Perhaps the most bipolar season in the history of Liverpool has, thankfully ended with us missing out on midweek trips to remote corners of Europe.
The ‘I f*****g love this game’ highlight of the season? I’d be tempted to go for the limb-boggling series of dummies and nano-jinks Suarez sold the Sith’s back four on his way to teeing up Module1.1 of Prof. Kuyt’s one-inch punch masterclass. A knicker-milking piece of skill, no doubt, but one that doesn’t get my vote on account of the worthless nature of pyrrhic victories. Battles mean nothing if you don’t win the war, and we categorically didn’t. So instead I’ll be taking the opportunity to revel again in one tale of protracted enmity we did emerge from victorious: The People vs. Hicks & Gillett. Not quite the spectacle of Istanbul, but I am in no doubt in years to come the long-overdue exorcism of those two malignant twerps will prove far more seismic an event. A club reborn.
The season ticket shredding moment? Having supported Liverpool since the days of Demis Roussos and white dog s**t, I’ve seen good players, I’ve seen bad. I’ve reached summits of unfathomable joy where the air’s so sweet just one lung-full could reduce a god to tears, and I’ve slithered helpless and broken through rivers of sh*t so heinous even plague-ridden pack rats were seen flashing me pitying glances on their way to a better class of sewer.
That said, I’ve still not witnessed anything as panoramically depressing as the first half of this season, officially the worst in living memory.
Consequently, with so much material to work with, I figured picking out one particular instance of rage-making desperation would be nigh on impossible. Then I remembered hurling the yoghurt I’d been panic-w*****g with at my mother-in-law’s Christmas tree after being comfortably beaten at home by a struggling Wolves side…and my search was over. One of those games where, much like the jumper your Nan knitted for your 16th birthday, knowing the humiliation is in the post makes it no easier to wear when it finally arrives.
Not a happy man. God bless my football-ambivalent sister-in-law for trying to haul me from turmoil’s cankerous fug, though. “It was only one-nil,” she said. “It could’ve been worse.”
“How on earth could it be worse?” I muttered, wiping probiotic dairy product off myself with the new curtains. I got my answer a week later courtesy of a cataclysmically spineless 3-1 drubbing at Ewood Park.
For all the new-found application we’re still woefully short on pace, width and creativity
Moment that just about summed it all up? In Decemberwe were facing the very real prospect of relegation. Come May we were daring to ponder the admittedly remote possibility of Champions League football.I’d be doing the truth a disservice if I claimed for a second any one moment could aptly summarise the most bipolar season I’ve ever endured. Although, now I think about it, there is a strange symmetry to the bewildering feeling of triumph that surrounds finishing 6th instead of 5th. Utter nonsense, but it makes sense to us.
Got the right manager? Of that there is no doubt. I genuinely don’t think, had Dalglish opted to step back into management at any other club, it would’ve worked out as well as it has. Anfield brings out the best in the man, and vice versa. Long may it continue.
Player of the season? Had I said Lucas a couple of seasons ago, the whole known universe would’ve assumed I was being sarcastic. But for those who haven’t been paying attention this term, he has been exceptional. It speaks volumes that we haven’t missed Mascherano a jot since he departed for the Barca bench, and I cannot heap praise enough on a man every Liverpool fan, myself included, openly berated for the first 3 years of his Anfield career. Lesser human beings would’ve crumbled under the relentless tide of abuse – most of it justified by the way, he was f*****g appalling – but Lucas has bounced back thanks to the kind of diligence, dedication, determination, and strength of character that is sadly lacking in much of the modern game, a game where it’s all too easy for players to bail out of tricky situations with a training ground hissy-fit and a quick phone call to their agent.
Also, an honourable tip of the cap to sweaty Greek dustman Sotirios Kyrgiakos who, every time he took to the field, did his utmost to remind us all to put the bins out.
Muppet of the season? Funny you should mention Muppets, what with the recipients of this season’s jiffy bag full of dead birds and cat excrement being our dearly-departed ex-owners, famed for, amongst other things, their uncanny resemblance to Statler and Waldorf.
I will admit I have a habit of saying very mean things, if only to play to the crowd, but I promise you I mean every single word in wishing them both nothing but the very worst fate Fortuna’s sick imagination can conjure; that they lose everything they have, end up destitute, and contract rectal distemper and a fatal dose of athlete’s co*k while spending what little remains of their miserable lives eating used condoms out of a Tijuana dumpster. And you can quote me on that. In fact, I highly recommend you do.
