Yes, it’s going to be like this until the end.
Pick your battles, allocate your energy accordingly. It’s this. For absolute ages.
I have learned a lot about myself in the past couple weeks. I did not have the nerves you’re meant to have for a Manchester City game. I’ve thought about this. I think it’s because they’re so good losing to them wouldn’t be an embarrassment. I’m usually, in recent years, more nervous about playing Manchester United and Everton than playing Manchester City. I think it’s because for the former two, losing against a side we’re aggressively better than is embarrassing. Losing a tight game to City wouldn’t be.
I’ve written about it before, but one of my favorite nights out in Liverpool post-match was after Liverpool narrowly lost to City in 2018/19. That 2-1. What a game that was. I couldn’t find it in me to be angry after, nor could anyone else around me. I was in Motel in Liverpool. The bar was bouncing. There were so many songs you would be forgiven for thinking we had won.
In the end we lost the league by a point and won the Champions League, but that night, which should have been devastating in the league context, simply wasn’t. It was simply such a good game. It was two teams at their peak, and either could have won. At some level, even in loss, you have to acknowledge the quality of what you get to see.
And we were awful then compared to now.
With no laughter in my face I will tell you that this Liverpool side is the best squad I have ever seen. Sure, I’m 31 and therefore somewhat limited, but I truly believe that we’re there with the best of them — which arguably means what Pep Guardiola has built elsewhere, but with Lionel Messi. We are, in my view, one of the top five sides of all time right now. Quibble on your top fives if you want, but I truly think we’re up there. We’re like those sides, but hungrier.
And we might not win the league.
No one tell the lads.
These lads are the hungriest team I’ve ever seen. I thought the force of will in 2018/19 was massive — just ask Barcelona. But then 2019/20 happened, and we just swept everyone away. Getting back on track after the horrors of 2020/21 wasn’t easy, and there were some wobbles.
I’m not interested in talking about the wobbles.
Because have you seen what this side is capable of? Manchester United are an absolute shadow of themselves, but in past seasons, on both sides, playing each other meant something. It was rendered unpredictable based on skill level because the desire and graft were such that it was anyone’s game, regardless of the gulf in class. Not anymore.
This Liverpool side is so good it spits in the face of tradition. Who are Manchester United?
Merely a side 9-0 worse than this Liverpool machine. And what a joy it has been to watch this side figure things like that out.
All this is to say that I find myself largely unbothered. We might win out and not win the league. By a point. Again.
But yet my day wasn’t ruined by Brighton’s collapse on Wednesday. I thought they could do it, sure, but I now think the next fellas can. It’s sound. No need to worry. I don’t have strategy: I think Watford is just as likely to do it as anyone else. If you had told me I would feel like this I would have kicked you out of my sight. I felt nothing like this in 2018/19. Nothing like this. The stress was unbearable. I remember that year’s Brighton v. City match more than I remember most of our own, with the key figures of Kelechi Iheanacho and Vincent Kompany making a narrative. Well, ruining one.
And yet here I am, not stressed. I wish I could bottle this feeling for you all. I’m not sure where it came from.
My fiancée is Scouse and I booked a trip to see him for all of May because I think we’re winning something. Possibly everything. And my god the parade. I physically need to be there for it.
In part I think it’s certainty. I know this is the most complete Liverpool side I have ever seen. As I said above, I think this squad earnestly has a shout to be included with the best of all time. Not being funny. We’re that good.
I am therefore certain of these lads. And I so remember having nothing to play for at this time of year; sometimes having only the top four to play for. With all due respect to Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester United, and West Ham, this is a different animal entirely.
Liverpool are playing for a quadruple. We know that. What I don’t think is said enough is that this side deserve a quadruple. They are that good.
I spent years of my life cheering on (at best sometimes) a ghost of a football team. They have always given me something to cheer for. I don’t believe what I grew up with was 30 years of hurt. I digress, though. In relation to everything I have seen, what we have here is something properly special.
I’ve left the nerves behind and have ascended to a level where I’m just grateful every time I get to watch these lads play. I wish I could bottle it, because I know the nerves are terrible for a lot of you. I don’t mean to preach about how you should feel.
But my god, these lads. There are no other football fans who get to see something like this. Amongst the nerves, remember to treasure it.
Alexa, play “I Feel Fine” by the Beatles.