I’m sure everyone’s seen Steven Gerrard’s post-game huddle speech after the game against City. A speech made of passion and determination, that I’m sure no one will disagree. Indeed, the team must not “let this fucking slip”.
Of course in the days since, everyone’s attention has switched to the Chelsea game. That’s the one we need to watch out for, Jose Mourinho loves to get a result against us, they always get results and they set up to grind out wins etc. But fans seem to forget one very important thing that Captain Fantastic said to his team mates right at the beginning of that huddle.
“We go to Norwich and we do exactly the same.”
He’s right. It’s all very well and good worrying about Chelsea (and I do think that is the toughest test yet this season, although Crystal Palace will certainly be difficult and who knows, maybe even Newcastle will finally get their shit together by season’s end) but we have a game before that.
Stevie won’t forget, and I doubt there’s any way he’ll let the rest of the squad forget that either, but we can’t just write down Norwich as a win before the game even kicks off. There are a lot of things going for us in that fixture: they’ve been poor all season, we have a fantastic record against them, Suarez in particular loves scoring goals against them and I’m sure there are other interesting facts that the statisticians will be out to unearth before the weekend. But it’s important that everyone take this game seriously.
For one, we have precedent for winning big games and then dropping points against teams we should beat the week afterwards. We’re a lot better at avoiding that this season, but there have been a few instances still. After the 1-0 victory against Man United, we drew 2-2 away to Swansea. After the 4-0 drubbing of Everton, we drew 1-1 with West Brom. After the 5-1 thumping of Arsenal, we nearly dropped points against Fulham but for a Gerrard penalty (you can see I’m struggling for examples now).
Of course the chances of this happening are unlikely, considering the momentum we have right now, even without Jordan Henderson and possibly Daniel Sturridge. And while the fact that Norwich have (sort of) a new manager and are fighting for their lives kinda makes them a wildcard (as much as any side mired in a relegation battle can be) at the end of the day they are a club who have only just sacked their manager and essentially haven’t found a replacement.
So I guess what I’m saying is, we don’t need to be worried about Norwich, but we can’t overlook them either. We know that Stevie won’t. So listen to what Stevie says. After all, he knows best.