It's clearly going to be a fascinating, frustrating, elating, and probably a memorable season. You know that because this game seems like it was the perfect microcosm. Some good, less bad but still enough to matter, and overall some nervy steps forward in what we want Liverpool to be. But they were steps forward.
In the end, you're left with a match that's hard to feel anything about in one way or the other. If you had told most supporters before the game that a draw was coming, we probably would have taken that. But to have a draw that you essentially gave to the champions, that hurts more than you think it would. And that sentence feels like I've written it before; all the good Liverpool do and it's not enough. And it's not enough in the building stages of remaking the club, just as it was last year.
But it feels like it's more than that too. Can you see how confused I am?
-While Martin Skrtel will get the blame for the second goal, and rightly so, I feel that making too much of what may have been his mistake on the first City goal is harsh. Tevez wasn't crossing from the touch line but pretty damn close to the six-yard box. If Reina made a call or didn't or it wasn't loud enough, it didn't seem like Skrtel would have had a lot of time to react whatever the event was. He did what he had to and dealt with it. Bad luck it ends up hitting Kelly who couldn't get out of the way. It happens, it's just unfortunate. And putting too much blame on Raheem Sterling, who gave Tevez all that space to come in from, is probably harsh too, because he's 17 and City's movement for that goal was pretty brilliant.
-It's unfortunate, because besides for that little blip and one by Coates when he dawdled on the ball, the two of them were impenetrable the rest of the afternoon. Did Reina make a big save? Can't recall one.
-Can't go any further without mentioning how superb Joe Allen was. Is he ever in the wrong spot? This was after he had a whole lot more work dumped on his plate than planned by Lucas's injury (which I'm guessing won't be as serious as we all fear). Halting attacks, incisive passing, tireless running, he just seems to do everything right. I really didn't know how much he brings to the table. If Lucas can find some sustained health this season you can see he and Allen teaming up to absolutely maul opposing midfields. Oh, and Allen literally didn't misplace a pass for the first half. 21 for 21. That's like Mariano Rivera territory or something.
-Much more disciplined performance from Gerrard today, which kept the whole team humming. None of the impatience, more effort, and obviously his set piece delivery is not to be done without. Why did we think Adam's would be better?
-Sterling once again wasn't afraid of the occasion. Is Stewart Downing sweating? He fucking should be. Can't ask too much of a 17-year old, but the idea of a loan spell elsewhere is seeming like a more and more remote possibility. He had Toure terrified, and he spiced it up a bit, coming in onto his right on one occasion and then trying the outside. Lots more, please.
-Judging from the reception he gets when he just warms up, it would appear the Anfield faithful are trying to tell Brendan Rodgers that he has a striker to help the cause in Andy Carroll. Sadly, eight minutes isn't enough to judge, though he almost did create a goal. We'll find out more Thursday, when he assuredly starts.
-You can do it with your eyes closed by now, because it seems like every game Roberto Mancini makes a substitution of bringing on a holding midfielder to get Yaya Toure farther up the field. And it usually works.
-Speaking of Mancini, is he the only person on Earth who would conceive of changing the whole system of a league champion so he can get Kolo Toure more time on the field?
Something to build on? Only the next few matches, or maybe more than that, will tell us. Frustrating thing about these early games. We can't know their meaning until a long way off.