…and the wheels come off the wagon again. A new hope had sprung at Anfield and down at the Britannia Stadium it was crushed, barely before it had taken root and before Woy could make sure that his job was safe until at least Christmas.
Stoke made Liverpool look lightweight. A now characteristic uncharacteristic mistake by Steven Gerrard allowed Kenwyne Jones to make the light work of the threaded pass. He brushed off two Liverpool defenders and slotted home. Defeat confirmed, Liverpool will sit in the squalor of the bottom half of the table for another week, the glamour of the top four Champions League slipping away from their grasp.
But what if they could put together a run? What if they could finally throw off the shackles of this early season slump. If Torres and Gerrard could find their form and drag a team which lacks in both quality and industry up the table? Then we all would be denied. We would be denied the opportunity of a rib tickling season of Liverpool blunders. Denied the possibility of their flirting with relegation. Denied a vision of the future where instead of the Premier League comedy relief being supplied by the duo of Manchester City and the rejuventated Newcastle United, it is supplied by the dithering and doddering Anfield reds. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
Fortunately all this is back on the cards because of the result at the Britannia (phew), but for a while after John W. Henry took over at Anfield it looked distinctly like Liverpool would sort themselves out. Personally I felt this was a travesty. Going as far back as the ‘Spice Boys’ I have had an aversion to Liverpool. The sense of entitlement, the worst European champions in recent memory, the diving (Steven Gerrard) and the accent (Jamie Carragher). The stumbling start to the season was like a Godsend. Then that run, those wins, culminating in the victory at Chelsea last week. But it was okay, I had a back-up plan.
What I had in mind was momentous. An alternate reality, where my vision of the future could continue, unfettered. A scouse version of Dream Team, unfolding on this blog where those of an anti-Liverpool nature could get together, read the latest edition and remember happier times, when Hicks and Gillett almost took Liverpool to the wall. It would be a work of art. While Liverpool picked up form in real life, virtually they would be a near catatonic version of themselves, where my imagine could run riot and make all my dreams come true.
Think of recent storylines from British soaps, all taking place within the confines of Liverpool FC. Dirk Kuyt could bury bodies under his patio, Martin Skrtel’s pub could be burnt down for the insurance and Jamie Carragher could get a sex change operation while scoring loads of own goals.
I had a centre piece however, a part of the story that would be the glue that bound the gears of the narrative together. A story that we could all relate to. A love story.
Antony and Cleopatra would have nothing on this, nor would Romeo and Juliet. The only romance that could come close would be when Harry Met Sally, and only because of the faked orgasms. It would break new ground. That first lesbian kiss on Brookside would be oblirated from your memory when you read about the first steamy embrace between A SCOUSER AND A SPANIARD.
That’s right, a homosexual romance between Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres.
In my mind it all made sense. These two, the lynchpins of the Liverpool team, the key components of the now crumbling spine of the side, locked together in secret love. It would be unspoken of in the dressing room, hidden from prying eyes. It would be a metaphor for these times where players like Ashley Cole, Sol Campbell and Graeme Le Saux have had to (allegedly- Ed.) hide their love away. Torres and Gerrard, locked together in love while the fictional Liverpool crumble around them.
But, alas, the real Liverpool have spoiled all that. The defeat at Stoke rendered any need for a ficitionilized regression, as here they are truely mired in it anyway. So, THE SCOUSER AND THE SPANIARD may never see the light of day, but we can now all imagine what may have been, before Tony Pulis (or Roy Hodgson) pulled that dream away.
As a small footnote I would like to draw attention to two excellent articles on the problem of homophobia in football, which have been published very recently. Read them at The Guardian and by Julian McMahon the latest issue of When Saturday Comes (and is unfortunately not up on the website yet).