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BIG few days for the Reds, there. A couple of difficult games against sides you’d normally expect us to steamroll, but provided genuine opposition and looked to attack on the break. Both were a new kind of test for this Liverpool side, but again they were passed with relative ease. Simply put, IT’S ON.

There’s been a lot of talk recently about whether or not we should all be completely on board with the title challenge. Jürgen Klopp himself has told everyone not to get too over-excited, but where’s the fun in that, mate? Are we all supposed to sit on our hands until there are only a few games to go?

If you’re not already living for the match, and are not on the verge of a coronary from a combination of nerves and ale consumption, then I truly pity you. Your memories of this season will be clear but mundane. Even if we finish third, isn’t it better to have a bloody good laugh along the way, rather than spending the next six months or so staying grounded?

Let’s all get merry watching the Reds spank Bournemouth.

Cringe Level Critical

MANY traumatic events have taken place at Anfield over the years which I’ve had the misfortune to have witnessed, leaving me permanently scarred by Liverpool Football Club. Primarily, there’s The Slip™, followed by the first appearance of Mighty Red on the touchline, and also that time Pelé was interviewed by Peter McDowAll pitchside and tried to shoehorn references to Subway into every single answer he gave.

But this might well have been the very worst of all.

My skin itched as if it was covered in a thousand tiny spiders and my brain burned as though a blowtorch was searing its pointed flame through my eye sockets. If you had offered me death in that moment, I’d have had a bloody good think about it.

If you don’t innately see the massive problem with this, then I’m afraid I can’t help you very much. Quite why anyone would wish to stand and engage in a sing-along/mutual masturbation session with a rival set of fans who had previously been belting out all manner of bad Tory ditties about unemployment in Merseyside, I really don’t know. Why was it deemed acceptable to sing about Manchester United, a team with no relevance to the game whatsoever, when Liverpool were playing poorly in a dead-heat against a lower league side? Well done, lads. Give yourselves a jolly good pat on the back and have a hearty chuckle.

The atmosphere has vastly improved since the arrival of Jürgen Klopp last year, and I enjoy going the match much more for it. But noise for noise’s sake isn’t enough, and it certainly doesn’t help when it’s as nauseatingly embarrassing as this.

Against Sunderland last week, having been silent for the rest of the game, loads of people around me in the lower Annie Road starting giving it the big one to the away end, delivering a Soccer AM-branded chorus of ‘You’re Not Singing Anymore’ while making wanker signs. That’s them suddenly stirring enough energy within themselves not to support their own team, but to attempt to out-banter Sunderland, a team managed by David Moyes who seemed to know from kick-off they didn’t have a cat in hell’s chance. If you can’t be arsed to sing about your own team, you’ve no right to be taking the piss out of people who’ve been actively supporting their own.

This must never, EVER, happen again.

Whelan And Dealin’

HOLY Mother of God.

In a move which resembles some kind of Football League-based spin-off of the film Inception, Wigan Athletic owner Dave Whelan has unveiled a statue of himself outside the stadium he also named after himself. Incredibly, he managed to avoid mentioning the FA Cup final leg-break at all. Someone must have sedated him beforehand.

I dread to imagine the size of the bollocks and the sense of self-importance a human being needs to sustain in order to do such a thing. The only other megalomaniacs arrogant enough to build a great big bloody brass sculpture of themselves are oppressive dictators. Dave Whelan is now the Lancastrian equivalent of Colonel Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein. Whelan rules Wigan with an iron fist and wants the rest of the world to know about it.

Get Dave Whelan on a chaise longue in a room with Sigmund Freud and the man would have a fucking field day with the analysis.

“What I think has happened, Dave,” Freud would say, “Is that your superego has now delved far beyond the concepts of the Oedipus Complex and the Unconscious Mind, and you have become so narcissistic that I truly believe that, if the biology allowed it, your head would disappear so far up your own arse that it would come back out the top again.”

