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Nothing is easy

10 months ago

Well that was an eventful night wasn’t it.

Even an old cynic like me was welling up at the sight of Christian Atsu’s wife and kids joining in the applause in his memory. RIP Christian.

And then full throttle football from the off.

Trippier having not the best game of his Newcastle United career and NUFC conceding two goals on the break despite dominating the early stages.

Nick Pope also saving the day with a couple of great sweeper keeper interventions.

Then it all went wrong.

Strangely, while it’s not an everyday occurrence, it isn’t unknown for a keeper to handle the ball outside of the box with the obvious result being an early shower.

A quick Google will reveal more than a few candidates, including Alisson Becker.

These things happen: he’s not stopped being a good keeper because of that and in Dubravka, Newcastle United have a damn good second keeper.

Another quick Google will, however, reveal that Dubravka is not only cup-tied, but actually is line to get a winners medal should Man U triumph at Wembley. Strange one that.

So the question is: Gillespie the local lad who has never made an EPL appearance, or Karius, the guy who was once tipped to be the next number one for Die Mannschaft, had a great first season at Liverpool and then a less good second season?

Karius’ career never recovered from that night in Kiev and was loaned out until his contract at Liverpool expired and then we gave him a short term contract. Will that prove to be fortuitous?

The old cynic in me coming to the fore once again, says that surely lightning cannot strike twice and we’ll have a safer pair of hands with Karius, who at least has experience at the highest level of the game. He maybe also deserves the chance of redemption after being knocked into the following morning by Sergio Ramos’ elbow.

Anyhow, back to the match: I thought okay this is it, 0-7 by full time or just keep it tight and see what happens…. but we still kept taking the game to Liverpool.

Ok, we didn’t win, or even get a consolation goal.

However, the important thing for me is that we didn’t let our heads drop. It was great to see Joelinton arguing with Eddie Howe that he wasn’t injured and didn’t need to come off… even though he’d been feeling his hamstring since his surging run.

Miggy running himself into the ground and shoving over Salah on the edge of the box. Surely we can appeal that yellow card as the previous passage of play was clearly offside. The ref didn’t have the greatest of games, failing to show any of the cards that might have been deserved for Liverpool’s repeated fouls in transition. It just goes to show we haven’t earned our place in the big six yet. Ritchie came on and made a great block.

ASM had the best game he’s had in a while but seemed to keep hesitating when he could have passed, shot, or even run on. It seemed perfectly obvious to me from the comfort of my armchair where he was going wrong… I recorded the match in case he wants to come round for some advice or one on one coaching.

I do realise that going from being the star player in a team where the coach gives no instructions on tactics, to playing in a team where everyone has a role and there is less room to show your magic, is not an easy transition to make, but I am convinced that ASM can and will do it.

As a team, as a unit, we kept going, and going, and trying and trying. That has to bode well for the rest of the season.

The belief and determination is there, even if the end product, at the moment, is not there. We have kept grinding out results even when not always playing well. That is the mark of a team moving in the right direction. We have now got the twin albatrosses of the clean sheet and not getting beaten well and truly from our necks and can get back to playing without these self-imposed shackles. Thanks Liverpool.

If we don’t win next week, if we don’t get a top four place, the world does not end, it just means that the glorious future remains just that… a glorious future.

Without question, I would rather win our first cup since I was four years old and have a top four finish, but for me the important thing is that the team are still playing as a team, still working together, still fighting together.

Not having been born with a silver spoon in my mouth, I expect my team to do as I would do after a setback. Get up the next morning and start again.

Before returning to the armchair with a few comforting Belgian beers, I’ll leave you with these immortal words from the Spermbirds of Germany: hopefully Loris Karius has their LPs on repeat…

I’m talkin’ ’bout tryin’ again

Cause there’s only one true failure

And that’s giving up

And there’s only one true loss

And that’s not tryin’ to win

Say it

‘Cuz nothing is easy

That’s worth a sh..

Decide what you want

Then work for it

And never give up

If it’s important to you

Nothing is easy

Nothing, nothing is easy


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