Not so much a game of football as a couple of protozoically stupid hightowers engaging in a prolonged barging competition. Welcome to the entertaining world of West Brom vs Liverpool.
It was always going to be like this. After Capital City's early kick-off had treated us to a cavalcade of goals, and John Terry had reminded us all why he should be packed off to the glue factory forthwith, ESPN's tea-time equivalent was only ever going to underwhelm. And the only conclusion I can draw from a game that became so comfortable for the visitors they looked as bored as I was is that Liverpool, for all their investment, will in all likelihood miss out on the hallowed top four spot, and West Brom will probably be safe. Last season again, then.
Anyway, the game.
Had I known there'd be something perversely compelling about a couple of protozoically stupid hightowers engaging in a prolonged barging competition I'd have paid a lot more attention to grunge-era moshpits than I did. Sadly, thanks entirely to an imperious display of close-quarters shoving by Andy 'laugh all you like, I'm a very rich man' Carroll and Jonas 'not a household name for a reason' Olsson, I am left only to look back at the early 90s with a grave sense of opportunity lost.
I couldn't take my eyes off them - the highlight of what promised to be a game of football and patently wasn't. Clattering off each other at every available opportunity, all sweat-besotted hair and no guile. The only thing missing was a constant deluge of heavy-set stage divers and Mudhoney.
As far as details are concerned, there was definitely something contentious early doors - a penalty decision in Merseyside's favour - and it'll come as no surprise to hear Luis Suarez was shoulders-deep in controversy's anus once more.
For once though, 'Louise' as Kenneth Dalglish would have it said (or 'Swor-rez' if you'd rather go with Chris Waddle's over-pronounced riff on what I foolishly assumed to be a pretty straightforward name) was not to blame for the fan-rage. But we'll crucify him for it anyway. Or just congratulate the linesman for spotting a clear penalty and move on with our lives. Your call.
Thus, Liverpool took the lead: Adams' foot, ball in net. And doubled it a bit later thanks to Mr. Olsson's dancing partner, who single-handedly shat all over the unqualified statute that Roy Hodgson, if he knows anything, it's how to organise a side. He doesn't. It can be the only explanation for his defensive unit allowing Expensive Andy Carroll to take two of the heaviest touches I've ever seen and still have time and space to slot the ball home unchallenged.
I couldn't take my eyes off them - the highlight of what promised to be a game of football and patently wasn't. Clattering off each other at every available opportunity, all sweat-besotted hair and no guile.
By the way, I should point out I watched the entire 94mins in a pub. Not because you needed to know, simply because it's more interesting than anything I might have to say about the game. As earnest and honourable as it is to earn enough money to be able to attend live football these days, your correspondent currently pulls in a school-leaver's wage so his lot was to spend the evening craning his neck to peer at a forever-freezing plasma screen through a forest of ears attached to the heads of a gang of Eastern European sex traffickers. I love my life.
Then half time happened. It often does. And it wasn't till my third visit to the bar that I realised the barmaid was wearing a Halloween costume - a fact I share not for comedic effect but so you grasp just how hideous she normally is. Words cannot paint a picture distressing enough. But to push your mind in the right direction imagine shoving a grenade in Steve Bruce's mouth, pulling the pin and returning only when the remnants have been ransacked by foxes.
All I can say of the second half is that it was there if you wanted it. I didn't but couldn't refrain from gawping on account of a debilitating mental illness. Still, it was worth it just to be in the company of unpalatable ghouls, Polish pimps and an alarming amount of unsupervised toddlers.
There was the obligatory cutaway to Frank Skinner and Adrian Chiles. Laughing, definitely, but at what I can only speculate. Thank god someone could see the funny side.
At some point a white plastic bag blew on to the pitch. It was amazing. A bit like that bit in American Beauty and a fitting tribute to its director Sam Mendes who wasn't in the stadium or even watching at home. The poetry of wind meeting non-biodegradable plastic waste. A metaphor for...
Oh, hang on! Something just happened. Stewart Downing tried to score. But didn't.
And then the players left the pitch, I left the pub and not one single motorist had the decency to run me down before I got home.
Maybe next time.
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