Archive for December, 2007

Better Lucky Than Good

takeabowson.jpg(pic:Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

2-1.

Well, that was close.

Somewhere around the 85th minute I made the conscious decision to turn the game off. Yep, I closed the Explorer window and took the laptop into the bathroom so I could listen to iTunes as I bathed.

Seriously.

Understand, though, it wasn’t because I was sick with the team or the impending result. Something just needed to be done. Somebody needed to step up and deliver. And for whatever reason, it felt… right. In the back of my head, I knew this gambit was going to work. So, I fired up the hot water and dialed up Soccernet’s Gamecast, jumping behind the curtain before it finished loading.

I had dared Liverpool to find a late winner just to spite me. And I’ll be damned if Captain Fantastic didn’t do it. (with some help from a poor defending decision)

Let me tell you how much better a steamy shower on a bleak winter’s day (actual winter-ish weather in the Lowcountry… shocking!) feels when you step out and are greeted with a goal that didn’t exist five minutes ago.

Now, I’ve tried this a handful of other times and it isn’t the first time it’s ‘worked’. I do understand, however, that my participation in the game does not effect the actual outcome (as hard a superstition as that was to let go of, years ago). Yet, that’s the nature of fandom, isn’t it? It’s littered with highly irrational (i.e. stupid) thinking and silly behavior. Half the things done in the name of sport would be utterly unthinkable in any other area of life.

But enough about my bathroom habits…

Continue reading ‘Better Lucky Than Good’

Merry Xmas!

Merry Xmas and Happy Holidays, my friends.

My present to you…

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What a Birthday Present

4-1!

Well, another game I slept in for… but not completely.

Sound asleep and dreaming of sugar plums or the such, I missed the first 15-20 minutes or so of the match. It probably would have been more if I hadn’t been woken up with a birthday call from a good friend.

Yes, today I turned 31. And Liverpool presented me with quite the gift, El Nino’s brace the extravagant bow on top. (Pardon the self-promotion, but since I won’t do it in ‘real-life’, I’ll do it here.)

Because it’s my Special Day (i.e. I’m going to lay on the couch and watch my new ’30 Rock’ DVDs), I won’t go into great detail about the match (the always detailed Nate can help you there). Nor, since I was tending to my phone calls through the match, did I keep a running log of the game. My apologies.

But what I will say about the match is that it is precisely the sort of result we all expect to see from a squad who we know is capable of a title challenge. Granted, even if we win the game in hand, we’re still seven points out. But do you really think Chelsea, Arsenal and United are all walking away with the full allotment of Holiday points this year? (Robbie Keane fucked us today) All the boys can do right now is put down their heads, work hard and worry about their own results. We’ll see where we are come February/March.

Back to the game… Liverpool had the match well under control by the 20th minute, dictating possession and bossing the game around Pompey. The second half was a bit different, with the visitors putting in more visible effort. Eventually, they got the goal that threatened to put them back in the game when Riise stabbed/jumped past Benjani, who finished with an assassin’s (or El Nino’s)coolness and accuracy. To lose the cleansheet is somewhat aggravating, but at least it was on a shot of high quality. (Despite Riise getting used…)

Filled with confidence, Portsmouth looked ready to give Liverpool more of a game for about ten minutes, but eventually my Man Crush popped up and off with two goals, sealing the visitor’s fate and our three points.

I thought everybody played well. Obviously, El Nino continues to bring a stupid grin to my face with his class. But, most of all, I’m extremely happy with the play of our wingers (Babel included). JT, I know you’re not a Kewell fan, but when healthy, he’s effective.

Rafa on a job well done:

First of all it was a great performance from the team. In the first half we were really good. We started really well and were creating chances and scoring goals. We were a little nervous when Portsmouth scored their goal and we needed the third goal. Torres provided that for us.

You know Torres is always a threat when he runs in behind defenders. He has a very good mentality and he has no problem with the physical aspect of the Premier League. He showed his quality and his pace.

