YOU have had nothing else in your head for days. You have had nothing else in your head for weeks. You watched them do the lap of honour and you thought of this.
Normally you think it comes too soon. Normally you want one more week. More of a break before the tyranny kicks back in. But you are no longer tyrannised by football. You are liberated by it. You are unfettered when The Reds play.
You are in The Grapes on Thursday. Sometime around midnight. And all there is is football. You should be drowning in it. But you are floating on it. Surfing on it. You glide.
You are celebrating Claire’s birthday on Friday night. Singing and dancing. You look up and all you see is limbs, booze and hormones. Every song is somehow about The Reds even when it isn’t.
You are in a taxi heading back towards the city centre after spending an evening with your friends Ben Johnson and Emma Perris. Your taxi driver is inevitably Evertonian and you talk about their draw with Leicester City. You ask if he is busy. He says no. Busy last night. No. Tomorrow though, he says, will be busy.
Why, you ask.
Your Evertonian taxi driver says “Every Liverpool match is an event.”
Every Liverpool match is an event.
You lie awake thinking about this. How it happened. When it happened. Every Liverpool match is an event. Every Liverpool match is The Giants, is Sound City, is the Tall Ships. You are the event.
You know this. You bounce round the city on match days and the nights before. The energy coarses through you. The city seethes with it.
You wake. Legs like Tigger. Charge round the house. Brockle says “You are giddy.” She couldn’t be more right, bounding through the house.
Brockle says: “You are nearly 34. You are an old man.”
They make you feel young, these Reds. Their young energy courses through you, osmosis at its finest. These Reds make you shine. God knows how they feel.
You feel fantastic. Handsome and gorgeous, sherbet popping, synapses cracking, funk in your junk. That’s you. That’s you when the event is about to occur.
You go for a drink pre match. Everyone expectant.
You watch an event. You participate in an event. But it wasn’t quite the event you expected. The fluency isn’t quite there, not the swathe from last week or last season. You see a midfield shape that isn’t right, Lucas and Gerrard, neither looking quite right and most definitely not looking a partnership. You see a Southampton side that is a million miles from the picked corpse popularly and tiringly discussed. This is a side which will be fine which has scared the life out of your thrilling Reds.
You see magic from Henderson. Two tackles won and a ball you would have for your dinner, a ball you could draw with a compass. You see two finishes knocked into the net, not hammered in. Sterling and Sturridge full of class full of fight but not as energetic as they have been.
You see the havoc the wind can cause. Weather playing a part in football is something you miss. It will be mentioned in the match reports. You think it always should. Tell me of a day, not of a quote.
You see a manager changing and active in the game, telling them to be patient at 1-0 in first half injury time, flipping them around, changing shapes to solve problems. You see two fullbacks, one finding his feet and the other losing them. You see centre halves being centre halves, gnarled as crackling.
You see a stint. An honest to goodness stint from two good sides. You see lads who are on the verge of dropping going one more time. You see Henderson shuttling himself into the ground at 80.
You see the sort of steel you love. You miss the fluency. You miss the speed and the beauty but you think, you know what, the three. You take the three. You take the three and run into town, run into town and think you will bring the fun. You’ve got this one, they can just get the win.
An event has occurred. An event has become. An event is right now occurring. The day not finished, you will be drinking and dancing and singing long into the night.
An event won’t end today. An event in ongoing. You are involved in it and it is involved in you. Nine more months of it pounding through you. When you wake up. When you sleep. You are part of this event and you have been at the start of something. You will be here in May.
And you, you will see an open-top bus parade. You will be there as you were there throughout.
Every Liverpool match is an event. You are here three are on the board and you are back, contributing and creating your own events. You are at the start. You imagine the rest. The Reds.
Pic: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda
The first half of your article (the bit you wrote yesterday) was ok. The rest? Like an old sock full of jizz (is it double ‘zz’?): best left under the bed away from the innocent public.
4/10. See me.
That Jim Boardman is worth a follow on twitter.
Loved the descriptions of Hendos pass.
“A pass you could draw with a compass” was especially good.
Wonderful. A Peace-esque ritual hypnotic induction ahead of your interview midweek.
That Jim Boardman is a [email protected]#t. Dont follow him….
Although in my humble opinion this piece got a *little* self indulgent it was very evocative.
So much so that I have been overseas in USA for the last nearly, 9 years and in part because of last season, and my thoughts about me being 13 last time we won the league, my desires have been turning to coming home to Liverpool. This post made me focus in that massively.
I miss this. I miss it massively. One rushed game at Xmas if I’m lucky. In and out. No town afterwards. Rush here, rush there. Not Ian. Busy.
