Henderson Sits Down James
A stalemate then.
0-0 is a very overrated score line for the away side in European competitions. Everyone, including Niko Kovac, buys into it being a solid European away result. But in many ways, it can favour the home side, especially one as good as Liverpool Football Club. Just last year, when Manchester United returned from Sevilla with a 0-0 draw it was praised as a “Mourinho Masterclass” when in reality it was the beginning of the end of his tenure. The lack of an away goal means that the Bayern boss now finds himself in a one-off game versus Liverpool where our goals mean more than theirs. He obviously backs his players to defeat Liverpool because the best they can get from a draw is a penalty shootout. This is a very risky stance to take, that will most likely take his job if it fails. Bayern did an excellent job in nullifying Liverpool for the most part but sacrificed almost all of their own attacking threat in doing so. They will not have that option in Munich, this result means they must score and therefore open up more. They must make use of their quality going forward while being just as organised and solid defensively, all without key man Kimmich while Liverpool bring back Van Dijk and most likely Lovren into the fold. If we score once they need 2 when they failed to trouble our 4th and 5th choice centre backs on Tuesday evening. It is not the result we wanted but the Reds are still very much in this and we should still back them to advance.
On a more positive note, Jordan Henderson is terrific at playing football. Some of us were right all along, others will keep their head in the sand or other hard to reach places. Henderson got his first minutes on the pitch in a month and had to adjust quickly amidst esteem company. Thiago, James, Martinez, amongst a group of stars rated much higher than himself, Henderson shone brightest. At a stage where the pressure and quality is too much for some, (see Pogba last week) our captain stood out. His awareness, accuracy of passing and intelligence was astonishing. On countless occasions when the ball came to him at pace, he managed to redistribute it first time and alleviate Bayern;s pressure. It was marvellous to watch. In the first half especially when the game was being played at such a frenetic pace his touch and vision was superb. Even by the few that rate him highly, he gets labelled a workhorse or industrious in a manner which doesn’t state or underrates his technical ability which is of such a high level, and only seems to improve with the quality of opposition and stature of the match. He never hides or wilts under the pressure of big games like those that are bizarrely considered better than him, in fact he relishes it and his importance to Liverpool is portrayed by his manager who we all trust and who continues to select him in the very biggest of games despite his lack of match fitness. He has earned our faith and more. For goodness sake, get behind him.
The big one is next. We get the chance to dampen Manchester United’s spirits and bring an end to their unbeaten league run under Solskjaer. We need to show them that we’re not Tottenham or Arsenal or Chelsea. We are the best team in this league and levels above them. The boys should be up for this as well as the travelling fans of course. Winning at Old Trafford would do wonders for our season and give us the momentum and belief to attack the remaining fixtures. Up the Reds!
May Henderson bag the winner.