Despite what you're seeing in the British media, the story this week wasn't Stevie G's return to Anfield but the red-eyed, dehydrated fans who returned to the pub to watch Liverpool FC take on Aston Villa in a morning Premier League match. Well, at least here in Toronto that was the story. More on that later.
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MATCHDAY – WEEK 16
LIVERPOOL FC 1 - ASTON VILLA 0
That's not to take away from the spectacle of the standing ovation and outpouring of love Anfield showed Gerrard when he walked on the pitch. Stevie gave a quick wave in acknowledgement but had his game face on. All business.
In Gerrard's own words, Liverpool FC were the better team end to end. Yet, the three points was, frankly, too difficult to get and might very well have been aided by a few favourable calls. That said, there were just as many calls that went Villa's way.
If we're being honest, referee Stuart Attwell wasn't at his best. I truly hate it when the story line post match involves the Ref. Or VAR.
Lucky too was the fact that Villa chose to play out from the back, defending hard till the end of the match when Stevie turned the switch and they got a number of chances. Too little, too late.
Liverpool put on the pressure right out of the gate but were not clinical enough to get on the scoreboard. What I call Klopp's "magic half time talks" did the trick in that the team kicked it into high gear. In the end, though, thanks to Villa's tight defending, the sole and winning goal came from a penalty kick, not open play.
Despite that, the footy display put on by our Reds was something to watch.
LET'S BREAK IT DOWN...
Fabihno, in particular, was outstanding. He was everywhere with clever and neat passing and breaking up most all of the counter attacks Villa attempted. Fabs is redefining the role of "clean up man" in the modern game.
Andy Robertson clearly had some pent up energy from not being able to thump Zlatan mid week. He was a man possessed this weekend. He was a nightmare for the Villans. It was by the slightest of margins that he did not have an assist or win a penalty (see refereeing above). He even had shots on net! It pains Robbo to not set up a forward even when he has a chance to score. So you know the fact he took so many shots on net meant he was a man on a mission.
(Yes, yes, I am getting a Robbo tattoo soon).
The Ox showed his brilliance on the ball, displaying some lovely footwork but wasn't as effective as his last few appearances promised.
MO once again had 3 men marking him constantly, yet he managed to drift in an out of their back line with incredibly feats of skill. Had he been a little more greedy and not tried to set up others, he'd likely have scored in open play.
Despite not scoring, Sadio was a stand out. His energy was almost that of Robbo, Scotland's version of the Energizer Bunny.
Despite the frustrations over questionable calls and our inability to get the ball in the net, the open play was really enjoyable to watch.
Here's the replay.
So, back to the real story. The morning after the night before.
Some group of idiots chose to host our annual LFC Toronto Holiday Party the night before a morning match (yes, I am one of those idiots). And so, despite closing down the pub at 2:30 AM, I had no excuse but to force myself up, still drunk, at 7 AM to get to the pub, hang banners, and do my best at not throwing up while doing it.
I thought I might be one of just a few people who showed up but as the match started, many partiers slowly (and gingerly) streamed in to the pub. Here are the diehards who came in for a little Hair of the Dog. Champs, all of 'em.
Pics Of The Match
As always, we got many first-timers joining us at The Maddy. And many former first-timers returning and becoming "regulars." It's heartwarming to see the community that's building here.
Click on any photo to launch gallery view.
Mid week match against Newcastle this Thursday, Dec 16th at 3 PM. Followed by Tottenham on Sunday, Dec 19 at 11:30 AM. Both matches will be played at hour home pub, The Madison Avenue Pub. Come cheer on the Reds with your community!
BE SURE TO MAKE RESERVATIONS ...it helps the pub ensure it has the right number of servers to best serve you.
We look forward to seeing you there!
BECOME A MEMBER TODAY!
You can win, too! Become a member of the Official Liverpool Supporters Club of Toronto online!
You'll gain access to many benefits, 15% discount on your TOTAL BILL at The Madison, sweepstakes entries, and connect with fellow fans across the Greater Toronto Area and the World.
What's your favourite memory of this week's match?
What was your favourite memory of the match or the in-pub experience? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
UP THE REDS!!
You’ll Never Walk Alone.
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