BROCKLE (Neil’s girlfriend – Ed): “Your articles are horrible.”

People seem to like them. Came as a surprise to me, actually.

“Sentences without subjects. Subject. Verb. Object. That’s how the English language works.”

It’s malleable. And it’s fascinating to make it malleable around football.

“Who do you think you are? Gogol?”

Football - FA Premier League - Southampton FC v Liverpool FC

I like the idea of solving the problem of what happens writing wise after a match everyone has seen and invested their soul in.

“Horrrrrible to read. I hated that one after Swansea. Couldn’t finish it.”

The last one was a bit disjointed I grant you. I wrote it in about four different emails and then tried to pin it together. On my phone and then while doing podcast set up.

“Don’t care. Couldn’t finish it.”

We put narratives around football matches. We reject disjointed.

Before. During. After.

We impose the rules.

Subject. Verb. Object.

We find narratives and we apply them because it is how we see the world. But by imposing that narrative we impose a structure that doesn’t entirely exist or apply. Football matches are full of random things happening which are often completely unrelated to random things that have gone before. That humans want to shape this into something is natural but false.

That tackle in the 27th minute? Had to have meaning from either before or after. Couldn’t just be a tackle. The shot in the 34th told us this. The save in 68th told us that. We struggle to accept the randomness of football in the same we struggle to accept the randomness of the universe. Football is as much about the way you adapt to the random, the way you anticipate the unanticipate-able, the way you embrace the madness as it is the way you plan for it.

Luis Suarez is the best at this in the world.

Luis Suarez has reached a pact with the random. He will do its bidding and it will do his.

Luis Suarez plays every moment of the game as though it is its own moment; crystalline, pure. For Luis Suarez the game is afoot. The game is always afoot. It is here and it is now and therefore we play and we play and we play and we play and we play. And we win. And we win and we win and we win and we win. Or we die trying.

Luis Suarez is the best footballer at dealing with random I’ve ever seen. Luis Suarez doesn’t just expect the unexpected, Luis Suarez is the unexpected. He’s footballing Chaos, terrifying opponents, taking the expected football universe off its axis and realigning the reality of defenders into a far darker place where all the old certainties dissolve into a primordial swamp and instead the hindbrain twitches with fear. What is he going to do to me next? How does he hurt us now?

Christ, he’s now even making Liverpool’s throw ins look good.

Southampton were much the better side at the football first half. But Liverpool better at the random. They got lucky with the post, the goalkeeper responded brilliantly. They did random better than a Southampton side who showed their class once again.

It was an agonising first half. The pain is what you are in this for. The pain means this is real. And you know this is real. Because you feel the pain.

Sterling’s finish back against the momentum of the play was lovely. The sort of thing that pleases the life out of my dad. He’ll talk to me about it tomorrow. We still talk about Fowler at Leeds, treble season.

Agger responded to being substituted and criticised by the manager. Yet again, the manager knows what he is about. And fair play to the player.

Gerrard vacating his zone may drive me mad. But by Jove he can pick a pass.

Football - FA Premier League - Southampton FC v Liverpool FC

Liverpool’s shape after scoring the second was excellent. We’ve spoken loads about this. Liverpool showed they could shut the life down out of a game. A clean sheet.

Around the eightieth minute Suarez tried to trip someone up with his head. Think about that for a second. Think about how many other people earning over five million pounds a year are doing that. Throw my head in at that lad’s knee. That’ll help the cause.

The rest of today lies on the floor in bits. Destroyed by the happiness of the football match. These bits will need picking up.

All stories pound towards their conclusion, their conclusion is written in the events of the game, in the context of the season. All plots lead to death. The plot those so many of those who shape football’s plots want to give this Liverpool season is that it runs out of puff. It runs out of steam. It finishes. It dies. It cannot be. It doesn’t make any sense. I predicted this. I did not predict that. It cannot…

Before. During. After.

Subject. Verb. Object.

All plots lead to death. Unless they lead to Luis Suarez. Sense is in short supply in these parts these days. Sense rode out of town. Instead we have unpredictability. We have madness. Even calm madness.

And in this most chaotic of seasons wouldn’t it be right if…

I mean, wouldn’t it be appropriate if the man who embraces randomness, when everything is so very random manages to…

…And there we have it. There you go again. There I go again. I’m as much to blame as anyone. Imposing the narrative. Any narrative.

Before. During. After.

Subject. Verb. Object.

What do we know, definitely know, from today? That the joy of those goals was all encompassing, overwhelming. That it blasts you. That it was three more points.

What can we speculate about? That you’ll spend the next ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty years of your life imposing narratives on this thing which was this much fun; banging on to friends/children/grandchildren, that you saw these Tricky Reds. The trickiest Reds you could ever have conceived of. The trickiest Reds there have ever been. Brendan Rodgers’s Tricky Reds.

Ten to go. Ten. Liverpool are second and the game is afoot. The game is always afoot. It is here and it is now and therefore we play and we play and we play and we play and we play. And we win. And we win and we win and we win and we win. Or we die trying. You either embrace that with every fibre of your being or you are dead already.

Don’t fear the fact that all plots should lead to death. Instead look at them unfold. Look at this, this glorious surprise, this red lava streaming down the mountain, enveloping everything in its path from a volcano we’d thought had fallen dormant.

Don’t you dare look away. Don’t you dare get scared and flinch however tempting it is on a day like today when the agony hits. Don’t you dare run from the joy or rationalise it into what can’t be. What’s the worst that can happen now? We die trying? The plot will have been worth it. Every twist. Every turn.

I’m out. And will be all night. With Steve and John and Brockle and Kate and Laura and Nick and Liz and Dan and two Robs and Ben and and and and. (Come to town). Steve will end up on John’s shoulders. Why? Because we are going to win the league. (Come to town).

So now, after the agony, we have the joy and the pieces all over the floor. I’ll pick them up tomorrow. I’ll impose the structure tomorrow. I’ll reduce in the week. Make sensible. Presentable. Subject. Verb. Object. Tonight though we drink and dance and talk talk talk in a city that throbs throbs throbs.

Right now you are going to believe us (about the random). In twenty years we’ll be boring you (about the inevitability).

Subject.

Verb.

Object.

Liverpool.

Win.

League.

And if they don’t? Well there was a period, a long period, in which I wondered if I’d ever have this much fun from football again. Embrace it. Believe it.

Football - FA Premier League - Southampton FC v Liverpool FC

Images: David Rawcliffe / Propaganda

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