LIVERPOOL 5 (FIVE) ARSENAL 1: A (HALF) DAY IN THE LIFE

Britain Soccer Premier League

WOKE up. Got out of bed. Realised it was 0515. Fucking hell I am a bag of nerves. Checked my phone. Text from Gibbo received late last night. He was in a bar. It was badly wool. Name redacted to protect the innocent.

Drank some water. Pondered this. Champions elect or 4th dogfight. Fucking Arsenal. The rock where too much has appeared to have foundered. Bag of nerves.

Back to bed. Liverpool still going on outside my window. Shouted conversations. This city never sleeps. It has murder instead.

Don”t really sleep for half an hour. Contemplate again how amazing professional footballers are. These lads are getting their head down. They have a job to do. I”d never sleep if I was a player. When very young I ran cross country to a decent standard. Used to keep me up nights the anxiety of it all.

0900 – Wake. Decide to make a full breakfast for me and Brockle. Go the Tesco in my pyjamas. Loads of red on the streets. Gangs of lads, gangs of girls, gangs of families. A coach. We don”t talk enough about the energy matchday brings to this city. It vibrates.

I”m only buying sausages.

Get 200 quid out. Need to pay for my Derby tickets as well. Don”t begrudge that but it”s a shocker. I”ll hand 150 pounds over today. I can afford it, just. I”m lucky, I know that. I just wish it was a little less.

1000 – Brilliant breakfast being prepared. Served up with a ton of plate discipline. Plate discipline is important. If I want to mix it up, fine, but you should never have your breakfast decisions made for you.

Dave Sutton wants to meet. He”s with Phil Blundell. I want to meet them but want to spend time with Brockle. Doing film and TAW stuff I let the side down sometimes. A 1245 further pressures the weekend. She”ll meet us post game for a ludicrous pub crawl she”s devised with Steve Graves but it”s good to sit and be.

I”m thinking of the knife edge. Games on the knife edge been far too rare since 2009 but this is one. The knife edge is where you find out about your football team. Your club. What can we do.

1045 – Realise am dead late now. No shower. Sorry world. Teeth brushed though. Instead I prioritise getting some port into a hipflask. My hipflask debut. Today this feels like an extra holding midfielder. Another line of defence. The port is great but being an amateur I spill a fair amount. I might be shaky.

This is online casino it, in my head. Do or die.

1115 – Head out to meet Marjo who is getting the ticket money. Dave and Phil gone. Head to Dr Duncans where we will meet Steve Graves and Kate. Then Mike Girling. Sanguine about selection. Me and Steve have two speedy pints. Girling arrives. Get a taxi.

photo (4)

1245 – 1430

You”ve seen the game. Some observations quick:

– “4-0 and you still don”t sing”.

No. But at 1-0, at 2-0, at 3-0 and at 4-0 we roared. Roared and roared.

Singing is overrated. It really is. An enormous god-rattling scream of fuck off you, just fuck off, fuck off with your battle for fourth, we”ll do this instead. We”ll not conform to our nightmares. We”ll claw upwards. It”s the noise that gets them, not the clever verses. The bone-jarring noise.

And that argument with pre-informed destiny, with the narrative of what this season should be, of that”s enough now Liverpool. You don”t sing that, you scream it. You rage it. The atmosphere at 4-0 went from the sublime to ridiculous. You have fucked off. We have imposed our will. What do you do now?

Sit there. Mildly shocked.

– Skrtel”s second. Hyypia-esque.

Britain Soccer Premier League

– Aly Cissokho is clearly a great lad. He”s a Houllier left back. Wins his battles. And now gets in opponent”s faces.

– Jack Wilshire plays football like an Evertonian.

– Gerrard”s pen. The foul of a man who has been tackling everything, sees that and thinks “Yep. I”ll have this as well.” Tra-la-la-la.

– Henderson goosed on 80 making one more shuttle. One more. Then another. Then another. But it isn”t just the running. The quality and intelligence was magnificent.

– Second half in front of us it looked like Flanagan was calling the line.

– Coutinho sending everyone the wrong way; Arteta, who bestrode the Emirates, being put on the deck by Suarez; Sterling desperate for a hat-trick.

– This Liverpool team, the maddest I”ve seen, the maddest in the country. Germanic, explosive, overwhelming. It is lightning football. The opposition get a free kick I wonder about how we will break. Concede first against Liverpool at your peril.

– At the time of writing Arsenal are top of the league having shipped 11 at Man City and Liverpool. Look me in the eye and say this Liverpool team can”t win the league. Look me in the eye and say they can”t. The league is bananas. We should win it as the most bananas. It is only right.

1530 – The Post Office on London Road.

Mad team.
Mad day.
Mad pub crawl.

It.

Was.

A.

Joy.

To.

Be.

Alive.

That.

Day.

My.

Friends.

Football can get a lot wrong. But it can also do this.

22 Comments

  1. Simply brilliant. What a game; what a day; what a write up.

    Tonight we march red men

  2. I love articles like this…the running diary. Fantastic win today!

  3. I’m at work and have the match Taped. I figured a quick tap in TAW would be a sAfe bet, eager for the smell but not the full fix, you’re not really for the up to date stuff. Have to say though, the brilliance of the piece has dissipated any sense of beef getting the news thus…FUCK OFF BACK TO LONDON, THIS IS LFC…AND IT’S ON!!!

