By Martin Fitzgerald
WHAT round was that?
Who are the sponsors now?
I’ve no idea. All I know is it’s the League Cup – the cup you don’t take seriously until you take it seriously.
We’ve played a home game against Middlesbrough that had 31 penalties. We’ve played a home game against Swansea that saw the better of two poor sides scrape through.
It’s hardly The Road to Istanbul but somehow we’re in the quarter finals. A round with the word final in it, a round that teases you with the eventual destination.
This is sometimes what success looks like. It doesn’t always start with scorched earth in opponent penalty boxes and adversaries cast asunder. Sometimes it’s scoring more penalties, sometimes it’s scraping through.
And then you get somewhere, somewhere that teases you with an eventual destination. At that point you take it seriously.
Is this League Cup team a weakened team?
Was Jones worse than Mignolet?
Toure worse than Skrtel?
Borini worse than Lallana?
Lambert worse than Balotelli?
Lucas worse than Gerrard?
It’s difficult to say. So much is not working – in first teams, in weakened teams, in rotated teams.
A team that scored 101 goals last season, that scored a disproportionate amount of goals through its two strikers has metaphorically had its head cut off. Like the Knight in Monty Python’s Holy Grail it’s up for the fight but it would fight so much better if it had all the right parts, in all the right positions.
Not that it’s suffering from a lack of parts. If anything we’re suffering due to a glut of replacement parts.
The two best windows under Rodgers were January 2013 where we bought two players (Sturridge and Coutinho) and January 2014 where we bought no players.
What a window January 2014 was. The complete lack of ins and outs, the masterful inactivity. I’m in awe of that window and the run of form that it produced. The most majestic example of doing nothing and making do you’re ever likely to see. I’m gonna write a book about that window one day. An hour by hour chronological account of how everyone just did absolutely nothing. And don’t tell me we tried to sign players and failed. I’m not interested. We tried to do nothing and succeeded in spades.
Think of that window next time someone tells you to seize the day. Think of that window and let the day look after itself.
I’ve gone off on one about that window. Where was I? Oh yeah, no head and a glut of replacement parts.
So, it’s become aimless. It lacks a point.
Swansea scoring helps. It gives us a point. We now definitely need to score. We now urgently need to score. We’re still somewhat aimless but we definitely know we need a goal.
Swansea should have learnt from Hull. If you’re not as good as us, don’t score. Keep it relaxed, keep us relaxed. This Liverpool side seems to react when there is something in the game.
We score. Twice. Two goals from crosses for the team that crossed the least in the league last season. They’re not Liverpool goals but their goals for Liverpool. They count but they don’t point to all this working just yet.
But sometimes success doesn’t look like that. Sometimes you just need to get to the next stage of the process. And we have, we’re in the quarter finals, a quarter of a final. Loads of other teams aren’t.
Rodgers will work out the no head thing. Rodgers will work out what to do with all the parts.
That’s all to come. Football is always a process, solving problems, working with what you got and then going at full pelt until the next set of problems arise.
So I’m looking forward to the full pelt bit. The bit you don’t see coming until it happens. The bit that everything was leading up to.
It’s coming, it’s always coming.
Pic David Rawcliffe.