I’M keeping myself ticking over between games. Just doing as little as I can in real life so that I’m sharp and fresh for these tests that are coming every three days. Jürgen Klopp’s not rotating me. I’m there for him, each and every time.
The derby took it out of me, I must admit. It’s just so mentally draining. And all that ale you have to drink. I’m eating loads of crap too. My physician is trying to make sure I get maximum multivitamins in me.
So, light training between games, and then getting stuck back into the action. West Brom up next. Can not wait. Another matchup for Klopp from the Premier League’s academy of management yard doggery. This time it’s Pards — aka Alan Pardew. He’s on rotation with all the relegation fodder clubs. There is no back water he hasn’t managed at. Like Sam Allardyce he’s a patron saint of lost causes.
Pards is telling himself that he’s here to stay at West Brom. He’s finally ready to put down some roots. He wants to build a legacy with this historic club. He knows that if he can finish 11th with them for three years running that they’ll build a statue to him. Accomplish this feat and he’ll never have to pay for a drink again in the Black Country.
As these fellas go, I don’t mind Pards. I’m not sure why. It might just be about his personal grooming regime. He looks sharper than his peers. He’s not the car crash that is Steve Bruce, for example, or a grim spectre like Roy Hodgson or Tony Pulis.
In his mind’s eye, Pards is Pep Guardiola. He’s got all the black cardigans and those figure-hugging women’s slacks. But Pards has got hair too. He’s quite the silver fox. Still turns heads.
Like Big Sam, Pards lives for encounters with the likes of Liverpool and their world-renowned manager. He’ll have worked through nights planning just how parked his bus might be. These tactical geniuses are ever finding new ways to put exactly 11 men right in front of their own goal.
More often than not this miserablist approach fails, and this is why these lads are mired, trapped beneath a glass ceiling of their own making. Once in a while though the likes of Pards, or Big Sam or Pulis get something. One of their beleaguered charges, struck with the (literal) pointlessness of the whole endeavour, lifts up his head and charges. They get a goal. A point. A very unlikely win.
Then all hell breaks loose. There’s talk of their plucky minnows having “deserved” their result. There’s allusions to tactical masterclasses having been taught. Yes they faced 80 direct shots on their goal, but 79 of them hit shins, goalposts, and smacked arses and faces. That one spawny foray upfield that ended in an unlikely goal is the monument to all that the likes of Pards have worked so hard for.
Liverpool. Let none of this be so. Only a couple of these giants of the game have pulled off this stunt this season. One such occurrence still far too fresh in the memory. You won’t need all the good lads, Jürgen. Might be time to give Mo Salah a rest. He shouldn’t have to wear himself out in so many of these dirgey “battles”. Just be patient, Reds. And let’s make at least two of those 80 shots on their goal find the back of the bag.
Predicted 11: Mignolet; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Lovren, Robertson; Can, Wijnaldum, Coutinho; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Firmino, Mane.
Kick off: 8pm
Referee: Paul Tierney
Odds: Liverpool 2-9, Draw 69-10, West Brom 16-1