Swansea warmed up for the League Cup final by appearing to invest as little effort as possible, while Liverpool were excellent
There are literally no insults revolting enough to with which to summarise that Swansea performance - even Brendan Himself would have trouble pretending it was precisely what he intended. Liverpool, on the other hand, were really very good - but it's impossible to know quite how good, given the risible risibility of Swansea's effort. They won't care if they win next Sunday, which seems fair enough, but it should still be obligatory noogies and knuckles every day in training until then.
Anyway, ta for your emails and company - lehit.
Howard Webb blows his mercywhistle, and we're all done.
90+3 If Michel Vorm goes back to Utrecht, his autobiography should be called The Vorm That Turned. Sorry, that's the best I've got. It's a lot, lot better than Swansea.
90 min George Sephton is easily the best thing about Anfield, and he's just flatly intoned that Swansea have a minimum of three more minutes to concede more goals and try less hard.
89 min A list of things worse than this Swansea performance:
88 min Straight setting with Gerard Collins: "Unless there is some kind of alternate reality collapse of the timeline and or the sudden appearance/resurrection of several erstwhile deitys it cannot be Liverpool any number Swansea nil."
This Swansea performance has been easily bad enough to effect both.
85 min Borini is down, squealing and attempting to writhe after falling on his shoulder via a challenge with Bartley. He departs, hurting in the extreme, while Bartley chastises himself for unnecessarily expended effort.
82 min It's Glen Johnson again, easing in from the right this time, and bending a low curler just wide of the neat post with his left foot. Swansea then make another change, Shechter going off and Rangel coming on. Samir Nasri and Ashley Young might have something to say about this, but Shechter's might the least nonymous performance of all-time.
81 min Breaking celebrity news, with Padriag Stapleton: "Growing up, used to tell people I was related to Frank Stapleton (I wasn't) but met him co-commentating at an Ireland u-19 match played at my local ground Flancare Park (the Flansiro to us Longford Town fans). Got chatting to him and when I told him I was a Stapleton and was a big fan of his growing up, he muttered 'good' and skulked off."
Where else do you get this kind of gossip, eh?
79 min Swans are putting the grace into disgrace here, and they almost contrive to present Liverpool with a sixth, allowing Glen Johnson the time and space to pick up possession and thread a ball between a defender or fourteen, for Borini. But one of them inadvertently intercepts it, which will absolutely not do.
78 min Suarez goes off, looking slightly disappointed that he's not going to add the potential 46 goals that are still up for grabs. Borini comes on.
76 min Poor Pablo Hernandez departs, with Nathan Dyer coming on. That'll sort it.
73 min Liverpool bring off Lucas for Joe Allen, who, earlier this week, said of his illustrious, storied career: "I think it is the first time I have had to deal with a dip in form like this."
The penalty was, by the way, awarded after Wayne 'the Machzor' Routledge was unable to avoid raising his arm to deflect a cross for no reason whatsoever. Which reminds me, Routledge replaced Lamah - which, in Hebrew means why, a word no doubt playing on the lips, at great, tremendous volume, of Itay Shechter.
Sturridge lifts it over Vorm, who again guesses right, diving to his right.
Wayne Routledge is a silly man.
67 min If Swansea were any less arsed, they'd be defecating through a hole in their torso. Henderson, who's enjoying the total lack of competition, slips another ball through, again for Sturridge, peeling away in the inside-left position. Letting it run across him, professional footballer Sturridge is unwilling to apply a simple finish with his weaker right foot/wants to show off by finishing as trickily as possible/both, and allows Vorm to save when he ought to have had no chance.
66 min Poor old Bobby Gardiner is suffering. "As a Swansea fan attempting to quit smoking, I think Laudrup's line up was somewhat inconsiderate: not only have I lost a crutch, but Michu's amazing hair is not present to brighten my day."
64 min Almost another goal - but there'll be one in a minute, you can rest assured. Henderson, wide on the left, clipped a ball over the top of the Swansea defence for Sturridge, who controlled on his chest and cleverly repositioned his body as the ball dropped, shooting in the same movement. But Vorm did well to extend a foot low to his right, then bounced up to deflect away Suarez's follow-up effort.
60 min If only Coutinho were bald, that'd really be something. But he's not, though he is now sitting in his puffa, having departed the action for Jordan Henderson.
This is another hugely presentable goal. Downing, suddenly the Fantasy League specialist, takes a Carragher clearance and funds Suarez, who, with a raise of his left eyebrow, sends Monk somewhere off towards Carlisle. But luckily Bartley comes across to cover, so Suarez dips back inside as he does the tank going to the wrong war thing. But luckily Monk is back, so Suarez sways easily away from him - this is slowmotion that isn't slowmotion, basically - before, finally, he is ready to slot past Vorm, who dives helplessly to his left.
