More troubles blowing bubbles

IT’S almost as drearily predictable as Daniel ‘one tattoo per injury’ Agger clocking off early.

The team that beats Chelsea twice but loses to plummeting Blackpool twice continues to spin heads like a teenage exorcism. All talk of staging a belated raid on fourth place has thankfully been stifled for good. Walk, run etc.

If Sunday tells us anything, it’s that our stay on Sunset Boulevard will go on a while longer.

“Hey, you’re Liverpool — you used to be big”. We are big, it’s football that got small.

There’s just something very precious and aloof about us, with so little justification for it. United? They get their hands (and elbows) dirty. Is it coincidence they always get the points they are supposed to win? We could end up losing to most of the sides in the bottom half. Search for that one in your memory bank.

Since we’re in whinge mode — hard to believe but true — we won’t just complain about those nasty mean men who run and kick and close us down and score goals.

There’s the disgraceful burden of being expected to win a European trophy by playing more than one game a week. Our declaration to the court of human rights can’t be far away.

Here it comes, another column using the ‘F’ word. F-f-f-f-fitness.

It’s best not to imagine the ensuing train wreck at West Ham had Kuyt not snatched a late winner against Sparta to spare extra time. We were already dropping like flies.

The London air was filled with foul epithets about effort and attitude, but we have not looked physically right for two years. Kenny’s lustre can only do so much.

Fans also complained about the side chosen last Thursday but a glance at the bench and treatment room showed there wasn’t much choice. It seems Liverpudlians are allowed to question the strength of the squad. Funny that, since any hint from Hodgson that he was hardly left with the keys to Fort Knox was met with revulsion.

Not that he helped improve matters of course. The time for Dalglish to make the changes he wants is the coming summer, and since he’s not Merlin, probably the summer after that. In the meantime, we all have to tolerate this sludge and pray we can paint at least one coat of sparkle upon this putrid dropping of a season.

It’s bad enough without listening to people singing horrendous dreck as well. Suarez is serenaded with a synth-pop ‘classic’ while we return fire to the lunatic Repka’s hand gestures with a staccato ode to Onanism. It’s the sort of chant Southerners find clever, and further proof that the ground is often full of complete strangers nowadays. They are intent on having their own fun and “balls” to history and tradition.

And they were at West Ham too. You’d think any ‘U! S! A!” chant would wither and die on the lips of any red with a memory span greater than that of a cactus, but the goalkeeper of the bottom side in the league must be mocked for his World Cup failings, even if his team are making us look asthmatic sloths.

It does not bode well that even 20 years on, Kenny retained much of his tinkering tendency. Did he really think Skrtel was stinking out every game because he was being played on the wrong side of central defence? Sunday put paid that little theory back in its box. Few could be proud of their work. Gerrard came back too quickly, but even at his best no longer has the discipline to command central midfield. Rafa got plenty wrong but on this issue he’s been vindicated.

Suarez showed more uncannily Torresque touches in the box, and Kelly continued to impress till the moment he almost predictably collapsed in agony. That was about your lot. The ABUs keep squealing about Scholes’ and Rooney’s licence to kill, but refuse to acknowledge the ruthless mindset necessary for such matches which makes them as perfunctory as they ought to be. In contrast the team that was rock bottom before Wigan made us look drab, lazy and inept and they aren’t the first team to do so this season.

Nor the last.

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Sun, Dec 5

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