“IT’S alright, lad, don’t worry about all this transfer bollocks, the Coutinho will, he won’t he, FSG this, that and the other — the footie starts again on Saturday, everything will be sound then…” (Johnson, August 2017, to myself).
The human brain is fascinating, isn’t it? I mean, its inherent ability to try to protect the big lumbering bell-end it floats about in is amazing.
All summer it has been quietly working on my memory — reducing my levels of anxiety and making me happier by using a combination of rosy retrospection and motivated forgetting. It removed any lingering doubts about the Reds as nothing more than an anti-FSG witch hunt. In fairness to it, it had done a fairly good job of convincing me that we would be fine.
At 11.30am on Saturday the first chinks in its newly-found armour started to show with the news that Albie Moreno was starting but I shrugged this off as a minor glitch in the matrix. “Positive mental attitude – come on, lad.”
Eight minutes it lasted. Eight. Not 10. Not nine. Fucking eight. EIGHT. Two months’ work, two months’ worth of brain training, gone with one cross of a ball and a defensive crime.
“Ohhhh, I remember this, yeah, yeah, they put a ball in our box and we all stand as still as possible, like a fucking T-Rex is sniffing our heads, until the ball is in the net and then we all look at each other for a bit”
Say what you want about the Reds, but they have an unparalleled ability to give away cheap goals when under virtually no pressure. “Here you go, lads, here is our soft underbelly, have a nice fiddle about of it, see which bit you would like to puncture first. Take your time, relax. Do you want a drink while you are looking? Pass that knife, I’ll sharpen it for you while you wait.”
The first goal is unbelievable. The only way it could have been any easier is if our lads, rather than zonally marking each other, knocked a quick sedan chair up out of one of the advertising hoards behind the goal, lashed Okaka in it, quickly re-enforced it with some emergency steel and got Geoff Capes in to help lift him up at the front post for a tap in.
I know Watford had a team of absolute giants but at no point does any Liverpool player make physical contact with an opposition player. Not once. Well except the keeper, who bumps into one of their lads and rather than picking him up and getting him out of his way sort of apologises for his very being — like as if he bumped into someone on a crowded train. When someone is heading the ball into your net from five yards out that is pretty unforgivable.
It feels a bit harsh moaning about the keeper when he wasn’t directly at fault for any of the goals. Is it a bit harsh? I don’t really care if it is to be honest. I’m not sure anyone ever wins leagues without having a boss keeper. Liverpool haven’t got a boss keeper. They have got a good one, who for eight games last year was a really good one. With a great keeper in goal we win the game.
Maybe that is a bit harsh when Moreno is part of the back four in front of him but then in fairness I thought he was actually pretty good, which is, well, bananas. What has happened in the close season to Albie?
It is absolutely mad that we convert an attacking midfielder to left back and play him there even when his legs were falling off, then sign a new left back, tout round the fella who was in every Premier League squad last year but played about half a minute, and then start the season with him as our first choice left back. It’s genuinely only been about eight weeks since he was shite.
Has he grown a brain? Can brains grow? Was he plugged into The Matrix while Morpheus downloaded The Complete Guide To Being A Competent Left-Back into his grid?
Perhaps he went to the Ian St John footy camp in Formby for the summer holidays. Maybe he was boss all along and the management team just never asked him the right questions. “What boss, you want me to concentrate for the whole match and not do anything daft? Ohhh. Why didn’t you say? I’ve just been spicing it up a bit all along. I wondered why you wouldn’t pick me”.
Either way it is quite the turnaround and maybe something that the team will follow over the next few weeks.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 12, 2017
Saturday brought about all the same criticism about defending set pieces and the defence being shite. Maybe the majority of the issues on Saturday were down to rustiness — first game of the season issues.
The second goal comes about because Jordan Henderson knocks off. It’s easy to forget that he hasn’t played first-team football for the best part of four or five months. It’s easy to forget that Sadio Mane hasn’t either, or that Emre Can hasn’t had much of a pre-season.
It is also pretty easy to overlook the half-an-hour spell were Liverpool looked like scoring every time we had the ball. Perhaps we will be sound. After all, two games in last year and most of us wrote the Reds off following the Burnley result.
If Moreno can turn into a first-choice left back in the space of four weeks the Reds can turn in to title challengers in two. In fairness, on that logic, I can probably turn into a centre half, lose about four stone, download a footy skills app for my brain and get a start in time for Hoffenheim at home.
Hopefully Phil Coutinho was watching Barcelona last night and realised that they are absolutely shite and that the Reds will most likely beat them home and away this year.
Let’s get into the Hoff tomorrow night, Red Men and then give Palace a hiding next week. We do that and the Watford result will start to look like a point gained rather than two lost.
Up the Albie-sporting Reds.