What were they doing? Does anyone know?
That will be the damning last verdict on Brendan Rodgers’ time at Anfield and let’s face facts: it is only a matter of time now. Eight days, eight weeks or (God forbid) eight months. It doesn’t matter. It’s just about when the trapdoor opens.
It was Old Trafford, so you’re inured to us looking like idiots. It’s not that, it honestly isn’t.
It’s the absence of a coherent plan, any courage, or any encouragement to talent. Benteke’s goal wasn’t a chance to save the game, more a flailing last wave of the arm before the water pulls you under for the last time.
Playing Ings on the left was a petulant, arrogant slap-down for anyone who’d called for a second striker. Daley Blind’s name was added to a long list of United defenders who scored against Liverpool: Silvestre (twice!), Brown, Ferdinand, O’Shea, Vidic. It’s not like he had any defending to do.
The day began with arguments about Gerrard’s new book, and the selfish content and timing of it all. Some of us have never forgotten. It was a Liverpool fan who invented the term Stevie Me; outsiders just ran with it, while we all did our usual impression of awe-struck, grateful children.
That same impersonation somehow keeps Rodgers in the job. You think back to the title bid, confess there may be cruelty, and even a little lunacy in claims from his perpetual detractors that he had nothing to do with that — then blindly assume he must come good again at some point.
But what is it everyone’s waiting for? A defence that never crumbles? A team selection that doesn’t resemble ten square pegs hammered into ten hexagonal holes? A goalscorer/talisman that isn’t a permanently broken toy? A leader that thinks before he speaks and doesn’t make fools of us all? Beelzebub will be ice skating before any of that happens. You know it’s true.
Tell me the last time you didn’t cringe at a post-match Rodgers assessment? Even when there is something to acclaim, which happens rarely nowadays, you can depend upon him to blow his own trumpet furiously.
Which wouldn’t matter a jot if the team was any good or showed promise. It only comes to the fore when we struggle, of course it does, but to pretend it’s not there is like the Emperor’s subjects ignoring the nauseous sight of their overlord’s love handles and fawning over his new finery, instead.
Firmino left the pitch and Martial came on simultaneously. You knew what would happen next, only now it can’t be palmed off on Old Trafford and its repellent, seemingly permanent hex.
It’s Liverpool causing all this; nobody else’s fault. We’re consigned to eight more months of irrelevant mediocrity, because the people who own us couldn’t care less. As long as the money rolls in, as long as the suckers can be parted from what little they have, none of it matters.
We were saved from Hicks and Gillett, only to be condemned to a slower, more painful demise, one where the real needs of a great club are consistently ignored and camouflaged by a pitiful splash of transfer cash that fools nobody.
September’s too early to be saying these things, really, but you all saw the same game, didn’t you? I’m sick of Liverpool being a laughing stock, is all.
Say what you like about Gerrard (and I’ll say plenty), but he never caved to United: 30-yard screamers past Barthez at Anfield and at Cardiff, the through ball to Murphy in 2002, kissing the cameras, getting two goals back in the Berbatov game. Who’s there now that you think can do anything like that any more?
Another year of purgatory beckons.
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