LAST day of term. Farewell to Anfield for the summer.
It’s been a strange year with the old ground. She’s put us through the mixer for half the time, but come good in the end. Anfield never lets you down for too long. Eventually Anfield becomes Anfield again, and when it does — as for the visits recently of Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund and Villarreal – you wonder why you ever doubted it.
I hate the season’s end. It’s such a deflation. A disappointment I’ve lived with for decades. A long, inevitably wet, hollow summer awaits. Nothing to get out of bed for but the bloody Euros and transfer rumours.
Transfer rumours — I don’t get how so many of my brethren can’t get into them. First off, they see you through that close-season slog. The modern age has been rendered far more bearable by the increase in squad sizes and the commensurate requirement for teams to re-stock with whole new teams’ worth of footballers.
Nowadays, we’re on about a transfer a fortnight once we’re out of May. That’s no little entertainment. That represents a whole heap of new Reds to be researched and anticipated.
For those who are unmoved by the market, I ask, what do you with your Liverpool supporting during the summer? Do you just put it in a box, and broadly forget about it until August? Does the tennis get you through? The cricket? The golf?
You people. You’re the worst.
The emotional energy involved in following the Mighty Reds throughout a long hard season can’t just be converted or forgotten. What are you doing with that heat? Your eyes aren’t bulging, veins aren’t popping and you’re not primal screaming when some white kecked wearing, wooden ball-tossing no-mark takes another wicket against a former British colony in July. So what were you getting so excited about during the football season? Were you faking it? Can you just get in a football ground and turn this thing on, and then flick the switch the other way the minute you’re in the car park? I don’t begin to understand you. You look like me, you talk about the endless minutiae of the game like me, but somewhere deep in your recesses I think we may just be very different.
I don’t even understand the sneering disdain towards summer international football and the watching England football team option. If you love the football, and it is then taken from you, then it is natural that you in turn glean some comfort from the football-lite that these things represent. International competitions may be so much less interesting than domestic ones, and the England side may be an anathema in so many ways, but in the absence of all else, you dig deep and find a way.
It is of course fashionable to scoff at the entire concept of the England. We do live in a country called England, though, and watch football set in an English league. In the absence of our beloved Liverpool FC, it’s not the maddest thing to turn attention to the fortunes of an England football side.
It’s not the England of the Football Association, of Roy Hodgson, nor St George flag-draping Nazis that I’ll be tuning in for this June. It will be the England of John Barnes and Peter Beardsley in Italia ’90. The England of Steve McManaman in Euro ’96. The England of our prodigy Michael Owen (the good Michael Owen) in 1998. It will be the England of our lovely lads at France 2016 — Jordan Henderson, Nathaniel Clyne, Adam Lallana, James Milner and Daniel Sturridge.
These are Liverpool players on show in a very high-profile setting. Flying the flag for Liverpool FC. They need my love and support. I am endlessly interested in how they get on.
Then there’s the litany of stars who will be performing in Euro 2016 dreaming of transfers to the Reds — Mario Gotze, Zielinski, that German left back and some keepers.
I love it when the two summer distractions — international footie and transfer rumours — collide and intertwine. Suddenly, England v Poland becomes a 90-minute uber YouTube audition for future Liverpool idols, matched and scaled perfectly against existing ones. What’s not to get excited about? What’s not to go down the pub for?
Glad that’s all put to bed then, and I hope you can now all enjoy your Liverpool-free summers correctly. Breathe easy.
The close season is not quite here yet, though. Tonight, in the dying embers of 2015-16, as we mosey into Anfield one last time and there are still questions to be answered before we pack up our desks:
- Is this Liverpool team to face Chelsea the one that will attempt to win us European silverware in exactly a week’s time? Is this a full-scale drill?
- How does this Liverpool FC match up against a Chelsea side which has been nearly as crazily bad as Leicester City have been good? Are they still a yardstick of any sort?
- Can we get the points that we do kind of need to add some respectability to our league season? Points required to allow us the freedom to win the UEFA cup within the context of being a half-decent team domestically.
- Are the Reds that will be on display tonight worthy of getting another go at it next season? What remedies does the summer need to bring?
I’m, as ever, looking forward to Anfield this evening. Never take her for granted. You’ll be missing her like mad within a few weeks as you talk yourself into watching Croatia v Turkey just so that you can roar on Dejan Lovren and scout the Turkish goalie.
I won’t be waiting behind at the end of tonight’s game to watch the players bring their kids on the pitch and to do a bit of waving. That can keep. There’s still a cup to be won.
Oh what an ambiguous night of top-flight football awaits us. Up the end-of-season Reds.
The 11 dress-rehearsers to take on Chelsea: Mignolet; Clyne, Toure, Lovren, Moreno; Can, Milner; Lallana, Coutinho, Firmino; Sturridge.
That represents a whole heap of new Reds to be researched and anticipated….
and ultimately let down by. Last 2 summer windows we’ve kept a summer list of targets for us with caveats they must feature in certain publications. Both summers those linked have totalled over 75 per window!!
Not withstanding the players we sign out of the blue, it basically gives a rumour success rate of less than 10%…which begs the question:
why put yourself through it????
Not very ‘YNWA’ but I’m not hanging round. Regret not staying for Benitez against Chelsea in his last home game though.
