WHEN the final whistle went in The Excelsior last night after City/Arsenal all I heard was people saying to each other: “It’s in our hands. It’s in our hands.”
Today we grabbed it. Seized it. Knuckles white, grip tight.
In our hands.
We are Top Of The Pops. Six to go.
Der der der der der der, der der der der.
Top of the pile.
A proper number one. Entered at sixth. People fell in love with them. Kept buying it. More people, the housewife’s choice.
Number one in April. With a bullet.
Return Of The Mack. It is. Return Of The Mack. Come on. Return Of The Mack. Oh my god. You’ll know the Mack is back. Here I am.
Here we are.
The first half was an explosion, the atmosphere sublime before the own goal. And whatever goes beyond sublime after it. Nerves gone, everyone roaring the Champions Elect towards the promised land.
Johnson’s odd season continued in the own goal; only thing more unpredictable than him being Spurs. Coutinho’s goal divine, his changes of pace effortless in a team which could simply rush passed him. Flanagan looking for more battles to win, his own boxed early, covering across with panache. The centre halves not taking any nonsense.
The front three interchanging with such understanding. Each occupying every position along the line, knowing exactly what they are about in and out of possession.
Sterling was devilment personified, holding the world off just as Gerrard holds it up. He twisted and spun, finding angles and mischief everywhere. This is how to be man of the match.
The word “undressed” has fallen into misuse in football. Just as Larkin thought the sexiest word in the English lexicon was “unbuttoning”, the sexiest in football’s is “undressed”.
Tottenham Hotspur were undressed.
Time and again they were undressed.
Sturridge’s backheeled attempt, Suarez’s missed header, Henderson firing over when it just needed to stay low. These weren’t the modern statistics’ definition of “clear cut chances”, they were undressings. Emphatic exposure of the shortcomings of opponents. These opponents, by the way, finish top seven.
This on a day Suarez wasn’t great. Lovely, lovely goal, but not at his best given his fury over that brilliantly saved header. That doesn’t matter as much as it once did. He’s been the catalyst in making this the best football team in the land.
We’ve hit the front. Six out. We’ve hit the front. Six to jump.
Trickyred hits the front of the Grand National six out. Rodgers sits motionless in the saddle, the 25-1 shot smooth while all around him horses are clipping fences.
Check your slips.
Skyblue, the classy 9-4 favourite, from the Sheikh Mansour yard looks suddenly uncomfortable. Grinding Machine is being shown reminders by Mourinho while Fourthenough is tailing off.
(Moyesnoise has the screens around him. “Nobody wants to see this,” opines Scudamore).
Six to jump. And he hasn’t had to reach for the whip.
Trickyred is travelling beautifully. His form has belied his price since around last year’s National. Rodgers the calmest man in the racecourse, punters on Trickyred excitable, those on his rivals terrified.
Setting the pace. Liverpool.
At some point in the near future people will refer to something as being akin to doing a Liverpool. Doing what wasn’t done, what wasn’t deemed possible. Those people can fuck off. Tell them now from me.
You deem from outside. You bestow. We aren’t asking for your permission. We are Liverpool. This is a side that will take what it deserves. The ball, the goal, the league title. This is Liverpool.
We’ve looked at those around us and seen flaws. Do we have them? Yes. But we’ve been hopelessly flawed not so long ago. Now? We’re the best team in the country and perhaps, those of you outside, perhaps there should be someone better. There isn’t though. There is nothing out there for us to fear.
The notion that it is “the hope that kills you” has gained popularity in recent years. This is bullshit. Render it as such. It is Evertonian thinking that Evertonians have grown out of. It is badly, badly English. I remember being hopeless and I was almost dead. Hopelessness nearly killed me, let’s not remember it quite so fondly.
This is being alive. It’s thrilling and exhausting and overwhelming. Unbuttoning. Undressing. Hope is wonderful. It, like Liverpool, is the business. The Business.
This is Liverpool. Tra-la-la-la-la.
Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda-Photo
Great writing again Neil!
Not sure on the Mark Morrison quote, but love the National analogy.
You boys on the Wrap, and your early season optimism has been really infectious. I used to be the king pessimist but since around November I have embraced the Optimism and it’s been a revelation.
Enjoying the ride!
Cant beat a team above us in the table, RODGERS OUT!
And to the men (and occasional woman) of the pod, come to California one day!
Brilliant piece. As brilliant as the Trickyred! Simply fantastically brilliant!
Obviously ive not read the above bollox.
Ive always said that Coutinho should shoot more at goal.
But please; please get a hair cut. Youve got the hair of of 70’s porn star’s muff !!
Jesus! You get these up quick.
Not sure what my point is going to be yet. Just want to get involved in the fervour.
