Andy Robertson’s manic sh*thouse grin could spark Liverpool back to life
“If people believe in me, then we will go through this together. We will have great times again.”
Those were the words of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp in his pre-match press conference ahead of the Merseyside derby.
Such was the mood in the wake of last weekend’s dismal 3-0 defeat at Wolves that it was difficult to believe him. This all had felt like an end of an era.
Klopp has defined an era and surely earned unwavering faith, but Liverpool have looked unrecognisable of late. Ponderous, flat, pedestrian. Every antonym of how you’d have described this team at their best in recent years.
Then you look into the manic eyes of Andy Robertson, grinning ear to ear, as he shithouses Jordan Pickford and Conor Coady. And maybe you do believe him. This looks like the Liverpool we’ve come to know under Klopp. Maybe the reports of this great team’s death have been greatly exaggerated.
Watching Liverpool of late has been like watching late-era Simpsons. All the characters you know and love. It’s all recognisable, but just quite there. The voices sound wrong. The animation lacks charm. The jokes are off. Find and replace with pressing, organisation, energy.
Seeing Robertson rattle the opposition in a Merseyside derby is like switching over onto the Simpsons, groaning to see an episode from Season 11, but hearing Homer crack a classic line. Maybe the magic’s not gone yet?
This wasn’t one isolated moment. This was just a continuation of a display that looked like Klopp’s Liverpool. Composure at the back. Some bite back in midfield, with young Stefan Bajcetic looking like a young Xabi Alonso in a superb man-of-the-match performance.
Expertly-executed counter-attacks with Trent Alexander-Arnold getting an assist and Mohamed Salah scoring.
Seeing Liverpool’s shithouse king spark a touchline brawl by simply smiling in the face of Everton’s irate players was an instant flashback to better times for Liverpool.
Ultimately, it capped off a one-off performance. A much-welcome and much-needed one. Liverpool will need to do this consistently if they’re to save their season.
But it can be a catalyst. Liverpool travel to Newcastle next week. Then their top-four rivals play in the Carabao Cup final. Replicate performances like this and they may soon find themselves three points behind Eddie Howe’s high-flying Magpies.
With Real Madrid to come in the Champions League, Liverpool’s 2022-23 may yet spark into life.
“We had a perfect week to train and the players were so excited and we couldn’t wait for the game to turn everything around. Hopefully it was a start,” Mohamed Salah told Sky Sports after the final whistle.
“Captains, Hendo and Milly, were speaking last week and they spoke again yesterday.
“Like ‘guys, we have to play our football, we need to enjoy [it], because we’ve been together for five or six years, we have new players so there is no point to play as we started.’
“I think we managed to play good, as you say it looks like the old Liverpool, that’s also my opinion since last week.”
It definitely looked like the old Liverpool. You only need to look at Andy Robertson’s maniacal grin to see that.