WE’RE hoping for some weather. Seven men in a van going for a knees-up in a seaside town. The life the Reds give you.
I’m getting this done at half six on the morning before the game. Getting picked up in three hours. Driving down in handsome John Gibbons’ rented wagon for a day and a night in a coastal town.
There’s already been some debate about where we’ll do breakfast. Sandbach on the M6 has always been a favourite for away travelling Reds since way back when. The key, of course, is to make it there before McDonalds withdraw their breakfast menu.
Why do they do that?
We’ve been planning this trip for weeks. I think we all had an eye on it when the fixtures came out last June. That’s one of the great things about being a football fan that’s hard to convey to the non initiated. The wonder of the fixture list. What a phenomenon it is. It tells you your future.
I know exactly where I’ll be and what I’ll be feeling at 8.05pm on a Thursday in under two weeks’ time. I know where I’ll be next Wednesday evening. I’ve known I’ll be in an English seaside town for this weekend for about 10 months now.
It’s nice knowing because these are not routine things to know. The fixture people always throw fresh surprises and challenges for you. There will always be a level of excitement. Always a sense of going into the unknown.
Take last Thursday. Dortmund. I was hugging brothers before the game. See you on the other side, we said to each other. We knew we were getting aboard football life’s rollercoaster once again. We daren’t imagine what was about to befall us.
Bournemouth loomed larger because most of us had never been there before, and there is obviously something eternally great about the sea, and a town that sits on the sea. It’s funny how most of them in England are bit dreadful in all reality. Still, we need to know for sure.
To the cynics, this fixture for our Liverpool FC looks even lighter in weight than last week’s pre-Dortmund tie home game with Stoke City. Its got all the makings of being an end-of-season after the Lord Mayor’s show piss take of a game.
Remember kids, there’s no such thing as a meaningless Liverpool game.
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I’m very excited about this one. Can’t wait for the action. I love the Reds that little bit more this week.
The gift they gave to us on Thursday night should not be underestimated. Beating Dortmund in that way, on that stage, was one of the best nights of my Liverpool-supporting life. One of the very very best. I simply can’t wait to see the boys again. I want to see what they look like now. I want to see how they’ve grown. How straight their backs are.
This sort of game tends to bring out one of two polarities in Liverpool sides, in my experience. You either get The Mighty Reds or the insipid pale pinks. We either play with freedom and pride and harness our history and sense of destiny, or we just don’t show up.
No half measures, be assured.
We had a really nice win in the league against Stoke last Sunday. A thumping league win has been all too rare a beast round our way for too long now. Let’s see it built upon.
Whatever European glories await (or not) there’s a platform now to finish this league campaign with some power and purpose.
- The Friday Show: Borussia Dortmund revisited – click below to listen to a free clip of our latest TAW Player subscriber show
Eddie Howe’s mob down by the seaside may have little to play for on paper, having secured another season in the top flight with the minimum of fuss, but they didn’t toil to get into this league in the first place to not still regard the visit of Liverpool as a massive game.
Bournemouth will want some scalps to parade as mini trophies come the season’s end.
Howe will hope that there are heavy Liverpool legs on show at Dean Court. Jürgen Klopp won’t oblige. Jürgen doesn’t ‘rotate’ but he does look to send every one of his teams out with the tools for the job.
In Klopp’s case that means the lungs and limbs necessary to overrun. He simply won’t expect Thursday night’s weary heroes to be up to repeating the trick just three days after their Europa League exertions.
Joe Allen, Kevin Stewart and Lucas Leiva will vie for the two midfield slots vacated by injured maestros Jordan Henderson and Emre Can.
The defence may resemble the partially reformed version we saw take on Stoke a week ago, although both Brad Smith and Jon Flanagan will be suggesting to their gaffer that he needs to rest his mainstay full-backs, Alberto Moreno and Nathaniel Clyne, at some stage.
Daniel Sturridge and Sheyi Ojo surely start and are joined most probably by Roberto Firmino, who still needs games following his injury hiatus. We could see Adam Lallana again. We could see Divock Origi joining Sturridge in a front two once more.
The success in remodelling his team to dismantle Stoke a week ago should give the Liverpool manager the confidence to again be able to have his cake and eat it. To send out a team showing six or seven changes but still more than potent enough to rack up another three points.
Liverpool’s league ambitions are not a clear cut thing just right now, but win-gathering can only aid all potential causes.
The 11 to bring the points back as a seaside souvenir: Mignolet; Clyne, Toure, Skrtel, Smith; Lucas, Allen; Ojo, Firmino; Sturridge, Origi.