IT’S the end of the world as we know it.
Liverpool falling. Falling, tumbling, spiralling, falling from grace. We’re marching on Melwood, Anfield and Boston. The torches are lit. We’re not doing it for ourselves, but for future generations.
Is it just us? Or do all supporters live in this coiled state? Living through the good times. Nodding at the wins, getting caught up in the wild wind. Then the change. It’s as though we’ve been living for it. Losing, setback, change – all of these things seem to galvanise us most of all. It’s as though we’re not really there until it all turns to shit.
I’ve spent much of the late Autumn and early winter really enjoying watching my football team. We’ve seen the goals raining down. We’ve seen wins of a consistently emphatic style. Not many snide 1-0s or 2-1s. This Liverpool were winning by sevens, and sevens, and fives, and fives, and fours, and threes. This Liverpool had recovered from a slithering start to the season to become its form team with 18 matches unbeaten crowned by an emphatic and scintillating takedown of league leaders Manchester City.
Along the way we were making new friends and crowning new kings. Young bucks Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold were emerging as real talents for the now and the hereafter. Summer signings Andy Robertson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain improved with every game and became first-team players. And then there was Bobby Firmino, kicking on, linking play, scoring goals, like we knew he always would. And then there was Mo Salah. Hitting the ground running faster than a cheetah. Banging them in at the rate of peak Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
October, November and December were good times to be a Liverpool fan.
Then that wind changed, and blew our minds so much that we seem to have lost all memory of what we were and where we came from. Yes, losing Phil Coutinho hurts, and two bad defeats in six days makes no one cheerful. But is it really all over? Have we gone from thinking we could top the “best of the rest” league and take all comers in the European Cup to doubting everyone and everything?
You can if you want. You can get on with hating on the men in the boardrooms, and you can start casting doubt on the wisdom of the manager – good man with all the tools and intentions – but leave me out of it. I’ve been at this too long and I know I’m not living forever. I got into this for the fun, and camaraderie and the suspension of reality, and the joy of living in the moment. I got into this for the blind faith. I’m a godless character but I yielded to The Reds when I was a kid and it remains one of my smartest moves.
I’d like some of you to stop being so bereft and doom laden. You’re bringing me down, man. I can’t tell you what to think but I can wish for some respite from hearing you thinking it aloud.
It’s Huddersfield away on a winter’s night. It’s a top game in the top league, and Liverpool need a win. I’ll be out of bed on the morning of the match bouncing with anticipation. Sure, in this form, the portents aren’t great. It hasn’t got restorative big fat win written all over it. But let’s dream a little.
Salah is still the king in two lands. Firmino and Sadio Mane remain the best friends a natural born killer like Mo could wish for. In harness, these three are as good as it gets across the European scene. We are truly blessed to have them. We can glance over our shoulders at that little Judas who thought he deserved better, or we can choose not to look back. Am I being a hopeless optimist again? Yeah, I am. Glad I’m not you, if you’re not.
Jürgen Klopp will wish the burden of the expectations of the transfer window farewell, and get down to the honest and real work of moulding something truly exceptional from the lumps of clay he’s left himself with.
Some of these lumps have been injured or been restricted in their game time. Captain Jordan Henderson is back and he looked nice and hungry in his brief appearance against West Brom in the cup debacle. James Milner will likewise be champing at his bit and demanding a start ahead of the slightly lost-looking Emre Can and Gini Wijnaldum.
Chamberlain could probably do with a break if he’s honest with himself, but his straight-swap deputy Adam Lallana has a fresh injury, so Alex will have to go again.
At the back, Klopp switches the full backs and brings in fresh legs, in Gomez and Robertson. Sure, it would be nice to be parading a shiny new Thomas Lemar-shaped star to lift all of our souls for the run in, but the hand we will play out this season with remains an incredibly strong one.
In dumping ourselves out of the domestic cups we’ve inadvertently cleared our path ahead. Somewhere down this road is a good season waiting to be arrived at.
Let’s press on. Never look back.
Predicted 11: Karius; Gomez, Lovren, van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Kick off: Tuesday, 8pm
Referee: Kevin Friend
Odds: Huddersfield 10-1, Draw 9-2, Liverpool 7-20
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Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda Photo
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Great post, Rob, a nice touch of a positive vibe. Two defeats in 20 matches is still a good record. Jurgen Klopp will take LFC to new heights, given time. It took Mr. William Shankly long enough. Is there a better manager out there? I doubt it. And well done for highlighting the excitement of the game – there are still things to win and targets to achieve. The new players are continually improving and with Woodburn and Brewster in the wings who knows what might happen? Mr Klopp has a focus on a project and is thinking long-term; that’s the correct way to build something strong and lasting.
