A Beautifully Ugly Win - Liverpool Triumph Over Swansea
Tiki-taka has been tossed aside and filed away in the vault of football history. That’s of course not to say that we didn’t love it while we had it; there was nothing better than a flowing goal following an eternity of passing. Times have however, very much changed; there’s a new way of pleasing the people.
And Brendan Rodgers appears to have mastered it.
Liverpool’s win against Swansea in last weekend’s game portrayed perfectly what it is to win an ugly football match. Match being used in a very real sense. Liverpool were certainly in a battle, with both teams squaring up only to discover they were very much alike. It didn’t take long for the eleven men from Merseyside to realise that this wasn’t going to be ‘just another win’.
In fact, it took half time and a tactical change for Liverpool to even appear interested, thanks to the eternal pressing of Swansea. Even once the Reds turned up, it didn’t look like they were going to get ahead; and if not for a fortunate deflection, they may not have done. But the beauty of the victory certainly didn’t come from the quality of the goal.
It rather came from the sheer grit and rugged graft from the Liverpool team, particularly in defence. If you showed a Liverpool fan of last season the defensive performance on Monday, you’d have a tough task convincing them it contained the likes of Skrtel, Sakho and Mignolet. Had Liverpool obtained this level of defence during the run in last season, it could well have propelled them to top of the table.
One year on and the target is very different; a place in the top four would be more than enough to satisfy fans this time round. Nevertheless, the defence will be just as important as anything else; the defence will be aided of course by what is going on around them. This will of course be controlled by the man at the helm: Brendan Rodgers.
Herein lays another point that made the win over Swansea so significant for Liverpool fans; it served to prove and confirm that Rodgers has (somewhat belatedly) added another string to his bow. The ability to see out a result away from home is something that has alluded the Northern Irishman in his time at Liverpool, and if he has finally mastered it, Liverpool could have a real reason to be excited.
Whilst his tactics at the weekend weren’t perhaps the prettiest thing to look at, the league table looked a whole lot kinder as a result of them. With Liverpool being lifted to within 2 points of a European spot, it seems evident that Rodgers has matured as a manager somewhat.
To understand quite how far he has come, it’s worth looking backing once more to the defeat against Chelsea last season. Forget the slip, something was wrong from the get go in that game – it was a fixture from which a point would have been more than enough. That was what Rodgers was ignorant to, and ultimately, that could be what cost Liverpool so dearly in the end.
The reason Rodgers choose to go at Chelsea on that day was that he was trying to complete the masterpiece he had been so eloquently painting; he did not wish to dirty his canvas with by sitting back for a draw. However, on Monday night we saw a different Liverpool; a Liverpool who have realised their painting doesn’t have to be so perfect, so long as it fits the bill, and it would seem that Rodgers and Co have found the formula to do just that.