We’re finishing 6th or below for the sixth season out of the last seven I think. They’re gonna be there all smiles with their kids after Leicester have just won a league. If they weren’t up breast feeding all this offspring the night before games they might be achieving.
Yeah just watched it on YouTube when I got in then. Good interviews with Milner and Benteke. Benteke comes across as a class act.
IMO, this will be no ‘dress-rehearsal’, save 1 or 2 high achievers which are the prerequisite to putting the round thing into the cul-de-sac. I say this because do you want to risk all 4 goal makers in a nothing game?
Ok, there’s no such thing, especially when we can do the double over em, but I love understated irony, and nothing comes so understated as LFC qualifying for the CL from 7/8th position in the EPL, with the red Mancs fighting all their worth for a place in the EL, and losing the cup final to Alan Pardew. That would be enough schadenfreude to get me through more than one summer!
Haven’t got a clue who will start tonight really, but I can see Lucas playing – personally I’d prefer not to see all 4 of our most cutting edge risked at the start of the game. Will Chelsea be trying to rain on our parade, by playing a bit of a nasty game? It wouldn’t surprise me if so, and we know well some of their players’ temperament, which can be ugly when faced with quality opposition – could be tetchy tonight, so let’s have no rashness.
Oh well, shows how much I know then!!
Yeah good one, England fans who carry a flag are “Nazis”..
What about Irish fans with their flag? Or the Welsh or the Germans, Belgians or French?
Pretty sure you’d react differently if someone made such a ridiculous, highly offensive statement about another group of people such as Liverpudlians with the flag of their home, I.e. The Liverbird, or the Welsh, Irish, Germans, Belgians or French — are these all Nazis too?
I’d have thought you Rob G – or actually most Liverpool fans (or football fans who’ve followed football through the 80s) wouldn’t actually like this gross characterisation of football fans – didn’t Liverpool fans bear the brunt of this stupid, crass and ignorant stereotyping of fans for so long? — The Sun’s “The Truth” lies got traction because of the stereotype
Well done Rob G. Slow hand clap mate
You’re a boring get, jimbob.
Yeah, Rob is clearly saying that is the stereotype, and one he doesn’t agree with. Slow handclap, Jimbob, well done.
Ah Kloppomiester the Kraut bastard, I love the man because he wants us to win because he can’t stomach anything else. That’s the brew in Fergie’s veins. Shanks and Simeone…all the true giants. That’s what percolates and keeps them on edge always striving to go again. Fergie never bored of the title and a rudimentary part of any title winning side is an insatiable desire to win. My soft spot for The Bodge can’t hold a candle to my sheer gratitude FSG shared none of that rubbish and went out and grabbed Klopp before anyone else could. Imagine if the Mancs had got him or god forbid above all else Arsenal. Okay maybe not Arsenal but you get my jive.
But Klopp’s my jam. Being of the American persuasion I will admit to an unhealthy desire to win. It’s just there, I can’t explain it nor do I really question it because when it comes to taking home silverware and and climbing back onto high high perches winning is a damn fast way to do all that and a bit more. A big sign for me was how Klopp reacted to the 3-3 draw with Gooners. He was firing his pistols because of the fight not the “saved” point. That fight has been on full display a few times this season, this season of Klopp. Dortmund probably doesn’t happen without Arsenal without West Brom without Norwich without CP and chug chug chug goes my train of thought. Yes the last couple of XIs he’s put out in the league were a bit young but they also contained Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge so Klopp clearly wasn’t interested in simply throwing away the babes and the bathwater. But a man driven to win and willing to drive others to win is a hell of a good template for a football coach.
I want to beat Chelsea because I like it when Liverpool wins. I’ve got a bit of hope Jurgen Klopp does too.
Cheers to the death of listening to tosh about the boys showing character, cheers to the lads putting 3 points before all.
As a resident occasional Chelsea visitor to the site I enjoyed the above post. Like most my team comes before the national one, but watching England is a guilty pleasure, sort of like watching your mates dodgy kids grow up and hoping they come out OK in the end!
As for tonight’s game, thought Chelsea did well given the bizzare back four and a couple of kids too. Hazards goal was impeccable. Klopp putting out a full team was brave for a dead rubber game. Glad no one got injured. Draw probably deserved.
All the best for next Wednesday, I’ve thought Liverpool”s name was on the trophy since September so I’m looking forward to it and it’ll need to be a more inspired performance than tonight. Good luck!
I dunno. I enjoy the Olympics me, and the athletics. And I get a break from John Gibbons. I tell you what though Gutmann, you must be a bleeding nightmare to live with.
International qualifiers are a pain in the hole most of the time during a season of domestic footie,
But, when the season finishes I’m always relieved if it’s a Summer containing an international football tournament,
12 years of age and being allowed to stay up until I like during my Summer hols to watch Mexico 86- didn’t miss a minute,
As an Irish boy I really enjoyed watching Robsons England, along with Maradona & long range Russian goals that will stay with me forever as they seem to fly in every game (in one of the greatest WC kits ever).
Nice piece as always Rob. Still haunted by recent bungled transfer windows, but Klopp’s given me hope that past mistakes won’t be repeated yet again. And while I’m equally mystified by those who can switch their support on and off, I do like the Nick Hornby philosophy of the summer (winter here) giving us 12 weeks out of 52 in which there’s at least a chance of being relatively sane.
I don’t dabble, though. Nothing worse in sport fandom than a dabbler.