A WONDERFUL night at 10 Bands 10 Minutes at Invisible Wind Factory means a rather lazy morning on Sunday. I need to get going, though. Mum is doing Christmas Dinner.

There is a reason behind this madness. My cousin is a West Ham fan and has married a Liverpool fan. Last year, a week after their wedding, Liverpool played West Ham and so I arranged posh tickets as a sort of wedding present. And apparently now it is a tradition. With it being so close to Christmas, and with our family spread apart, it seemed like a good enough excuse to get everyone together and next thing I knew mum was buying a turkey.

I arrive at my mother’s to the lovely sounds of my nieces and nephews shouting their heads off. Just what you want with a hangover. However, someone passes me a prosecco and I’m soon in the Christmas mood. Is right getting back on it.

The dinner is a resounding success, however I am still absolutely dreadful at pulling crackers. I never bloody get the big bit. If crackers are a trophy, I’m Everton. Any tips, the lads? Less than two weeks until the big day now and I can’t get had off by my nephew. He’s only one but he’ll still probably beat me.

Afterwards someone says “right, let’s do presents” and I realise I haven’t brought any. No-one said anything about presents. But I guess they were implied as everyone else seems to have got onto it. I smile politely as people pass me things. Note to self. Go Christmas shopping before December 23rd next year.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 11, 2016: The Shankly Gates outside Liverpool's Anfield Stadium before the FA Premier League match againstg West Ham United. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

No one seems that bothered about my lack of presents. They do seem cross that they haven’t been invited to the footy, though. My sister in particular is very vocal on the subject of never having been invited into the posh seats. I try and explain space is limited and I very rarely get invited by Red Touch Media myself but she is having none of it.

Secretly, though, me and Mel are laughing our heads off. We were the youngest growing up and very much put upon as a result. I am sure some of you reading can recognise this scenario. Here are some reasons why we don’t feel bad at all about leaving them with the kids as we piss off to an executive box.

1) As kids we used to perform a nativity at Christmas. I was given the part of Joseph, by default, being the only lad, but instructions were very much to be seen and not heard. Melanie was asked to be Jesus and sit in the cot saying nothing. Until Anna got a doll that she decided would make a better Jesus than her own living sister. So Mel was told to be a sheep. Not a shepherd. A sheep.

2) On holiday, the older kids decided to put on a “synchronised swimming show” in the pool. Mel wanted to be in it. I offered to do some boss dives off the board. Instead it was decided we would have the very important job of “passing them things” while they got to show off.

So, yeah. Just two examples of why we spent the afternoon sending them pictures like this:


Which, if anything, took my mind off the football for a while…

The football, then. Mel keeps telling me West Ham are rubbish and are going to “get spanked”. I’m not so sure. I’m still scarred from Bournemouth. Even an early goal seems dangerous. Mel thinks it’s going to be a long afternoon, but I’m worried about complacency. It doesn’t seem like any lead is big enough at the moment. The fragile Reds.

They get a free-kick and everyone in the ground knows Loris Karius is in the wrong position. Mistakes get made in the heat of the game, but you shouldn’t have 40,000 football fans knowing you are stood in the wrong place. Dimitri Payet gratefully passes the ball into the large empty bit of the goal and Liverpool can’t respond to the setback. West Ham score again.

Second half, Divock Origi scores quickly and finally the ground is banging. It seems highly improbable that there won’t be another goal in the game, but somehow there isn’t. It finishes 2-2. More points dropped. In truth Liverpool didn’t do enough from 60 onwards. Klopp not seemingly trusting the young lads to shake it up.

After the game I record The Pink. I’m angry and frustrated and annoyed that obvious weaknesses are going to cost us. Two days later? I feel a bit better. Maybe we aren’t built to lead at this stage. It shows a worrying level of experience and confidence, but in terms of the squad we are where we are. Maybe they would prefer to be under the radar for a while, with pressure elsewhere. Jockey for position. Clear the fences. Starting at Middlesbrough.

Up the handily-placed Reds.

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Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda Photo

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