Rafa’s not happy, but neither are we

LIVERPOOL fans may have numerous vociferous critics (hiya Trish!) but it’s safe to say Rafa isn’t one of them.

He’s constantly kissing our backsides in the press. Not an entirely unpleasant experience! There are a few cynical toads casting doubt on these odes to our magnificence because they became far more frequent once his spat with Hicks went public.

But what can you do with such spiritual chaff except pity them for their meanness?

He’s also started bellyaching about internationals again, convinced we’re the only ones to suffer.

He has complained from day one of the season in truth, one thing that can’t be blamed on the Yanks. I’m sure the Rafapologista will give it a damn good go anyway.

Once Torres limped out of Spain’s game, earplugs became compulsory head-wear in the Melwood press ranks. Since he’d bizarrely claimed Crouch should be first choice for England (but not us) and given a spirited defence of Kuyt even before Fernando’s misfortune let him off the hook at the Bridge.

God forbid he should have to pick his two best goal scorers again and prove everyone else right.

Events at Old Trafford conspired to bring an ounce of credibility to my bumptious claim of gaining on the leaders. At this rate we’ll reel them in by Christmas.

That wasn’t as bizarre as the week-long attempt to make United the arbiters of good taste within football grounds.

I felt sorry for City as they were subtly and unpleasantly needled for days. In the end the only danger of disruption to such a moving occasion was the sigh of disappointment from those home fans eager to have their prejudices fuelled further.

Still I’m sure the sound of Sky Blue (and Scouse) bones crackling on that bonfire they’re always banging on about provided some small comfort.

In an age of ‘Grand Slam’ Sundays no one can convince me that fixture couldn’t have been avoided. Think back to the death of George Best, when City and Liverpool were not sanctioned for a minute’s applause, and wonder.


Should United reach another European semi-final I fear it will become lachrymose beyond belief, making their jibes against Liverpudlians doubly offensive.

But we had our own problems to overcome, not least was City overtaking us! Watching Chelsea get by without Terry, Drogba and Shevchenko left a bad taste in the mouth, as Abramovich is the unwitting architect of our current malaise.

With United’s wealth rocketing skywards, Liverpool were already hot to trot with anyone willing to part with their loot and fully prepared to ignore any flecks of blood on it. One Russian’s helicopter ride over West London simply tipped us over the edge.

And possibly past the point of no return. It has not been an edifying spectacle.

Watching both teams slug it out like two drunks on a bouncy castle you would be hard pressed to gauge whose outlay was most wasteful.

I heard ‘Liquidator’ on the radio the night before and, plagued forever by this superstitious monkey on my back, automatically assumed we’d lose.

Without Torres and lucky to get the nil in seven previous visits one didn’t need psychic powers to guess we wouldn’t score — but Chelsea’s caution wasn’t a shock either.

The greatest league in the world? Let’s hope Scudamore and his grasping gringos aren’t proposing to show this match to the slathering masses of the world.

The poor bastards in Guantanamo Bay wouldn’t want to watch this muck.

The Reds seemed pleased with the point. When you’ve been punched in the mouth so often a slap on the cheek feels like a kiss.

All we needed was someone, anyone, to put the ball in the net but I guess Cheyroux don’t grow on trees.

Rafa’s taken eight teams to Chelsea and not one has scored. Maybe there’s another club with a similarly atrocious record at any of the great cathedrals of football (or Stamford Bridge even) but their name does not spring readily to mind.

The manager stomped around the technical area all afternoon. He did not seem a happy bunny.

Imagine what he’d be like if he’d paid to watch.

— Steven Kelly

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up


Have the Irish Examiner delivered to your door. No delivery charge. Just pay the cover price.