Do I want kids here, knowing they’ll grow up sounding American and sure, they’ll go the ground but not properly. They won’t live it. Find their own mates to eventually go with who live it too. Make up their own songs while honouring ours.
But then I think, opportunity, lifestyle, sunshine, all the good things about being here. Is that worth giving up for essentially, LFC? Is it fair to make that decision for future kids based on my own obsession, isn’t that no different to those nutjobs who push their wacko religions on their kids?
Fuck. And I accused the author of being self indulgent. At least you all know who the fuck he is.
Like how we started last year, against Stoke. Nervy, but points on the board.
Got away with one today. Reminded me of Villa at home in January when everyone can see their goal coming 10 minutes before it happens and then changes are made after the fact. Lucas and Johnson were two of our best and most important players three years ago but we’ve got better and they’ve gone backwards.
If one criticism could be leveled at TAW, or at LFC fans in general, it’s that we are far too positive regardless of results or performances. Maybe its due to 20+ years of failure. Maybe its due to seeing so many draws vs average teams and defeats vs good teams for two decades. Maybe its something else. Im not sure. But we just don’t demand in the same way other fans of other top clubs do. We don’t fume the way we should after a shocking 90 minute effort from the lads in red.
Our performance today bordered on the criminal. We were close to a disgrace. At times we got played off the pitch by a team who have sold half their first 11 from last season, and half of those to us. What’s that? Oh its the first game you say? How many have Southampton had?
We were slow. Our passing was cumbersome. We created extremely little. Our pressing wasn’t 20% as good or for some strange reason as high up the pitch as it was last season. The manager, who has been superb since arriving at the club, seemed to shackle us. He looks to be trying a much more conservative approach. We are best at chaos. Anarchy is when we destroy. That’s when we win. And win again. That’s when teams know they’re getting hit from all angles & can be beaten before a ball is kicked.
Mignolet is a major concern. At set pieces. With the ball at his feet. He starts and/or spreads panic when he is there to quell it. Our full backs were abysmal. Manquillo looked both unfit and lacking the requisite pace. Johnson was completely disinterested. His constant switching off has cost us time and again. He should only play Carling Cup games. Neither offered anything in attack. Gerrard’s legs have properly gone. Lucas is finished, that much has been clear since his last injury. Poor Jordan Henderson. The man. The running he had to do for these two today. And still Southampton got in behind our midfield and directly at our average defense time and time again in the second half. Coutinho was as he’s always been, a luxury player. He continues to lose possession at a frightening rate.
Southampton started the game in fear for the lives but about 15 minutes in realized there was nothing to be scared of. There wasn’t even a doubt who the better team is in the final hour of the game. Only them missing absolute sitters at 1-1 and 2-1 allowed us to take anything from the game. Yet somehow many of our fans and TAW contributors think we’re going to win the league? Excuse me? Some say they wouldn’t accept 84 points this season if offered them now. What?
Can we have some honesty please? Or at least a touch of realism?
Thanks. Love ya.
Neil, It doesn’t go away when you become a very old man. I’ve got two teenage lads and I pace up and down like a caged tiger while I’m waiting for the taxi or lift to the pub. The Mrs tells me when I’m “doing the pace”. I’m not always aware of it. I’ve also been known to get a bit giddy. Very giddy before a big game. It’s boss !! The taxi driver thing is so true. It’s nearly always a blue. Are all blues taxi drivers?
Well observed article.
Another top, top piece Mr Atkinson. The match summary pretty much mirrors what we were saying post-match. To summarise:
3 points, loads of meh and an unconvincing selection by the manager. I hope we’re better a week Monday.
Enjoy the rest of the night…
Chris, are you for real?
Nobody else writes about football like this. Nobody else should even try. Well done Neil, I missed these.
Have missed these. Missed Crazy Bob too.
I suggest we find the person who voted Johnson as Man of the Match – he or she needs help & quickly.
Neil, loved the piece and TAW. I thought today Liverpool got the job done but it wasn’t pretty or fluid. However I’m reminded that Stoke last season wasn’t and nor were Arsenal or City in their opening games not to mention them down the road who were an embarrassment so happy with the 3 points.
I think Liverpool need another striker and we’ll see improvement in fluency & creativity once Lallana and Markovic get fit. Lovren was a huge positive but I agree with comments above in that Lucas and Johnson were pedestrian and need to come out of the team and our keeper isn’t good enough.
In summary; good 3 points but we got away with it today & massive improvement needed.
Chris above seems to favour the glass half empty view – now the game is past, I think the view should be that we got away with 3 points but show me a Top 4 side that didn’t over the course of their season ? We can deffo do much better and , based on the evidence of last season, we will …
Brilliant article, like reading poetry.
The podcast is great and maybe should be turned into a tv show Sunday Supplement style ( but with cool people ) keep it up!