By Alex Barilaro
Like the Joker to Batman. Like Moriarty to Sherlock. Like Scar to Mufasa.
Every hero has the dark shroud overcome them at significant points of the story. Yet there doesn’t seem to be a cure in sight. Every tale has it’s villain, and Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool has certainly met theirs; and conveniently, as if it wasn’t painstakingly obvious already, the Villains are the Villains. That is to say, the apt nickname of Aston Villa football club is the thorn in the side of a surging Brendan Rodgers side still attempting to find its feet.
Did we fall? Yes. What did Christian Bale teach thousands of encapsulated people sitting in front of a movie screen? Even heroes have bad days. You just need to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move onto the next fight. Ultimately, victory may well be claimed, but the path to greatness is littered with bumps and bruises, this is just another one of them.
That being said, there was an overriding, lingering pervasion around Anfield when the bell tolled and the spirits sank…
As the dreaded ninety-minute mark edged ever-so-close, the previous eighty-eight emphatically disappointing. Similar treatment had been given at Chelsea, though surprisingly without as many dirty tactics (stemming from a lack of Roy Keane’s influence presumably)
It was another Brendan brain-lapse.
They occur every year, and the result wasn’t as surprising as the tactics employed, to be honest. The 4-2-3-1 formation was used to great effect against Southampton last season; we lost that 1-0. Then again, it was deployed to be of scintillating use against Southampton earlier this season, with the lively pairing of Lucas Leiva and Steven Gerrard providing excellent mobility and movement between them, not being caught out by a wandering James Ward-Prowse or Dusan Tadic whatsoever. And, of course, it was employed in the corresponding fixture to the one just past us – though most Liverpool fans are in agreement that there was indeed no football match on this past week – to fantastic effect, where we were made to look like the slowest side on the planet, failing to cope with an attack operating at the speed of sound. That went swell, didn’t it? Probably about as well as England’s World Cup campaign; where Jordan Henderson and Steven Gerrard opted in a double pivot – though the pivoting in itself was a fraudulent and rare affair, without moving forward to great effect. And Roy Hodgson’s side was a definite success.
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