Whether or not you can handle the truth, it's coming. Just as a derby slogs its way towards a final whistle, the Follicopalypse bracket inexorably snips away heroes in every round. Two Redmen enter, one Redman moves on, lather, rinse, repeat. FIGHT!
Raheem Sterling (1) vs. Martin Skrtel (8)
Dreem Sterling's hair and game combination is like if Optimus Prime made love to a football, had Phil Knight and Maradona bless the baptism, and then nurtured said spawn with equal doses of Soul Revolutions, I Against I, and SpongeBob Squarepants. At least that's what it felt like until he went and shaved his head. Since then, Sterling's hair game has mirrored his 2014/15 season in its amorphous stylings.
A developing 9.5, a counter attacking CAM demon, and a lad who is most at home with the space wide berths give him. To be clear: that's a lotta ginga. But one does not simply go neo-Gods Must Be Crazy on it and expect us not to take note. Coutoure demands committment.
By comparison, Martin Skrtel is swashbucklingly committed to everything he does. Still, there is a level of excitement and danger for the on-deck Sterling ‘do that cannot be easily discarded. Any day he could show up with something to make us go positively E! on it. And so he moves on. Barely. Champions are not made on reputations alone, even in competitions based almost entirely on gin.
Mystery Science Contender 3000 (4) vs. Jordan Henderson (5)
MSC3K was revealed in the last round to be the ever-sumptuous Suso, which explains his absurdly high seeding, and the trouble we have breathing right now. The sharper amongst you may have further deduced that Suso no longer plays for Liverpool. That leaves us between a rock and a fully matured cactus here at Hairspray. After all, how could one maintain the best hair in the team, when one is not actually on the team? Could we really bring ourselves to deny him of anything, ever? It's causing some real inner turmoil, plus he goes up against the once and future captain of LFC, His Hendycakes himself, Mr. Jordan Henderson.
Mercifully, this decision is out of our hands, as we remain contractually obligated to not harm Hendo. #1 in our hearts, Suso, but as with your career in Red, in this competition you were always living on borrowed time. Yeah.
Adam Lallana (3) vs. Mamadou Sakho (11)
Fascinating matchup, this. These lads encapsulate everything there is to salivate over in a modern Liverpool player. Cutting edge, flexibility, leadership, effervescence, that certain I don't know what. We're talking G6 hair and caviar skills here. Sakho completes 120% of his passes with 210% of the boot size of your average footballer. Lallana seems to have been created by an unscrupulous 10 year old joystick wizard, what with all of the supermodel looks, the across the board attribute ratings, and the incessant use of that one damn spin move!
Both gents also get a surprising share of stick, even after the A-1 seasons they've had. Some injuries, sure. A foot put wrong here, a wasteful shot there, yes. But the bedrock of this Liverpool team is not founded on the sorts of things Adam Lallana and Mamadou Sakho occasionally get wrong, it's founded on the sorts of things these two do routinely. They're not just pieces for Rodgers, they're two of his studs.
You don't know what you've got till it's gone, as the song goes, so don't ever leave us either of you. Except Lallana, who can get gone from this competition. Sorry, not sorry, #TeamMarmaduke till we die!!!
Emre Can (2) vs. Harry Wilson (10)
There is an Indian joint on the Lower Eastside of Manhattan called Milon. We leave hyperbole at the door when we describe it as a brazenly hallucinogenic experience to eat there. First off, the space is about three broom closets lined up side by side. Not that you immediately take note of the physical dimensions, since the 1,000+ Christmas lights densely strung up along every square inch of the ceiling transport you to a dimension perceptually disparate from anything you've ever known, barring maybe your own birth.
It's like Hype Williams and Steven Soderbergh were sitting around chewing peyote and decided on a collaborative interpretation of Picasso's African period. It's like Kanye has convinced Roger Waters and Ginger Baker to marathon seasons 1-3 of Hannah Montana, and then lay tracks for his new death metal album.
Then come the Indie-Pop birthday songs, announced by the cutting of lights (a heart-attack inducing occurrence since the place is a shortcircuit away from a grease-fueled fireball that would make Goku think twice), and accompanied by hysteric clap-dancing. This happened 7 times during the hour we spent there, every single time setting off a so this is how it all ends... cold chill up our spine.
The food is divine (don't eat the ice cream) and its BYOB. You go into this engrossingly manic atmosphere a pale immitation of yourself, and come out the person you were meant to be all along. We can no longer fathom a world without Milon in it. Oh, and Emre moves on. C'mon, folks, it's Emre...
Raheem Sterling (1) vs. Jordan Henderson (5)
This one hurts. What kind of sick competition is this? Seriously, this semifinal deserves a slot in the next V/H/S installment. Sterling is Hairspray's unanimous spirit animal, and arguably the cornerstone piece for Liverpool as a club over the next 10 seasons. He escaped the dumpster fire that is QPR at the tender age of 15, and has done nothing but give Liverpool fans reason to keep their pants on the ground, where they belong. And while he may only be 20 years old, Sunday will likely mark his 120th appearance for LFC, a period served almost entirely with a veteran's load on his mind and body. This season we even arrived at the point where it is legitimate to scoff when he doesn't finish as clinically as Daniel Sturridge. Right?
As wretched as it is to consider Sterling with such a critical eye, it is doubly so when he's going all Coming to America with the coiffure. Triply so when he's up against the unquestioned Luke Skywalker of hair product application in Jordan Henderson. Had this been the beginning of the season, we would have taken the broken arm doled out by Noel/Ed/Ed/Noel, and moved Sterling on. But if the Queen had balls, she'd be King.
How long are we supposed to withstand this hobo chic routine? We will never stop being your Stan, Dreem, but in no way was your current hairstyle ready for this jelly. Hendo hops into the final.
Emre Can (2) vs. Mamadou Sakho (11)
Which is about as good as it gets for Mama in this round. We'll always have fur-trimmed collars, purple alternate training tops paired with what are certain to be a crispy pair of denims, aviator lenses, bleached hawks on swirly buzzwork, exemplary portrayal of the Trick Luh da Kids ethos, awkwardly excellent passing, and massive feet. You are a Prince of Paris, Marmaduke, but c'mon, folks... it's Emre.
Emre Can (2) vs. Jordan Henderson (5)
Speaking of Emre, is this a real thing? We're not asking because we want to know, we're just hoping it will distract some of you as we press on with the reprehenderson act we're about to commit.
Never in all the time we have been conducting Follicopalypses have we seen the likes of Emre Can. Without even breaking a sweat he has put his so-called competition through a meat grinder. Some would call this performance a scything demonstration of follicular pornography. Others still would argue that the correct marker of time should really be referred to as Before Emre Can (BEC). Actual science confirms that there are nuclear flares roiling on the apocalyptic surface of the sun that generate less smoldering intensity than Can does when he runs his fingers through his hair. Sterling inspires us and keeps our pants off, Henderson fills our hearts with honey, but Emre defiles us and keeps us stark raving mad for more.
Without further ado, and at great personal risk to our bodily safety, we present to you the last man standing in Follicopalypse 2015: EMR----....
Champion: Jordan Henderson (5)
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