It was Ian Dury who sang “the hope that springs eternal springs right up your behind”.
Being a gloom merchant of relentless relentlessness, I always think it’ll be us who eventually receives this painful rectal probe, but even I believe it might, just might, be someone else’s turn. Champions League, Salah songs, Sean Cox’s match, Tommy Smith’s death, Hillsborough anniversary, and a massive day in the title race. Sometimes one column isn’t enough.
Who was the bright spark who said Porto would be a completely different proposition to last season? Guilty. They still might be obviously, but after 20 minutes at Anfield it looked like a repeat performance.
Liverpool’s finishing has been erratic in 2019, not just Salah either. The results masked it nicely. The tie should’ve been over, one less thing to worry about. Porto make a bright start on Wednesday, and anything might happen.
Certain Chelsea fans disgraced themselves days later, as they’ve a tendency to do sur le continent.
God’s a scamp and decided to take Tommy Smith from us at a time when everyone was getting in a guiltless lather about racism. His ill-chosen words in a book about John Barnes 30 years ago haunted him to the day he died and allowed whataboutery to run amok. It was not his only faux pas, granted. As in music and films, a lot of those we fawn over can be unpleasant people.
He was my dad’s hero for sure, dying at the same age too. Tales of a glorious football career cannot be told without doubt and abhorrence of the individual’s beliefs, of course they can’t, but there’s no denying he was integral to the rebirth and rise of our football club. For that at least, we’ll always be grateful.
It soon became Gerrard Week, for obvious reasons. Some expressed irritation and even disbelief. I assume you’ve taken no notice of opposition fans for five years.
Sunday’s torture was expanded over four hours, television’s paid-for manipulation of event(s) making it even worse. Ha! We want this to happen annually, rather than every so often. Gluttons for punishment.
Not that City offered much by way of optimism. One hilarious Sterling miss aside (he took a much harder chance) it was plain sailing. A brief Palace comeback felt like a cat playing with a mouse. Each time I perceive with an admittedly jaundiced eye their opponents more or less bow down. Then when Palace did take a risk, they were carved open again.
This wasn’t one of those days where anyone truly expected a favour, so our own job needed to be done. The first half did little to settle the nerves.
Whether it’s Mourinho or the more likeable Sarri, it’s an obvious ploy against us now to slow everything down and hope the crowd brings its unique edginess to the party. Liverpool can often be one of the easiest teams to frustrate.
The timewasting became ludicrous, although the sight of Rudiger going off curtailed the cynicism somewhat.
Henderson kept up his good form by creating the opening goal, celebrating alone for his troubles. Salah then hit a rocket out of the blue.
Two-goal cushion? A pin cushion, maybe. Liverpool don’t do comforting or breathing space anymore.
How Chelsea didn’t get back into the game only Hazard can say. He’d been a threat throughout but when it came to the crunch he went gloriously askew. Just in case anyone in the ground still hadn’t had a seizure, Robertson slipped on the halfway line. They’re doing this on purpose, I’m sure of that now. Panic over, another week at least left in this title race, but on a day like today, it’s worth remembering, it’s only football.