|photo by BigTallGuy||via PhotoRee|
No, much to the chagrin of you loyal readers whom I have bored with my meager literary ramblings, and I doubt to the relief of farlieonfootie, the resignation is not from my post as an unpaid and underappreciated blogging scribe, but rather refers to my acceptance, belatedly many would say, that Liverpool, in all likelihood (I still have to qualify), has no chance at winning the EPL title this year.
Patronizing, “I-told-you-so” chuckles are surely being enjoyed by many, exacerbating the depressing cloud that envelopes that first sentence. But results are results and facts are facts. The result that prompted my Prozac prescription was a 1-0 loss to Fulham this past Monday at Craven Cottage. And the fact that increases the dosage of that medication is that Liverpool have “progressed” from drawing games they should win to losing them. A troubling pattern to say the least.
The pace of the Fulham game was frantic with both sides getting chances in the first half. Jordan Henderson, in the space of 10 minutes, showed why he is both a liability and a potentially brilliant emerging talent. Around the quarter hour mark he completely muffed a clearance that gifted a goal scoring chance to an opportunistic Fulham offense but then, only minutes later, he bucked the meaningless-passing malaise that had infected the Liverpool offense by boldly charging into the box and curling a looping shot that bounced agonizingly off the inside of the post.
Andy Carroll on the pitch did nothing for the Liverpool offense as he redefined the word “lumbering” for 90 minutes. Which is just about the amount of additional playing time Luis Suarez will need to finally and totally realize that the EPL refs are on to his soft fouls followed by ardent gnashing of teeth. Maybe chants from the crowd are having an effect or maybe his teammates are finally beginning to get through to him because, although he still falls easily/dives, he has done it less and less over the last couple of games. May his education continue so that we can enjoy his frenetic, creative play without the occasional wince.
The second half saw Liverpool still unable to capitalize on their increasing creativity. Not helping matters was Glen Johnson’s abysmal crossing throughout the game. It seems he perhaps fancied himself a striker since his goal against Chelsea with quality crosses being beneath him as he would rather be served that serve. Still, an amazing volley by Jose Enrique and Charlie Adam being pulled down right on the line of the penalty area were not enough. Especially when, with nearly 20 minutes to go, Jay Spearing received a red card for a questionable follow through, having first won the ball but with his other leg elevated as he continued his backward fall. Liverpool still should have prevailed, creating chances with only 10 men but ultimately it was the predatorily opportunistic (to mash together two clichés) Clint Dempsey who availed himself of Pepe Reina’s miscue.
It is a long season and we are only just over one-third of the way through. But despite a plethora of talent available (albeit not of the Manchester variety), Liverpool have failed to find a winning combination. There are, no doubt, Liverpudlians even more blindly optimistic than I. But for my part, you can consider this my resignation.
This is farlieonfootie for December 9.