I’M 36 today. Liverpool last won the league when I was nine.
It’s hard to escape the crippling feeling that, at best, it next happens when I am 37. At best.
Without sounding overly dramatic it is difficult to put into words how that second half felt. When I talk about the league in this space I often quote Wichita Lineman, the Jimmy Webb song most popularly sung by Glen Campbell.
You know I need you more than want you.
And I want you for all time.
I want you for all time. Infinity. The need is greater than infinity, you know, you know, the need is greater than infinity.
The sheer vacuum that opens up in your brain. Staring into the abyss. Walls collapsing everywhere. Thudding to the floor. It isn’t fear. It is sheer, inarticulate need. It keeps you up nights. It stops you in your tracks during days. Ridicule is nothing to be scared of. Defeat is nothing to be scared of. There is nothing to be scared of, just facing that need deepening, further intensifying. Just another year of being up nights. Of losing days.
The second half is a bag of rags. The problem for me is the first half. Liverpool didn’t look like hurting Swansea. They let them gain confidence and grow into the contest. What should have demonstrated a gulf instead allowed them to believe and build a base. They got a beachhead. And grew into it. Everything that happened from the first minute let Swansea believe more.
The two in front of Jordan Henderson were a million miles away. Liverpool were pedestrian beyond belief. Swansea weren’t worked hard. They didn’t have questions asked of them over and over again. They coasted through the first half and made it look far too easy. Anfield should be a cauldron. Dead both on and off the pitch first half.
The second will need watching back. Chaos all over the show. Again, the worry is as much around how badly they attacked as how badly they defended. All the structure gone. Back to asking what a Liverpool goal looks like. Was it panic? Ineptitude?
Both full-backs lacked quality. Roberto Firmino the business in front of goal. He should have stayed there. He should be there. Everything else is fluff for him. He needs to be close to the sticks. Adam Lallana needs to start far away.
Credit to Swansea and Fernando Llorente. Both showed their class. They pushed everything to the limit including the rules. That’s what you do when you are in a fight for your lives.
Liverpool’s battles go beyond the mortal, beyond the finite. A need greater than any.
I don’t care about a race for fourth. They aren’t relevant to my interests. My interests are clear.
I wish I had more for you. Thirty-six and broken.
I think I need a small vacation.