Can anyone count to a trillion?
56 min Now this is more like it - enough with your 'football'. Simon McMahon remembers what the MBM does best: "As well as a carper, I know you're a bit of a philosopher too, Daniel. So here's one to test you. Bombay mix or peanuts?"
I'm not much keen on either - I'm a crisps and sour sweets glutton (taken alternately).
This, though, was a really exceptional piece of goal. Liverpool whizzed four or five passes down the left, inside then out again, carving out the space between Swansea's bewildered traffic cones. Eventually, one of them found Suarez, at which point the aesthetic became practical, and he zooted in a pass for Enrique to prod high into the net, futsal-style, from the left of the box, about eight yards out.
Think of a number, any number. Because that's going to be the final score here: Liverpool anynumber-0 Swansea City.
48 min Luis Suarez is basically Dough Boy playing Duck Hunt here, roaming down the right and drilling a low cross which Coutinho backheels just wide.
Liverpool attack straight from the kick-off, and with Swansea still dreaming of Wembley, and biscuits, and tangerine trees and marmalade skies, Suarez, in more space than in space, is suddenly in position to roll in a ball to Coutinho, accelerating through the middle and in on goal. Dribbling along with his right instep, he shoots low and hard, and slight deflection makes sure it goes in - though it was probably doing so anyway.
They're certainly accepting the defeat now.
46 min No changes for Swansea. They're taking the loss, which is fair enough - Michu needs two weeks off to make sure they beat Bradford. sorry, that was carping. I'm a carper.
Half-time ad break, in honour of Swansea's Rumbelows Cup date. If only someone had acquainted Kenny Dalglish with its lyric.
There was a semblance of a game for the about ten minutes it took Liverpool to notice Swansea weren't seeking one, after which it was all Liverpool. Michael Laudrup has a choice to make - he either lozzes this off as a necessary Littlewoods cup-winning evil, or makes some changes and hopes for an improvement.
45 min Liverpool almost so a Liverpool, Swansea winning a free-kick perhaps forty yards from goal that De Guzman clips in. Monk, unobtrusive and silent, is alone in the box, and he flicks a header upwards - not the attempt on goal that he intended.
42 min MBM roving reporter Gary Naylor is able to confirm a suspicion: "I type this from a bus right outside Anfield en route back to London. Not much noise in evidence."
What, not even the jingle-jangle of a thousand lost souls?
39 min This is vehicles all travelling in the same direction, metaphorically speaking. But Liverpool will really want to score again, because it's unlikely Swansea can be quite as miserable in the second half. And they almost do, Suarez picking up a loose clearance and rolling an instapass into the path of Sturridge, looking across the line and cutting in from inside-left. As Vorm commits himself, he tries a little Peter Beardsley chip finish, but it clips the keeper and Monk is able to head away.
As for the penalty award, Liverpool forced a corner from the left after a Gerrard shot was deflected behind. Eventually, the ball found its way to Suarez - in that position he loves, close to the by-line, that enables him to do that wriggling past 56,091 defenders in .000001mm of space thing that he does. but before he's even tried, Agustien has leaned into him, he's eating grass, dude, and the referee is pointing towards the spot. it was perhaps a foul, it's tricky to judge - but there was no need for the defender to make the tackle.
Slotted low and hard, down to Vorm's right. He went the correct way - but ye don't save them.
After a marginal but silly foul on Suarez.
32 min "Your Brendan picture reminds me of the old story about Frank Stapleton,"recalls Justin Kavanagh. "A player who used to room with him said he was so miserable that he'd get up in the morning, look in the mirror and smile, then say to himself 'right, that's smiling over and done with for another day.' With Brendan Rogers, you'd wonder if he even remembers how to contract his coupon muscles into a smile."
It's hard to smile when you're educating groups and the like. Oooohhh, Frankie, Frankie is the first football song I can remember singing. I think he might be pals with David "Jack" - as in I'm alright - O'Leary.
30 min Liverpool are as in control here as they usually are of games that they lose. They're the polar opposite of rope-a-dope.
29 min "Having shot over the bar three times now," notices Philippa Booth, "I *think* he might be aiming for the exit staircase in the stand behind the goal.Possibly he's a big pinball fan."
I believe it's a form of endearment in Montevideo.
25 min Liverpool ought to score, but avoid so doing. Suarez excellences a cross field ball left-to-right, where Sturridge is waiting to make its acquaintance. He skips infield across the face of goal and distributes a lollipop or two, now only a few yards out and seeking a spare millimetre to swivel and shoot. But Swansea defend the space well, and deny him the opportunity, before he falls over a challenge - that may well have been a penalty, but Howard Webb says no. The ball rolls to Coutinho, and with the keeper pretty much grounded and nae other mon anywhere near, he very deliberately rolls a shot wide of the bear post.
