By James Watkins
John Henry introduces himself to the squad in the most awkward fashion possible.
I’m not sure what type of reception the Liverpool owner expected to receive from players in the locker room, but his brief exchange with Danny Ward and Krisztian Adorjan was hard to watch. Ever the smooth talker, Henry eased the tension with a casual, “Do you know who I am?” Based on the reaction of the two players – awkward smiles and shifting glances – he might as well have gone with “Krisztian, I am your father.” Either way, you can’t help but feel bad for the club’s sugar daddy here in Boston. He’s just trying to help. Plus, the I-should-have-stayed-in-my-box-seats shrug as he quickly shuffled away was brilliant.
LFC Boston contributors make cameo appearances throughout the episode.
It was fantastic to see Fox Soccer pay homage to all the fans who ventured out to Boston, Toronto and Baltimore for this summer’s North American Tour. Steven Gerrard offered effusive praise for their support in several interviews, and we saw Brendan Rodgers take a lone walk across the diamond to thank fans behind a gate at Fenway Park. Fox even allowed fans to take a dig at Chelsea by including a clip of Boston supporters chanting “F**k off, Chelsea FC/You ain’t got no history.”
Let us know if you made it into the episode as well! Even if it isn’t an entirely sober you that was caught on camera, we’re certainly not in a place to judge.
Fox Soccer Channel decides that Liverpool matches look better in slow motion and set to thumping dubstep tracks.
Here’s a way to up the ante for fans frustrated by casual preseason fixtures: set every game to dubstep. In this week’s episode, the plodding 2-1 loss to Roma FC morphed into a physical, impassioned clash of European giants.
Based on the extended tease that has been Liverpool FC over the first five EPL games, I think a more appropriate tune might be Boston’s “Foreplay Long Time.” Everything looks good and feels good right up until the point where Liverpool commit a one-off defensive blunder, gift the opposition a goal on their first shot of the game, and leave you wondering why you even got your hopes up in the first place.
Andy Carroll learns the meaning of “chin music.”
Several players check out the Boston Red Sox batting cages below Fenway Park, and Glen Johnson slings a fastball directly at the mug of Andy Carroll. Ever the picture of agility and coordination, Carroll is unable to avoid the pitch and takes one straight to the chin. Luckily, the young Geordie laughs it off, grateful that he’ll survive this terrifying death cage that nearly “popped his nose in.” For all those reports of booze-laden brawls out on the town, Glen Johnson might consider himself fortunate that he merely attacked a sober Carroll at 3 p.m. in the afternoon.
Charlie Adam marvels at the length of baseball games.
Charlie Adam didn’t seem all too happy that America’s pastime includes nine innings of indeterminate length. John Henry handles this exchange much better, equating epic 4-hour showdowns between the Yankees and Red Sox to a viewing of “Ben Hur”.
Somewhere at Fenway, Joe Cole huffed and puffed his way to Bobby Valentine’s office to inquire about a big-money transfer to the Red Sox, enamored with the prospect of playing a sport that would requires him to run just 90 feet before getting to rest.
Jonjo Shelvey gets encouragement and counsel from Brendan Rodgers in a preseason training session.
“For me, you’re going to be a big player, alright. But what you need to make sure of is that every day you’re coming in, because I can see you playing a big part for me… You’ve got all the tools. When I saw you the other night, that was the big thing for me, thinking ‘he’s got the look.’ Just stay on your feet. Press up to the ball, but stay on your feet.”
Supporters were treated to a proper spectacle of grit, passion and controversy on Sunday morning, as Liverpool fell 2-1 to Manchester United. The visitors were gifted a late penalty for a ghost challenge on Antonio Valencia, but much of the blowback from viewers and analysts focused on the red card given to Jonjo Shelvey in the 38th minute.
Opinion remains split on whether Shelvey’s lunge deserved a straight red – and it’s obvious that Evans’ challenge was equally if not more deserving of a booking – but watching the gaffer deliver this advice in Sunday’s episode was like rubbing salt in the wound. Yes, it’s brilliant to hear Rodgers commend the young midfielder and detail the role he expects him to play in the squad moving forward. But just hours after the final whistle blew, it was a harsh reminder of the growing pains that the club will continue to experience as young talents find their feet and adapt to Rodgers’ new system.
Nevertheless, after several games last season in which the club’s 11 players looked like they couldn’t be bothered by the result, I’ve no reason to complain about Jonjo Shelvey. Intelligence and experience can be acquired over time, but you can’t teach the type of passion and commitment that Liverpool ought to demand of its players. The kid was all in on Sunday, for better or worse; we can only hope that he’ll take that experience – along with Rodgers’ guidance – to cement a long future for himself at the club.