Graham Pearcey

Graham Pearcey

Cherries 1 Liverpool 2

Date: 1 November 2023

This evening will probably be remembered most of all for the appalling weather conditions. But for the record, we did perform very well against strong opposition.

There never seemed to be any doubt that this match would go ahead, despite severe weather warnings; police advice against going out; and local schools having already announced that they'd stay closed the following day. As storms raged throughout the game we all got thoroughly soaked (I still hadn’t dried out when I got home). It was notable that the referee (John Brooks) added very little time to either half – perhaps concerned about getting himself home as much as anyone else! The absence of VAR for this League Cup game also reduced delays, and we all prayed there wouldn’t be a penalty shootout.

Both managers went for remarkably strong line-ups. Salah started the match, and both Alexander-Arnold and Jota came on as second half substitutes. Iraola only changed three players from last Saturday’s league game, and they were all the kinds of switch that he often makes anyway; certainly no weakening of the team. Travers wasn’t eligible (cup-tied) so Cameron Plain was the reserve goalie.

The weather had a clear effect on the game; many of Radu’s goal kicks in the first half swirled in the air and came back towards him! Nonetheless for saves made – especially in the second half – Radu would be my ‘man of the match’. He even saved a shot in the 31st minute but unfortunately Gakpo was on hand to follow up and score for the visitors at close range. Half time score: 0-1.

Kluivert, having missed a golden opportunity to score in the 12th minute of the first half, (reminiscent of Tavernier in the previous match,) scored his first goal for the club on 64 minutes (a header off a Scott corner). But six minutes later a powerful shot from Nunez restored Liverpool’s lead – and so it remained, despite Radu going forward for a free kick deep into stoppage time.

The drive home was treacherous to say the least. The rains continued although roads were already flooded. Driving steadily through the New Forest I was suddenly drenched with water displaced by two huge buses speeding along the fast lane. Both buses bore the legend ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, so guess who they were? Nonetheless, despite having to drive very slowly and cautiously, there were fortunately no diversions in place so I actually got home at 12:15, the exact same time as my previous evening match!

The team lined up as follows at the start of the game:

Smith, Mepham, Zabarnyi, Kerkez;
Semenyo, Christie, Philip, Kluivert;

By the end the line-up was:

Aarons, Mepham, Zabarnyi, Kerkez;
Brooks, Traore, Christie, Tavernier;
Solanke, Moore

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