  4. David Byrne

    Terrific stuff. Mine went something like this: walked the dog through the wind and rain. Listened to the latest podcast on the walk which got me through it when I was getting hailed on. Thought “3-0 Steve Graves? Surely not”. Mind you we did overcome two other bogey sides this season, Spurs and Stoke and battered them both. They were mad games.

    Then the match happened. Amazing.

    Oh and totally agree. When the oppo get a set-piece I’m now dead excited about the inevitable counter-attacking goal that will follow for us.

  5. I trust your port was white.

    Boss.

  6. Great to grind out a 5-1 win,

    We’ve struggled with that for a few years and it’s cost us.

  7. Now tonight’s a night for singing Neil , sing our hearts out and bask in what was a sensational first 20 mins of football oh and the last 70 mins wasn’t bad either

  8. Sacksinthecity

    Goose bumps mate ..
    Worth getting out of bed for

  9. Darren Brooks

    1000 – Brilliant breakfast being prepared. Served up with a ton of plate discipline. Plate discipline is important. If I want to mix it up, fine, but you should never have your breakfast decisions made for you.

    Wow.

  10. Love this – what a day!

  11. Thought this extract from ‘Clockwork Orange’ was appropriate.

    “Oh it was gorgeousness and gorgeosity made flesh. The trombones crunched redgold under my bed, and behind my gulliver the trumpets three-wise silverflamed, and there by the door the timps rolling through my guts and out again crunched like candy thunder. Oh, it was wonder of wonders. And then, a bird of like rarest spun heavenmetal, or like silvery wine flowing in a spaceship, gravity all nonsense now, came the violin solo above all the other strings, and those strings were like a cage of silk round my bed. Then flute and oboe bored, like worms of like platinum, into the thick thick toffee gold and silver. I was in such bliss, my brothers.”

  12. Was anyone else nervous when we were 4-0 up bearing Neil’s last piece in mind?

  13. Best thing ever written on this site…we’re going to win the league

  14. Did cissokho run up the wing and put Dreem through for his 2nd goal?

    • That would be getting a bit carried away, it was toure :)

      Although does cissokho remind anyone else of djimi traore? Have been quietly thnking that it is a good sign despite the amount he makes me cringe but haven’t wanted to jinx it.

  15. Nigel Goodwin

    Well put young sir.

    Crazy mad day. When I left Anfield to drive home I was still shellshocked. After the Derby we do this to the team that everyone says is the best and most fluent passing team, like ever.

    I’ve said recently we won’t win the league because we’ve left ourselves too many teams to catch in too short a space of time.

    But.

    But we should win the league, because to put these types of performances in (at Spurs, against Everton and Arsenal) when having only a fraction of the squads that Chelsea and City have deserves true recognition.

    Sadly we won’t win the league this season. But we’ll catch Arsenal. I’m sure of it.

  16. James Wafer

    My flatmate hates me today, something about someone screaming “You fucking beauties” loudly and repeatedly at 2am ish. I of course have no idea what the lads on bout.

  17. Was fortunate enough to be at the match yesterday. Wow.

    4-0 after 20 minutes actually had me feeling slightly dazed. ‘This doesn’t happen in football,’ I thought. Especially against Arsenal. I almost didn’t trust the scoreline but as you say Neil, this Liverpool side is bananas. It could have been 6 or 7 on 35 minutes, it really could.

    As for the atmosphere, there may not have been constant singing but there was a real buzz about the place yesterday. From 1-20 minutes each rapid, surgical blow shook the old ground to its foundations. Very rarely was it quiet after that.

    Sadly money and distance means that this bad wool has only attended a handful of matches during my life as a fan, but yesterday has to rank as the most unforgettable one so far – and it’s going to take some beating.

  18. Kevin Marlow

    I am a 55 yr old London loving Liverpool supporter. I went to Anfield for 20 years when I was a kid. Saw all the mighty history of the Shankley/ Paisley era, first hand. Stood in the boys pen for 50p on the Kop- then climbed over the fence into the sea of people with my brother. The place still informs me of what’s possible in life. The Giant has awoken, the rest of the prem are shaking because it’s happening in front of them.
    Yesterday was an earthquake.
    I love the podcast because it takes me back to my gut wrenching love of the club. Great writing Neil. Thanks.

  19. I’m not emotionally prepared for a title challenge, I’ve just gotten used to the idea that we’re probably going to finish top 4.

    If we win the thing I’ll end up having to quit my job and go on a year long pilgrimage to Brendan’s birthplace.

  20. John From San Francisco

    Neil,
    Great write up and podcasting. Watching in the States “via NBC app on an iPad at 430am PST, wife kicking you in bed asking what the fuck are you doing up this early” is not ideal but this team and season has that special feel. Go Reds from San Francisco.

  21. Might be the weekend’s drink talking but I’m convinced we’re gonna go to Old Trafford next month and win about 8-0.

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