So, then… We travel to Derby on Boxing Day. Everybody remembers the damage we did to them earlier in the season, so another three points away from home should be a more than achievable (ok, EXPECTED) result.

Read the Official Site’s match report.

Benayoun’s excellent full-volley goal.

Distin helps out.

Benjani threads the near post.

Torres’ opportunistic put-back.

Torres with yet another brace!

Hope you kids have an enjoyable Xmas! Sorry for short-changing y’all, but…

The Humor in the Theatrics of Footy

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 I saw this humorful piece over at the ever-sublime McSweeney’s and wanted to share it with y’all. Written by Jamie Allen, ‘Other Moments in a Soccer Player’s Life’ is a wonderful send-up of the theatrics so often seen on the pitch

*cough*fuckingRonaldo*cough*

A sample:

Sergio and Sheri are at the seal exhibit at SeaWorld. Like the other tourists around them, they have bought a small carton of fish. They are leaning over the railing to the exhibit, tossing the fish to the appreciative, barking seals, which stand on rocks and along the exhibit’s ledge.

When they get to the last fish, Sheri lets Sergio take it. He tosses it to his favorite seal, the playful one, but the seal is busy catching a fish from a nearby little girl. Sergio’s fish bounces off the seal’s face and falls down a grate between the exhibit and the railing. Gone forever.

Sergio drops to his knees and puts his hands on his head, interlocking his fingers, staring silently into the distance. He holds this pose for at least a minute. It’s impossible to tell if he thinks the blunder was his fault, or the seal’s.

I highly recommend reading the whole essay. It’s quite amusing.

On Family Bickering and the New Homestead…

Dicking around on the computer Sunday night, I dialed up Liverpoolfc.tv to see “Liverpool FC press statement” as one of the news headlines. My heart fluttered a bit. The last time there was a non-descript title like this, it was about Pako’s departure.

Now, it turned out to be harmless enough — a simple statement about the positive nature of the G&H/Rafa summitt:

A meeting was held this evening involving Tom Hicks, George Gillett, Foster Gillett, Rick Parry and Rafa Benitez which was wide ranging and positive.

The discussions were amicable and constructive. All those present are united in their desire to bring further success to the club.

Pleasant enough. Today, George Gillett spoke at greater length about the much-publicized ‘fall-out’ between Liverpool’s owners and manager:

This wasn’t supposed to happen, but it has happened, and now the focus has to be on finding a common platform to continue our co-operation. Rafa is the one we want as a manager further on, and we have faith in him.

I’ve been married over 40 years and have first hand knowledge about how to solve an argument! We concentrated on getting an overview over the situation, and I felt we accomplished that.

Those are reassurring words, even for somebody like me who thought this had been blown out-of-proportion. Methinks the family analogy is quite apt as I’ve also used it to describe this situation:

Families fight — it’s just a fact of life. But, it’s the strong ones that know how to patch things up.

Continue reading ‘On Family Bickering and the New Homestead…’

D’oh

There isn’t currently a match report for a very good reason — I didn’t watch the match.

Blasphemy, right?

Well, after a splendid night in the intoxicating presence of a lovely female, the early morning decision was made to retire at her house, where there would be no Sven’s laptop with SopCast and no way to watch the game… as if I was even going to be in good enough shape to wake up that early.

But upon rising, I thought I might be greeted with an early birthday/Xmas present, but that was not the case. As it turns out, it was probably for the best that I missed the game. My mood is buoyant simply because I didn’t have to suffer the bitter disappointment of watching United stroll out of Anfield with three points. Sure, it hurts to read the result and watch the highlights, but it’s no where near as painful as the knife twisted in the back that the early morning horror show was for y’all. I was more enraged with the Reading result than today’s kick in the nuts because I said to sit and watch that debacle live.

Man, I’m almost glad I missed it.

