I received a text from my brother shortly after the game. Shortly after Steven Gerrard had converted yet another penalty gained by yet another defender being unable to deal with yet another mazy, mesmerising, magical Luis Suarez run. Shortly after a third goal, scored in the last minute of what we used to call Fergie Time, had ensured that Liverpool's latest victory seemed more comfortable than it had actually been for at least the first hour and moved us into second place in the table
The message, the sentiment, the thought process, the intent, was crystal clear in its simplicity;
There are a lot of us believing tonight, this weekend, this two week gap before we are allowed to play with madness once more and these are our reasons;
We are having the most fun that we had in years, decades perhaps. Consistently that is, obviously there have been utterly spectacular one offs in that time - your Istanbuls, your Cardiffs, your trebles - but this much belief on a day to day week to week ongoing what the hell is going to happen next basis? Denied for quite some time.
I'm sure it's not just me, no strike that, I know for an absolute stone cold incontrovertible fact that it's not just me; it feels like the eighties again. Match days are a source of uncontrollable anticipation; there is literally no knowing what this Liverpool team will do next. Will the defence once again forget the basic principles of their art? They may. It won't matter, the sic men in front if them will continue to perform as though defence were an unnecessary afterthought. But in a good way, in a 'we'll just score more than you thanks' way. Which may conjure up worrying shades of Kevin Keegan's Newcastle but (crucially, brilliantly) we don't have a Faustino Asprilla to destroy our balance.
We have a Suarez and a Sturridge and when one isn't doing it then the other will; Suarez' goal may hold some element of fortuitous gift from Southampton's defence in the nature of its supply but it's finish was pure talent, pure ability to capitalise, the result of being further ahead in thought than anybody else on the pitch.
And we have a Coutinho. And when we hit a day when it isn't honing for him - wasteful at the front of a diamond (a diamond? Where the hell did that one come from?) then we have a Sterling who will score within 80 seconds of entering the fray. Brendan does substitutions.
Ah. Yes. Brendan. I'm first to admit that it took me some time to warm to our manager. I've warmed. We've all warmed. The endless chanting of his name that grows with every game with every moment of bliss shows that we've warmed, that we understand exactly what he's doing with our club.
Brendan Rodgers only has one way of playing; we'll score more than you. And it works well against teams that want to sit back - we will unlock them, we will pick them apart. And it works well against teams that want to play football - we will hassle and harry an Arsenal, an Everton, a Spurs until they eventually, inevitably succumb. But it doesn't work against a team that wants to play against us as we play against the latter. It doesn't work against Southampton. We can't win at St. Mary's, we have lost on our last three visits, the Saints are the only team to defeat us at Anfield this season. Today is/was the day that our title dream evaporated.
Swansea had been madness, joyful exhilarating madness but madness nevertheless. The defence had evaporated once again, the midfield had separated ceding all control to the Welsh lads. How so you deal with that?
Brendan Rodgers, the Brendan Rodgers that only has one system, only one plan, plan A and if that doesn't work then you keep trying plan A, the Brendan Rodgers that believes only in 4-2-3-1 no it's 4-3-3 no it's some kind of weird 4-1-4-1 it's I don't know what the hell he's doing now are we three at the back again, decided that today we would have a diamond in midfield. Just for a change. The 700th formation that we've played this season.
And did it work? Not for the first seventy minutes. Southampton were magnificent. That Lallana lad is some player isn't he? One would hope that Ian Ayre spent the second 45 minutes of the game in talks with his Southampton counterpart making increasingly outrageous offers for both Lallana and Shaw just because we quite fancy having them in our Champions League squad because we'll need more quality if went end to win number six next year. Am I getting a little giddy here? This is what Liverpool do to you now, it's fantastic.
So we took them by surprise. We suddenly learned the joy of the phrase 'JUST LASH IT!' And when Southampton attacked our defence was more than happy to just get rid and let it come back and just get rid and let it come back and....
Except Glenn Johnson. Johnson was clearly upset by the idea of his every touch being greeted by a barrage of abuse. Memo to Southampton fans: could you turn up and boo him every week? That's the best he's played in ages. Oh. And. We gave you seventeen million for him. Stop whinging.
And we weren't convincing. Until we hit the second and then the third and then we convinced. But. We were magnificent.
Ten games left. Can we do some maths? Magical, fantastical, beautiful, ridiculous,maths that gets you laughed at when you say it out loud sort of maths?
If we win our last ten games and City and Chelsea draw one single game?
We will have won the league.