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Liverpool 1, Wolves 2: God’s Away On Business

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The Reds crash out of the FA Cup with an embarrassing home loss to Championship opposition; Divock Origi bags a late consolation goal but the team comes up far short

Liverpool v Wolverhampton Wanderers - The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Liverpool 1 Origi 86'

Wolves 2 Stearman 1', Weimann 41'

There’s a lot we do to make us feel good that seems counterintuitive. We deny ourselves simple pleasures in order to heighten our appreciation of them. We seek out a sense of freedom by throwing ourselves into work. We listen to sad songs to feel better about ourselves. Taken from a remove, some of what we do for self-gratification probably seems utterly nonsensical.

I’m starting to feel that way about getting up before dawn to watch Liverpool Football Club.

We all knew January was going to be a tough month. Between fatigue, fixture congestion, and AFCON, this was going to be a real trial. But I don’t think anyone expected the kind of capitulation we’ve seen from the Reds this month, and this week in particular. A week ago we let Swansea walk all over us at home. Wednesday, Southampton waltzed in and denied us a trip to Wembley. And today, the Reds allowed themselves to be manhandled on their home patch against a second division side.

Wolves rolled Liverpool the same way other teams have gotten the upper hand recently and the same way the Reds have done so well for themselves in the first half of the season— hitting on the counter. The home side enjoyed nearly 80% possession and it did not matter.

You knew it wasn’t going to matter as soon as Richard Stearman put Wolves ahead in less than a minute. It was the kind of set piece goal that Liverpool have struggled to defend against for years, and the visitors made full use of our painfully obvious vulnerability. Wolves’ second (the gamewinner, courtesy of Andreas Weimann) came shortly before halftime and it capitalized on the kind of mistakes Liverpool made all day— surrendering possession too easily, poor marking, shameful defensive errors, and an utter lack of organization. (Big ups to Alberto Moreno attempting a tackle to break up the counterattack and falling hard on his butt instead. Great job, kid.) By the time players headed into the tunnel, it was pretty clear there wasn’t going to be a heroic comeback. This is just our lives now.

Substitutions helped somewhat. Philippe Coutinho’s halftime summons gave the midfield a little more bite, even if it wasn’t quite where he could’ve made the most impact. Daniel Sturridge, for all his problems, gave the forward line a touch more danger when he came on. (Not enough to matter, of course, but still.) Emre Can helped stabilize a central midfield that looked ready to help make it 3-0 or 4-0. And, of course, Divock Origi’s consolation goal in the dying minutes of regulation helped lessen the sting.

But it wasn’t enough to matter. Stearman’s goal in the first minute was the massive hull breach, and Liverpool spent the following 89 minutes taking on water. This loss was shameful and mortifying. But, and perhaps this was a small kindness, it wasn’t especially surprising. Not after the month we’ve had.

So, this is where we are. Out of both cup competitions. Out of the title race. Depending on how things go with Chelsea on Tuesday, we could be out of the Top 4 as well. This is a hurt so consuming, so total, that it’s almost hard to remember what life was like before it happened. Those days when Liverpool were scoring like mad and sending the opposition fleeing in terror seem so long ago. Remember those days? Remember when Liverpool couldn’t be beat? Remember when we used to be happy?

The ship is sinking

The ship is sinking

The ship is sinking