The run continues. By my humble reckoning, Liverpool have now gone 17 games without loss in all competitions. Since the embarrassment of the 4-1 drubbing at Wembley at the hands of Tottenham Hotspurs, the Reds have not lost since. Five draws and 12 wins have seen Liverpool climb to fourth place in the Premier League, qualify for the knock out stages of the Champions League and reach the fourth round of the FA Cup. Not bad!
The last achievement coming at the expense of the noisy neighbors from across Stanley Park. And as always, such a game didn't come without incident. An altercation between Roberto Firmino and Everton's Mason Holgate sadly, overshadowed a great Liverpool performance, not to mention a debut goal for new signing Virgil van Dijck.
Virgil van Dijk scored an 84th-minute winner on his Liverpool debut as Jurgen Klopp's side beat Everton 2-1 in Friday night's FA Cup third-round Merseyside derby. #LIVEVE #LFC #VVD #FACup pic.twitter.com/oe1EdIv8PH— Football Manics (@footballmanics) January 5, 2018
However, secure the win Liverpool did and with it passage into the fourth round. Again, Liverpool were ahead through a James Milner penalty, only to concede to a Gylfi Sigurdsson effort in the second half. The home side were not to be denied, and how fitting it was that debutant van Dijck secured the win, just when it looked as if we were heading for a replay at Goodison Park.
Can the run continue? With the next game being against league leaders Manchester City, we'll find out. It's certainly going to be the toughest test of the season yet for Liverpool. Not to mention the opportunity to avenge the 5-0 beating they endured in the reverse fixture in September.
The selling of Philippe Coutinho this week to Barcelona for a reported £142m. Regular readers will recall I was 100% FOR selling him in the summer. This, in my opinion, would have been a smart move. Forget all of this "Nor for sale" nonsense the club was spouting at the time. If he wants to leave let him - he doesn't want to play for the club anymore.
What me and doubtless other supporters were not expecting, is that the club would sell Coutinho in mid-season without any obvious sign of a replacement. Yes, there is talk of Thomas Lemar. Yes, there is talk in the last few days of Riyaz Mahrez. The latter of which has been denied this morning. Where have we heard that before? Step Forward Mario Balotelli.
Personally, I'd like to see Lemar come to the club as he represents a very different kind of player. Easily stronger and faster (two areas I felt Coutinho struggled in), and along with that, takes a good free kick and has an eye for a pass.
Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool are more likely to continue the rest of the season with no replacement rather than splash out "machine gun" style on another or a number of other players. Not necessarily a bad thing. What is bad is to put the club in this situation.
What we've seen from Klopp so far shows that if he can't get exactly who he wants this month then he will wait for the summer. #LFC— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) January 6, 2018
I do have a sneaking suspicion - or desperate hope, I'm not sure which - that there is somebody lined up. The last-minute business missed in the summer could conceivably be getting done now.
Without doubt the unfolding situation surrounding Jon Flanagan and the assault on his partner Rachael Wall to which he has pleaded guilty.
The 25 year-old was arrested in Liverpool city centre on 22nd December following what the Judge described as a "prolonged attack" during which she was kicked. One can imagine, given the what Flanagan does for a living, such a kick would likely carry considerably more force than that of most people.
Some onlookers have called for him to be sacked from the club. Would this be correct? I'm in two minds. Had he worked in an "ordinary" job this would very much be in his employer's discretion. However, what I would say is that he should be spared a harsh sanction because of his standing.
People may not agree but real men do not assault women. Jon Flanagan is a coward and should not be allowed to play for #LFC again. No excuses for violence against women.— Mersey Reds (@MerseyReds1) January 2, 2018
I understand this offense - common assault - carries a maximum term of six months in prison. As he's admitted his guilt, a spell at Her Majesty's pleasure would likely be fitting. I've been brought up with the lesson "If you can't do the time, then don't do the crime". Everybody is responsible for their own actions and Flanagan needs to take the just results of his.
An ugly situation indeed and a very sorry one for the club, the player and not least his partner. It does make one wonder about one certain thing though. Following his injury, he struggled to regain the heights he'd previously reached. One has to wonder if this type of behavior is perhaps one of the reasons why this hasn't happened.
Follow Ben on Twitter @MrBengreen
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