THERE is a myth that football is entertainment, or that it was once entertaining. We can wear rose-tinted specs when we look at the past — spectacles that are so often false.
When I was about 22, Liverpool played Vitesse Arnhem in two games of football that baffled belief.
Football has never been as dull. Never as artisan. As unartistic.
I was a young man and the football was anything but. But it was football, as much football as anything else can be. Football is the act of 22 players kicking it around a pitch. It cannot always be touched by magic.
Zero is the most important number. Awful football matches are the most important football matches. They remind you of what magic is meant to be.
Football isn’t meant to be this whereas football sometimes just is. It always has had the ability to just be this thing where lads run around and very little happens.
We need to talk about Jordan Henderson. Is this fair on him or us?
It is clear how he isn’t right; the footballer even whose critics had to acknowledge had the ability to spring around the pitch now lacks that. Everything is laboured.
Henderson was — and is — a better player than his critics ever acknowledged but struggling to turn effectively destroys almost every player.
And yet there he is, toiling away while wearing red, undermining a captaincy in its infancy, a captaincy that isn’t as important as many say it is but which becomes another stick to beat him with. It’s painful viewing at times.
Also painful is Emre Can knocking off and not having enough of the game. The game so quickly becomes one not for him. It’s such a strange thing. He’s too good a player in flashes. He can be a joy along with a puzzle.
Regardless, Liverpool now just need to win one game next Thursday and they progress however dull this was.
Every generation of Liverpool supporter has had to put up with dull but ultimately successful. It will have been the case when Alex Raisbeck was captain.
It was the case when Bob Paisley came to the fore, when Kenny Dalglish was the talisman, when Gerard Houllier ruled the roost.
Lads don’t play spellbinding football every game. It has never been thus, however much we tell ourselves stories.
The key thing was the end justified the means. I’m all for ends. I’m all for means. I’m not for halfway houses. Be victorious. Be glorious. Be both. Never be neither though. That way only sadness lies.
Box it next Thursday. And then no one cares.
Up the boring Reds.