THE piece I had in mind if we won was much better if I’m honest.
It was half about settling scores, half about The Anfield Wrap going to karaoke and singing Romeo and Juliet by Dire Straits.
It had everything. Atkinson as a flirtatious Juliet, Gibbo as a love struck Romeo — all within a framework of triumph against teams that have made us wince since those mad few weeks of 2014. First Chelsea, then Palace, and then a rallying cry for Manchester City. We owe them all — in that order, too.
I previewed the piece to Rob Gutmann and Paul Senior before the match. We agreed if it ever made the light of day we’d probably win the league forever and Romeo and Juliet would go on to replace You’ll Never Walk Alone. Receiving Gutmann’s backing on a project including a Dire Straits song was a particular boost — he normally only likes bands with at least five keyboard players and seven drummers, preferably from 1982.
But then the football happened, the realisation came that we’re not very good at it, and now you’re having to read this.
Trust me, I’m as gutted as you are.
My overriding feeling is that I’ve seen today’s game before — more times than I care to remember. We play Chess, they play Draughts; we get marks for our working out, they get full marks for getting the right answer.
I’ve run out of analogies, but you get the point. It’s become the template home performance against the “side we should beat” but very rarely do. And that’s the cycle we’re in, “attacking” the Kop in the second half with two many Knights and Bishops when what we need is a load of mad Queens charging all over the place.
* Actually quite pleased with the Chess analogy there. Glad we lost now to be honest.*
The team is further confused by the fact that we only score at home from crosses and simultaneously cross the ball too much. It’s killing us. We never have enough bodies in the box and never pick out the few that are. Until we do. So we do it again. Particularly Alberto Moreno, who could do with a tour of the away dressing room to see what is probably carved into the walls: “Let Moreno have the ball in the final third because he’ll probably cross it.”
But that’s enough serious football analysis from me.
I could do a further 300 words on Can not being as good as the band Can (some achievement) and maybe 400 words on Divock Origi playing like a goalkeeper who’s been sent up front for the last minute. I could probably even do a 1,000 words on how Mignolet has never ever given the ball to anyone quickly and then passes it to Sakho about 1 second after he came back on the pitch with two broken legs. But there lies over-analysis and a few silly jokes, and I’ve just made the silly jokes. We lost a game, the first in 13 — let’s not go mad.
3 – Crystal Palace won just one league game at Anfield between 1970 and 2013 but have won twice there in 2015. Improvement.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 8, 2015
3 – Philippe Coutinho has scored as many goals in his last two appearances under Jurgen Klopp as his final 17 under Brendan Rodgers. Free.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 8, 2015
Which brings me to Klopp – hopefully the solution to all this.
I like the way he carries himself — the human embodiment of the saying: “It is what it is”, an expression I’ve always hated for its finality but in Klopp’s hands it’s used to great effect.
The transfer committee, playing from Thursday to Sunday, teams scoring goals against us — his answer to all these things can basically be summed up as “It is what it is”. He’s doesn’t even countenance the conversation, doesn’t even allow it in the room.
I could work with someone like that, I’d love to work with someone like that. He’d make every meeting I’ve ever attended 100 per cent shorter by just shutting things down and getting on with it.
If Klopp could hear the conversations I’m hearing now, as I writing this, he’d gegenpress the life out of every one of them.
Today reminded him of why he’s here in the first place and it reminded us that we’re not very good after all. The reality of football has interrupted us again.
We’ve failed to settle a score, we’re still wincing at the words “Crystal Palace”, and Martin Fitzgerald’s great “Dire Straits meets the Anfield Wrap” piece remains a “what if” consigned to a part of my mind that was more optimistic before 4pm today.
It is what it is. Unfortunately.
For now at least…
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