Downtrodden, red-faced, a tormented laughing stock — that about covers it.
Not Gerrard’s career obviously, but as a description of this scandalous season it’ll serve until someone thinks of a better one.
Make all the excuses you want about the overwhelming occasion but these were professionals losing 3-1 (again!) to a team a long way behind and with nothing to play for. Perhaps the overdose of sugary-sweet hyperbole set their immune systems all of a dither?
The abject truth may well be this is the shape of things to come and that Gerrard, once a giant amongst minnows, is making his escape like any other Hollywood hero; just seconds before the whole building explodes.
Farewells aren’t for the likes of me, what’s left of the bones turned to powder by cynicism and pessimism. He’s been a great player, of course he has, and even if mythology isn’t your bag and you remember all those Stevie Me moments one truth is inescapable; when you’re that good it’d be impossible to stay humble.
But he’s another modern Giant leaving without a title medal. What was once the exception is now the norm, an agonising present poised to become the unforgiving future. Immediate or long-term, take your pick.
His last working day at Anfield was abject. How could it be anything else? There was no more glory to be had so just sink to depths that even glowing Utopian Roy Hodgson would describe as a tad murky.
The club is left with Greatness that is all talk now. Watching the Champions League games reminds you of where Liverpool ought to stand, but it’s a corner shop either bulldozed by Progress or that can’t work out where the rest of the world got to.
That’s hard to confess whilst wary of the perennial gloating from those who’ve waited decades for revenge and now have it in spades. There’s many a stout defence of the Reds borne from obstinacy and a chronic distaste for the cut of the nouveau jib.
There are catcalls from has-beens even more irrelevant than ourselves. Sorry, we’re not taking lectures about going over the top from people who gave Moyes a guard of ‘honour’ for 12 years of nothing and running down his contract to join United.
Others more powerful were equally shabby and obsessed, spoilt brats with their “Waaaaah! We don’t want anyone else getting attention, waaaaah!” Tough. The cream of football, like Pirlo, Maldini and (yes) Mourinho, can all see it so there’s nothing left to offer here.
What? The match? I’m sooooo glad you asked. It absolutely stank. A couple of players may be able to look us in the eye but most will have dressed quickly and found a dark corner to skulk in.
If they had any decency, obviously, which they don’t.
Maybe they’re still trying to work out how many formations they were asked to play in. Was it four? Five? I stopped counting after an hour.
Questions are already circulating about what another coach could make of all this, but the £120 million spent looks like something from a bad joke shop to trick the dimmest of suckers into believing it’s real.
Anfield put on a show but it was too tacky, too showbiz, too much smoke and too many mirrors. It fooled nobody.
There was a lap of ersatz honour, a microphone shoved into poor Steven’s mush and a cynical pitch for the “bright future”. Apparently. I never saw it as my teeth were screaming for mercy and my throat for a drink by then.
Ungrateful and treacherous? Perhaps, but sentiment was always my weakness and I could never bear to see one of God’s creatures in pain — never mind 40,000 of the buggers.
Thanks for everything, lad. You’re well out of it now. Lucky sod…
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