I predicted a dismal occasion expecting even a Liverpool Reserves side to outmatch us. And was correct for 46 minutes.
So what did we learn?
01. Bill Shankley said, all those years ago, that there were only 2 teams in Liverpool – Liverpool and Liverpool Reserves;
02. the Liverpool Reserves did contain a number of first team players, either out of favour or recovering from injury;
03. (Post-match, we now know) Wolves shared the tactics they’d tried to use against Liverpool the previous Thursday, based on taking advantage of Liverpool’s use of a “high line”; but Salop missed a number of the resulting first-half chances;
04. when Salop conceded a second goal in the first minute of the second half, the expected soulless thrashing seemed on the cards;
05. Liverpool’s defence started playing around with the ball along their back line;
06. Lang had made some great runs, and the decision to replace him with Jason Cummings was booed;
07. Laurent’s runs were getting stronger and one of them led to him being chopped own in the box; Jason Cummings scored the penalty;
08. Salop’s on-loan keeper made an extraordinary save to both stop, and then pick-up, an on target long range shot, before booting a long ball down the field when …
09. Liverpool’s tall and experienced no. 32, Joel Matip, was outjumped by our much shorter winger, Whalley, and The Joker latched onto the flicked on header to beat 2 defenders and score the second;
10. the excitement saw Salop players run to the BBC studio, where Joe Hart was a guest and was picked out by Dave Edwards, acting team captain;
11. Liverpool brought on 3 first team players from the subs bench;
12. both sides had chances to win, and after the match the Salop manager chastised the players cos he sensed they’d wanted the reply rather than the win;
13. the on the pitch invasion was regretted by Joe Hart, but it was seen as harmless and highlight was an 8-year-old in bright Salop goalkeeper kit skipping off the field, head lolling from side to side, in exhausted exhilaration.
It was so much more of an occasion that I could have ever imagined, cos even though it was their reserves, their wage bill would still have been. much higher than for our players and we had gone 2-0 down.
Like last season, the FA Cup ties are likely to have been our highlights of the season. We know one of only 6 clubs will win the FA Cup, but knock-out football can bring something extra out from teams.
Watching the unedited football on TV afterwards, you can relate to the players so much more, and the character of Jason Cummings shone.
Good humoured – and calming explaining that the Old Firm Derby had been a bigger experience for him. Happy too to explain calmly that he was a sub cos he’s coming back from injury.
And he has this thing about The Joker – the Heath Ledger version is tattooed on his thigh, and a smile on the V of the back of his hand which he put across his mouth when he scored.
Fans had a banner proclaiming The Joker at the match, and he featured in 2 Guardian cartoons in the following days.