Thanks for this down to earth and to the point bit of writing Rob. I think we are of the same age and we are both desperate for success again. I am not naturally a patient person but the wait for a trophy is hard. You are right though – let’s get the show on the road again and use tomorrow’s game to be also be bang on for Harry’s lot on Sunday. Up the reds!
Win this then beat Spurs and everyone will be back on board. Up the bounce back Reds.
“Somewhere down this road”
When have I heard that before.
It’s fine to be optimistic, but at some point you have to start addressing the fundamental philosophies that are holding us back. 27 years without a league win. We’ve someone managed to be mediocre year in year out with our flawless “tactics”. When does it end? Are we ever going to stop pretending and make winning trophies a priority?
We have a lot to learn from recent winners, and a long way to go. Too long
Finally, some truth amid the clatter and the whinging and the epic moaning. “I got into this for the fun, and camaraderie and the suspension of reality, and the joy of living in the moment.” That.
Lads, you don’t want it more just cos you use an #fsgout hashtag or because you share the same opinion of Klopp as Joey fucking Barton (God help us) or because you’ll sit behind your computer and fling personalised abuse at our goalkeepers. You don’t want it more. You’re just projecting. Two losses, no matter how shite, don’t negate the fun and the thrill and all the rest of the good stuff. If you think it does, shag off and join the Twitter rabble which has already given us Trump and Brexit. I’d been starting to worry this site was going the same way; glad this piece arrived to show it hasn’t.
great words and yes lets look at the reasons why we follow Liverpool. I bet one of them is for the pure joy of playing football.
Thanks Rob. I must confess I really needed this tonight. To be brutally honest I’ve been struggling the last week or so!
Up the frustrating reds..
My main man, yes. We will win too.
Hear bloody hear, Rob! I’m in it mainly for the footie, and boy has ours been something to behold at times. We’re better than Huddersfield, so I’m expecting us to go and show exactly that. Please you centre 3, keep it solid – after that, who knows what those lovely 3 in attack will do?!
Thanks Rob. It’s just football.
Come on you Reds!
Excellent, Rob. Breath of fresh air. As usual.
Shout out to NB above, too. Great comment, mate.
I’m even older than Rob (is this possible?). I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment expressed. Vast tracts of the social media generation appear to have attention spans of fleas and more importantly, live in such a world of instantaneous gratification, that the slightest setback has them in the depths of despair, looking for scapegoats at every turn. I haven’t enjoyed the last few podcasts one bit (and I am huge fan of the show generally) and for the first time haven’t listened to them all the way through. This isn’t how life goes and how success is built. You will have setbacks. The players have to take a bloody good look at themselves. Those mindless morons, usually heavily influenced by the media, who want to get rid of FSG and Klopp need to be careful what they wish for. I am a believer and if that puts me in the minority so be it.
Still a few hours to get Moreno loaned out or given away. Robertson permanent replacement.
With Moreno and Mignolet, we are playing with 9 men. Unless we are playing Seville, when we are 9 playing 12.
People need to stop swinging to extremes. TAW was proclaiming us the second best team in the land after the Man City game. Now we’re in crisis if we don’t sign all the players before the window closes. Neither are true. We’re in the running for top 4. That’s about all we can hope for as we need to score 4 goals to win a game. Teams as bad at the back as us (and I think it comes from nervousness around the goalie) don’t win anything.
Huddersfield 1 Liverpool 0
Boss this Rob, your attitude does you credit!
This is spot on! The hysteria surrounding LFC at the moment is pathetic. Rational criticism is fine but some of the stuff on social media has been ludicrous.
I second practically all the other comments above, Rob. You are a walking Twitter antidote. I have to confess to getting very twitchy myself about LFC’s activity in the window, so I shouldn’t criticise anyone else for doing so, but there really do seem to be plenty of people out there who couldn’t give much of a toss about the actual football. One part of me would (almost) understand Klopp if this were his quite deliberate way of flicking the v’s at said people.
Rob, as always, a class apart and many of us are with you. I’d like to repeat my favourite quotes but there are too many. Bravo.
And ditto all of the above.
The EPL 2017/18 Transfer Main Event(2) is almost over. Just the football left from now on…..
LFC top of the form tables.Same points as last year after 25 games.Moved on or stayed still? Fekir,Kroos and Mahrez not seen in Hampton Hilton, oh well.