23 min Hernandez races past a tackle or three down the right, but his cross is turned away by Agger, and Liverpool break, also down their right - which, paradoxically, is on the other side of the pitch. Spooky. Anyway, Downing trots inside onto his right one, and clips an excellent cross to Sturrdige, who heads wide from a few yards out. Naughty.
21 min Lack of alternative forced me to publish this first email of the match, from Ryan Dunne. "Gah Daniel, how could you big-up the Man City MBM and not mention you were about to do a Liverpool one! I just stumbled across this by accident. Am wondering if it's like one of those cool school parties that only the in-crowd get timeously invited to (not that the present author has got any personal experience of that or anything)".
I'll come clean - Mrs Dunne got onto Mrs Harris, gave her a piece ay her mind, and here we are.
18 min It's a fair old while since Swansea escaped their own half, and cede another free-kick close to goal - this time left of centre - when Tiendalli brings down Suarez. He makes damn sure to be taking this one, and curls an shot a few yards over the bar, towards Vorm's near post.
16 min Liverpool won a free-kick in the D - for why, my poor picture prevented me from relating. Gerrard made sure to take it, thudding a drive into the wall, and the ball broke to Suarez, hanging around from not getting to take it. His effort was also blocked.
14 min Slowly but perceptibly, Liverpool are taking charge of this game. Suarez, around the right corner of the box, has a look at what's on and computes no finer option that passing short to Downing, who wipes his left foot across the ball - think Boris Becker's
broomcupboard backhand - and sees the ball fly hectares wide, to much consternation.
13 min Decent chance for Liverpool, after they win a corner which is clipped in from the right. Johnson is loitering away not nicking toilet seats, in oodles of space, and with time to take the ball down. But he decides on a header, which doesn't trouble Vorm.
11 min Downing picks the ball up by the right touchline, close to the corner flag, and he wanders infield without so much as a questioning glance, turning into a low drive that scoots just wide of the near post.
9 min An error from Reina allows Lamah to advance down the Swansea right, cutting back a cross that Carragher anticipates with characteristic good sense. His blocks leads a corner, which finds its way to the Lamah, maybe ten yards out to the left of the penalty spot, and with plenty of time to wait for the ball to drop. Positioning himself to sweep it home with right foot, he instead drags it into the ground, and the chance is gone.
7 min It must be pretty quiet inside the ground - you can hear much shrieking from the touchline. Lucas leg-splays into Agustien and narrowly avoids a booking.
4 min Liverpool have started the brighter - attacking the Kop end, for those watching in black and white. Stewart Downing, who for some reason continues to be deployed on the right, goes close with a shot that followed a Coutinho corner. Try saying that fast and lots after a couple of vats of Personality Producer.
2 min Places enjoying better views of this game than my feed: from the back of the Anfield away end; that coffin in Kill Bill; inside Du'aine Ladejo's colon.
1 min It starts.
So, Liverpool are - no, this isn't a parlour game. Liverpool are at pretty much full-strength, with Skrtel out and Carragher in. Otherwise, Coutinho starts - on the left, I think, but that remains to be seen.
Swansea, meanwhile, have an odd look - Michu is on the bench and Chico Flores is injured. Kyle Bartley has been given the chance to chup his place ahead of next week's Milk cup final, sponsored by sponsorship.
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Jose Enrique, Downing, Gerrard, Lucas, Coutinho, Suarez, Sturridge. Subs: Gulacsi, Henderson, Allen, Borini, Sterling, Shelvey, Skrtel.
Swansea: Vorm, Tiendalli, Monk, Bartley, Davies, Britton, Agustien, de Guzman, Lamah, Shechter, Hernandez. Subs: Tremmel, Williams, Michu, Routledge, Dyer, Moore, Rangel.
Beefcake referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)
Preamble It didn't need Meera Syal to inform us that life is neither all ha ha nor hee hee. It's hard, well hard, serving us a diet of beamers, googlies and curve balls while we try and guard our stumps with a mivvi. A figurative mivvi.
But no challenge challenges as hard as the challenge not to open a late-notice MBM with some gratuitous Brendan-tweaking - and that's before noticing that the game in question involves Liverpool Football Club and Swansea, the Myself Derby itself.
But really, what's a person to do, when gold of this ilk continues to pour fourth?
"I’ve always said that you can live without water for many days, but you can’t live for a second without hope."
The 'always' is particularly intriguing, and must be particularly tricky when brushing teeth and other the like, though as far as living without hope goes, well - I'm not sure everyone would agree. But if it's good enough for Fizz and John Stape, then it ought to be good enough for you too.