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Pochettino's Skinny Jeans and Other Irritations

After a sickening, hope-sapping capitulation like the loss at St. Mary's there is nothing to be done but to wail, lament, moan and whinge. It turns out there's lots to be irked about. Join me on a personal tour of all things galling.

Mike Hewitt

After the ignominy of posting a piece entitled Rodgers Wants to Bring Back the Fear, mere hours before the bumbling ineptitude of manager and players led to Liverpool being roundly spanked by Southampton, I feel fully entitled to lick my wounds indulgently with a good old moan.

The grumbling here will not focus on tactics, formations, selections or blatantly ignoring the existence of substitutions, because frankly, to go down that rabbit-hole means not re-emerging with one's full quotient of marbles and, in the words of King Lear, "O, that way madness lies; let me shun that; No more of that."

As a health-conscious chap who keeps in shape and has a metrosexual streak a mile wide, it's fair to say that I have nothing but respect for smartly attired gents like Roberto Martinez and Michael Laudrup, who are upping the sartorial ante on the sidelines of the Premier League, with their smart-casual louche insouciance.

Yesterday, however, as I watched Liverpool fold like a cheap tent, there was an added annoyance that wouldn't go away. The stone in my shoe was Mauricio Pochettino's skinny jeans. Now, there's not a thing wrong with skinny jeans per se, I suppose, but when teamed with a blazer, tie and match-coat? That's just wrong. Also, Pochettino's nearly three years older than me. There comes a time in a man's life when he must embrace good tailoring, so just stop it Mauricio.

Of course, the Argentinian isn't the only offender. I feel a peculiar mix of mirth and disdain every time I see Arsene Wenger's pupa-like Michelin Man jacket, Alex Ferguson's 'I'm wearing two coats you know' ensemble and David Moyes managing to be the only manager in the division who gets the suit and knitwear combination wrong, by sporting a cardigan from the 1940s.

Of course there's so much more to get agitated about, other than the vagaries of fashion, for us fans of Liverpool Football Club. Top of my list at the moment is the concept of this being a Year Zero at Anfield. Now, I'm a semi-literate man, so I understand the sub-textual meaning behind the phrase, but surely the initial twelve months of any project is Year bloody One? That this example of corporate-speak is used as a blanket excuse for inconsistency, simply makes it all the more odious and grating.

Almost equally vexatious is the emergent reality that Liverpool will have yet another season without Champions League football. The reason this grinds my gears so much is clearly because I believe it is a competition in which my team should be a permanent fixture. They are not. They will not be next year; again. This brings me to the reason I raise the subject - Tony Britten's Champions League anthem.

In and of itself, this is a fine piece of music, suitably overblown with the kind of hubris and pomposity demanded of such a competition. The problem is it's ubiquity. One simply cannot escape it. When it once signalled the second half of a match in which Liverpool were conquering yet another European giant, it was a clarion of joy. Now it just announces the latest underwhelming Arsenal defeat or another narrow victory for Manchester United against CFR Cluj. Frankly, it's been ruined for me.

Speaking of ubiquitous things, the final entry in this abridged edition of My Pet Peeves is football pundits and their shockingly uninformed, cliche-ridden observations on the game. From the male-model vacuity of Jamie Redknapp to the stuffed-shirt priggishness of Alan Shearer, these types are amongst the most bothersome features of being obsessed with football. If you want to follow your team it becomes impossible to avoid their constant, overpaid wittering.

Should Liverpool lose, Rodgers is on borrowed time, if they win he's steadied the ship. Either way, Steven Gerrard will be a top, top footballer and Suarez will be a bit naughty. On Soccer Saturday, before yesterday's defeat, the normally amiable Jeff Stelling presented a showreel of our Uruguayan striker's alleged offences during the Tottenham game, cut and pasted in such a way that no evidence was on display of the myriad assaults on Suarez himself. So one-eyed was it, that my Manc friend texted me to say that it seemed a bit harsh!

It would appear that no deviation is allowed from the predetermined narrative. Foreigners will cheat and we don't like to see that here; Harry Redknapp will wheel and deal; all of Alan Hansen's sentences will feature the words power, pace, grit and determination; Tony Pulis will be lauded for the remarkable job he's done at Stoke City; left feet will be cultured; derby matches will be tightly contested affairs; strikers will be chastised for not gambling on a near post run and all harmless on-field altercations will be dismissed as handbags.

It's all enough to make you sick as a parrot.

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