The expression on Jürgen Klopp’s face as Watford celebrations broke out all around him said it all. A testing 24 hours for Liverpool, dominated by Philippe Coutinho’s emailed transfer request, ended with the sort of injury-time equaliser that drives managers insane. Miguel Britos, looking at least a yard offside, bundled the ball home from a corner in the 93rd minute, denying Liverpool the victory that would have brought some much-needed respite during the Coutinho saga.
New season, same old problems for Liverpool. Against Watfordthey were made to pay the price for an all too familiar defensive horror show, as Miguel Britos headed home a 94th-minute equaliser to deny Jurgen Klopp victory in his 100th competitive game in charge of the club.
Whatever it was the Premier League defenders were doing over the summer it was not improving their defending. After Friday’s seven-goal opener to the season, came another six at Vicarage Road. And had Franco Baresi, Paolo Maldini or Fabio Cannevaro been in attendance as the self-proclaimed finest league in the world got under way, the great Italian defenders would have wondered what on earth had happened to the dark art of keeping a clean sheet.
It’s a classic First Day of the Season. Sunshine on your face walking down Vicarage Road. Touts after tickets, programme vendors, charity buckets. 50/50 scarves on sale for a tenner (“who buys them?”). Friends rock up, you’ve not seen them for three months… “how was your summer?”. Albert is here for the first time in even longer, it’s good to see him. He’s stunned by how tall the girls are, they are nonplussed but grin anyway. There are flags, and noise, a tremendous montage on the big screens. And then, then the football. As has been said many times if you rely solely on the sport itself for your enjoyment you’re going to be disappointed more often than not but still, football. And it’s just brilliant…
The first day of the season and, on arriving in Watford, it was grey and drizzly. I was at the Hornet Shop before 9:30, so it was rather bizarre to see the programme sellers and burger stands already setting up. Having bought the new home and away shirts, a woolly hat (just in case) and a Watford coffee cup, I headed to the museum to get in line for the Graham Taylor exhibition.
Premier League results and table from 11v11.com
|11 Aug 2017||Arsenal||4:3||Leicester City|
|12 Aug 2017||Brighton and Hove Albion||0:2||Manchester City|
|12 Aug 2017||Chelsea||2:3||Burnley|
|12 Aug 2017||Crystal Palace||0:3||Huddersfield Town|
|12 Aug 2017||Everton||1:0||Stoke City|
|12 Aug 2017||Southampton||0:0||Swansea City|
|12 Aug 2017||Watford||3:3||Liverpool|
|12 Aug 2017||West Bromwich Albion||1:0||AFC Bournemouth|
|13 Aug 2017||Manchester United||4:0||West Ham United|
|13 Aug 2017||Newcastle United||0:2||Tottenham Hotspur|