Everything's the Worst: Unopened Gifts Edition

Julian Finney

Boosted by the vaunted resumption of club football and the incorrigible depths of dashed hope, ETW offers the finest morsels of polished misery.

Top four, top four, top four. Liverpool are currently in the top four. However, many Liverpool fans want a bit more and its something that we'll have to explore. Even if no definitive answers are discovered today, our sanity increases once a remedy is found for set pieces.

Liverpool played a game over the weekend. One side went behind twice but managed to draw the game. The other side played just over an entire half with ten men but managed to avoid defeat. Cause for muted celebration or reason for inquest? Liverpool versus Newcastle. Points shared. Today is not a day for sitting on a freestanding structure designed to restrict or prevent movement across a boundary.

Woe is me! Woe is everybody! Woe is she! Woe is he! Woe is we? We drew a game but were disappointed with how the match turned out. ETW had a different hat on during the weekend after electing to be the emissary to pump out First Thoughts with speed and sense. One out of two isn't a shameful success rate in this century of hardened apathy. That's more than enough digression for now.

Liverpool had the best combination available when a side finds itself chasing a game but needed a solitary goal to establish equality. This has been mentioned before but a penalty-sending off combination is the gift that can keep on giving. Score the penalty and parity is restored. Use the man advantage wisely and victory will inevitably arrive. Time is a thief but having an entire half with which to exploit this advantage is a state of affairs to look forward to...if you have the advantage of an extra player.

Still, Liverpool remain in a position of considerable respect at this early stage and a point at Newcastle in itself isn't worthy of lengthy lamentations. Yet Rodgers' comments were attacked by some unknown member of this community as being "hogwash" if ETW's memory is not disjointed by actual weekend contentment and enjoyment. Positivity for its own needless sake can be a powerful irritant but what should a manager be expected to do? Celebrate mediocrity publicly? Protect his players from being criticised on successive weekends by attempting to deflect focus on some risible elements in a performance? Play to the gallery of fans who demand the cult of manager to be perpetuated and displayed to assuage any lingering insecurities they may have about the manager or the club's prospects? Where should a manager turn?

There is no doubt that Liverpool possessed an advantage heading into a second half that could have provided the most positive second-half showing to date in this youthful league campaign. It was one enlightened fellow who aptly described the frustration engendered by a failure to capitalise on succulent offerings from the capricious and whimsical Football Gods:

Anybody seasoned in the art of the guilt trip will know that the appropriate response here is one of disappointment rather than anger. Guess it's our fault for having such high hopes for you Liverpool. We're not mad at you. Really. It's just that we really believe in you, and it seemed like you were giving us plenty of reasons for that belief. And now, up a man for a majority of the match, you didn't do what we expected. Swear, I'm not angry with you. Just disappointed.

ETW worries that November will bring an unforgiving set of circumstances that will need to be faced by a side that attains results by performing throughout the game. It's a "game of two halves" after all but will we see a side that participates fully in each? There are 17 other sides who are propping Brendan Rodgers' side in the league table and for now, that is enough but can results without convincing performances continue for the remainder of this promising year?

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