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A Lap of Honour for the Already Departed

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The season is over. Only it isn't. Not quite yet. Though it does feel as though an autopsy should be done, even if after a long campaign that has seen so many of the problems and complaints remain depressingly consistent it feels as though everything has already been said a dozen times over and that there is really nothing left to say.

It feels as though the distraction of the upcoming European Championships and the hope of a summer's dealings should raise spirits as everyone begins already to look ahead to next season. Only there's little left but blind faith to suggest those who got things wrong before and have been getting the same things wrong for so much of this season will suddenly get things right.

It may be difficult to imagine anybody who genuinely cares about Liverpool desiring that those who have made the mistakes that have defined 2011-12 not be given the chance to make things right, but at the same time it's nearly as impossible to imagine anyone who now feels as confident about those in charge of the club's football operations as they were at this time last year.

Still, loyal servants deserve better than the fate a small yet vocal minority would casually consign Kenny Dalglish to after a frustrating, uneven, and hugely disappointing campaign coming on the heels of a summer of mis-spending. But then, some of the club's current loyal servants on the playing staff would seem to deserve better than the treatment they have received of late, too, no matter if in the end decisions concerning the likes of Dirk Kuyt and Maxi Rodriguez have reseted with Dalglish himself, departed director of football Damien Comolli, or others elsewhere in the organisation.

There's much—so much—to say about this season, and yet it feels as though everything has already been said. And perhaps because of that any true, meaningful examination won't be possible until it becomes clear just what the final fate of the club's loyal servants—all of the club's loyal servants—is in the coming weeks and months.

The season may now have reached an ending of sorts, but in some ways Liverpool's league campaign has been an afterthought for months now, leaving a case where the obituary for a season that died around the time people were struggling through their New Year's Eve hangovers would seem to have now been delayed to the point of pointlessness. Everybody had been busy waiting for the cups to confer meaning on a corpse, but after Saturday's failure to show up at Wembley until the final thirty minutes one is left to the realisation that there had been nothing truly meaningful left of the current season for months.

Tuesday's unexpected victory over Chelsea, one that confirms the London club will have to win the Champions League to return to it next season, may have for a few of hours provided a welcome bit of entertainment and excitement from a Liverpool side that has given little of such to fans, followers, and supporters over a disappointing season. A similar performance and result at Swansea on Sunday to end the term would do the same. Neither, though, could change anything that has gone before or that may come next.

In some ways, last night's final game at Anfield and the lap of honour that followed provided a symbolic ending for a season that has in truth been over for a long time now—even if today it still has a game left to go. Beyond the symbolism provided by the chance to say goodbye to players who may never set foot on Anfield's pitch again in a competitive match, however, that and the ninety minutes that came before had almost no meaningful connection to the previous thirty-six games that made up Liverpool's league season.

The season is over, even if it isn't, and even if it already was. There is everything to say but everything has already been said. And what's left, no matter what one's personal hopes might be, is an uncomfortable mix of faith and fear and doubt about what comes next. Though the truth of the matter is that that's been the case for quite some time.