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