Let’s not toss the baby with the bathwater…

Courtesy of @cantdrawarsenal

Dammit. For a solid half hour, it looked like we’d put an end to our Anfield hoodoo, as goals from Martinelli and Jesus gave us a 0-2 lead. To then give Liverpool a lifeline and allow them back into the game has to feel a lot like we threw two points away, but to feel like that is akin to throwing the baby out with the bathwater, as the old saying goes. A point earned or two points dropped?

Going into this match, I’d bet my house that most of us, maybe even all of us, would have gladly accepted a draw even with Liverpool’s uneven season (a bit of an empty bet, considering the size and condition of said house). Time-travel back to when the fixtures were released, and be honest: how many of you chalked this one off as a loss? Again, a sizable number. LIverpool have lost just once at Anfield all season, and that was a freak-loss to Leeds, of all sides.

Yes, to have seized an early lead had to persuade us that the unthinkable was unfolding. Some of the more-feverish among us might have even started dreaming of an even more-famous scoreline, the better to end our barren Anfield run with. Alas, it was not to be. For all of their failings, this is still the Liverpool side that came achingly close to a quadruple last season, finishing just a point behind Man City in the Prem and losing 1-0 to Real Madrid in the Champions League final. They might sit 8th, but they’re still quite good.

We had our chances, and we let them slip through our hands. Maybe Xhaka shouldn’t have squared up with Alexander-Arnold. Maybe Hatzidakis shouldn’t have given Robertson an elbow to the chin at halftime. Maybe Arteta should have been quicker with the second-half subs. Maybe Martinelli’s through-ball to a wide-open Saka could have been weighted better. Maybe, maybe, maybe…

If you read most of the post-match reports, you’ll be told that this is the weekend that saw us squander our precious lead. Yes, it’s true that it’s now mathematically possible for Man CIty to match us for points. They have that game in hand, and, of course, we have that crucial trip to the Etihad (and St. James’s) to consider. That’s the bathwater. The baby, the one we’re still nursing, is that six-point lead,

Look at it this way: we went into one of the most-difficult stadiums in the world and very nearly came away with a win. Even when we were pinned back, we played with grit and determination and courage. It took all of the fervor of the Kop and the incompetence of Tierney and the quality that is still in that squad to find a late equaliser. If we play anything like we played in those first thirty minutes, the title is ours. We may not have gotten the massive psychological boost that a first win at Anfield since 2012, but we may have come away with something better: the belief that we can go into an inferno and emerge unscathed and the hunger to go into any other location and emerge victorious. This squad does not suffer setbacks lightly. To have seen victory snatched away will only fuel a hunger and an anger the likes of which we haven’t seen in quite some time.

We’ll have to wait and see. While we do that, allow me to repeat an invitation: you can enter a raffle for a £25 Arsenal Direct gift card by commenting on this and other posts in April. Yes, it’s a direct attempt at bribing you to join the conversation. The more often you comment, the better your chances at winning. Have at it!

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9 thoughts on “Let’s not toss the baby with the bathwater…

  1. Anthony M

    Strange one our own supporters are stating parts of tge performance. When we were told we are only entering stage 3 of a process to become great again.
    How about enjoy the season top 4 was the aim and everything is going to plan. Fantastic bonus if we win but still lots of work to do.

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      Well-said, Tony.We’ve forgotten just how far ahead of expectations we’ve gotten just to be here. Of course, to be here only to let it slip away would still be excruciating. This result showed how good we can be but also how new and uncertain it all is to a young squad still developing in skill, confidence and experience.

  2. Positive pete

    Excellent synopsis of events.Put the shoe on the other foot.If we’d been 2-0 down & came back to 2-2.What would the view have been.Great comeback,full of character.Still in the race,blah ,blah,blah.
    Instead we have the media who have gleefully snatched the narrative that we blew a lead & are “ bottling” it.Ignoring totally our almost total dominance in the first half & the chances missed in the second.Doesn’t fit their narrative.

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      Yes, much of the coverage is on how we’ve bottled it all and City can now cakewalk their way to yet another title. Lazy journalism bred in part by just how superior CIty have admittedbly over the last 6-7 seasons. They’re apparently inevitable, which absolves those journalists of exploring other angles.

  3. palladio43

    Too much emphasis on Xhaka and/or the “elbow” and also awakening the Anfield crowd, and not enough on a failure to score at least one more goal in the first half and letting the Reds get all the way into the box for their cheap cross and goal. Also a failure once it got to about 70 to 80 minutes if not sooner to recognize that momentum had shifted and that you had to fully park the bus. Sadly, allowing yourself to be deked (hockey talk) for their second goal reflects players still playing for another goal and not recognizing you had a lead to be held. Then, you are away and clear and you probably have Trossard open in the middle, but you fire from long range. Is that Tierney being greedy, hungry, unable to read the situation (the need for a third goal by then) or trying to prove he should be kept?

    1. Kelechi

      I was really surpirsed Arteta didn’t send Tierney on as we tried to hold them off, Kiwior is still raw so putting him on might have felt like the only option for another CB with Tomiyasu injured. We were actually decent at releasing Martinelli or Sakaon counters, one of them should of scored or someone should of finished their crosses.

  4. consolsbob

    Usual absolute media bollocks blaming Xhaka for ‘waking Liverpool up’. This a week after castigating Kane for rolling over like a dead ballerina in a similar situation. Let’s not mention the usual appalling referee performance.

    It was always going to be tough. We walked away evens. Ramsdale showed true grit. We did not fold where many sides would have. Name one who wouldn’t have.

    As for it ‘being in City’s hands now’, surely, therefore, it is in ours too.

    Bring ‘em on.

  5. Goonermatt

    I think it’s ok to be happy with not losing whilst simultaneously being gutted about not winning. We genuinely had them beat early doors but the poverty of refereeing allowing fouls from them but carding us, and some mistakes on our part let them back in. A few games before city, win the ones before, and there and the world will look a different place. COYG

  6. Jon Shay Post author

    you threaded the needled quite well there, Matt. We had them pinned back and on the verge of defeat. Tierney was abysmal (as always), and that combined with our own frailties proved almost fatal.


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