Friday, March 22, 2013

Dickens Was a Fan: Southampton 3 - Liverpool 1

photo by perpetualplumvia PhotoRee

We always knew that, underneath it all, Scott was a scholar -- despite an abundance of evidence to the contrary:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of Andre Wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of drawing at the Stadium of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to the Champions League, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

How can you read the (somewhat altered) sentence/paragraph (gotta love Dickensian-length sentences) above and not conclude that not only was the father of Oliver Twist, David Copperfield and Nicholas Nickelby a Liverpool fan, but that he also foresaw the 2012/2013 season?  The pendulum that is my emotions this year has swung so wildly that father time is in danger of tipping over and squashing three visionless rodents, to mix my metaphors and literary genres all at the same time.

Liverpool's hopes of extending their League winning streak to 4 came to a calamitous crash last Sunday at St. Mary's in Southampton.  It seems the Saints could do no wrong and it was the Reds who performed like relics, never able to get a toehold in the fixture. Liverpool's malnourished, Oliver Twist form was no match for the Old Testament wrath wrought by Southampton before a zealous congregation unable to conceal their increasing delight during every cacophonous rendition of "O When the Saints Go Marching In."

The 6th minute goal was a nasty blow to Liverpool, from which they never recovered.  They were fortunate, indeed, when Ricky Lambert failed to convert his 1v1 with Brad Jones (although credit must also be given to the 'keeper who stood his ground)  and they were even luckier 11 minutes later when Rodriguez could not get his turn-around volley on target with the gaping, unattended net flapping as helplessly as Liverpool's defense.  Despite some half-hearted attempts in the interim, their luck ran out when, in the 33rd minute, the previously-denied Lambert saw his free-kick deflect off the porous wall and past the flummoxed Jones.
Philippe Coutinho pulling one back just before halftime by threading the legs of several Saint defenders only proved to reinforce the Tale of Two Teams that is Liverpool this year.  With hope seeping back in through the fingers covering my eyes, I peeked through just in time to see Rodriguez waltz from box to box, shoot, get his own rebound, retie his cleats, and then score.

While Liverpool's performance is not a far, far better thing that they do, than they have ever done; with Europa League now in question, it may be a far, far better rest that they go to than they have recently known.

This is farlieonfootie for March 22.

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