So how do you feel after your little break, then? Relaxed, refreshed — or just plain bored?
There was that win over Shrewsbury, another game where Liverpool seemed to do all they could to antagonise a nation and throw away a trophy, but somehow still won and managed to ... erm ... antagonise a nation.
That’s some feat. Shrewsbury combined singing about scrounging with outrage that we had conspired to cheat them out of more money from the replay, so sympathy was not forthcoming.
Since then, fate has taken a hand. Storms, viruses, big rocks hurtling towards Earth. Someone doesn’t want us to win this title, does He? I didn’t actually need any of this to make me more paranoid, but we’re getting it anyway, so let’s crack on while we can.
The danger with the ‘winter’ ‘break’ was always going to be how Liverpool responded in their first game back.
Klopp’s such an advocate that anything other than resounding victory would result in hearty derision.
It was a kind enough fixture, top against bottom. Easy, right?
But it merely meant the twin spectres of complacency and holding something back in reserve for Atletico could, and almost did, haunt us.
The last time we went down there was that crazy 5-4 from four years ago, featuring everything we’d soon come to expect from a Jurgen team — goals, witless defending, and uncontrollable touchline celebrations.
He lost his glasses that day. He would remain myopic for another couple of years before finally seeing the light. Less thrills, less spills, more points. Not exactly pragmatism, but not exactlyeither.
Anyway, this was an entirely different, but no less tricky outing down in Norfolk. Conditions weren’t ideal, but weren’t enough to rationally explain the sloppy first half that could have ended in acute embarrassment but for Alisson (again).
There was no rhythm, passing was poor, the risk on Keita somewhat self-harming — especially when he fluffed a chance that looked easier to score than miss. He wasn’t the worst, though.
At half time we waited for Mane. I appreciate the borderline trolling of politicking for Henderson as player of the year, but Sadio’s been the main man for most of this season and was again on Saturday.
You’ve got to laugh at subsequent calls for a foul. We never win fairly, do we? The home team was falling over for cheap free kicks all night, the referee giving all of them. Almost.
Balletic pirouettes in your own box when one of the top strikers is about to take aim is probably one of the reasons you’re heading back to the Championship.
VAR concluded the same, although it didn’t even bother checking the most blatant penalty of the season (on van Dijk), but all’s well that ends. We’ve said for weeks that artistic impression counts for nought, only getting over the line by whatever’s necessary.
We weren’t the biggest news of the weekend. You can understand City not liking the spotlight shining on others, but getting banned from Europe’s a bizarre way of reclaiming it.
How Liverpool got dragged into it is anybody’s guess but there were people on social media talking about Uefapool. Rent-free, as I believe da kidz say.
I’d sympathise, if their own childish element wasn’t so aggravatingly deluded. People, you’re not Spartacus; if anything, you’re Trump; a rich brat passing yourself off as an underdog. Soon they’ll whine about draining the swamp.
Seriously, how can a club with four titles in eight years, having spent a billion to get them, believe it’s battling the elite? While Liverpool, who spent about £80m net under Klopp and haven’t won a title in 30 years, are that elite? Guess you must reallyit to see it.
Anyway, they’re only of concern now to worrywarts like me, who still think something bad’s about to happen.
Is anyone else tracking that asteroid?