Manchester City defeated Burnley without excesses (0-2). It was enough for him to unleash Silva and Gundogan to control the situation and assert himself in the leadership of a Premier that it will be very difficult for him to escape. With one game less than their competitors, Guardiola’s team added 47 points, followed by gray United (44), young Leicester (42) and declining Liverpool, which stalled at 40 points after being surprised by Brighton (0 -one).
Empty Anfield is the most conspicuous of crowd skeletons and a clamorous invitation to pandemic-time football. It happens that nothing happens. The teams pretend an activity, a dispute, a formation. The players exercise, shout, ask for the ball, even like each other, rub it, pass it and pass the time. But it is difficult to see in all that movement a genuinely aggressive action, a harmony in the associations, a total and continuous surrender. Unchecking is scarce, courageous acts are not abundant, nobody is gambling and instead all comply with the provision of essential services. This is how Liverpool and Brighton played.
Brighton traveled north seven points down. The pressure left her for others. He had nothing to lose at Anfield and very little to gain. Liverpool played instead for the big prizes. If he scored three points, he would still be hooked on the title race. The challenge shouldn’t have stimulated him too much. Once the most feverish squad in the world, Jürgen Klopp’s team is advancing on the path of dissolution. Small energy savings are their downfall. The injury to Sadio Mané, the most rabid of his men, robbed him of what little spirit he had left.
Liverpool controlled the ball without unbalancing, as if in the rhythmic turn of possession they expected to generate some overflow due to the opponent’s drowsiness. Brighton closed and waited. Liverpool finished off sticks. Brighton did not even shoot, allowing themselves to be lulled by the 4-4-2 gymnastics, the ten outfield players swinging from right to left without opening a gap, regularly trained and anesthetized by discipline. Until there was a backlash. A routine maneuver. Ball to the right wing, to Solly March, a left-handed winger with a changed leg, who receives, turns and centers the far post without much faith. There appears Dan Burn, who beats Trent Alexander-Arnold’s back and nods to the pot. Philips clears and the ball bounces off Steve Alzate’s foot. Accidental auction. Brighton’s first shot on goal. And goal. Very serious goal: 0-1. Both determining because Liverpool have not changed gears in an hour and the players, when they have been accelerating for so long, lose the ability to do so. There is no switch to return the troop to competitive tension when the brain has been so many minutes, so many games, on minimal services.
How bad is football and how bad is the Premier. How disoriented Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea are on their journey through the coronavirus desert. How logical that, in this context of general dullness, Solskjaer’s drab Manchester United look like a good side and indulge in the excess of scoring 9-0 at the disastrous Southamton. Among so much ruin, only the City of Bernardo Silva and Gundogan stands out, true engines of the only machine capable of flying in English football.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.