Defeats are funny little things aren't they? They wreak havoc on one's system and demeanour. What's worse is that while one's cherished side is on its way to defeat, there are times when hope dictates that the tide will turn. Perhaps by half-time. If not, then by the hour mark. Oops, we're no longer one down but two down. All we need is one goal and then we're right back in it. Anything can happen right? This is football after all and miracles do happen. I'm not going to give up hope and then the referee blows for full time. It's over. Deep down, you knew that your beloved collective were playing like winning would result in the end of days so victory was unlikely with each passing second. In fact, the inevitable outcome was not only a defeat but a more emphatic one.
ETW didn't have the pleasure of witnessing Steve Bruce's tactical mastery over Brendan Rodgers but Ed's helpful First Thoughts article and full match recap clarified matters as per usual. Furthermore, the myriad of even-handed comments illuminated my thoughts further. You are all a credit to sanity in the face of despondency. The final act was to actually watch the highlights on MOTD or a full replay of the match. My father hadn't even called or texted to wind me up. It must have been quite the atrocity. Alas, a home match against perennial Suarez prey on Wednesday will offer a chance of transitory redemption but that should never have been the agenda for midweek. Consolidation not redemption should be what Liverpool strive for in the aftermath of trip to Hull City or Hull Tigers or Liverpool Maulers or whatever Assem Allam's alliterative powers deem fit.
Liverpool and football in general often makes fools out of eternal optimists like myself. This is the ETW column after all but this same writer wrote the hopelessly titled Liverpool Responding Quickly to Adversity early last month. You know what ETW has to say to CStars? Are you out of your blessed set of congitive faculties? Seriously? Bouncing back to tank Fulham at home after a disappointing defeat to Arsenal is the minimum requirement for a side that has designs on the top six let alone the top four. If Liverpool win at home to Norwich with a Suarez treble then any joy from ETW will be muted. Same again for the West Ham home game this coming weekend. Travel to Tottenham and pick up a point or three then perhaps there'll be some form of atonement. Until then, ETW or CStars will not mention anything about the top four irrespective of whether Liverpool remain in the top four or not.
Liverpool are currently in the top four by virtue of goal difference and that's where we want to be. When you are where you want to be in life or football then there cannot be much huddled conversations related to crisis and the like. That's understandable. However, there are times when opportunities are laid for greater progress and those moments should be seized with the focus and ruthless befitting of a side with the most grave of intentions. Tottenham and Manchester United draw earlier in the day to sit on 21 and 22 point respectively. Liverpool play away to Hull later on the Sunday and are tasked with winning to ensure that those sides will require two match day result swings to overtake the Merseyside giants. Surely, with two home games against Norwich and West Ham looming, management and playing staff should be focused on making the necessary gain to further loftier ambitions.
Ambition is the question here. Liverpool are not in Europe. Liverpool are not in the League Cup or whatever it is called these days. Liverpool just have the league and the FA Cup, which begins next month. What is this side playing for? If it is not the top four then I must be a mutated chicken-shampoo bottle-fingernail hybrid. Liverpool should start approaching games like this is the season of opportunity because the way the season has gone so far, it looks like it is just that. Use it or lose it Liverpool, the choice is yours.