Patrick Tracey has his say on Liverpool’s run-in to the end of the season with frustration running high among the Anfield faithful.
“Out, damned spot! Out, I say!”
I’ve been fortunate to have visited Anfield once in my life. In late 2011, my Pop and I planned to visit London to see my nephew row in a crew race, and while we were there we would take in a Premier League match.
Unfortunately, before we could plan everything out, my Dad was diagnosed with lung cancer and passed away less than three months later.
So in 2013, I made the trip for both of us.
I decided on the first anniversary of his passing that I would travel to Liverpool. One of the online sites felt Tottenham would beat out the Reds for a top four finish, and as I worshipped Luis Suarez I concluded this would be my only chance to see him play in the only uniform that mattered.
So I dropped $700 for a ticket to an online broker for the last game of the season versus Newcastle and booked my flight.
And then the magic of that season took wings, and the Reds started to win games. So as I prepared for my holiday in May, I couldn’t help but think that I was going to get to witness something historical – until the third to last game of the season, when “he” showed up to Anfield.
Chelsea had another league it was more concerned about, so he, Jose Mourinho, had his squad of replacements and second-teamers park the bus in front of the goal and Brendan Rodgers didn’t have Liverpool well-prepared to face that type of defence and what could have been a trip to heaven on gossamer wings became merely just a great season.
And now it’s 2017 and Liverpool looked poised to secure a place in the Champions League and here we go again: he is rearing his ugly head, lurking in my rearview mirror, this time managing a team that is the most hateful of sinners.
And just like in 2013, I’m unable to wipe him off my hands.
There’s no reason that Manchester United team managed by him hasn’t fallen off this season by now. Chelsea was the top team and a week ago they got spanked by them. Burnley is amazing at home but on Sunday they didn’t stand a chance. Heck, with the football that is playing in the Europa League, they should be running on fumes by now.
Meanwhile, Liverpool had, heading into the April 23rd contest, 5 one-foot putts left in its season. All that was necessary was to just take care of business at the Fortress. But after the thud of Sunday’s effort, things got a little tighter for the squad and more tense for the fans.
It’s easy to point fingers (and right now James Milner is in my cross-hairs, but Divock Origi didn’t distinguish himself either and what was Dejan Lovren doing for Crystal Palace’s second goal?), but when you looked at Liverpool’s bench for Sunday’s contest, didn’t you know the team was in trouble? The commentators here pointed out that it was the youngest bench ever for Liverpool. The translation was that the Liverpool starters had to win Sunday’s game.
This season ending anyplace but with Liverpool in the Champions League will obviously have a detrimental effect to next year’s campaign, as it’s generally acknowledged that for Jürgen Klopp to bring in the reinforcements that he’s been linked with (Lacazette, Koulibaly, Van Dijk, Brandt, etc.), he must finish in the top four.
The worst part about the loss to Crystal Palace was that this season – just like 2013/14- was completely in Liverpool’s hands.
Now, even though the last four games (at Watford, Southampton, at West Ham and home versus Middlesbrough) are all winnable, the Reds will need help from someone else in order to deliver Champions League football next season.
And I’ll be spending the next four weeks trying my damnedest to scrub Jose Mourinho off my hands as he continues to drive me to hysterics, managing that team that just won’t lose and go away and allow Liverpool to take its rightful place in Champions League.