The penalty kings…I’m gonna miss that tag.
It had been a quiet week, apart from the Augsburg end, as Liverpool hobbled through to another stage of Europe-lite.
I guess we’re accustomed to away fans making a show of us at Anfield, but somehow it’s worse when the Europeans do it.
No one really cares what knuckle-scrapers from the shires think of our reputation. The grisly parrot echo of that wretched Demba Ba nonsense and the usual unemployment crap means they can all go fornicate themselves.
Anfield’s reputation was built on European excess and when visitor after visitor slopes out thinking “was that it?” then it matters.
Then all hell broke loose. There are actually Liverpudlians who relished the words “will play Manchester United”. I can’t be the only one who clocks the, y’know, facts and instead thought about the numerous ways to cut myself.
The yanks, bless them, after all the protests and all their blather about “message received”, then went and pegged the prices at an unnatural high again.
Social media unrest followed by embarrassing climbdown. It’s an Anfield ritual now, like playing YNWA before kick-off. What’s the matter with them?
If they were ravenous, one-motive monsters that’d even be vaguely admirable, like the shark in Jaws or the alien in erm Alien, but this bumbling yellow-streaked indecision only makes people wonder if they’ll ever have what it takes.
Now Everton are getting some petrobucks. It’s going to hell in a handcart, isn’t it, when even the blue boys are seen as a solid investment. Is nothing sacred in this world any more?
Ah well, there’s always the wooden spoon cup you can limp towards and get a day out in dat der London. Giant portraits of Klopp reminded everyone of what Liverpool are pinning their future hopes on; a perennially giggling, perpetually mugging Big Brother.
I’ve spoken before about this charming man, battling life’s complexities with a quip here and a grin there.
Liverpool fans don’t normally trust nice guys. We like bastards. Even Joe Fagan got stick in his last and (coincidentally) least successful season way back when. The only giveaway is when Klopp gets angry on the touchline and he just seems to boil over. Hopefully that’s reality and the rest is magician’s deflection.
So Sunday wasn’t about the day out, it was a judgement. Football’s changing, and to our detriment. All we wanted was some semblance of yesteryear, a chance to repeat words like “Anfield South” or “Typical City” without sniggers or feeling like relics of the receding past.
In a way, both phrases held good. Liverpool can be proud of their comeback and City, thanks to Sterling’s misses and a late equaliser, almost lived up to their comedy club rep of yore.
Put bluntly; we played with a central defence of Lucas Leiva and Kolo Toure for 100 minutes. They give out Purple Hearts for less.
It was a pity Lucas and Coutinho missed their pens. They more than anyone ensured there’d be a shootout at all.
After an hour, I’d have happily ripped up Mignolet’s contract and thrown the confetti in his aggravating face. Save after save later, he too deserved better than to be on the losing team.
The League Cup shootouts we’ve won in previous finals took place at our end. Your humble scribe, a celebrated worrywart almost from the cradle, felt the jig was up right then.
Presentations took place afterwards I assume but I never saw them and doubt I ever will. We probably weren’t good enough on the day but that doesn’t mean we deserved how it ended.
Cabellero was bloody awful at Chelsea and brilliant here. There are more bitter pills to swallow but I can’t remember ingesting one so sour and rancid.
We got this far, we gave it what we had — which wasn’t enough. Let’s look forward to the day when it is.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved