MY heart was broken, my heart was broken,
Sorrow, sorrow, sorrow, sorrow,
My heart was broken, my heart was broken,
You saw it,
You claimed it,
You touched it,
You saved it,
My tears are drying, my tears are drying,
Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you,
My tears are drying, my tears are drying,
Your beauty and kindness,
Made tears clear my blindness,
While I’m worth my room on this earth,
I will be with you,
While the Chief, puts Sunshine On Leith,
I’ll thank him for his work,
And your birth and my birth.
This, on a loop, in my head since about 3pm on Saturday. The heart breaking strings, the pause just before them, sorrow, sorrow, sorrow, sorrow except my tears weren’t drying until around about 9am this morning.
As defeats go that was up there with the worst of them. While trying to drown out the above, I have been asking myself why. Why this game, at this time? Rational thought would tell you it isn’t the end of the world. It is just a defeat, one that it could be argued we didn’t really deserve. The league isn’t finished. It’s a little bit more difficult but so what? I think I had convinced myself before kick-off that it was win or bust, even without discussing it with anyone, save for a two sentence conversation with Atko which went something like this:
”That said, heads will fall off if we don’t beat Swansea, you know”
“I know, lad”.
Heads fell off, predominantly mine and Neil’s. As Neil wrote in his match review the business of trying to win the league for the first time in our adult lives is one which is now getting out of hand. It is eating into my very being. Whenever we embark on a run of form that looks like we have got a chance, the importance of other things in life seems to shrink. Holidays are booked around every fixture just in case, everything else is checked against what the Reds might be up to. We had it on Friday night; Future Islands are playing The Academy on the April 29 – we ended up agreeing to book a Boogie Bus to take us straight from the gig to Watford, to arrive in London at about 4am on the morning of the match. Tell me the Reds are after the title and I’m in, all guns blazing, thinking of nothing else.
The heartbreak on Saturday was so grave because the evidence on the actual football pitch is beginning to suggest that the Reds might just fall short. Chelsea are setting such a ridiculous pace it hardly seems fair. Saturday felt like such a body blow because it doesn’t seem like your average season. Chelsea, pretty much, haven’t conceded a goal since we whacked them. They are getting all of the marginal decisions, haven’t got any injuries and are basically a winning machine. A home slip up after a year unbeaten shouldn’t feel like the end of the world, and yet there I was on Saturday, sorrowing my head off, genuinely considering jumping in a lake that I was walking past; not to kill myself or anything, but just to try to snap out of it a bit.
Can’t stop thinking about the Reds and Sunshine on Leith? Cop for this freezing cold water then, dickhead.
Do you know what, though? Football, they say, is a funny old game and mad shit happens now and again. Who’s to say that Chelsea won’t have a bit of a wobble? Two things are now abundantly clear. Firstly, Liverpool need to start winning games again and secondly we need to do it pretty bleeding quickly. As in, on Wednesday night kind of quickly. We need to then win on Saturday, no messing about and then we need to beat Chelsea. It’s pretty straightforward really reds. Beat Chelsea and their heads might go. Beat Chelsea and our swagger might come back.
Seems easy, doesn’t it? How will we beat Chelsea? Well, for a kick-off, we need to get our balance back. Since Philippe Coutinho got injured we haven’t really been able to break teams down. The fluidity between midfield and attack has been lost a little bit. Emre Can and his patented ‘15 touches and I’ll pass’ approach to footy is killing us. That might be a little harsh, but in contrast to Adam Lallana when he plays in midfield maybe it isn’t. The lack of Sadio Mane, or any one of him Roberto Firmino and Coutinho, gives us a bigger headache in that we have to either shoehorn another centre midfielder in to play our best one up front, or play one of Dan Sturridge or Divock Origi upfront which means moving Firmino. Either way, we are weaker.
There has been a lot of focus on the defence and the quality of our back-up players since Saturday but I think the bigger issue lies with the lack of a suitable alternative to any one of Mane, Coutinho or Firmino. Playing Origi and Sturridge weakens us; there is no getting away from that. I love Sturridge as much as the next man but we aren’t as good a side when he plays in it. That makes me sad but not as sad as I was on Saturday afternoon.
The biggest thing we have to do is play to our strengths. That means for me, we play Firmino upfront and Lallana in midfield, every week. If they can’t play for any reason, find some lads who can do what they do and play them instead.
In the meantime, we need to fight. We need to fight like there is no tomorrow. There is no way I am giving up on this league until someone adds up some numbers and tells me that we cannot possibly win it anymore. Jürgen Klopp and his Reds haven’t given up.
Get to the ground on Wednesday, or around your telly, or your phone, or your radio, and release Saturday’s tension. Sing, and shout and get a cob on. Not with the Reds but with every other prick. Think of the Bluenoses and the Mancs who have been in touch since Saturday and anyone who ever did you any harm and let Southampton have it. Think about Southampton and their shitty songs and meffy clobber and let them have it. Then do the same on Saturday. Then after Saturday, have a little rest, put your feet up, drink some honey and lemon, take a couple of Echinacea, and on my signal unleash hell next Tuesday night. Them bastards won’t know what’s hit them.
While I’m worth my room on this earth I will be with you, Redmen.
Let’s get into these.