ETW is pleased to sit and type away today or tonight or tomorrow or yesterday depending on your accursed allocated time slot wherever and whenever you are. There is no joy in accompanying somebody somewhere in the knowledge that it will be a thankless task full of exasperation and recalibration. At times, there can be quiet moments of calm where a brief experience or conversation is shared, which is privy only to the parties present. Only a few hours ago it was just me and one other. My mother.
As time rolls by, similarities between life and football arise far more than they previously did. My youngest brother recently compared my fresh frustrations to scepticism at certain changes in my life with Southampton's current success in the league this season. Nobody expects them to stay there until they just do and become a regular fixture in the upper echelons of the league. Expectations are rooted in the recent past and judgements are made appropriately. Any claims of meaningful development or progress remain just that until they are backed by results and consistency. As a former poster boy for "notorious but well-meaning flake/screw up hybrid" when it came to personal relationships, this message was instantly understood. Changes have been made that are positively propelling me today yet I have to deal with my mess of yesterday.
The task of accompanying my mother to the airport was an interesting one. I displayed my usual snappiness at little things like a big kid while my mother raised a Carlo Ancelotti eyebrow in amusement yet her little glances appeared to be pleased with how I seemed to calmly navigate around taxing situations. Perhaps a little bit of pride was there too at the sight of a maturing son. It was a mission that I knew would be frustrating yet it was taken on regardless without any hint of feeling obligated to do so. I wanted to help not for how it would appear nor to avoid any perceived criticism as the eldest child abrogating responsibility but to just help out.
On the way back from the airport, I started thinking about what would populate this week's second instalment of ETW. Unfortunately, I am prone to excessive verbosity and often set out to write a few paragraphs but end up with a miniature essay. There wasn't any desire to round up the internationals as Ed and Noel do that expertly. There wasn't too much to say on Liverpool as the international break is in full flow. There wasn't a structure in place to comment on Liverpool's season to date as the previous ETW fully communicated my thoughts on how the season was unfolding. However, I couldn't shake off a contented feeling of how Liverpool were doing at the moment. Elizabeth produced one of my favourite pieces in a long time on how positively the club was being run and Trev made me smile with the sheer warmth with which he feels for Brendan Rodgers in his screenplay format take on the international break. There is much to like about Liverpool right now and what is frightening is that things can still improve.
That period from the airport back to a laptop that is weakening in its reliability was deeply buoyant yet tinged with a slightly sombre sense of reflection. Liverpool are improving and righting wrongs of the past. It is a something I understand intimately but more importantly we are enjoying seeing Liverpool do so. The journey is not one that is wrapped in frustration but fun. Liverpool's approach to football isn't one that is monotonous but exciting. The philosophy at all levels of the club is no longer behind others but seemingly progressive. I would not go as far as claiming that Liverpool's journey exactly parallels my own but I cannot shake the sense that there is a shared sense of renewal.
As for our manager, I am convinced that he is the sort of person that should do well in life. He is unerringly positive and it is a little scary that his platitudes are probably sincere. This can grate when things do not go well or wrong decisions are made yet he is human like all of us. His earnestness and positivity is ultimately endearing as is his commitment to working with others in an "enlightened" philosophy. Rodgers thinks of the player not only as a possible technician to carry out instructions within a framework that dominates opponents, but also a person who can be engaged with personally to grow mentally as well as technically. The presence of Dr Steve Peters is testament to a modern approach to players and people. Having somebody to talk to whose job it is to help people in such situations is potentially rewarding. Naturally, Brendan Rodgers is expected to possess the necessary competence to carry out the tasks expected of him and he is adequately rewarded for that even if the greater rewards are yet to come. In this community, Brendan Rodgers has a lot of support but I do not think it is without reason. We can see that he is trying, really trying. He has his blind spots but his task is enormous even with the prevailing inconsistency that ruffles the feathers of our domestic rivals.
So what to write about? A return to the satirical ETW persona to send up the unyielding misery of being a football fan in the early 21st century? A fireside chat? A round up? None seemed appropriate except for this. Liverpool seems like a good club to me, one that I'm happy to support and we shared those thoughts in Eliz's aforementioned piece. Our club is littered with characters and personalities who ensure that any criticism of them is delivered with the softest of gloves. Cuddly Coutinho, Scary Skrtel, Thrilled Toure, Sublime Suarez, Awesome Agger, Masterful Mignolet, Super Sturridge, Hunky Henderson, Glorious Gerrard, Joyous Johnson, and Stupendous Sakho could all be part of the LFC range of figures that any discerning Liverpool fan would collect and keep. More great additions to come in January.
Everything is not the worst and never will be. There's always a chance to decide one day to do things right and set on the right path. Once you're on that path, the previous crooked road can seem so peculiar and alien yet existing obstacles remind you of what once was. Sometimes change is met with resistance as it is unfamiliar or prior events have led to circumstances that will need to be navigated through in order for one to flourish. Liverpool are no longer a side that is managed poorly yet it will take time for others to respect and accept Liverpool as a serious club competing at the highest levels. Looking for a solution for respect and acceptance of change? The solution is simple: continue on a current transformational trajectory and prove its genuine existence with results and performances. Simply this and nothing else.
One problem Liverpool experienced over the summer was failing to acquire that marquee signing. The first article I ever wrote on TLO was concerned with the status, creation, and acquisition of marquee signings. If we keep on doing the right things then the signings will come and in turn, greater and continued progress will be made. My thoughts on that have not changed. In fact, the last line in that article sums up my feelings in general right now about life, love, Liverpool, family, and anything else going on right now.
A little patience and a little time can sometimes work wonders. Sometimes it's nice to have a break whether it's international or otherwise to appreciate that.