THE gauntlet. I love the word “gauntlet”.

West Ham United felt like a gauntlet. Won six from the last nine. Big Caz. Big Kev. Big Mohamed. Big. Bigness. All the bigness. You want to run the gauntlet of bigness? You’ll need balls to do it. Have you got them?

Liverpool have. But they have more than that.

My third favourite thing in football is watching lads solve problems on the pitch. From about 25 Liverpool began to solve the problem of West Ham. It was a big problem and it was solved and it eventually resulted in the Liverpool penalty. They were coming closer and closer.

Football - FA Premier League - West Ham United FC v Liverpool FC

It was a crazed decision to overrule the linesman. Absolutely crazed. This though is the West Ham lottery. It is what they do. They want the game to take place in the zone where infringements are constant. Some are given for them. Some are given against them. Some aren’t given at all. This is a tactic and it is a valid one whether we like it or not. Morality doesn’t come in to it.

For 45 minutes West Ham played as well as they could at their tactics and Liverpool struggled at times and then began to solve what they were up against.

My second favourite thing in football is managers solving the problem. The Lucas change proved inspired. It wasn’t a diamond. It was a parallelogram. It promoted patience and brought about strength. It was sense on toast but sense twisted. Bellends like me would have sat Leiva in next to Ste Gerrard. Bellends like me are wrong.

All the pre match talk of second balls. Liverpool have fifth balls. Sixth balls. Balls coming out of their ears. Balls and brains.

That is as hard as any game will be for these Reds from here on in. It will not get tougher than this. West Ham were brilliant at being West Ham.

The second. What a pass from Lucas Leiva. What bravery from Jon Flanagan. What balls and technique and assurance from the captain. He’s gorgeous. Grown into himself in every way. I’ve never admired him as much. Wherever he is I am.

In this run Skrtel has been magnificent. He showed as much today. This is what winning your battles looks like, especially when up against the unplayable Caz.

Both Liverpool’s front two worked hard. Neither played well despite Suarez’s two glorious efforts.

Balls run gauntlets. Brains then beat gauntlets.

What is a football season if it isn’t a gauntlet. You start with zero. You have to work past 38 barriers. Some will batter you and bruise you. You overcome. Some will beat you. You overcome. Some will throw the ball into the air and you overcome.

Football - FA Premier League - West Ham United FC v Liverpool FC

I’ve become boring. Have we? Have you? I say the same things. To you. To Craig Rimmer. To people I meet. To myself. To you –

– This team has been hewn in Luis Suarez’s image. It hunts.
– This team is brilliantly coached by Brendan Rodgers. They improve every few games. They get better at football.
– This team is led by Steven Gerrard. Shepherded by Steven Gerrard. Fostered by Steven Gerrard.


To myself upon opening a door –

– This league won’t win itself lad.

To myself upon cutting meat –

– Looks championship material that.

To myself in the mirror when having a shave –

– Just got this league to win. We’ll have a look after that.

Boring. Boring, boring, boring.

But we were never being boring. We had too much time to fill for ourselves. We aren’t being boring. The Reds, every week, they make amends.

My first favourite thing in football is Liverpool winning.

And the gauntlet. You want to throw the gauntlet down to someone?

Anfield. Sunday. Forty thousand people screaming at God. That’s a gauntlet.

Five to go.

The Mighty Boys In Red.

PICS: David Rawcliffe / Propaganda


  1. Michael Murray

    Fuck this, I’m a bag of dicks over here. Funny shit again son, well in.

  2. It’s never boring.
    Martin Tyler ” there’s still time to wipe the smile off those faces”
    I shite you not.

  3. That game’s put 10 years on me.

    It’s real though, this is real.

  4. What a horrible call it was, overruling the linesman. It was so blatant. Carroll was inept at best, possibly malicious in his attempt to beat Mignolet to the ball. Terrible that Suarez was denied – twice – by the crossbar. It would have been a more just result, and would have squashed (maybe) the inevitable complaints I’m hearing about the penalties.