*sigh*

I’ll catch the replay of the match and go into further detail later, but upon watching some quick highlights I have some immediate thoughts:

  • The goal was a simple but costly mistake by Yossi Benayoun. When the ball gets played out to the top of the box, everybody in the Liverpool defence steps up with the exception of #11, who keeps his place at the far post. Had he made the push out like he should have, Tevez would certainly have been offsides and the teams go into the half scoreless. Understand I’m not demonizing him, just pointing out the slim margin for error in these matches. It was an unlucky turn-of-events, but I trust Rafa will drive home the point in training.
  • By all accounts, Babel was once again impressive in his substitute role. Watching the video of his shot flash across the goal and miss the post by (what looked like) millimeters made my heart skip a beat. It really looked like it was going in, even though I knew beforehand that it wasn’t.
  • The season isn’t even close to being over. While this result certainly doesn’t help matters, putting us further behind the eight ball, there are 22 more matches to be played. That’s 66 points still in play. Plenty of opportunities to make up lost ground in the next five months. Certainly, you could make an argument about the significance of losing to a top-tier team, but the margin was razor thin. This team is capable of beating (and being) the best. Heads up.
  • Maybe we need to bring back Danny Murphy to end this jinx?

An Open Letter to Robert Burns and John Juhasz

Gentlemen,

I can’t say I make it a habit of reading your ‘Side Kicks’ column on a regular basis, but I did happen upon it this week. How you chose to start it was rather interesting…

Even though he plays for Liverpool, I just have to admit it.

I’ve got a man-crush on Fernando Torres.

The kid just keeps impressing me week in and week out with his mazy runs and clinical finishing. His elegance on the ball in tight spaces is even more ridiculous when contrasted with the speed of Premiership play.

I was completely convinced that El Niño would have a hard time adjusting to England’s pace, but instead of changing his game to suit the league, he’s simply imposed his will on it. Prem defenders seem dumbfounded when facing him 1v1 and ‘keepers just don’t know where to position themselves when he charges in.

He’s this season’s Dimitar Berbatov without a doubt, only his club is going places.

The Reds were impressive to say the least against Marseille, especially after getting a 4-0 result in France at the Stade Velodrome. Don’t be surprised if the Golden Boy sees them through to the final once again, but we’ll wait and see what the draw on December 21st has in store.

But honestly, I don’t see Liverpool afraid of any club in Europe after huge wins in the last couple of European campaigns over teams like Real Madrid, Juventus, Chelsea and Milan.

Firstly, “Even though he plays for Liverpool…”? I suppose this establishes you’re not Liverpool fans. That’s certainly OK, I just wanted to make that clear. As a fan of some nameless club, you can obviously appreciate sublime talent when you see it and give it its due credit. Thank you for that. Even if you were a Doubting Thomas at first.

Now…

You need to get the hell up off my Man Crush before I put my boot through yer teeth. Don’t be thinking you’re gonna get all sweet on him and climb up on the bandwagon now. Uh-uh! No way!

He’s ours. And by ours, I mean us Liverpool fans who were behind him from Day One. And by those type of fans, I mean me. We all know how he fast he is. We all know how he combines that pace with silky smooth dribbling, the ability to render defenders useless and a presence that declares that he will not be denied. No, we all knew the talents he possessed. We knew almost immediately that he was going to ‘settle’ just fine. So you can take your ‘Golden Boy’-loving self and set yo ass up in the Cristiano Ronaldo line, cuz you ain’t welcome round here.

I don’t appreciate no Johnny Come Latelys trying to declare their non-sexual infatuation with the Anfield #9. I’ve already done that. I was here first. He’s mine. Don’t even think about it.  You need to take your sorry ass back to the Premier League table and find another striker to fawn all over because this Spainard is mine. He’s spoken for. He’s taken. T-A-K-E-N, taken. Got it? And don’t even be thinking you’re going to sneak in behind my back, because I’m watching you. And if so much as look at El Nino wrong, I’ll gauge your eyes out.

And if you call him a Berbatov again, I’m going to slap the taste out yer mouth.

Best Regards,

Sven

In fact, y’all shouldn’t even be looking at this…

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