Anguish at Anfield | Case of the Mondays
Here's who's having the worst #CaseOfTheMondays this morning.
Liverpool, the first team beat Manchester City this season, shockingly (or was it?) lost to bottom-of-the-table Swansea in their next league game. Then, they went and got knocked out of the FA Cup with a 3-2 loss to second-to-bottom West Brom. Firmino opened the scoring after only a few minutes, but West Brom hit back immediately after...and then took the lead four minutes after that. By the 11th minute, it was already 2-1, and it could’ve been 3-1 within 20 if a VAR review had not disallowed West Brom’s third — but don’t worry, they got that much deserved scoreline back before halftime.Liverpool played a full strength squad, despite turning around for another league game tomorrow, in hopes — and expecting — that they would advance. But their strongest squad clearly wasn’t, well, the strongest; Moreno returned in place of Robertson for some reason, Matip made some crucial mistakes, Firmino missed a penalty, and Mignolet showed precisely why he’s dropped from his #1 spot.Classic Liverpool, really; always winning the top 6 mini-league but dropping enough points to bottom-half teams to never really threaten for a top finish. Their only chance at a trophy this year is now the Champions League, and though it’s not likely, if any team was going to drop out of a competition to a relegated club and then become Champions of Europe it would definitely be Liverpool.
Another day, another draw for Dortmund.Their third in a row, this time 2-2 at home to 12th-place Freiburg, has them now sitting in 6th place. If the league finished today, that would mean they would sneak into just the Europa league in the last slot — and only on goal difference, with Mönchengladbach right on their tail.Quite the fall from grace this year has been for last season’s third-placed team and the previous year’s league runners-up. It’s no wonder that Aubameyang is likely leaving before the window shuts — and with a significant loss like that, it’s hard to see them climbing much higher than they are right now before May.
MASUAKU + WEST HAM
Nobody handles a tough loss particularly well. But West Ham left back Arthur Masuaku took it worse than most.While down 1-0 to League One side Wigan in the FA Cup — Will Grigg’s On Fire opened the scoring after just seven minutes — Masuaku decided the best response to a tough challenge from Wigan’s Nick Powell would be to spit at him. He was immediately sent off and has since been handed a 6-match ban.West Ham then had to play the rest of the match with ten men, which of course took the game from bad to worse and had them 2-0 down just a short while later. Not the best showing from a professional player or a team trying to avoid relegation — just bad looks all around.
The US men’s national team first match since their shocking loss to Trinidad and Tobago knocked them out of World Cup qualifying went about as well as we could expect from a team that got knocked out of World Cup qualifying just a few months ago by Trinidad and Tobago. It was a 0-0 draw, but not a defensive- or keeper-battle 0-0 draw, excluding one incredible save from Bill Hamid; a horribly boring one with very few threats from either team, the most clear-cut chance coming in the form of a missed penalty from the opposition. Definitely a waste of time for those East Coasters who tried to make it through the whole thing.It could have been worse — they could have lost — and it was just a friendly. Plus, the lineup got a little shake-up.A lot of young players got some minutes, as January friendlies should be used, but few performances restored much hope in the bleak outlook on the USMNT’s future.