Football - FA Premier League - Liverpool FC v Swansea City FCIN writing about Swansea City you are also writing about Bordeaux. Which is hugely convenient as there wasn’t a review of Bordeaux.

There wasn’t a review of Bordeaux because pretty suddenly I wasn’t at all well. Aching joints, sweating profusely, dizziness. It transpires I am pretty much allergic to the Europa League.

I hung on through the 90, watching Liverpool huff and puff their way to a 2-1 that probably should have been 4-1, before staggering through the crowds leaving Anfield, nearly get run over in the act of getting a taxi and getting back into town.

I did The Pink, got into bed and found myself in an unbelievably feverish sleep. Unbelievably feverish.

I was having this mad quasi dream where I would be in agony in my shoulders and neck if I stayed in the same position for too long. I’d then shift and the pain would go. But there was a time limit and it would come back. And then shift.

Each of these time limits halved themselves on every shift, sweat pouring off me, turning left, turning right. I had to force myself out of this dream, had to force myself into the real world. I had to wake myself up. I kept trying but the dream and the pain kept coming back.

Gibbo’s match ratings: Liverpool v Swansea City

I grabbed my phone. I went on the BBC’s website. And I looked at the league table.

I stared at the league table where Liverpool were six points behind Arsenal and Manchester City. Eight points off the top. I looked at everyone’s games coming up. I forced myself into the real world, the real world was one where Liverpool could win the league. The real world was one where if an act of supreme will is enacted then the league is possible. This was the real world I woke into at 3am, the real world that got me out of my agony and got me feeling better.

Football - FA Premier League - Liverpool FC v Swansea City FCI think about the league title a lot. Probably more than almost anyone. I’m probably in the top one percent of people who talk about the league nationwide.

I talk to myself about the league title. I know I’ve said this before but it has dropped into my constant running inner monologue. “Let’s have a shower and then we can win the league and then have a bit of breakfast.”

Let’s sort my songs out for The Rider, get the league won and settle down for the evening.”

It’s become this placeholder in all of my thinking, this staging post for getting something that really needs doing before moving on.

I went to Ben Johnson’s house last night and we got into it over the manager picking strong sides for Europa League games when the league could be won.

Ben (and charisma’s Adam Melia) made a series of perfectly valid points that it is an opportunity for him to work with, and on, his players.

Our previous manager said that managing a football team is a lot like building a plane while flying it. This is the case for Jürgen Klopp. More than any manager.

My issue while speaking to Ben is that I want someone to be telling the magnificent son of a gun who is our manager that this could well be the best chance he has to get the plane he is having to build to its ultimate glorious magnificent destination.

This could be the best chance he’ll get if he is Liverpool manager for five years, for all the reasons we’ve covered before, for all the reasons Paul Tomkins has covered in even more detail.

I want the manager to know that. I need the manager to know that. He comes across as such an optimistic, self-assured chap I worry — genuinely worry — he thinks we’ll keep getting better and it will become an irresistable reality over time.

He may well be right to think that way. I think he probably is. But.


There’s a league title going here.

That’s the problem.

There’s a league title going here. There really, really is. Right here. Right now.

And so I can think of little else.

Ben and Adam tell me I need to relax. Tell me I need to enjoy it more. Brockle says, ‘is he talking about the fucking league again?’ and then we drink all the red wine in the world and eat all the cheese and there is lots of love and music.

When the final whistle goes today, and we are six off the pace, I almost pop with a surge of energy. The three points goes right to my head and lodges.

I might have a specific part of my brain which does all the thinking about the league title. The three points goes straight there. Sits there. Throbs. What a weekend of results for the Reds. The Anxious Reds. The Hungry Reds. The We-Might-All-Be-Mad-You-Know Reds.

The final whistle goes and we are six off the pace.

My point with all of this is that I don’t feel like I have a fantastic handle on reality where the league title is concerned. I’m consumed by it.

That’s why, when people say things about getting carried away or when supporters from other football teams end up with my tweets on their timeline and feel the need to be snide, I feel like going, ‘you don’t know the half of it, lads. You want to come and have a go at doing this for a couple of days. See how you get on with this specific part of your brain doing this all day every day’.

The final whistle goes and we are six off the pace and everyone has to come to our place and we’ve been everywhere. We’ve been very good at times this season. We’ve been very bad. We’ve been alright.

Liverpool were alright today in weather conditions which were diabolical. Playing football in high winds is no fun. But Liverpool were alright and suddenly Liverpool look a little like they have options.

Emre Can was mostly excellent in centre midfield. Henderson came on and ran round a lot looking huge. Sturridge came on and ran around less looking interesting. Allen didn’t start and Liverpool won without Coutinho, Lucas and Sakho but with Lovren and Ibe impressing alongside Emre Can.

The final whistle goes and we are six off the pace.

Football - FA Premier League - Liverpool FC v Swansea City FCLiverpool’s shape out of possession is good. They get in it very well other than when The Hungry Reds become The Anxious Reds and they have a wobbly 15 minutes but then they come out of the other side.

Liverpool frustrate a little in the final third, as they did against Bordeaux, but they get a bit of luck and they take it, Milner’s penalty certain.

Six off the pace. No one is impressive. No one is scary.

The statement win we all felt we could do with at home hasn’t come. The battling win that was probably always going to precede it has come though.

It is a win on a weekend where so many of the sides around and ahead of us haven’t. It is holding on when we haven’t before. It is winning a home league game, something the magnificent son of a gun a mentioned a few paragraphs above hadn’t done before for us.

I mention that while mentioning winning the league because it doesn’t have to make sense. It won’t make sense when we do it. It won’t be sensible. Remember that. It won’t be sensible.

But I digress. We are meant to be talking about Swansea but Swansea is done. Let’s go dancing about the league title. I digress because I always will. It is everything. Everything else to do with Liverpool Football Club pales into insignificance in comparison. Go to Newcastle. Win. Beat West Brom. Let’s see where we are on Boxing Day. Let’s get handily placed.

Close your eyes to sleep tonight. Six off the pace. Wake up in the morning. Look at the league table. Something could just be coming. Could just be becoming. It’s going to hit like a train. It possibly already has.

Let’s try to relax. Try to enjoy it. Add wine and love and cheese and music.

Six off the pace.

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Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda Photo

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