I’VE got a confession to make that will cause Robbo to call me a wool. I didn’t watch the match live on Tuesday night. I set up my box to record it, I gave my girlfriend my phone so I couldn’t accidentally read any messages and told everyone not to tell me the score. I’d rather have watched it live but I had already arranged to go to The Viking in West Kirby with some mates of mine. They do two-for-one pizzas on a Tuesday and there’s a quiz. I love a good quiz.
The quiz wasn’t a normal one, though, or at least not as normal as I understand quizzes to be. It’s all done electronically. I don’t really know how it works, to be honest, but you get an app on your phone that logs into a network set up by the quizmaster and you press buttons to answer questions. Whoever answers the quickest gets a bonus point, which you know because the quizmaster tells you who was quickest and who got the bonus point.
We didn’t ever get a bonus point. There were times when we answered before he’d even finished asking the question. There were other times when we accidentally pressed the button before we even knew what the question was. Still we got no bonus points.
The quiz had about 350 questions and the longer it went on the more convinced we became that we were rock bottom of the 14 teams taking part. There was one point near the end when I accidentally sabotaged the whole thing, by pressing a button on my mate’s shite Android phone that meant we exited the app and couldn’t answer any of the questions.
When it finished, he read the teams out in reverse order. Obviously we were convinced that we’d lost so were delighted when our team’s name wasn’t the first one he read out. It wasn’t the second either. Or the third. In fact by the time he’d gotten to the top three we were pretty sure our phone hadn’t even been connected to the network and we’d been wasting our time for the whole night.
Then he said that we’d won.
Having spent the entire quiz convinced that we had absolutely no chance of winning it we ended up getting a £20 voucher for future use. Scenes.
Now at some point during the evening my girlfriend took my phone out to show the guys we were there with that I had about 50 WhatsApp messages from the Ten From The Terrace group of TAW contributors. There was also a text from my dad asking if I was watching the game. I asked to reply to him saying that I wasn’t and I was avoiding the score.
For reasons I’m still not sure about, she got halfway through sending the message and then told me I may as well send it. At the moment she handed my phone to me I got a message from the WhatsApp group flash up on the screen. I tried to avert my eyes but it looked like the message said “We’ve fucked that right up”.
I immediately convinced myself that Liverpool had lost the match and all of my efforts to avoid the score had been a waste of time. I knew I had to go home and spend an hour and a half watching a game that the Reds had lost. Sake.
I’ll be honest, I was then a bit of an arse for the rest of the night. I gave my girlfriend the silent treatment, fuming that she’d given me the phone at all when I’d specifically given it to her in the first place to avoid exactly such a situation. When I got in I fast forwarded the recorded to the start of the match, not caring a jot what Graeme Souness had to say about Jürgen Klopp’s decision to rest players.
When Daniel Sturridge scored I was initially elated, both for him and for the Reds. Then I remembered that we were going to go on to lose. The message about ‘fucking it up’ made total sense. How could we throw away a one goal lead against a Spurs youth team?
Spurs had some possession of the ball in the first-half but they never once looked like they could threaten us. We were great for the most part but we dropped off for ten minutes or so.
When the whistle went for half-time, I was relieved that we hadn’t conceded but remembered that I was going to watch Spurs put a rocket up our arses in the second period.
The Reds looked much brighter in the second-half, with Divock Origi seeming much more like the lad that we watched tear the place up last season. Sturridge was on fire, out to prove that he might not fit naturally into the system that the manager is currently playing but that he can most certainly perform when things are setup to aid him as much as possible.
When he netted his second, I briefly wondered whether I’d misread the message. I allowed myself to get excited and think about who we might get in the next round. Then Lucas gave away a soft penalty and I remembered that Liverpool throw away these sort of games. It’s what we’ve done for years. From 2-0 up with 15 minutes to play, to out of the competition. *That* was fucking it right up.
When the referee blew the whistle for full-time, I grabbed my phone and flipped through the chat. The only one I could see that looked even slightly like it might have been the one I’d misinterpreted was from Paul Cope and said ‘We’re fucking mustard’.
Whether the quiz was a sign of what was happening in the football at the time or not, I feel like there’s something we can learn from all of that.
You may well have been reading all of that and wondering what match I was watching.
We’re struggling to come to terms with the idea that we’ve got a good team on our hands. Years of fucking things up just when they seem to be going well are playing on our collective psyche, refusing to allow us to believe that we might just be able keep things up for a decent length of time.
Any tweet about getting excited is inevitably greeted by one saying we ‘shouldn’t get carried away’. When we don’t score immediately versus Manchester United, or we concede late on against West Brom or Spurs, the Anfield crowd doesn’t leap to a full-throated support of the players but waits for the inevitable equaliser.
Sometimes the equaliser will come. Sometimes we might lose to a last minute strike. But I’ll tell you this: Liverpool Football Club will win more matches if the crowd believes they’re going to.
Did you think we’d find the winner against Borussia Dortmund? I did. I was absolutely convinced about it once we’d made it 3-3. The old adage of The Kop being able to suck the ball across the line wasn’t based on the idea of thousands of people all breathing in at the same time. It was about them breathing out, screaming and shouting encouragement to their team.
I believe that Liverpool are going to win the league. I’m loving every single game at the minute as we march towards glory. I’ve believed it since before a ball was kicked and said as much back in August. I’m determined to have a really great laugh this year. When May rolls around, I might look at the table to see we’ve finished second or third or fourth, but that’s for May. Right now, we’ve got a boss team that knows how to get a result and we need to get used to it.
We won the quiz. We won the match. We’ll win the league. The Reds are coming up the hill.