What would you change next term if you were the gaffer? How long have you got? The last two games of the season were a timely reminder of our current squad’s limitations, and probably the reality check we all needed. For all the new-found application we’re still woefully short on pace, width, creativity; that little extra quality that separates the genuine challengers from the also-rans. This will be the biggest summer we’ve faced, and unlike previous years, we have to make it count.
He’s an easy target, mainly because he moves slower than an asthmatic glacier, but Kyrgiakos is symptomatic of the rot that’s set in. I’m fairly sure, up until the day we signed him, he was on tour with Marillion, which may explain why he appears never to have played football before.
A familiar refrain, but Dalglish will need to administer the mother of all enemas if we’re to finish in the top four next season. Don’t envy him at all.
Finally, on a purely aesthetic level, we have far too many bald players. Bald men with tattoos
If you want to talk tactics, I’d discourage players from humping aimless 60-yard diagonals at Andy Carroll by sanctioning a tariff of humiliating psycho-sexual reprisals. I’m talking Abu Ghraib-style photoshoots replete with sack-cloth hoods, gaping b******s and freshly-scorched gonads hooked up to lawnmower engines. Contentious, I’m sure, but if we’re to get anything close to our money’s-worth from the Emperor’s New Oaf, we need to be turning the opposition back four and fizzing some quality crosses in from the byline. And if we get to see Jamie Carragher’s sack along the way, all the better.
Staying on a tactical tip, I’d do some serious work on corners, too. Are there any other Liverpool fans out there who assume, the instant we win one, nothing will come of it? I’ve become obsessed to the point of starting conversations about it in empty rooms. I genuinely don’t think there’s a side in world football less likely to score from one. It’s not as if we lack height or dead-ball delivery. How hard can it be, for f**k’s sake?
Finally, on a purely aesthetic level, we have far too many bald players. Bald men with tattoos. We’re just one Islamophobic outburst and a couple of St George’s flags away from an EDL rally. It’s time for some hair. Lots and lots of hair. And I won’t rest ‘til our midfield looks like this.
Which player would you like to sign? Versatile enough to play through the middle or out wide, I’d love to seeStevan Jovetic, Fiorentina’s obscenely-gifted Montenegrin lock-picker, in a Liverpool shirt. Apparently, we tried to sign him back in 2010. Hopefully that won’t put us off trying again; the boy really is worth making idiots of ourselves over. He adheres to the new regime’s recruitment policy (young, pricey and ugly as sin) and mine, too (he has awful hair and plenty of it – like Gilbert O’Sullivan wearing Anita Dobson’s hollowed out skull to a Brian May-themed fancy dress party). His imminent return from a cruciate lay-off suggest now is the time to open the cheque book. Get it done, Mr Henry. If only so no-one else can have him.
That whole black tar heroin thing isn’t as bad as it sounds – I only really smoke it when I’m driving or looking after my brother’s kids.
Best goal? John Pantsil’s own goal in front of the Kop. Absurdist theatre at its inept best. In real time it looks like a cut-and-dried case of the Traores, but if you watch the clip in slow motion, you can clearly see, just as he’s about to clear the ball, a massive wasp flies down from the stand and stings him right on the peen. It can happen.
Biggest tosser? For the past 22 years this category has been dominated by one man (and I use that term in the loosest sense): Kelvin MacKenzie. Nothing’s changed.
Player’s tweet of the season? I’m genuinely not interested in the idle thoughts of your average footballer. Can’t think why. However, I will make an exception when rabidly-illiterate ex-Evertonian OAP-enthusiasts further expose their stunted intellect by inexplicably threatening their detractors with hypnosis.
Most inspired chant? To be honest, watching the Dalglish-commissioned ‘Song for Lucas’ take shape on the Official LFC fan forum has proved the best value for money. Sadly, though, much like the man himself, in its present form, it lacks a decent finish.
Best laugh you had all season? Contemplating the ridiculous notion that John Flanagan will ever be asked to negotiate image rights. Unless there’s big money to be made endorsing face transplants, his agent should just leave well alone.
How do you plan to get through the summer without football? Same as always: black tar heroin and keep-ups in the backyard.
Any other news? Yes. That whole black tar heroin thing isn’t as bad as it sounds – I only really smoke it when I’m driving or looking after my brother’s kids.
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