(pic:Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
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.
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…
I would say, after today’s result, Liverpool fans likely fall into one of two camps of thought:
This sort of sub-par match is exactly why Liverpool can’t/won’t mount a serious title challenge this season. They were lucky to escape from Pride Park with three undeserved points and will not overcome the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and United on the strength (or lack thereof) of these types of performances.
Good teams find a way to win whether they deserve it or not. (How many times did Chelsea steal the lion’s share of points in their championship runs?) It may not have been pretty, but Arsenal and Chelsea dropped points today and our boys took care of business. Ultimately, the league table only concerns itself with the end result.
I’m with the latter.
Now, I have to admit, at 85 minutes, I thought our goose was cooked. A draw at Derby would mean the end to my overly-optimistic belief that Liverpool could pull off the improbable title challenge. I was all ready to set the LDC back two minutes and declare my lust for FA Cup and Champions League honors.
But, the axe didn’t drop. Sure, it still hangs ominously, ready to be dispatched by London journalists at the first sign of trouble. It just won’t happen today.
Let’s be honest; overall, it was a pretty shitty turn-out for Liverpool. Still, we all know that every game can’t be the prettiest. The important part is that they got the three points and can now focus on ruining Man City’s home record.
Even Rafa knows we got away with one today:
The first half was really good because we were in control, had plenty of possession but you must finish the game. I don’t know why but we couldn’t get the second goal. In the second half they were more physical and aggressive and when we conceded a goal we became a little bit nervous.
Gerrard won the game for us at the end and we know how good he is at getting from box to box, but as I said we should have had the game won a lot earlier than what we did.
So we’re now nine points behind first-placed United, with a game in hand over the trio sitting above us. For argument’s sake, let’s go ahead and claim that three points. That’s a six point gap. Granted, two of the three remaining matches against the Other Three are away from home.
Hey, nobody said winning a title was easy. It is, however, do-able. Maybe not likely, but do-able.
Hope floats. (then again, so does Hate)
All this said, it’ll be a real pisser if we crash to City on Sunday.
McEveley levels. (remember when he was supposed to be The Next Defender?)
And you didn’t think I was going to go a whole post without giving El Nino some love, did you?!
He continues to make it look so easy. And, I’ve actually learned something by watching Fernando. He always looks so calm on the ball, regardless of how hard he’s fighting or fast he’s moving.
I actually made a real effort to do the same on the ball when I played pick-up today and the difference is amazing. While I may not be moving from my pub team’s centerback position anytime soon, it certainly feels good to score a bag’s (nooo, not an onion bag) worth of goals.