TERRACE TALK: Liverpool - A time for reflection on another bittersweet day

If there were an election to assign colours to months, there’d be a vote in Liverpool for May being Sepia.

A time of anniversaries, memories, peeling-edges nostalgia. All those triumphs inevitably rise again on most of football’s integral 31 days of the year. Perhaps it’s ironic Chelsea feature on the shortest trips back in time, vanquished as they were in European semi-finals. Even that’s now more than a decade ago.

The past can’t be filed and forgotten. It lingers, like marriage, for better or worse, tingeing or tainting everything. It consequently makes an incompetent, joyless present more sordid still.

This is obviously a reservoir of delight for those who currently rule the roost. Chelsea always had their “take that, peasants” thing going on since nobody treated them very seriously until Roman gurned into view. That was 12 years ago now, though.

Weeks like these make the future seem frightening, but it needn’t be. Two goal-scorers gave us a chance of the title last time and one made the difference for Chelsea in this one before his arthritis acted up again.


Costa and Balotelli are light years apart yet they symbolise their clubs’ starkly-contrasting fortunes. Liverpool fans seem to have worn sackcloth and ashes for 25 years but someone always comes along; a Fowler, an Owen; a Torres or Suarez. Maybe Sturridge as well, if Marcus Welby M.D. can make his hamstrings into stronger than potpourri. All I’m saying is “don’t panic”. Yet.

The guard of honour was supposed to be the worst insult imaginable but only if you don’t think talent should be honoured. What a sad sort of life that must be. All that “boring” nonsense? Been there, done that.

We used to get that off everyone too, from Everton’s scholars to United’s Corinthians and even later on Arsenal fans with their “hoof!” and “George Who?” amnesiac snottiness. Water off a duck’s back. Winning doesn’t procure silence, but it propels a glorious wave of indifference over everyone else’s ‘concerns’.

Before the match, a mate alerted me to the possibility of all that rankling with The Spesh more than he was cracking on and a visit from us presenting an opportunity to shove all that contempt and disrespect down people’s throats. In the end, we needn’t have worried and there was a little honour for Liverpool too, after an awful start set off the alarm bells.

There were grumbles, of course. How did Fabregas stay on? Can we face just one Chelsea set-piece without them scoring? Does Ivanovic now “take one for the team” in every game? Has a Liverpool keeper punched or caught so many crosses since Grobbelaar faced Wimbledon?

They sang about you-know-who for 40 minutes, silenced only by his equaliser. I’ve always ignored the Gerrard stuff, quid pro quo for Terry if we’re honest, but this was from England’s champions on what was supposed to be their big day. It’s difficult to dismiss the idea Chelsea and Mourinho measure success by everybody else’s antagonism and blood pressure. What a sordid existence.

The applause during his substitution was nice. Almost made up for those leaflets. Someone thought that a good idea. The mystery of the Tory majority solved; people are morons.

All this on the anniversary of beating Everton to the Double, too. Completed a week after we’d clinched the league — at Chelsea.

God must have his little joke.



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