Friday, September 21, 2012

Happily Breaking Red Ducks

photo by Jessica.Tamvia PhotoRee
Columnist Scott wants to put a smile on the faces of his favorite scousers -- and on your face, as well.  So after reading this and smiling, be sure to check out our bonus blog entry for the day, discussing farlieonfootie's Anniversary -- it's shown directly below:
Fresh after reading the first four chapters of The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor, in which the author convincingly puts forth scientific studies and evidence that happiness increases success rather than the reverse, I am choosing to happily view Liverpool's most recent league outing as another step in the right direction for Brendan Rodgers and the players. With two-thirds of the possession and lots of chances, it seems we are only a goal-scoring streak away from hitting stride and moving up the table to a more appropriate place in the Top Four.
Alas, the Reds were thwarted twice early on, once again, by that scientific anomaly in which the leather ball is somehow magnetically attracted to the goal posts and cross bar. Perhaps Mr. Achor might unearth a scientific study to explain how Glen Johnson's booming, curling effort fell victim to this phenomenon.
While Johnson looked dangerous all game and gave the Black Cats fits each time he pressed forward in attack, Joe Allen was off his game. In addition to surrendering the ball more often than normal, he did not seem to be able to control the game as he has recently. Still, with a smile, I acknowledge that it was only one game and that the former Swansea youngster will bounce back admirably for the clash with the titans of Manchester United.
Two other players in need of a bounce back are Steven Gerrard and Pepe Reina. Gerrard has just not been himself this season. Yet again I am forced to point out that the captain repeatedly coughed up the ball through errant and usually overly aggressive passes. Plus, this time, he missed his team’s best chance when he should have at least put his side-footed shot on frame. I may need to send Stevie a copy of Achor’s book.
And Reina, for his part, once again failed to get to the ball once committed to coming out for it. Granted, Johnson should have done better to prevent the cross in the first place, but the Spaniard's indecision allowed Sunderland's goal.
Happy thoughts return, however, when I reflect on Raheem Sterling's magnificent performance. The 17 year old was the best player on the pitch, beating defenders 1v1, creating chances, tracking back and winning balls. Not only is he a star in the making, he has also, as Rodgers points out, boosted the hopes of every Academy player in the Liverpool system. It is little wonder that Jamaica have been doggedly pursuing him for their national team and Roy Hodgson gave him a call up as a substitute for England.
In the final (OK not final as this is still September) analysis, the passing, possession and chances are there. Liverpool just needs Luis Suarez to get his mojo back. Or for Fabio Borini to make good on his league scoring vow to "break his duck". Which, not to get off on a tangent here, is a curious idiom, to say the least. How is it that snapping or otherwise fracturing water fowl has come to be associated with an inaugural event? Fortunately, we live in a Googlized world where such questions can be answered after a brief series of taps and swipes. As it turns out, PETA has nothing to worry about as the expression does not refer to harming water-faring avian creatures but rather its origin can be traced to cricket. No, not the Gryllidae insect cricket, rather the sport cricket, which most Americans find incomprehensible. A duck in cricket is when a batsman is dismissed with a score of zero. So, to break his duck, the batsman scores his first points. All clear? Good. Advance to Go and collect 200 Etymology dollars.
May Liverpool break their duck!

This is farlieonfootie for September 21.

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