Eyes are somewhat bleary & the bags under em are thicker than Gucci luggage. Why? Coz I stayed up fer Liverpool's opening European Cup group match v Porto at 3am. Although it was a very fortunate 1-1 draw, the footie on display was turgid, lethargic & quite simply bereft of ideas (nevermind flair or skill). It was shite . . . really, it was.
Now I have been berated by certain fellow supporters fer me extremely pessimistic take on proceedings. Some have accused me of reverse psychology, others just find me plain unbearable as I tend to picture the worse possible scenario. . . even when we are two-nil up, nevermind three down!
Sorry. It's just me. Me incredibly negative view of things (& its not just limited to footie) is down to the fooking horrors inflicted upon my impressionable teenage mind by two gentlemen - Micheal Thomas & Lawrie Sanchez. Nuff said. Ever since then, I have NEVER taken ANYTHING fer granted. It taught me that life (like football) is full of unexpected twists & turns, some of them far from being remotely pleasant.
As such, please bear with me as I sound out a cautionary warning at this early stage of the season. Yes, we have started the season quite well but the recent uninspired draw at Fratton Park gave rise to memories of the 2002/03 season. Liverpool were unbeaten & top of the table just before X'mas, then came the record-breaking (& sanity challenging) 11 game winless streak which eventually saw us slide down the standings (& barely making fourth).
That season also started with great wins & optimism was high as we had bought two "stars" of the recently concluded World Cup - the highly rated Senegalese duo El-Hadji Diouf & Salif Diao. We all know how that turned out; not quite "spittingly" (sic) well . . .
As fer our European adventure that year, many Kopites couldn't conceal their glee when we were drawn with Valencia, Boavista & Basel. "Easy fooking group la" was the consensus. Like this morning, we also drew our opening group match v the Portuguese champions 0-0 (drab result was blamed on the shock of having a kick-off just hours after the World Trade Centre had come tumbling down in NYC on Sep11). Valencia under the guidance of a certain Rafa Benitez edged us 1-0 at home before routing us 3-0 in Spain. This left all to do against the underdogs Basel in Switzerland (1-1 at Anfield) & we managed to go 3-0 down by halftime. Although we clawed back to 3-3, the result saw us dumped unceremoniously into the Uefa Cup (where a certain Didier Drogba ran amok against us in the game v Marseille).
I really hope Senor Rafa has taken note of the Houllier debacle & is carefully planning a strategy which will at least see us challenge fer the league & make it thru to the knock-out stages of the European Cup. Making the final of the latter does seem statistically impossible under the new format (2005, 07 & 08!?! No way la!) & perhaps we should just concentrate on our domestic duties.
Well, I've said me piece & I truly hope that I am wrong regarding our season's prospects (in that it looks like another pear-shaped attempt at success as in 2002/03). Of course, all Kopites (& fans of other teams) are welcome to post their comments/predictions etc here. YNWA!