Before we go any further, please, spare me the teasing and mockery. I’ve been wading through goading texts and emails since last Saturday, all related to handshakegate and Liverpool’s 2-1 loss to United. Remember my buddy Darren from IHL #2? He was a man without mercy for most of the day (sample text read: Did you turn the game off yet? I would have punched my monitor by now!). Yes, Liverpool lost last weekend to United, and yes, anything would have been better than Luis Suarez’s behaviour during the handshakes (Note: if Suarez shakes Evra’s hand this whole situation pretty much goes away and I write this column about the Leafs losing 5-0 to the Canadiens on Saturday night instead). And yes, it was poor decision-making by Kenny Dalglish to respond with belligerence when asked about Suarez after the match. It seems as though of late, you’re only allowed through the doors at Anfield if you’re simultaneously good at football and bad at life.
Quite honestly I’m not that upset about Saturday’s loss, not in the context of the league, anyway. Liverpool bested United a few weeks ago in the FA Cup, a competition we clearly stand a better chance of winning. I’d have included the Carling Cup final in that last sentence, but I’m not totally sure we’re up to it. Call me a cynic; so far this season I’ve been burned repeatedly by Liverpool’s ability to overwhelmingly underwhelm. We’ve been consistent only in our ability to surprise, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see Liverpool engage Cardiff City the way it did Bolton a few weeks ago. The bulk of the squad play like teenagers on Ketamine when faced with inferior opposition, and I’m not convinced that a Wembley cup final atmosphere is enough to stir some of them from their befuddled reverie.
You want to know who I’m rooting for on February 26th? Glenn Johnson. He had a good attacking game on Saturday, nearly scoring a goal similar to the one he nabbed at Chelsea late last year. He’ll be needed at the back to carry the increasingly worrisome defensive pairing of Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger, and looks to be one of few in the squad capable of scoring in the run of play.
Cup success for Liverpool in the next few weeks demands a serious bunker mentality. They need to hole up, plain and simple. Have the reserves kidnap the first team, Old School style, and detain everyone at Melwood, feeding them only pasta and Lucozade behind a freshly installed electric fence. No one enters, no one leaves. They train and play as usual, but with the addition of extended video sessions dissecting every single Michael Jordan NBA playoff appearance. Someone, or something needs to teach this team how to win.
For the next two weeks, the team should be our hostages, not the other way around. It’s our turn. Give us greatness for a change. We want a cup.
Go on, then.
I Hate Liverpool.