9 Apr 2009

“Don’t worry mate, you’ll beat them at Anfi...Oh wait.”

The headline above is an accurate representation of the many texts I've received after Chelsea's victory over Liverpool at Anfield.

Upon reflection of the most recent Liverpool Chelsea saga, and some sound advice from an old regular at the bar, I concede that football is indeed ‘a funny old game’. Yes, I did just use that cliché.

At the time of writing, my company is a TV set with ‘You’re on SkySports!’, and how I laugh watching. “Sack Benitez” rages the 1st email, “Rafa has let us down for the last time” rants the second.

Seriously, who are these people?

This kind of blatant and ridiculous knee-jerk reaction is something that cannot be allowed to gather pace. It’s laughable, so laughable in fact that Peter Beagrie cringed when they were read to him. So let us analyze Liverpool’s dilemma...

Liverpool were taught a lesson by Chelsea, many lessons in fact, here are some:

1 - All good things come to an end.
2 - The famous ‘12th Man’ doesn’t work every time.
3 - Chelsea won’t be outclassed like they were under Scolari.

Now we should add these lessons to the things we already know:

1 - Liverpool are never out of a game.
2 - We can win away at Stamford Bridge.
3 - We are better as underdogs.

What conclusion can one deduce from this?

1 - Expect nothing. Hope for everything.

All season Liverpool, Liverpool fans and Liverpool players have been up and down in emotional waves. We’ve now been stopped in our tracks, again. We were outplayed and for once, tactically outdone by Chelsea. Essien was magnificent, and we were not ready.

The best thing we can hope to take from this is that our domestic momentum has not been disrupted. We need to realise, as a group, that something like this was going to happen.

We were bound to drop points sooner or later. Would it be too ignorant to suggest this might be the kick up the arse we need, or maybe the reality check we need for the run in?

Ask yourself, would you rather be shocked at home by Chelsea in the Champions League, or Blackburn in the Premier League? I’m not usually a ‘glass half full’ guy, but I’ve been expecting a bit of an upset somewhere along the lines.

It’s all about how we react; Rafa always seems to have a plan, so I feel now that the onus is on us, the fans. How will we react?

I’ve been sick to death of the ‘What if?’ brigade on Monday mornings in work all season. Yes, we got beat, yes we could have won, but hindsight is a wonderful thing and in this fast moving game, we can’t dwell on the past too much or we’ll lose focus on the game ahead. Which is Noon, Saturday.

Momentum is something that’s important at this stage of the season, and it’s something that doesn’t just rest on the team. It belongs in every fan's day to day business, and it’s something Liverpool fans can’t let slip away via discontent.

On Saturday when we play Blackburn, every fan needs to get past the Friday hangover and inspire us on again. Dropped points against Blackburn, and I truly feel the Stamford Bridge game won’t be worth turning up for. If we can bounce back and thrash ‘Big Sam’s’ team, then it has to be game on for Tuesday.

We should know now that football has too many twists and turns, we could get beat 5-0 on Tuesday, we could win 4-1. Rafa has to come up with something, but in the genius words of Peter Beagrie, we “need to upset the apple-cart”.

Don’t try to read into the logic behind that quote, just nod and accept that something amazing needs to happen on the 14th of April, and lets not put it past us.


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