In the grand pantheon of statues at football grounds, it’s up there, like. But it’s not quite number one for me. I don’t think anything in our lifetimes will ever come close to beating the Michael Jackson recreation that popped up at Craven Cottage a few years ago. What a piece of decision making that was. Imagine the thought process.

“Lads, y’know that feller what did the moonwalk, has no affiliation with our club whatsoever, and had a very questionable history of engagement with children? Whack a big fuck off sparkly statue of him up outside the ground, please. That’s that sorted; I’m going on my break. Anyone want anything bringing back from the café? I’m not carrying a tuna butty in the lift, though, Brian.”

Long live dead mad statues.

Hodge And Pards

CRYSTAL Palace stand on the edge of a precipice. If they take one brave step into the unknown, they can bring to life one of the most mouth-watering prospects English football has ever seen.

There is a remote chance that The Eagles, on the back of a lengthy losing run, could bring together a managerial dream-team whereby Alan Pardew remains as Head Coach, with the addition of Roy Hodgson as Director of Football. Kind of like Evans and Houllier except even more doomed from the outset.

Just imagine it. Pardew’s firebrand football, which cares exceedingly little for defending of any form, mashed together with Hodgson’s system of not allowing anybody bar the centre-forward past the halfway line. Two of the most egotistical, cockniest men on the planet going toe-to-toe, wrestling for the control of a mediocre Premier League side that neutrals often forget even exists.

Crystal Palace will absolutely, 100%, be relegated if they make this happen. But they simply must do it for the greater good. Ever since I read this article and the seed of the idea implanted itself in my mind, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. The potential for shit hitting the fan is far beyond anything I ever before thought was plausible. Take Pards doing that pissed-up, seedy uncle at a wedding dance from the FA Cup final last year; multiply it by Hodgy rubbing his face to bits on the touchline at Newcastle in 2010, and it all equals hilarity of gargantuan proportions.

If there is a God, I pray he makes this happen.

Bren Back In Business

BRENDAN Rodgers: “How am I doing boss?”

Jock Stein and Martin O’Neill from high above in the clouds of heaven: “You’re doing a great job son…a great job!!!”

Yes, for some reason Scotland has decided to start giving out trophies after only three months of the season, and Celtic have managed to see off titans like Alloa Athletic and Motherwell to win the Scottish League Cup, beating Aberdeen 3-0 in the final at Hampden Park.

A little over a year after Ian Ayre binned him at Melwood following the Goodison derby, Brendan Rodgers has won his first trophy as a football manager (no, the Championship play-off final doesn’t count, I’ve won games of five-a-side with more relevance), and with Rangers falling flat on their return to the Scottish Premiership, and generally being an awful gang of lads, he’ll no doubt have two more to add to his collection come the end of the season.

Now, I was by no means the feller’s biggest fan. I was at the Hawthorns for his first league match in 2012, otherwise known as The Do It For Lucas Game™, where we lost 3-0, and so I think I maintained a steady wariness from that point onward. The constant soundbites sent my head west; you could tell that when he was coming up with clever/cringey little quotes at press conferences he was getting a hard-on under the desk. I was also in the Bernabeu in 2014 when he named the reserves in our biggest match in years. “Número veinticuatro…Joe Allen! Número veintinueve…Fabio Borini!” screeched the PA system, and 3,000 people around me bellowed in unison, “YER FUCKIN’ WHA?!?! WHAT’S HE PLAYIN’ AT?!?!” I never really forgave him after that.

But it’s nice to see him doing well because, in spite of all that, we had a bloody laugh together, didn’t we? Remember when we won 3-0 at Old Trafford? Remember when we put four past The Ev and the lower Annie Road emptied in about 10 seconds? Remember that harrowing face he pulled at Carlo Ancelotti in the tunnel before the home game in the group stage? What a laugh riot it all was.

Good on you then, Bren. Just don’t spunk the transfer money on a brickyard labourer from Kirkby again and you should be grand.

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