Liverpool’s 2-1 loss away to Manchester City seems to have split fans into two camps: reasonable, and over-reacting. Considering how tight the margin ultimately was between the two sides, literally a centimeter, sometimes you just have to shrug your shoulders and go “one of those, innit?”
Or, you could start pointing fingers.
Former Liverpool player and current TV football pundit Danny Murphy chose the latter.
“If Gomez was playing, with his pace and recovery, is Sane getting in behind?” Murphy said in an interview with Talk Sport. “Would Gomez be beaten like Lovren did on that near post?
“Lovren has done well to come back from where he was at a year ago and he’s a good second choice.
“But if Gomez was playing would he have suffered the same embarrassment of athleticism?
“Sane is quick, but Lovren was at fault, really.”
Dejan Lovren might not have had the best match, but this is pretty harsh from Murphy. First of all, the obvious: Gomez is still out with a broken fucking ankle. He simply wasn’t an option. Even if he had been fit and available, there’s no guarantee he would have started (or that he wouldn’t have been done by two of the best attackers in the league in Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero).
While it might be easy to point the finger at Degsy here, it also takes away from the two fantastic finishes by Aguero and Sane. Both shots were so well placed, and from tight angles, that again, reasonable people can shrug their shoulders.
It’s also rather foolish to criticize Liverpool’s defense, who only now—21 games in—have conceded double-digit goals. Lovren, Joel Matip, and Gomez have all paired with Virgil van Dijk, and to great success, throughout the campaign. It’s also the first occasion that this side has conceded multiple goals in a game this season. On the road. Against the most prolific attack in the league.
It’s a hard loss to take. But in the same way that Liverpool were lucky to escape with a point the first time around (NASA is currently tracking Mahrez’s penalty in low Earth orbit), they were unlucky not to at least get a point this time around.
If only John Stones’s feet were a half-size smaller. If anything, we should be blaming his parents.