Liverpool tendencies, QPR and Norwich City’s points currency
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It almost came out last week and it’s going to this – my one-time Liverpool wobble…
• Clearly QPR’s win over Chelsea meant a huge amount to their fans, a derby win and all that. Yet from this corner of the world – where City have been superb at Anfield, Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge and earned one point – it sticks a little in the throat that Chelsea imploded and handed the Rs three without QPR trying.
• Two other points: Foy got the big decisions right, so Chelsea’s complaints are ridiculous. And why John Terry thinks a statement denying the obvious abuse is OK is beyond me. His behaviour was a disgrace. Kick it – and him – out.
• Will Leicester never learn? Losing 3-0 at home to Millwall isn’t great, but the fact they sacked Sven as a result is exactly why they won’t be going up any time soon. Martin O’Neill in? I doubt it. Much more Mark Hughes’ style, I’d say…
• What a result in Manchester on Sunday – most who looked up the result probably thought it was a typo. And for me, the video on this page shows best how it must have felt for those City fans…
Firstly, I was young. Say 14. At that age protests aimed at City chairman Robert Chase and a football club losing its way after Martin O’Neill’s dramatic exit were galling enough to at least evoke some curiosity of what lay away from Carrow Road.
I remember buying a Liverpool shirt. A horrible gold and black number, with Robbie Fowler’s name on the back – my rather troubled history with names on shirts rearing its ugly head again.
I also had a Newcastle United away shirt I bought from JJB for a fiver, but that was a little different.
The first game I watched with any particular attempt at support for the Reds was highlights of the incredible 4-3 win over the Magpies in the 1995-96 season.
And, as memory serves, that was it. For some reason, I got it all out of my system in one go.
I imagine for any boy or girl there is at least one moment spent backing Liverpool in some way or other. That is just the club it is. Every player that signs for them is always quoted saying they supported the Reds as a child.
So to be at Anfield for the first time on Saturday made for an interesting evening. None of the wide-eyed glares across the vast interior that Old Trafford draws. Anfield is more its modest cousin.
But it is a proper ground. A football cathedral, as one of my sportsdesk colleagues would say.
But in a way, Anfield’s modesty is a wink to the Canaries. It helps back up those theories and quotes that were bandied around for seasons on end in the Championship and League One.
You know the ones, about Premier League facilities etc.
In truth, Saturday was a great experience for instilling in the fans and players – not that the latter currently needs it – the fact there is no need for an inferiority complex these days.
Maybe that is one of the biggest differences to the class and atmosphere of 2004-05.
There is no much-maligned ‘Little Norwich’. Chelsea manager André Villas-Boas didn’t big up his defeated opponents – he got annoyed at them. And Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish could only manage some grudging praise after Saturday’s draw.
Much better than kind words from ‘awe-inspiring’ football managers, off the back of rolling over to 3-0 defeats.
City continue to adapt to their new surroundings. You could look at Saturday and feel it was just City’s day – on any other Luis Suarez would have had a hat-trick and that would have been that.
But to do so would do disservice to the effort and ability of Paul Lambert’s men on the day.
They are building a body of work that suggests they are coming to terms with the Premier League – and be assured, people are starting to take notice.
One final point – which also comes with a final caveat: I hate the City and Blackpool comparisons. In reality they are irrelevant. Still… I saw a Liverpool fan tweet over the weekend how he could take being battered at home to the Seasiders last season and losing – but battering Norwich and drawing was far more upsetting.
The respective performances by Liverpool in those two matches say far more than the results either City or Blackpool achieved.
And then there is Seasiders boss Ian Holloway, who had this to say in his Independent column: “It is Norwich who I have been impressed with the most.
“I’m envious because they are able to play an attacking game yet look secure at the back. We didn’t master that last year. It’s not easy to get both ends right, yet Norwich are doing it. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the rise and rise of the Canaries; I don’t want them to fall.”
Rest assured Olly, that goes for all of us.
• Grant Holt’s equaliser on Saturday was so sweet it knocked out ESPN’s little in-goal camera – and the next task for City will be to do likewise to Blackburn Rovers’ boss Steve Kean this weekend.
That’s assuming the Scot has not already gone by then.
Rovers’ Indian owners sounded delightfully naive in interviews during the club’s tour to the Sub-continent earlier this month – and quite simply, the longer he is in that job the better it is for City.