SHE painted pictures,
That never dried,
Always tried to keep the feeling alive.
In Newington Temple and Sparky’s Dream is playing and The Reds are victorious and The Reds are resplendent and all I want is to keep the feeling alive and it is all I ever want and all I ever wanted. What hurt when Leroy Fer hit the net was that the feeling would fade. The feeling fading was what worried me when we got to 72 and it was still 1-1. The feeling is everything as a supporter. Not an analyst or a pundit or a coach. But as a supporter we have what it feels like first and foremost. We can always feel things wrongly. Feelings clouding judgement. Feelings masking our reality. But the feelings are what you have when the final whistle goes and then you have a choice — work through them or let them sustain. Just let them sustain.
Liverpool don’t play again for 17 days. 17! Seven-teen. The feelings matter more so then. This defines the underlying feeling for more than a fortnight. I have never had a holiday as long as this gap between Liverpool games. Very few of us will have had. That’s how long it is and how long the good feeling needs to sustain.
It deserves to sustain. Between two international breaks Liverpool have played five sides and won against all five. They have deserved the win against all five, too. Perfection? Far from it, and this is the exciting thing. There is every chance Liverpool improve across the next five games. For a manager like Jürgen Klopp, for whom process is so crucial, this is a good thing. Loads to work on. Get them in. Show them. Develop them.
We are on a journey here. The weeks and months stretch ahead now like a map to be plotted. Don’t plan anything in March without checking the fixture list. Tell your partner these lads pull the strings now. Sorry lad. Can’t make it. The Reds are coming up the hill third week of March. The Reds are coming up the hill.
They came up one today. Lazy to say it was one of their own making. If I am giving advice to a likely bottom half finishing side about what to do against The Reds at home I am saying this:
– Put all your chips on the first 30 minutes.
– Build a buffer and hang on for dear life.
– Hope to frustrate them.
– Slow as much as you can from 30 to full-time.
Swansea tried that. Get out the traps. They were excellent for 30 and had a goal. It wasn’t enough. The game then belonged to Liverpool. A Liverpool rampant until just after the hour mark, who then took a breather before starting again.
It is another performance defined by Roberto Firmino. For the first 25 or so he was poor, touch and judgement just off. For the remainder he was irresistible. The intelligence for the goal deserves the rest of this paragraph. When everyone else looks at the ball he looks at his surroundings. When everyone else wonders what happens next he presumes a Liverpool player does the right thing. When everyone else contemplates a flag he knows he was right and his finish was sure. He wheels away, the feeling alive.
The ball was Henderson’s and the celebration was defined by him, too. A scream, a shout, a fuck’s sake. An into these Reds. Again he comes off as one of Liverpool’s best performers, prompting and probing, telling his teammates with words and passes. The Liberty his.
James Milner demonstrative, charisma on and off the ball, on and off the pen. Arcing passes in from left-back, twisting and turning like his 18 year old incarnation. A goal from open play should have been his, instead another penalty won by weight of numbers settled the contest. Phil Coutinho also put his most complete performance of the season in, while the better Gini Wijnaldum played the better Liverpool did.
The point: these lads all impress. They are a team. Daniel Sturridge hasn’t scored a league goal yet. Nor has he let anyone down. Looking for all the world an absolute team player, a proper senior pro.
We go into the break buzzing regardless of what happens elsewhere, though Manchester City looking mortal would be nice. It doesn’t matter, though. Liverpool are the real deal. Liverpool have verisimilitude.
Up the Reds. See you in 17 days boys and girls. Can’t imagine anything better.