I’ve complained about the atmosphere at Anfield over the past few years – come to think of it I’ve complained about Sterling too, oh and Gerrard’s role. And Glen Johnson and Skrtel now I mention it. Well, that first 5 minutes today is up there. The whole crowd believes. A lot of us were nervous this morning. As soon as we got in the ground though the belief was there. Within 30 seconds of the game we knew we were going to win comfortably. When the ground erupted into ‘Fields of Anfield Road’ on the 60th minute it was so powerful I got a tear in my eye. Not really sure why but for a minute I felt emotional at how good we are. Sterling really impressed me today. I’m sure Coutinho will get the plaudits but I thought he gave us something we miss when he doesn’t play. Everyone of them were brilliant. Even Mignolets kicks found a man. Loved Skrtel’s desire today. I’m gonna predict we’re not gonna win the league because whatever I say – the opposite happens. To be honest though, It’s in the stars. Too many things are all coming together. It’s meant to be.
Champagne, once again Neil. We are the unstoppable force, but it seems like the immovable object just slipped over. Hope was pre-Fulham, pre-Sunderland. What we have now is more than hope, and the only thing I can equate it to is memories of my youth and the expectation of success. If not this season, eventually. That sentiment is no longer baseless belief, it is clear to anyone, even those who hate us.
Tonight as I favoured the surety of this win, I reflected on our victories in recent times, principally in managing to get H&G out of the club – we’ve moved on now, but remember how hard that was? – as well as the removal of Hodgson/Hodgeball – our lowpoint as a club in my living memory – and Purslow. Then the Evra incident, and this summer’s wantaway star being turned around and made better, and last but not least, the truth about Hillsborough being torn out of the shadows.
Next season, even IF we haven’t won the lot, we will have Champions League football back finally. And that’s all without the shadenfreude of watching our big bully of a rival willfully hire Everton’s manager and instantly become an even shitter version of Everton.
I’m not a spiritual or religious person, but this season feels like The Rapture in so many ways, I now refuse to believe we will not be victorious at the end. I won’t feel foolish if I’m proven wrong, because we have every right to now expect all the cards to fall our way, and our enemies to melt away.
Your post-match battle cries are the hymns for this most glorious campaign and should be held aloft in history as testament to what our historic club can achieve with the belief and expectation of our brightest years.
I have to say, this insistance on the nickname Tricky Reds is not to my taste, but if we win the league I’ll be happy to see banners and tattoos with the (snooker-based?) moniker!
Savoured, not favoured.
Obviously I’ve not read the above bollox.
Ive always said that Coutinho should shoot more at goal.
But please; please get a hair cut. You’ve got the hair of a 70’s porn star’s muff !!
To be honest mate, I quite like those 70’s muffs. So hopefully he’ll keep it.
You are correct (yet again), we have absolutely nothing or nobody to fear….they all fear us.
The title is a beckoning
Watched the game in Buffalo, NY at local football bar. Tremendous game. . . for all the talk about us succumbing to pressure, we certainly proved that we will not be succumbing to said pressure. Glorious, sublime, glorious. We are Liverpool and we’re the best football team in the land and champions elect. Let me also add, that after this season, we will be “America’s team”
I’m so giddy with excitement that I can’t wait ’til next Sunday. Citeh play Southampton and Chelski play Stoke. Both tricky. We get to have a fist-flight with Alledici’s men.
Glad to be alive.
(Moyesnoise has the screens around him. “Nobody wants to see this,” opines Scudamore).
How to cite two favorite moments in a glorious day, but I’m developing an eye for odd details in the games, the local colour of wins. Like Henderson’s gamboling skip when Suarez converted Sturridge’s backheel against Cardiff. Today, I loved Flanagan’s turn before setting up Coutinho. Spurs had finally decided to press, the back four and keeper are under what approached concerted pressure and the commentators are, for the first time today, talking about Spurs showing a bit of intensity. And Flanagan gets the ball wide, drops a shoulder and leaves his man for dead. Pressure? What pressure? We’re marauding through your half, you fools. Better yet, there was a moment in the first half, Spurs are bring the ball out of their end. Henderson cuts in just shy of the centre circle, tackles his man, nips the ball away and pushes it out wide, and then, needlessly, deliberately, gloriously, shoves his man back to the turf. Just fucking stay there, sunshine. We’ve got this. And that is the way we are going to be champions. We’ve got this.
That shove was great.
Liked “undressed” ever since watching my LFC videos so much as a kid that I remember swathes of commentary that accompanied pivotal trophy wins. The 3rd against Newcastle in the 74 cup final went: “Keegan’s 2nd, and Newcastle were undressed” in the 74 cup final, then follows it up with the even more worrying “they were absolutely stripped naked”, alright Dave lad calm down.
