SINCE my dad did his fatherly duty and ensured that I cared more about watching football than I did watching cartoons (“You’re 27 for fuck sake!”), I have suffered plenty of heartache.
In fact, as my morning has largely been spent trying to figure out just who the hell Ryan Fraser is, I’ve had time to deviate away from that and work out how often I have felt the pain of defeat as a Reds fan over the years.
Since the start of the 1993/4 season (the first I paid attention to), Liverpool have lost 306 competitive games of football.
That’s 306 times of feeling like the world is against me. Like, ‘what’s the point of caring if this is what it does to you’. Like, quite frankly anything and everything in the world can just piss off until Liverpool win again.
However, the purpose of this article, dear reader, is not to be as self-indulgent as I have been thus far (he used ‘thus’ instead of ‘so’ the self-indulgent prick). It is to try and curtail the anger, the sorrow, the self-pity, the gorging on Toblerones to stop the pain, then gorging on Pringles when you get angry at what they’ve done to Toblerones.
When the Reds win, we all win.
When the Reds lose, fuck you and everyone you care about, you shit. Try fitting that on a mug.
In those 306 defeats there have been some spectacularly painful ones, most of which are so obvious that I won’t bother recalling them here, largely because I’ve finished all my Toblerones and Pringles, but yesterday’s loss was right up there. It stung like no other league defeat since ‘that’ one against Chelsea (reaches for a chocolate orange).
It was, in almost every way, just like the 4-3 defeat to Leeds in 2000 when Mark Viduka happened. That loss hurt for a very long time, in spite of how successful that season ended up being.
As painful defeats go, yesterday had it all:
– Tremendous form and optimism heading into it
– A title rival had dropped points, two others hadn’t and had both sealed impressive away wins
– Did the hard part by getting the game largely won in the first half, scoring two excellent goals
– Given a slight scare of conceding early in the second but then calming everything down again with another brilliant goal
– Opposition make a sub they didn’t want to due to injury
– The player they reluctantly bring on then single-handedly changes the game
– Bournemouth, who barring a 6-1 win over Hull had scored just nine goals in 12 games all season, all of a sudden can’t stop scoring
– Steve Cook, who gifted Arsenal a win the previous week, becomes Robert Lewandowski in our box
– James Milner is a caterpillar’s eyelash from making it 4-1 directly from a corner
– Divock Origi’s turn and shot loops inches over the bar at 3-3
– The late winner from yet another Reds mistake.
So yeah, Mr Mourinho, about your side being the unluckiest in the world…
One of the worst things about yesterday is that those three goals have been wasted. Sadio Mane, Origi and Emre Can all scored wonderful goals that I wanted to watch again and again as part of our tremendous collection of them in our rampant season of joy. But now, I don’t want to see them ever again. I don’t know about you but I rarely re-watch games when we’ve lost. When the goals come on I switch off, regardless of how many we scored or how good they were. They were lies. They were goals that promised victory but didn’t deliver. I’ve only ever seen Seb Coates’s goal against QPR twice.
However, in the cold light of day you just have to try and see this defeat for what it was. An anomaly.
The media have been falling over themselves to tell us that this had been coming, that this was proof that our defence is as shaky as they’ve been telling us it is all season, ignoring the very significant fact that our best defender was missing and that for 75 minutes, we defended more than capably.
I’ve seen it suggested that Liverpool’s capitulation was due to not having enough on the bench. By that logic, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ovie Ejaria and Ben Woodburn cost us the game by merely sitting there. Foolish boys. Bringing Adam Lallana on for Mane must be proof if proof were needed that we have no depth. Isn’t it, though? Go on, isn’t it?
Let them take their shots (the media, not the opposition). They’ve had them drafted since the Burnley game and had to blow the dust off them yesterday.
The fact that we’re in the League Cup semi-final suggests that our strength in depth is fine. Maybe if Chelsea ever have any injuries to key players we might find out how they deal with it.
The fact that yesterday was our first defeat in 15 and we’ve beaten much better teams than Bournemouth in that run, suggests that overall we are more than fine.
I was knocked sick yesterday, and not just by my questionable dietary decisions. It was a metaphorical punch to the gut that was completely unexpected and most unwelcome. I was low, inconsolable, and felt a tremendous need to smash my telly. I should really have bought one of those dirt cheap Blaupunkt heaps on Black Friday for such an occasion.
However, my mood and sanity were saved by one simple tweet. Not the one from the fella who has been leaving outrageous spoof entries in the Metro’s Rush Hour Crush column (though that was hilarious), but one announcing that Eidur Gudjohnsen has offered to come out of retirement to play for Chapecoense for free.
— Eidur Gudjohnsen (@Eidur22Official) December 4, 2016
All of a sudden the ridiculousness of getting bent out of shape over a one goal defeat that still leaves us very much in the title race, as well as nine points ahead of Manchester United and 10 points ahead of Everton, was made crystal clear by the real tragedies happening in football at the moment.
I’m a little pissed off that we lost a game that we had already won twice, but we’ll all be back in high spirits cheering the lads on against West Ham at Anfield next week. We go again.
This team is learning all the time and, while you would have hoped they’d already know how not to lose a 3-1 lead when dominating, they certainly will after Jürgen Klopp, Zeljko Buvac and co get their hands on them.
Up the keeping us on our toes Reds.
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