While last week it was the Charity Shield proving as much use as dredged tea leaves in predicting the future, this time it’s the first game of the league. With football of actual importance, it’s time for not just the pundits to weigh in with their reckons, but for the fans too.
Of course, nowhere do the fans matter as much as at Liverpool. Last year, Liverpool were firmly back on track to take back what was rightfully theirs – glory. Kenny Dalglish had done all he could, putting right the disaster of Roy Hodgson, unwanted interloper. Don’t believe it? Just look at the significant steps forward last season. Luis Suarez, their best player, was suspended for eight matches for racially abusing another player. Andy Carroll, their most expensive player, returned to form with nine goals in 47 appearances. Damien Comolli was sacrificed as a scapegoat. Stewart Downing scored as often as [hilarious joke]. On top of that, they had their first trophy in years, drawing with The Championship’s Cardiff City. Unquestionably, they were on the up. King Kenny would plan for next year, and then with some reinforcements, it was back to the Champions League. You can’t argue with facts.
Kenny Dalglish’s esoteric approach to planning ended with his sudden lack of employment, and after rubbing Dave Whelan’s thigh for Roberto Martinez, it was Swansea’s Brendan ‘Brendan’ Rogers. In the main, Liverpool fans took to him, and cheerfully adopted Their Brendan: he’d made a 150 page presentation to the owners, how could he not succeed? The signing of Fabio Borini provoked shrewd comparisons with the Barcelona front three, and Joe Allen, the New Xavi after Charlie Adam stopped being the New Xavi, came into supply them. Steven Gerrard told the world that he wasn’t ready to adopt the Scholes role yet, as if it was simply a matter of choice, rather than ability. Nuri Sahin, 2011 Bundesliga player of the year, was invited to take the number 10 shirt by fans in eager anticipation. Look:
16 August 2012
‘@briankettle Nuri Sahin wears shirt no.5. Hope there are no plans to make it available for him. He’s welcome to no.10.’
Then, volte face.
Nuri Sahin decided he’d rather play Champions League football for Arsenal, and the same red chorus decided he wasn’t that good anyway,they didn’t find him attractive, and when they’d asked him to the cinema it was as a friend, a friend, and it wasn’t a date anyway. Look:
18 August 2012
‘@briankettle Just checked with top scientists, and it will not be the end of the world if a Real Madrid reserve chooses to spend a loan year
Then, the proper meltdown.
Zoltan Gera scored a ludicrous volley. Daniel Agger, noted amongst Liverpool fans and all other cognoscenti as the best central defender in Europe, cheerfully gave away a penalty and walked for his trouble, ensuring Liverpool’s one-nil deficit was insurmountable. One became three, and the Liverpool fans took things calmly and rationally. A quick search on lazy journalist’s friend, Twitter, revealed that ‘bring Rafa back’ was the only option, that Kenny had been betrayed, and that, most notably, ‘Brendan’ had his surname back. From ‘Brendan’ to Brendan Rodgers in just two hilarious hours. There’s trouble ahead.
* * * Misc* * *
Chelsea’s opponents, Wigan, continue to puzzle seasoned Premier League observers. It’s not just the mystery of why they actually bother honouring fixtures in the first two-thirds of the season, that’s probably something to do with health and safety. But here’s another poser: their badge has a tree on it. A tree. Have you ever seen a tree in Wigan? We haven’t.
Oh, and we’re calling it now. Eden Hazard is the best signing of all time, ever.
Finally, a disastrous start for Manchester United this season, and questions must be asked of Alex Ferguson. While both Chelsea and Manchester City got off to point-scoring starts (though for five minutes, 2-1 down to Southampton, The Champions were undoubtedly in crisis), United languish on zero. The only thing more surprising than their poor start is the relative acquiescence of United’s support. As Liverpool have proved already, it doesn’t take much to foment ridiculous opprobrium. Granted, they might not have played, but with the relentless demands placed upon teams chasing the title, there’s surely no excuse to fall behind so early. Fergie out! Kenny in!
If you have seen a tree in Wigan, please let us know in the comments below.