Everything's the Worst: The Misfortune of Victory Edition

Michael Steele

Looking at an empty bottle in a brown paper bag and thinking in glorious incoherence, ETW is back to neatly round up what's been happening at Liverpool FC and elsewhere replete with links and words.

Heaven knows we're miserable now. We were happy in the haze of a drunken hour of victory against Stoke City but the misfortune of victory and whispers of an arriving Chelsea undesirable embitters our charred hearts.

A slightly jittery but fluid performance against Stoke was followed by a rougher and more nervous one against Aston Villa. There was another Daniel Sturridge goal, another clean sheet, another late Simon Mignolet stunner, another reassuring Kolo Toure performance, and another three points. Yet it wasn't the same. Everything should have been closer to the best but it was closer to the worst.

One nil wins isn't a thing with Brendan Rodgers. He does not really do "one nil to the Liverpool" victories. Not in 2013 anyway. Remember Rodgers' 180-page dossier that will transform the club? One nil wins aren't in it. Since taking over as Liverpool manager, Rodgers has steered Liverpool to a one goal victory four times in 2012 but 2013 was different. The only one nil victory in this year of cautious renewal was against QPR to close out last season. It wasn't a contest and Carragher was unlucky not to sign 737 games off with a long-range piledriver.

When the opposition doesn't score against Rodgers' Liverpool, we're used to two emotional states: elation or frustration. We know that we should be smiling when we score four, five, and six goals without reply. However, we also realise that improvements must be made when we experience goalless draws against sides we either should be beating or should have beaten.

One nil wins that aren't completely convincing? We might have to get used to that. They bring points and make the league look prettier. They're not memorable but are significant. Jose Mourinho is back to lend us Victor Moses but he built his English reputation on one nil wins. We're not trying to imitate Chelsea's style under Mourinho but we're aiming for a similar consistency: eleven one nil wins in his first league season. We don't remember the one nil wins but we remember the league title. One season before his Excellency graced England with his most magnificent presence and blessed facial structure; Arsene Wenger's undefeated ones managed fifteen clean sheets in the league, drawing five of them.

A clean sheet means you don't get beat. Would you like to add a single goal to that order? Yes, that would be lovely and a glass of tap water please. These one goal aberrations might be nervy, sometimes they'll look unconvincing but they'll always help us get to our destination...wherever and whatever that may be.

  • Next Monday will be a momentous day for Liverpool Football Club. 2 September 2013 will be Bill Shankly's 100th birthday. He's the reason why we're all here supporting this great club. In 1959, Bill Shankly took over a club mired in the Second Division and in short, built the foundations for the entire club's subsequent success. The UK Daily Mail's Patrick Collins has written a stirring piece titled, Shankly didn't need Facebook and Twitter pages... he just made the people happy. Read it and be proud.
  • Still within the Liverpool family, Liverpool Ladies FC have been continuing to dazzle in the Women's Super League. We checked in on their title run-in and Doncaster Belles suffered a nine goal battering at the hands of our dominant league leaders. Having a defender sent off after just six minutes of play doesn't help but facing the in-form Natasha Dowie is no good either. She went into the match with an impressive 11 goals in 14 games this season but a hat-trick leaves her on nearly a goal game. Leading 7-0 by half time puts a wee bit of pressure on the opposition and the league title is within sight.
  • Serie A kicked off this weekend and there was a big shock along with a number of new managerial appointments on show. Starting with unexpected, AC Milan couldn't join Liverpool in opening day satisfaction after losing 2-1 away to Hellas Verona. Luca Toni was the hero or villain, depending on your sympathies, with two goals. Not bad for a 36 year-old veteran. Massimiliano "Max" Allegri's side may hold an away goal advantage in the Champions League against PSV but might need Adem Ljajić or Christian Eriksen more than we do. Poor Max Allegri. Well there's always Hamburg's Thorsten Fink to make him feel better. In predictable victory news, Juventus beat Sampdoria. LaVecchia Signora (The Old Lady) picked up Carlos Tevez in the summer and the new recruit scored the only goal of the game to give Juventus a victorious start.
  • Two managers made successful starts at Italian giants in desperate need of a revival. Walter Mazzarri and Internazionale made a good start in their relationship with a 2-0 home victory against Genoa and Ricky Alvarez was probably the best player on the pitch. Fans of the Nerazzurri (Black and Blues) often lament the torpor in Alvarez's game but he impressed along with the reliable Fredy Guarín. Rudi Garcia was another new manager starting at a big Serie A side and matched Inter with a 2-0 win at unheralded Livorno. Roma lined up in a 433 formation with Totti (one assist) at the centre of the front three and Daniele De Rossi (one goal) at the centre of midfield. The two Giallorossi (The Yellow-Reds) legends had good games as Roma controlled the game in typical Garcia fashion but the two one-club men were upstaged by a 22 year-old Roma youth product. Alessandro Florenzi already has 3 caps for the national team and his goal-scoring performance will give disgruntled Roma fans hope. Fan favourite Erik Lamela was an unused substitute, which naturally intensified speculation about this future.
  • There was another manager who started life at a big club in Italy. Rafa Benitez's Napoli achieved the most impressive performance and winning margin with a 3-0 win against Bologna. In a dominant display, Napoli appeared to smoothly transition from Mazzarri's 352/3412 to Rafa's 4231. Marek Hamsik was outstanding in the hole behind Gonzalo Higuain and the 26 year-old is still Napoli's star player after a busy summer transfer window. His two goals testified to this. Although Higuain didn't score, he matched Reina and Albiol in making decent debuts. Jose Callejon starred from the left and capped his performance with a goal while Dries Mertens got an easy run-out from the bench. In his post-match presser, Rafa talked about a few things familiar to Liverpool fans. He praised the players and cautioned that Napoli still need to improve physically as well as tactically. Interestingly, Benitez declared that Hamsik was a natural choice for captain but wondered aloud, with a smile, if Hamsik can repeat his goalscoring performance in each Napoli game.
No video this week my miserable internet companions but if we can, let's devote a little time to Shanks in the run-up to his milestone. It'd be a lovely tribute if Liverpool could round off the week with two victories with Anfield roaring Shankly's name on Sunday in dedication to the late, great man.
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