Just how low can ’Pool go?

WELCOME to Terrace Talk’s first relegation battle. It might be the last. I’m feeling as safe as a chicken in a fat camp.

There’s a reason these four clubs have their own page. Spurs are the first intruders since Everton, and even then we won... well, you know.

As a team plummets, past achievements bizarrely lose their regenerative powers. They become needles in the eyes, exacerbating rather than soothing the modern malaise.

We once wiped out a three-goal deficit against AC Milan; we can’t turn 0-2 against Blackpool around on our own ground. Hurts worse now, doesn’t it?

In a week where we wait for the financial guillotine or a scarlet pimpernel a debate about 18th place seems tawdry somehow.

Mention of European triumph reminds me of Uncle Joe, bless him, and how the 1984 team fell into the relegation zone months later.

Stuff happens, even to the best, but to reiterate you can take that apologist tripe and stick it in a painful place. We’re in real trouble here. Dalglish mused publicly – he does that a lot lately – about not using takeover woes to excuse Northampton, though he could have named any of five or six deplorable performances thus far.

Again, what Hodgson thought of that was probably unprintable, but his thoughts and feelings are becoming increasingly irrelevant.

Footballers are children though; tell them there’s a reason they’re not doing even the basics and they will mope, moan and pout.

The attitude against Utrecht was pitiful. Fingers point at the manager, they have since goalposts replaced jumpers, but every boss has the right to expect a bit of effort and skill.

To get nothing at all is shameful. Johnson’s very first touch went straight to an opponent in the opening 10 seconds, and he’s replaced Babel in the torture fantasies that have catapulted me into therapy.

The fans who travelled deserved a medal; they didn’t even get a clap from Torres. There is an outstanding photograph somewhere of him bashing a Real player off the ball, but that was an 18-month lifetime ago.

He was injured, in fairness, and that was highlighted by his swift departure on Sunday. Ah, Sunday. The relegation spot wasn’t much of a talking point as one win would raise us eight places, so the table clearly hasn’t stabilised yet.

And it was only Blackpool after all. Things aren’t so bad that we can’t still be insufferably arrogant towards the opposition.

With no justification, on this evidence. Some said the visitors’ attacking style would play into our hands, other gloomier types opined that if a team really came at us and showed us up for what we are (and what we’ve been for a while), it would send a message to others, like the scent of blood to sharks.

Everywhere you looked was the perennial collision of Old v New and the eternal result; Hodgson and Holloway, the away end and the Kop, the teams on the pitch.

Hunger, skill, adventure, courage, energy. In the post-Abramovich era, I have listened to idiots telling me you can’t have good football without the ability to buy €20m players. It is as moronic now as it ever was, all you really need is the will, and we were shown up in every single department by a club in the poorhouse.

By the time sections of the ground started chanting “Dalglish”, one wanted to believe this was the nadir, but as you tunnel through one surface you often find there are new depths to navigate. Being fair to the manager is one thing; as British MPs and US ‘billionaires’ are always saying, “God helps those who help themselves.”

He selected Lucas and Poulsen again in Holland, and for the ‘important’ game kept the latter! How many players have been bought for serious money over the years and ended up as makeshift right wingers?

Heskey, Diouf, Cisse, Kuyt and now Meireles. Madness.

Johnson ‘patrolled’ the touchline I was in, in the first half, and the abuse was astonishing; the kindest barb was “parasite”. Everyone’s ready to crack.

This club has underperformed spectacularly on so many levels that it was a miracle it ever competed at all in recent years. Chickens, roost etc.

As the senior gardener of the Anfield Grassy Knoll, I’m wondering if we’re so bad because we want to drive the Americans out for good.

Try paying loans on Championship money. There’s also a good chance no simulation is necessary. Happy days.


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