on it. It's not my choice not to comment but I wouldn't like to prejudice anything. We've been respectful all the way through and I don't think at this stage we would want to be accused of losing that respect.
But Luis was tremendous. He has been sat in a hotel room for three days and only trained Tuesday and Friday but to produce a performance like that speaks volumes for the man.
So he didn't want to comment on it because he felt that he and the club have been respectful of the process so he wouldn't want to be seen as trying to influence the outcome in what may end up being the final hours and days ahead of the FA maybe possibly announcing some kind of ruling on Suarezgate. But he also suggested that it isn't his choice not to comment on it, implying that if he had his way he in fact would talk about it. All of which is rather confusing, aside from a very basic truth: Kenny Dalglish has in fact not commented on the endless delays in the ongoing case of the People versus Luis Suarez, and that's about all the news anyone has to report on the matter.
As for the FA, they're for realsies expected to announce their final decision today this time around. At some point. Unless they delay it again. And depending on the outcome there might be appeals. And if they can hold off on ruling until January the 12th, it would allow Suarez to face Manchester City in the League Cup semi-finals before a potential six match ban would see him miss Liverpool's league fixture against United in February, which would probably be Alex Ferguson's preferred outcome. All of which is to say that something may happen today, and Kenny Dalglish may or may not then comment on it. Unless of course nothing happens, in which case Kenny Dalglish probably won't comment on it except perhaps to say that he won't comment on it.
All clear? No? That's exactly how the FA likes it.
* Croissants, cheese, Gauloises, espresso, and baguettes: It's a hard life for Joe Cole in the cafes of Lille, with the slower pace of Ligue 1 aiding in the player's revival and the Eurostar there to whisk him to St. Pancras in less time than it would have taken him to get from Liverpool to London. Then there's the £90k per week he's still receiving, much of it from Liverpool, and that in the French league he gets a winter break. Which he plans on using as a chance to, amongst other things, visit Liverpool to catch a match and say hello. Whether cackling and pointing at fans and former teammates will also take place during his visit isn't yet known, though all bitterness aside Lille seems the perfect place for the player at this stage of his career. Now if he could just agree to a termination of his Liverpool contract so that he could make his move permanent and put an end to the situation where he's still technically a Liverpool player, everybody could move on from what was quite clearly a mistake for all involved. Said Cole of his winter holiday:
I've not had a Christmas off since I was 15, so I'm very happy about that. I can spend some time with my family. You know my little girl's getting to the age now where she maybe doesn't know what it is but she gets all excited about the tree and the lights and everything. It's great to be going home at Christmas and seeing my family and not going in and having pasta and chicken on Christmas Day and things.
I'm going to go and watch a Liverpool game to say hello because obviously I'm still contracted to them, and I've got no other time to see Chelsea or West Ham. But I'm sure I'll catch a game at some point and I wish them all the best and I hope that they can continue to keep winning as much as they can.
Right, fine, go right ahead and make us feel like a bunch of bitter assholes, then.
* Whether you like them or not, you can't go five feet without tripping over a boatload of statistics these days, and the club's official website has finally started to get in on the action with their post-match stats grab-bags. Want to know who had the most shots against Aston Villa? It was Jonjo Shelvey. The best pass completion rate? Stewart Downing with 92.6% Didn't know that Liverpool had twelve shots in the penalty area compared to five outside it, while Villa managed only three shots in Liverpool's area but had thirteen from outside it? Well, now you do.
There isn't a lot of context given to them, such as the way that Shelvey only completing 29 passes alongside his five shots and an assist on Craig Bellamy's goal speaks to a player who perhaps should be thought of as having played as a centre forward instead of a third midfielder. In fact, on that front the only starting player who completed fewer passes for Liverpool was Luis Suarez. Oh, and they also didn't manage to work in anywhere that Stewart Downing still has no goals and no assists. Still, if you're looking to digest a few numbers in the wake of the victory at Villa, they've got you covered.
We'll be back later on if there's any breaking news on the Suarez front, but in the meantime, while you wait in hope that it turns out you're just being paranoid and that the FA isn't really out to get you and the club…