HAS everyone calmed down yet?
It was heavy that, wasn’t it? It was always going to be a graft that game. Sunderland away, in the freezing cold, about half an hour after the Manchester City game finished, against a manager who is so negative in everything he does he makes The Hodge look like Jim Carey on the balloons. Even still, the manner of the goals and the referee, combined with the relentless pressure of a Liverpool title charge, was enough to make pretty much every Liverpool fan go bananas. Not just a little bit bananas, full on ‘who are you talking to’ bananas.
I was watching it in ours, in the back room, surrounded by Christmas debris. As the referee gave that free-kick a rather smug looking Father Christmas got a volley to the kite. It didn’t knock the smile off his face, though. Look at him, the little prick.
As the penalty was given, an innocent packet of Batman Lego copped for a mauling and was probably a bit confused as to whether it was a case of mistaken identity when I screamed about him being a horrible Manc, Alex Ferguson puppet of a prick. Poor Batman and his squad of pieces might have expected an apology when the replay was shown, but instead their big, dopey snowy mate got his head smashed in. Don’t look at me, lads. Blame The Reds.
The thing about anger is that over time it dissipates. After a while, and a fair bit of distraction, I managed to calm down a bit. Steve Peters, the former Liverpool ‘Director of sorting your head out’ has a theory that we have a chimp in our brain that is an irrational bellend and is responsible for our emotional responses such as anger. The theory goes (I’m half paraphrasing and half making this up here – soz Steve, your book is sound and that you know) that the chimp’s anger can only last a certain timescale, about seven minutes, from when it first starts unless it is provoked into starting again by being challenged or argued with. If we remove our monkey from provocation then, in theory, we should calm down.
Which brings me to the social and specifically Twitter. After I had suitably calmed down yesterday, I made the mistake of getting on Twitter to see what was being said. I was instantly furious; King Kong in our kitchen trying to get out furious. It wasn’t necessarily that people were being more mental than normal, it was more the constant reminders, the constant probing, the flashing memories of the referee, the manager having a cob on and the gut-wrenching disappointment. It was all of it and the fact that, when I read a bit more, it turned out people were being more mental than they normally are, which takes some doing.
This relentless tide of anger and emotion is definitely linked to the social, it has got to be. People react instantly to events, fair enough. They kick inanimate objects in their own house; they shout at the telly even though it can’t transmit sound to the referee’s ear. When we react in real time by writing something bananas about the team we love there are consequences.
That’s the point, isn’t it? People react. They come back, tell you that you are chatting shit, or favourite it, or retweet it, or finger it or whatever they do over on Facebook. One initial thought, which may or may not be what you actually think, is now floating around all over the gaff and pissing everyone off. The issue for me is that it is very, very addictive, isn’t it? You almost want to get pissed off, you almost want to revel in the anger for a bit; it is human nature. A little bit, anyway. I tried to put my phone down and couldn’t. It was like a car crash – don’t look, don’t look, don’t look, oh go on then. But I tell you what, I’m going to work on it.
I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, I think they are shite in the main (with the possible exception of the one I apparently committed to in a drunken haze after the Manchester City game about being less funny than I already am — which is funny, thereby breaking my own resolution at precisely the moment it was made). But I am going to make an exception this year and state, right here and now, that my resolution this year is to stay off Twitter whenever The Reds don’t win.
I don’t want to be angry at these Reds. I don’t want to be angry at my fellow Reds either. I don’t want anything to detract from the pleasure of this title run, because that is what it is. Yes, it is long and hard and it hurts when we don’t win but it is a pleasure to follow these Reds, to scream these Reds on, to get behind them with everything I have got, regardless of whether they win the league or not. They are, I think, the best Liverpool side I have seen. They have just got to the halfway point of a Premier League season with their record points total. I don’t want to moan and be angry at them.
They have got a manager who has built this side, the side that has got the best ever Premier League points total at the halfway stage, by spending hardly anything and making the players that he already had well better. Yes, there are weaknesses in the squad. Yes, there are possibly issues about a lack of rotation. Perhaps they are linked in some way. But do you know what? I don’t care. I don’t want to be angry or pissed off at these Reds when they are literally one of the best performing Liverpool sides at this stage of a season during the Premier League era. They do not deserve our anger. They do not deserve our criticism, I’m not having it. So I’m not putting myself through it and I’m not contributing to it. Well, aside from this column, like.
The all-consuming, prodding nest of hatred that is Twitter after a Liverpool setback isn’t worth the damage it does to my mental health. There is also literally no point to it. It brings about no results so I don’t want to contribute to it. Jürgen Klopp isn’t going to see a tweet from me about a lack of rotation and change his mind.
Sorry, everyone. We were going to play the same team but some surveyor from the North End reckons that we should rest a couple and play some of the young lads. So, Adam Lallana, you are on the bench. Roberto Firmino, you aren’t playing at all.
I don’t know more than our manager about our team and I’m alright with that. So I’m jibbing it.
Up the non-criticising on social media after we have dropped points Reds, for we are the greatest of them all.
Happy New Year.