A centimetre denied Mane a goal at City, while another confirmed Aguero’s goal at Burnley. Those are the margins we live by now.
It’s stretching credulity to call the Huddersfield game a ‘contest’ at all, despite some hairy moments at 1-0. The almost ceaseless chatter on the Kop prove Liverpool’s title race is being played out on other grounds now while we pray for divine intervention.
Rationalisation will kick in soon, big time. No ifs, buts or statistical jiggery pokery required; this is the greatest league performance in Liverpool’s history. If that isn’t enough to land you a title, then the phrase “back to the drawing board” has lost all relevance.
We barely got out of third gear to dispose of Huddersfield, shedding more glare (if needed) on the disparity between the big clubs and the rest. There may be the odd stumble against teams in the middle, but excessive emphasis on City’s financial doping conveniently camouflages everybody else’s.
Klopp, especially after his later trophy drought at Dortmund, may soon get it in the neck about silverware being all that matters. Liverpool chairmen and managers used to spout such nonsense all the time; first is first and second is nowhere, winning is the only thing. Ah, how the memories flood back while your old
narcissistic mantras stab like needles into your second-place flesh.
Most football supporters go in the knowledge they won’t see a trophy, but it matters not. Years without success teach you this valuable lesson, because it’s about the experience, excitement, the camaraderie, friendships formed, the ultimate sense that you
belong to something much greater than yourself. No wonder we make overwrought religious analogies.
But enemies will always remember when you gave it the full swagger, and so they ought. They’ll say we’re shoring up defences to neutralise the heartbreak coming around the bend, and they’d be right.
There’s desperation, and there’s wanting favours off Sean Dyche’s Burnley. The nearest thing to 1980s Wimbledon against the modern equivalent of Barnes/Beardsley.
The chronic desperation of the situation has splintered what wasn’t a particularly agile mind to begin with. Watch them, don’t watch them. Listen to the radio, don’t. Check on social media, blank it entirely.
Like Tom Wolfe’s test pilots; “I’ve tried A, tried B, tried C – what else can I try???”; and nothing, nothing has worked. This must be the life of the phoney psychic; working every angle to try and second guess something, before ultimately admitting that life is a twisted mess of uncertainty that’ll ultimately throttle you anyway.
It now seems the fickle finger of fate is about to give us a prostate exam. Pucker up, everyone, or waste those prayers on Brendan. Your call.
We didn’t expect to still be in the Champions League either, or at least thought City would be similarly encumbered. It could be all over by Wednesday, if the world’s best footballers hit attainable levels.
You know Klopp won’t have a special plan for either. He’ll instead see those wide-open spaces behind Jordi Alba and salivate. Besides, if there was a way to stop Messi someone would’ve come up with one by now. We could always Smalling him, I suppose…
Unlike previous conquests, we won’t stonewall or stifle them. They used footage of the Houllier 0-0 there in 2001 on insomnia patients. The tricky bit afterwards was waking them up again.
So, the emphasis will be on what (if anything) we can do to them. Any mad score could happen. That reckless squandering of possession, the persistent search for the killer pass, doesn’t get punished in the Premier League where you retrieve the ball as quickly as you lost it, but I’d advise against that over there. Fat chance of us doing anything different, though.
And why should they? This is Klopp’s Liverpool, it got us here in the first place. And “here”, despite pained attempts to convince us otherwise, is still pretty damn good.