WOKE up on Sunday morning after 600 pints of Guinness with 99 problems. The previous nights 600 Guinness being one of them and the subsequent brain demagogue playing the headache drums another. Prising open my eyes I stumble across a photo on Twitter of two auld fellas having a smug off stood in front of a gold lift. It quickly became problem number 100.
If you haven’t seen it the two auld fellas are Big Donnie Trump and Nigel Farage. How Farage — sounding like a heavily Scouse pronunciation of garage — is still knocking about is beyond me but that’s a separate issue. What I can’t get out of my head is the use of Farage as a verb. For ages, lying in bed, stinking of pizza and Guinness I wasn’t sure whether Farage was just a name or whether it was actually a word in the dictionary; it turns out I was getting it muddled up with forage but that’s understandable giving the state I was in.
The side effect of this confusion has been that I haven’t been able to think of much else since except potential meanings for the word Farage. These are my top three:
1) Farage: The act of searching a woodland or natural environment for small native British rodents or mammals for use in sexually-related activities.
For example: “I’ve just been for a boss little farage there in the pinewoods, got myself a red squirrel and an auld skinny fox. It’s going off in ours later, lad”.
2) Farage: The act of washing ones face with butter.
For example: “Give me ten minutes to have a quick farage and get changed and I’ll see you in there. Get me a pint of Churchill’s flower juice and a pickled egg”
3) Farage: The act of stretching ones mouth using fruit or vegetables to obtain an overly large gum reveal.
For example: “Giz a go on that aubergine there lad, my mouth is starting to look little again”
A fourth meaning has been bubbling under over the last few days, ever since Barcelona started their asset-grabbing PR machine up, designed to unsettle and unnerve, and focussed it on Phil Coutinho.
4) Farage: The act of soiling your underpants at the thought of your best player leaving and all your hopes and dreams crashing and burning.
For example: “Lad, I haven’t been able to stop faraging all over the show since they started trying to blag Coutinho’s head, yer no. I’ve had to send me bird to the Asda to get a three pack of bills for a tenner”.
It is easy to understand all of this final example faraging, to be honest. On current form Coutinho is arguably the best player in the league at the minute, is a central cog in the greatest front four in the league and is the best player in the best team in the league. No one wants their best players to leave but the fear for Liverpool fans is heightened by our experiences over the last few years.
Our last dealings with Barcelona ending up with us selling one of the greatest ever players to play for Liverpool and replacing him with a Hod carrier from Kirkby, whose legs had gone, and a lunatic from Italy, whose head had gone. Liverpool went from being the most exciting attacking team in the league to somewhere close to shite in the space of one summer.
It’s not just that example that rings alarm bells. Over the past 10 years Liverpool have become one of the teams in world football who can no longer hold onto their own players. Forget history, and building something, and reputation, we have consistently sold our best players, predominantly for less than they are worth and replaced them with players who aren’t as good. Raheem Sterling, one of the brightest talents in European football, was effectively replaced by a plodding silent misfit of a centre forward who is now playing for a relegation-threatened side. Javier Mascherano replaced with Christian Poulsen. Xabi Alonso replaced with Alberto Aquilani. The reasons behind these moves all vary but their lasting effect is to instil a massive dose of the Farages whenever any of our best players are linked with a move now.
Except, something is different now. Everything is different now. For the first time in years we have got a manager who is in control of the transfer dealings. We have got a manager who has got control of the club. He is steering and informing every decision. The transfer committee, whilst still pretty much existing in its exact same format, is no longer a topic of conversation or a massive distraction to the club, manager, media and fans. It exists to support the manager.
At the start of the season, a significant majority of supporters were wondering whether we had done enough in terms of our transfer dealings. There were genuine fears that the squad was weak in certain positions. The proportion of fans who think that way now has significantly reduced. Why is that? I think the main reason relates to the evidence on the pitch. This Liverpool side is formidable. It is greater than the sum of its parts. The management team has clearly identified the type of player required and formulated a style of play to get the most out of each player, creating systems that allow players to effectively complement each other to great effect.
Coutinho is a better player this year than he was last year. The reason for this: Jürgen Klopp and his management team. They have created a system that is allowing him to flourish. They have trained him, worked with him and developed him to become a more rounded player. They have stopped him shooting every time he gets the ball by creating options and movement ahead of him that opposing teams cannot cope with.
Why shouldn’t we be scared of Barcelona’s interest anymore? Two words; Jürgen Klopp.
Coutinho is effusive in his praise of our manager and the impact he has had on him and the team. Young players who want to improve will be looking at the impact Klopp has had on the likes of Adam Lallana, Jordan Henderson, Roberto Firmino and will want to be a part of it. If you have a desire to be one of the best attacking players in world football then I’m not sure there is a better environment in English football to do that. Coutinho may want to play for Barcelona one day but he will be fully aware of the reasons they are having a look at him now. Who is to say he doesn’t want to stay and continue to improve?
It goes further than that for me, though. Say Coutinho wants to leave in the summer of 2017 or 2018, do you really think his departure would have the same effect as Suarez’s or would fall in the same bracket as Sterling, Mascherano or Alonso? No, me neither. This manager won’t allow himself to be boxed into a corner without a plan and have to sell from a position of weakness. Klopp will be meticulously planning for the day any of these players leave to improve the level of the team. Klopp has already evidenced that he can spot a player, the right player, the most suitable player for his desired approach.
Do you think he won’t be able to do this if Coutinho ever wants to leave? Seriously? Go and farage your head off then, to your heart’s content, choose whichever definition you want, for you my child are beyond help.
Up the non-faraging Reds.
Let’s get into these.