Whether or not you can handle the truth, here it comes.
Jordan Henderson (1) vs. Joe Allen (7)
Henderson waltzed his first round tie without so much as breaking a sweat. In fact, he didn't even have to unveil his croppa brown. But Joe Allen is no strawberry Peep when it comes to a hair off these days. And that is probably because these days one could take a considerable amount of Wee Joe's hair off without actually getting anywhere.
And that considerable amount of hair does a considerable amount for the man who has come to be known as Liverpool's resident Red Panda. The beard isn't overly concerned with being oiled three times daily with mint-lavender tea tree oil, and while that Alice band says plenty, it's not telling Joe to roll his cuffs up high above perfectly worn desert boots :: no socks. Its a respectable styling. A respectable styling that had no chance in this round. Henderson moves on.
Daniel Sturridge (4) vs. Mamadou Sakho (5)
Having sustained an unceremonious defeat at the roots of young Harry Wilson last year, Daniel Sturridge has brought his tip top Birmingham steeze for 2016. A permed flat top with the line taken nice and high? That's never going to fail to catch the eye. The casual fall of the locks evoking the best of eras gone by.
Yes, time out from the tight margins of professional football have really allowed the man's hair game to blossom into something timeless. Which makes it all the more difficult to watch as he runs in to the buzzsaw of charismatic hair appeal that is Mama Sakho. Sorry, Daniel, Mama just that has that certain we don't know what.
Adam Lallana (3) vs. Joe Gomez (11)
What sort of sick joke is this? Is it that hard to ask that the architects of this competition rig the bracket so that our freshly anointed Poster Boy doesn't have to show out against prime cut Lallana? Was it not enough that Joe Gomez' Liverpool career started out with the lad being thrown to the wolves, and that now we've got to pit his burgeoning, still-developing hair game up against the literal demi-god of our dreams? HOW DARE YOU FORSAKE US SO, FOWLER, WHY??
Lallana moves on, duh, but we'll not soon forget this one Fowler. Not soon, perhaps not ever.
Emre Can (2) vs. Ryan Kent (8)
What happened to Ryan Kent's recall to the Liverpool team leading to one or two appearances in that Liverpool team, anyway? Sure, the thigh game is coming along nicely, but this isn't the Trainer's Table. Function does nothing to incite our resting heart-rate. What we want is form. Form the likes of which hasn't been seen on Kent's hair since he was a youngster. What's that? He doesn't turn twenty until November, you say?
Well, it's a good thing Kent's age bodes well for his first team prospects, because this in this arena, one will find no agism. You go up against Emre Can, you better go H.A.M. And this, Ryan, is not cutting it. Emre moves on, and in a cruel twist of fate, he doesn't even have to pull his money maker out. Tough luck, kid.
Jordan Henderson (1) vs. Mamadou Sakho (5)
Now here's a matricular follimony made in Fowler's Red heaven. It doesn't even seem right to pit these two together, but in the end that is what this entire competition is about.
On the one side we have Jordan Henderson, Once and Future Captain of Reds, the Inexhaustible, Churner of Green Acres, Shouter of Excusable Insults, and Stander of Ground. On the other, it's just Mama.
We'd like to be able to sit here and pretend like this was a difficult call. Like it came down to a toss up and one player just had luck on his side that day. But the truth is, dear reader, we are, and always have been, contractually obligated to make one decision today. HAh! Contractually. If it was anymore compulsory, we'd be testing our body thetons on an e-meter right now.
We've said too much, Jordan Henderson advances. And rightly so.
Emre Can (2) vs. Adam Lallana (3)
Ouch. Seriously, ouch. Like what? You're seriously going to make us do this? Just rip it off quickly, go on then. It's Emre, guys.
Jordan Henderson (1) vs. Emre Can (2)
And so here we have it. The great battle of our time. The defining moment of an era. For the second year running, that glorious, Turko-German adonis that is Emre Can must enter Thunderdome against the grandest, most meticulously manicured head of hair Merseyside has ever seen. Empires fall for less. Rivers run dry, and mountains crumble as these two sporting behemoths unsheath their respective greatness and offer it to the masses.
So volume. Much moisture. It's a wonder we're still conscious enough to type, let alone adjudicate a clash of heroes that makes Batman vs. Superman look like a two-bit play put on at a dusty brothel on the outskirts of a frontier town. And so what if that is an actual, legitimate critique of that disaster of a film? This is showtime.
And there can be only one. So. Without further ado, and at great personal risk to our bodily safety, we present to you the last man standing in Follicopalypse 2016: EMR----....
Champion: Jordan Henderson (1)
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