FIRST half here and there has been a ton of excitement. Being excited because the change of manager should make The Reds immune to taking setbacks such as late injuries to Sturridge too much to heart. The Reds on the pitch broadly have been up to the break. The Reds off the pitch, the wider diaspora? Well let’s see.
It’s important not to let anything shake off the vibe. The manager has been very clear about enjoying it since his arrival. He is very much on brand and we’d like to thank him for that.
Beer. Small wines. A pick up at six, a breakfast at seven, a second breakfast at half ten. How I share a BMI with Darron Gibson there. Very much on brand and I’d like to thank you for that.
And then the first half and a new approach followed by a series of reminders that:
a) Inconveniently football matches don’t follow a narrative.
b) Inconveniently football matches tend to be influenced by decisions footballers make in very tight parcels of time and space – i.e. football matches tend to be decided by footballers. Not by how wonderful and talented and tall and handsome managers are.
Liverpool started the game with grit and gusto. The better side giving it everything. They looked pleasingly compact, shorter distance from front to back, tighter from side to side. Making the pitch big can be a virtue but doing it constantly may well not be.
The better side pushed Spurs back, making their early dominance look easy. Making their early dominance look like it was two good players doing something very good away from a deserved lead.
But then football got in the way. Spurs are good at football and were the side who looked most like having two players do very good things, eliciting saves from Mignolet.
There’s a patch just before half time when Liverpool hunt Spurs down like maniacs. An end screaming. Go ‘ed. Go on. One more. One more. Win your battles.
Win your battles. Win our battles. Win this. For us because there is nothing else. Nothing else enters into your brain. Nothing else but this. What a thing.
Enjoy it is a funny thing really. Do you enjoy it? Do I? Half time I think about it but what occurs to me is that there was just nothing else. Nothing at all but shouting screaming willing Liverpool on.
Nothing but that. No questions in my mind about my BMI, no questions around this in work or that headache on that project. Just this one thing amongst these people, some of whom I know and most I don’t.
And I enjoy that. Come out of that like getting out of a sauna, everything different and new jokes, new thoughts.
Second half Liverpool start more on the back foot but grow into events and while not creating they are a set of lads who can be willed on. They want us, but we need them, we need them to show and show and show for us. They do that. They were doing that anyway, I think, but now all of us can think there is a greater purpose and we can think and be as one.
A few times heads need to be kept in the final third. A few times decisions need to be a smidgeon better. But on the whole these lads made us happy with work ethic and intelligence and communication.
Finally, Moreno drills his cross into the wall when all decent scriptwriters with a leading man looking like Jürgen Klopp do the decent thing and see the ball fall into the net.
Inconvenient stuff, this football. But enjoy it? I hope so. I hope you did. I hope they did. We can ask only for 90 minutes of everything they can give us and we can then give them our full, undivided attention for 90 minutes.
And for that period of time I thought of nothing else but The Reds. I thought of nothing but being part of a travelling band. I thought of nothing but winning this one thing. Than willing. Than singing/shouting.
There is, for 90 minutes, nothing more than one thing in your life. How pure. How delightful. How inconvenient when they don’t follow the script but you know what, what would we do if they always did?