“I CANNOT, just cannot, begin to describe the size of the hook I’d give Coutinho at half time. I don’t have the vocabulary to do so.”

Neil Edward Atkinson, 13:25, 31st October 2015

Makes fools of all of us, the football. One of its most brilliant things. Fewer more brilliant than being made a fool of quite like that.

The best players aren’t mercurial but mercurial players can be the best. That is the thing they do. They are the footballers that make you so happy you could be float away, the footballers that make your eyes prick and your heart pound. The footballers that make your afternoon suddenly look spectacular. Make you float.

Coutinho’s first half was poor until he scored but Liverpool’s was broadly good. They pulled Chelsea about and made them answer questions they perhaps couldn’t be bothered answering. They’d done the hard part. They’d gone a goal ahead. Why won’t these lads in Red leave it? Why won’t they stop doing this?

The answer is, in at least small part, the manager. 1-0 and he is telling them, chin up. Chin up lads. When you walk through a whatsaname and all that. The manager set them up to pose questions, to probe and find and stretch. The manager set them up to always have one more. The manager set them up having rested them to make it a ninety minute game, to make it a pressure occasion against a Chelsea side that might not want to know.

Football - FA Premier League - Chelsea FC v Liverpool FC

His players, intelligent footballers on the whole, responded. They responded to his selection, they kept their chin up. They stretched. They found one more. They made it a pressure occasion.

It is fair to say that Liverpool after the first ten found themselves much the better side. The only exception being the ten minutes before Liverpool’s second goal. Football makes fools of us. Be good for ten minutes and get nothing. Be very good for fifteen seconds and score. It perhaps isn’t entirely fair. It doesn’t have to be. It doesn’t work like that.

Jose Mourinho knows football, knows more about football than most of us. Very obviously so, look at his honours. He knows that fifteen seconds works like that sometimes, he’s made a career out of being very good for fifteen seconds. It’s fair to say though that all is not terrific in the thing he oversees.

But this Liverpool win isn’t about Jose Mourinho. It isn’t about J├╝rgen Klopp. It is about Liverpool’s eleven back to front. A goalkeeper who could do better early but who does brilliantly when he could have been embarrassed. A centre back pairing who won their battles without fuss and with certainty. An experienced midfielder who sees things as they happen and whose legs are returning by the week.

Moreno and Can occasionally brainless but always always willing. They are brainless for Liverpool, they are giving everything they have for Liverpool. They love Liverpool and Liverpool will therefore love them, whatever the cold light of day may say about decision making.

Football - FA Premier League - Chelsea FC v Liverpool FC

It comes back though to Coutinho. To lads who are capable of finding the calm in the storm. Lads who can let you down, lads who can lift you up.

Lads who want to do the business for us and a manager who wants them to do that. For us. Understanding and tapping that seam. This is where we are.

For this mad thing to work and odds to be overcome, it will be about the collective. The support. The diaspora. It will be about the desire for battle. Travelling Reds in full voice this afternoon.

I saw the table on the final whistle. Said this:

“Six points off the pace.”

Makes fools of you this thing.

“Six points off the pace.”

Always has done. Always will.

“Six points off the pace.”

Let’s do the next thing. Because we can. The champions have been defeated today.

“Six points off the pace.”

Suddenly suddenly suddenly can you hear your heart pound?

The game is afoot.