So off we go again. It’s our year; take 30…
Actually, scratch that. This has been a summer of chill and I’m not about to allow something as irrelevant and tedious as a new football season ruin it.
Not for me the interminable whining and pulling of hair over a lack of transfer activity. Liverpool did spend a quarter of a billion on four players in 2018, for the goldfish amongst you.
Bob Paisley may, as always, have been right when he said a squad had to be “turned over, year by year”, but if you can’t trust a man who won 97 points and your sixth European Cup, you’ve got issues.
I suppose you can clutch that archaic straw about a player with injury problems becoming ‘just like a new signing’. Oxlade-Chamberlain seemed to be improving at St Mary’s, but Keita continues to suggest he’s made from crisps - and not the good (carnivore) kind, either.
Despite Madrid, what will have implanted itself in everyone’s mind is the ritual debacle that follows our singular attempts at the title. Houllier, Benitez, Rodgers all fell victim to it. The overwhelming dread that our one big chance has gone, combined with seismic player departures, often sent us spiralling back into the chasing pack.
This was inevitably followed by a resounding impression we never had the right man in the job after all. Do we finally have someone we can back no matter what desperate straits we fall between? You’d like to think so, but that’s underestimating The Fam’s penchant for hysteria so let’s hold fire for now.
Not a bad start, despite the shrieking and not untypical overreaction to struggling pre-season performances. It doesn’t matter how many times you watch these training exercises their importance is always bloated above and beyond.
Always a wise decision to switch off and wait for the serious games to commence. Liverpool still have enough talent to blow teams away in one devastating spell, as they’ve just done to Norwich and should’ve done to Southampton.
The bauble friendlies against City and Chelsea saw differing reactions to essentially the same result. Lose the penalties at Wembley? It was the performance and fitness that mattered. Win them in Istanbul, and we’re back on our perch, it’s an actual trophy, suck on that United etc. Grow up.
I realise I’m using the word “chill” more than a 60’s hippie, but that won’t stop it being sound advice. We’re not getting 97 points this season. You don’t want to drop too far down the table obviously, but facts must be faced.
A lot went our way last time. You can’t reach that level otherwise. It isn’t an insult to say so, though I’m sure much of the outside world intends it as such. There may even be some who still don’t believe we’re a good team irrespective of fortune, but such loons can safely be ignored.
There are five genuine star players, all of whom were virtually ever-present last time. That’s already been shot to buggery by Alisson’s ludicrous injury. Not on a par with Stensgaard’s ironing board mishap, perhaps, but close.
After two hours of their charging round in Istanbul’s invisible hot bath, I’d have taken anything from Southampton. The win was a bonus, unconvincing as the performance was at times, especially a turgid first half.
There may still be fans who are stunned that it’s Mane who Real Madrid keep making goo-goo eyes at. You wonder why, what kind of scoring streak it’d take to convince them. The lad’s insanely brilliant.
And thanks for celebrating your goal against your old team, by the way. The less of that pernicious pomposity, from everyone, the better.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Klopp’s Liverpool if they didn’t scare the living daylights out of you when you’d just begun to relax. We’re still getting away with things others get punished for, and that can’t last.