What a day! What a weekend! OK, fair do’s. Spurs were too terrible for words. There is probably a word in Neapolitan Italian or Mexican Spanish which describes their performance today but none in English. After Sunderland, I thought Spurs were going to give us a game. Bloody Spurs! But then yesterday happened – brilliant, brilliant, yesterday. The day when that amoral bastard Terry scored to murder his own team and Arsenal fought as though planet earth was at stake. What a brilliant, brilliant, yesterday.
And then, today. Liverpool Summertime. It was in the air everywhere. You could touch it. Soft dopey clumsy Spurs could feel it too. Our lads looked like Champions. Every player in a red shirt for the entire game looked a bit taller and stronger and faster and more commanding than not just Spurs – that gulf was much bigger – but than the Liverpool players of the last three games – than perhaps the Liverpool players of this season. That unmistakable unity, desire, and swagger of the real deal. The chat and sessions that surely followed Sunderland worked and brilliant, brilliant yesterday did the rest. Our front two toiled selflessly to open the game up for everyone behind them. Skrtl, Flanno and Johnson were outstanding and the midfield were all top draw. Maestro Rogers has his Liverpool team hitting every note and it’s fucking glorious. It’s probably magic.
Neil, if we win this thing…no, WHEN WE WIN THIS THING, we will all remember it was you. Only you, way back at the start, tongue jammed in cheek…”Champions Elect” you said. You’ve said it ever since, and every repetition has had a different meaning. Some time between december and January, I could start to hear conviction in your voice…You are, and were, the only one who mentioned it. WHEN WE DO THIS, your face should be on a Banner with the word Believe below it.
Since it is obviously your conviction that is planting the belief in the hearts of this team, you should be there on the podium at the end.
Just me lads, THE ONLY ONE.
Darn apostrophe..meh that will keep me up tonight.
Fuck me, the apostrophe fairy has appeared and removed it. I don’t know who you are, but I like your style!
I have said since we twatted Arsenal at Anfield it is fate.
There is nothing going to stop us now. No one wants to play us, confidence is off the scale, we are going to take the lot.
The players know it and as Spurs demonstrated today by collectively shitting it before kick off, the opposition know it too.
What was so weird about it was how procession-like the whole match felt as it unfolded. The nervier Sunderland game felt much more alien for this season. This Liverpool team are inevitable. They will find you, and they will kill you.
We’re going to be a bomb going off in the Champions League next season because wins and goals just happen and if you’re say, Dortmund or PSG or whoever how are you meant to deal with just goals going off on a whim.
You’re spot on Neil, hopelessness is in the rear-view mirror with resentment and a load of other negative feelings I felt towards LFC around 2010 and it’s not even a fickle/’well now we’re winning’ issue although that obviously helps; it’s just fun watching us again.
not sure about the ‘Top of the Pops’ reference, what with all of those 80’s entertainers hanging around waiting to grope us an’ stuff….
Great stuff again, Neil.
Larkin and Monica…..ugh…..
It goes on.You don’t want to hear people saying “Oh you’re going to win it”!But then you argue with people who say “You’ve got no chance.What about Chelsea and City?”
And you convince yourself;just for a moment;this might happen.Stranger things have happened.But what’s so strange about a Team scoring 80 odd goals winning the League?
No no.We’re playing Spurs today and lightening doesn’t’strike twice.(I think it does and will but try and keep it to myself).But as I look around I can see by the looks on their faces that they think lightening is going to strike twice too.
By the end of the game I’m beginning to think that lightening strikes whenever this Team wants it to!
“Moyesnoise has the screens around him” ah hahahaha I actually laughed out loud on the train reading that. Great article!
Fuck you Spurs! A million times – fuck you! All the nervous energy I wasted on you yesterday, for what? 2am kick off here in Sydney. Could I get my head down for a couple of hours before the game – work on monday and all that? Could I fuck. I thought we had a big game on our hands, the mighty reds aren’t used to these giddy heights, they looked shakey in the week against supposedly weaker opposition, it’s starting to creak a little and it was there to be exploited. Said the southern equivalent of football genius. All we learnt from that other pile of shite from north London was that they had three centre halves in the squad who were shitting themselves at the prospect of facing record breaking pace and movement, and two of them (including the one that came on) must fucking hate the one that bottled it and managed to leave the scene of the never ending torment early in the piece. Taking nothing away from our performance, but Christ on a bike, Spurs threw the towel in at shake hands time before kick off. No structure, no shape, no desire to compete – just limiting the damage – and all this from a team with Champions League aspirations! But what a delight to see star turns being shared around week in, week out. Give it to Sterling or Coutinho, they’re too busy panicking about the S&S, and as for Flanny Alves, that shimmy for the third goal was sublime but the highlight of the day was the ball and all tackle on the way over rated Soldado which reduced them to ten men. It summed up the whole afternoon for Spurs. They just didn’t want to be there and Sherwoods attempt at bacon face mind games only managed to fuck his own team up!!
What a weekend, can’t wait for the next one