It's a natural impulse. Blame. Cruising home from work in your absurdly oversized SUV, you drift into oncoming traffic whilst ranting to a phone-in show about Dejan Lovren's baffling aerial inefficacy. First response from you? Why couldn't they see me? I was busy. I had stuff going on. Drive AROUND. Jeez. Later, you walk face-first into a painter's ladder whilst you're furiously tweeting about Glen Johnson's maddening positional ineptitude and your initial reaction is to scream obscenities at the poor fellow perched atop said steps. Clearly, it's his fault for being there. Painting buildings, like an idiot. What was he thinking? I'm walkin' here! Numpty.
Later, just as your rage is subsiding and you feel a bit of a prize pillock for haranguing the poor fellow so violently in public, you remember he had no signage or warning bollards and you are suffused with a renewed wave of moral outrage, tormented by the frustration brought about by l'esprit de l'escalier. A fresh paroxysm of vexation contorts your pretty features. The bloody effrontery of him. You were right all along. That was YOUR walking route and whether you chose to look forward or down was neither here nor there, dammit. Frankly, you're mostly just relieved because it's always easier to be angry at others than embarrassed by your own idiocy, isn't it?
This morning, as some Liverpool fans scroll through their tweets and texts from last night, they will wish they had the cold consolation of claiming they were hopelessly inebriated at the time, such was the soul-baring rawness of the emotion they expressed in the wake of the team's limp showing on the grandest of stages. In their defence, they were hurt. Heart-scalded. Betrayed. Confused. And that maelstrom of negative feeling mutated into the purest strain of disdainful rancour -- it was time to dole out some blame because somebody had to be at fault, right? Right?! As that lumbering orange lummox from my 1980's Fantastic Four comics used to say, "It's clobberin' time!"
Last night's rabid fault allocation was on an epic scale, the likes of which your scribbler has not witnessed since the the odious troika of Hodgson, Konchesky and Purslow walked the hallowed corridors of Anfield. People, it seems, were ANGRY. Mignolet was dismissed as timorous, frail and uninspiring. Lovren had become a member of what some were calling the worst defensive partnership in Liverpool history but the £20m neon sign on his forehead attracted all the Twitter crazies, whose ill-conceived abuse had the effect of discrediting the valid points made by some.
Glen Johnson, after a brightish opening, went on to put in the kind of egregious performance that brings out the vilest online trolls from under their vitual bridges and makes good folk say terrible, terrible things. Let's not even start with Mario Balotelli's apparently repugnant crime of shirt-swopping -- an offence deemed so scandalously repellent that it made the back page of a well-known local paper, with a banner headline demanding that the errant striker APOLOGISE. Regardless of the validity of the point being made -- and it was a silly move by the Italian -- it could be argued that this type of journalism does not exactly pour the sweet milk of concord over the raging fires of fan indignation.
At this juncture it is becoming apparent that, in an effort to bring you some comparatively neutral reaction and perspective on a day in which extremes are far more en vogue, it is distinctly possible that your hapless scribe may have merely fanned the aforementioned flames of malcontent. Before any more damage is done to your poor, addled psyche, let's have a look at a man whose batshit bouts of uncontrollable choler could make even the most bile-fuelled keyboard warrior feel inadequate -- the doyen of apoplectic anger, Basil Fawlty.