Home Sports Revivalist Nabi Kate supports Liverpool when limbs scream Premier League

Revivalist Nabi Kate supports Liverpool when limbs scream Premier League


BAfter all, Alison was trying to waste time. Sadio Mane reluctantly led the ball into the corner, trying to burn for a few more seconds. Deep in injury Nabi Kate began to roll across the lawn in obvious agony. Was it a cross? A broken leg? Exhausting muscle tears that would bring him out during the season? Luckily, when the victorious Kate disappeared into the arms of her teammates in just a few seconds, we have to conclude that he can just survive the night.

Interestingly, given his notorious direct views on teams adopting cynical tactics in an attempt to win the game, Jurgen Klopp had very little to say about any of this afterwards. But then, perhaps, it was clear that aesthetics would be the last thing he thinks of in Villa Park. It was the victory you had to win like one of your own teeth, the victory that seems too humiliating to truly celebrate, the victory you get the day your title contenders sign Erling Haaland for next season.

But it was quietly decisive victory also for no other reason than because there was no real alternative. Liverpool know in their hearts that they will probably be second in this year’s Premier League, and it hurts even more to know that they probably deserve it. Those seven points for Christmas and New Year, a whole month without league wins, most likely made for them. Hope is the most valuable commodity to keep at such a time. But there are still two main finals to play, and now is not the time to start feeling sorry for yourself, because for a short time it seemed that they could.

You could even see the fatigue and lethargy on Klopp’s face when he was doing post-match interviews: a coach of boundless energy whose tank seems to be almost exhausted. More than ever you feel Liverpool try to rationalize their efforts, allocate their resources by playing until the end of the season, which will cover 63 games in all competitions. The passes of Andy Robertson, Mohamed Salah and Thiago Alcantara in the starting lineup were significant. The injury to Fabinho, who limped before the break due to a hamstring injury, will stretch them even more.

And so in a strange and unkind game, disarmingly open in parts, Liverpool was forced to rely on its incredible faithful. Costas Timikas had a wildly eclectic play on the left-back, a shudder that caused several misplaced passes, at least two obvious positional errors and several important selections and blocks. But his electric jumps up the left flank, his willingness to score an early pass, his restless sense of dramatic tension – this is exactly what was needed here tired Liverpool after an ice bath from an early goal.

Most notable in Douglas Lewis ’finish in the third minute was that there were probably about five or six separate bouts that led to it – crosses that could be stopped, qualifiers or heads that could be won – and Liverpool lost them all . In those first minutes, Villa was luxurious, even after Joel Matip quickly equalized, and so Liverpool really needed someone who could break the game, break the rhythm of Villa and impose his own. First of all, they needed Kate.

Those of you who may not have watched too closely probably wrote off Kate as damaged goods a few years ago: probably during one of the many layoffs due to injuries that threatened to curtail his career in Liverpool even before it really started. Even as Keita managed to break through to full fitness, it was hard for him to find opportunities in midfield, which was increasingly shaped by metronomists Fabinho and Thiago, a midfielder more concerned with controlling games rather than opening them up.

The problem was that Kate was signed on to play in the Liverpool midfield, which no longer existed. In “RB Leipzig”, where he played until 2018, he was expansive, marauding, just as comfortable driving the ball 50 yards through the center, as well as breaking the gate with delayed raids into the penalty area. The problem was that by the time Kate arrived, there weren’t many needs left. “Liverpool” has already begun to move away from such a concussive vertical game in midfield, in which he was the best.

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And yet, four years on at Anfield, Kate is quietly spending her best season at the club so far: most appearances, most goals, a key role in Liverpool’s exit to the Champions League final. It is largely a matter of time and physical fitness. But Klopp also seems to admit that there are certain games where Liverpool need a little extra unpredictability in the middle: a jerk, enterprising dribbling, a fast ball 50 yards into space. Kate is the person you turn to when you’re worried that things are getting a little tired.

So it was appropriate that he came to the fore on Tuesday night, in a game where Liverpool were in danger of succumbing to their own exhaustion. Limbs scream with fatigue, heads getting ready, Saturday’s cup final, followed by three more. Exhausted, exhausted, but somehow still struggling: in a sense, Kate’s story is also the story of Liverpool’s season.


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