Go on then. Let’s do it, shall we?
You want a match report? You want that thing where I tell you who did what when and what happened because of it? You’re reading this, you’ve seen the game. You were there or you watched it. In a minute, when I finish this, I’m going to watch it again. Just to really upset myself.
Now, I’m sitting here playing The Stone Roses first album in a desperate attempt to make myself feel human. It’s the only thing that I can think of that might work.
So. How do I feel?
I’ve no idea but I’ll tell you anyway. I don’t know if I’m depressed or furious. Or both. Probably both. Probably both and lots of other things. Probably emotions that haven’t been named yet. Emotions that have had to be invented to encapsulate exactly how utterly appalling yesterday was. Appalled. There you go; I’m appalled. Not appalled like I was when Suarez bit all those lads. That was nothing. This is real and horrible.
Exhausted. I’m exhausted. Partly with the driving. One of the many, many, many arguments for not having the semi-finals at Wembley is the fact that you’ve got a four hour drive home after watching that pathetic imitation of a football team fail to show any balls whatsoever. Exhausted because of the emotion we vest in this. Because of the fact that we believe in this club, we live for this club; players are brought in to do a job, some succeed, others don’t. All move on eventually. We don’t.
This matters to us. This is important to us. So when Brendan Rodgers tells us that they’re all sad that they couldn’t get to the final ‘for Steven’, part of me isn’t arsed. You’re not trying to get to the final for Steven; you’re trying to get there for me, for my brother, for the lad sitting in front of me with his kids waving their flags, thrilled to be at Wembley, thrilled at the big occasion. You’re trying to get there for my eight year old nephew, broken hearted on Wembley Way. You’re trying to get there for the 30,000 of us that made the effort and paid the cost to be there. Don’t forget that fact.
I’d have loved to see Gerrard end his career with a trophy; he’s one of the finest players that’s ever graced the shirt, he’s given everything for the club and deserves every piece of silverware he can get but he was a fan before he was a player, he’ll remain a fan and he knows that it’s being done for those of us who are always here and always will be here.
Depressed because - no disrespect to Villa but - we were playing Aston Villa. A Tim Sherwood led Aston Villa. A team with no real current pedigree. A top ten team but nothing more. Perhaps that’s us as well; a top six team but nothing more. Perhaps we’re kidding ourselves. Perhaps last year WAS a Suarez led exception, perhaps we’ve found our true love. Runners up. Perhaps we’re runners up. Not even that. Third place. That’s depressing.
As depressing as the fact that WE JUST DIDN’T TURN UP. At all. Not a single player. Nobody in a yellow shirt came out of that game with any credit. Nobody. Nobody took the chance to take the game by the scruff of the neck and change it. Nobody stepped up. There was no authority, no presence.
There were six minutes after we changed formation following an arid first thirty minutes. Six minutes where we scored immediately, where we looked dominant, where we played football, where we threatened to be Liverpool. And then Villa found us out again. Spent all afternoon finding us out.
A game not run by a Gerrard/Henderson/Sterling/Coutinho/Balotelli combination but by Grealish, Delph and Benteke. Perhaps it was Delph’s revenge for our scoffing at Liverpool’s links to him, perhaps it was his way of showing that he knew that we thought we were too big for him and that we were very, very wrong.
Let’s state this here, now, so that nobody is under any illusion; Villa were the better team. Not in stretches, not in bursts but for the entire game. Better than us in every area of the pitch. Every individual better than every individual in our side. Their manager was better than our manager. They came from behind to beat us 2-1 and they deserved it. We could have had a penalty, we could have seen Balotelli’s effort ruled correctly onside but we wouldn’t have deserved it. We deserved nothing and we got nothing.
And that’s the furious part. Furious at the fact that we got everything wrong. Everything. Not the team selection - Brendan chose the players we had - but everything from that point on. Shape, tactics, in-game management, passion, belief, determination, speed, aggression, composure. If it was something that Liverpool exemplify when playing well, then it was missing. Rodgers has questioned our big game mentality, pointed out that perhaps the occasion was too much for us.
This next bit get capitals. Needs capitals.
FOR GOD’S SAKE. WE’RE LIVERPOOL. AT WHAT POINT IS A SEMI-FINAL TOO BIG AN OCCASION FOR US?
If we’d won, if we’d outclassed Villa or Reading then their manager coming out and saying ‘perhaps the occasion was a bit too much for us’ MIGHT (and I mean MIGHT be acceptable) for the manager of Liverpool FC to say that, to question the attitude of players when it’s his job to instil the correct attitude in them, when HIS tactics have just been found wanting at a crucial point AGAIN, is quite frankly, pathetic.
And that’s the furious part.
We were let down yesterday. Let down by our manager and let down by the eleven lads on the pitch.
Not good enough. Not by a ridiculously long way.
How do I feel? Embarrassed.