To whom it may concern,
As you may or may not know, I am ETW and I have existed since the dawn of football. Before you were, I was. Before Liverpool won a single trophy, I picked dreams from the pockets of little children kicking a round object in obscene conviviality. Such scenes were unacceptable and it was I who restored necessary balance to the world. Only through misery, could happiness be valued and cherished. Supreme sorrow and desperate despair provided those who experienced good fortune a deeper understanding of their position. What other reason could there be for relegation?
Recently, there have been spurious allegations of positivity, hope, and optimism within this column. Some so-called members of staff have erroneously claimed that "everything's the worst" is the name of the column as opposed to being its fixed spirit. According to them and their acolytes, ETW is not the purveyor of fine offerings of suffering that it purports to be. Furthermore, there is a notion that ETW is somehow controlled by a mortal of decaying flesh and blood through a modern contraption connected to a global system of interconnected networks, otherwise known as the internet.
Accursed reader. Hopeless dreamer. Undervalued supporter. Know that possession was one of ETW's first assignments by the Football Gods. Curious own goals occurred from my hand in the earliest days of association football and inexplicable errors were also instigated through the foulest of intentions. It was I who moved Kolo Touré to do the maddening things he did in service of the opposition's goal tally. It was I who confused Brendan Rodgers into playing four centre backs against Southampton on a September afternoon at Anfield. It was I who occupied Gerrard's thoughts when Sakho delivered a simple pass in his direction. It was I who exacerbated the defensive deficiencies of Glen Johnson and Martin Škrtel on a Monday night in London. It was I.
Naturally, most would simply ask "why"? For mere sport, nothing more. Liverpool were heading for a league title that they would not be ready for yet. It was ahead of schedule and the Football Gods decreed that if this were to occur, then Liverpool would be tasked with trials equivalent to those of the great Herakles. However, there would be fairness in the conditions offered to Brendan Rodgers and his disciples. Liverpool would have the disadvantage of a thin squad, notable injuries and suspensions in the first half of the season, an imbalance in the team, superior rivals who possessed far greater resources in their respective squads, and a predilection for defensive recklessness. To triumph would be a story for the ages.
Yet there would be cause for celebration. England's most eminent representative in European football would have no continental affairs to distract Rodgers from his tactical preparations, domestic cups would not excessively drain already limited resources, and Liverpool's primary attacking threats would be free from injury and suspension in 2014. As Liverpool's strength lay in attack then this area would be unburdened from ills that could derail such a compelling force of woe for opponents. And so it was. Liverpool would enthral fans, neutrals, and even detractors around the globe with a lively attacking brand of football and offer the most goals per game through defensive generosity. Three young gentlemen, a captain, and a goalscoring defensive curiosity would provide the bulk of the goals as an unprecedented Premier League streak for Liverpool would take the club to the final three games with much on offer. The stakes? Immortality. The prize? The Premier League title.
Chelsea. Crystal Palace. Newcastle United. Anfield. Selhurst Park. Anfield. With three games remaining, Liverpool held destiny in neglected palms but destiny can be burdensome. It appears that Liverpool's fate will be looked upon by future generations as unfortunate as Okonkwo's from Chinua Achebe's influential novel, Things Fall Apart. Not many predicted Liverpool would finish in the top four. Very few believed that a legitimate title challenge would be possible. A small number could not have dreamed that with one game remaining, Liverpool would hold a mathematical odds of lifting the league title while Tottenham Hostpur, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Manchester United would not. In many ways, this season has been the most unexpected of delights.
Liverpool were in a position to make history but an Igbo proverb comes to mind. E jighi akpata atufuo aba ụba. ETW is a spirit of many tongues. This proverb is simple yet unerringly true. The literal translation is as follows: no one gets wealthy by throwing away what which they have acquired. Simply put, those who are wasteful can never become wealthy. Liverpool may not have foreseen such an opportunity for success but there it was. It was not a technical error from the captain that provided Chelsea with victory but a failure to patiently pick apart opposition that were set up to defend. There was an entire 45 minutes plus stoppage time for Liverpool to unearth an equaliser but it was a lesson learnt. A brutal but valuable one nonetheless. Losing a three goal lead against a mid-table side when the title is on offer excludes any legitimacy of a title challenge. Such a collapse was unforgivable and Manchester City will not provide any respite despite any exhortations in the direction of Sam Allardyce, Kevin Nolan, Andy Carroll, and Stewart Downing.
Liverpool stumbled when the most favourable of circumstances in nearly a quarter of a century was forged through the power of initiative and the force of the collective. There is no other way to put it. There are no soothing balms to placate raging wounds scattered across afflicted apparitions. This will not be the only chance but it was an undoubtedly excellent one. Those who seek fresh lands cannot wallow in stagnation nor can those who aspire for greatness associate with souls anchored in mediocrity. As improvement is required, toleration of those who impede that path must be cast aside and superior allies must be sought. That is the task for Brendan Rodgers this summer. He knows what it takes to fly close to the sun but Liverpool will be no everlasting Icarus under this enterprising individual.
"My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure." If Abraham Lincoln sat down with Brendan Rodgers in a room, he would meet an individual who is not satisfied with failing to win a trophy irrespective of any goals at the dawn of the season. Rosy readers be assured that while there is a possibility to crown a season of the unexpected with glory, it will be unlikely. The chance has passed and you must accept it. Liverpool's impoverished defending combined with an imbalanced midfield were too much to bear and the numbers behind such defensive inadequacies are worthy of a fate far worse than purgatory. However, this will not be the end and there will be prospects in the years to come. The Football Gods have interesting plans for Liverpool Football Club and along the way, ETW will be your willing companion.
Everything's the Worst, Esq.