  5. David Turner

    3 points, jesus it shit me up though, skertel was immense, we are immense. Im going to bed now till 11am Sunday. 5 to go, im loving this. By the way, is sterling in a shalamar tribute band ?

  6. Frank Monaghan

    Only if you find David Peace boring.
    And David Peace is not boring.
    Winning is not boring.
    Drawing now would not be boring.
    Losing now would be, we’ll, something other than boring.
    This is not boring.
    Boring into you heart, maybe. Boring into your soul, defintely.

  7. robin crimes

    This team never ceases to amaze me! Last week I wondered if they were strong enough to take advantage and cash in on Saturdays results. They were. This week I wondered if they were strong enough to keep up with the pack. They were. West Ham are the new Stoke. We’ve always found it tough in those games. This team believes in itself. It’s got the momentum. Another game down. Let’s hope parallelogram doesn’t come into football language. Sakho looked assured all game. Mignolet clearly fouled but I almost saw that scenario coming but without a foul. CL refs blow too much. Realised why today. Europe supports good football. Our refs encourage the anti-football. Hope we never win the World Cup. Feel drained but so proud to be a Liverpool supporter at the minute. Probably my favourite Liverpool result ever today!

  8. Kopite321

    Am on a Zantac blitz at the mo.. It’s doin me head in this.. Hate it, love it,wish it would end, hope we lose so it all over.. The hope, we can do this, it’s fucking mad to think we can do this, it’s ours, it’s out of our hands, it’s in our hands.. It’s football it’s Liverpool FC 2014 and it’s absolutely madness and just fucking crazy.. I love it.. The giant awakes. Am pissed..

  9. Stevie G, I love you and your great big balls. Neil, I like you very very much. Keep this up please Liverpool. Keep this up Neil. It’s on.

  10. James Edey

    But this wasn’t West Ham United, was it? This was Big Sam United and it showed.

    Is it any wonder that the West Ham fans booed at the end of a win last week? What type of shite football they have to put up with, Bolton all over again. Oh yeah, he’ll keep them in the Premiership but, ask yourself, would you really want to watch that week in week out. I know I wouldn’t.

    However, we had to overcome the “master’s” tactics and we did. So much so that I laughed out loud when I heard his post match assessment.

    The overriding feeling is that I am glad it’s done and we can move on. I don’t want this thing snatched from our grasp by a fuckwit of a ref. I want us to win it or lose it by fair means not foul.

    • He’s got it in for Flanno as well, has Allardici. The big, jowly creep. Flanagan should have gave it the Benitez/Kuyt ‘it’s over’ signal just to further do his head.

      That West Ham side lack Bolton’s charm, although I can appreciate Jarvis, Noble and Carroll for the players they are. Where’s their Djorkaeff? Jay Jay Okocha taking big throws or Campo’s hair? They are no fun and I’m just glad we got over the line against them. In the same way the Southampton result will be overlooked over thinking about the Man United one, I think yesterday was a more significant result than what snotting City will be, for the manager and his players with what was asked of them.

  11. crazy bob

    Oh, there you are…. the usual bollocks then….

    nice one the reds.

  12. Articles like this are like teams like ours. Stevie G is like sunday dinner with yorkshire pud and gravy.

  13. Another quality framing of the game, Neil. West Ham. Done. Rogers is making the right decisions at every vital fork in the road. He is handling the pressure incredibly well – calm, assured, and very convincing.

    Every player is stepping up but the spine of the team in Skrtl, Stevie and Suarez are assuming a lot of responsibility with great leadership and high work rates. The not inconsiderable matter of David Silva’s artistry aside, I think we can beat City and I’ve thought that for a while now. Just like I think ordinarily Chelsea have the style of game to really hurt us. We are playing them in the right order though. Beat City and nothing will stop us.

  14. Kevin Marlow

    Heads are being done in every Sunday, but the boys in Red keep marching on. Nerves wracked but the steam roller keeps moving forward crushing all in its wake.
    This is a beautiful time to witness these last games all in it together.
    It was fab seeing Kenny standing to applaud Stevie G.
    This is the fucking bollocks.
    Great writing Neil. I need to grow more nails for next week.

    Kevin Marlow

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *