It's a fair indicator that one's interest in a season is waning when, in mid-April, upon making yet another ill-advised, Sinatra-like comeback to one's regular writing gig, there is literally nothing in the vast mélange of LFC-related interwebbery that piques the interest. Contracts, transfer targets, tactical disarray, managerial speculation, post-FA Cup recrimination -- there's a plethora of meaty topics with which the paragraphs of this column would normally lustily engage, but on this atypically lambent Irish morning, none of that appeals.
Instead, your scribbler finds himself staring out at a shimmering azure firmament and pondering how to confound the laws of physics, travel through the blue and emerge in August, with hope renewed, buoyed by the gloriously foolish naivete that accompanies each fresh assault on Premier League glory. You see, the intervening period will be difficult to bear for those of us with little interest in gossip, speculation and the unending rage of self-righteous pontification on LFC social media. Seriously, where are all the #LFCFamily crew when you need them?
Of course, wishing one's life away is a fruitless activity which some sage long ago counselled us all against, and as a man of increasing decrepitude, this hapless scribe is in no position to play fast and loose with his allotment of remaining days on the planet. How then, are we to engage with the remaining six fixtures of Liverpool's crushingly dispiriting campaign, without longing to hit the fast forward button on some celestial remote control?
Do we wait until a loss all but ensures the certainty of another season outside of Europe's elite competition? That may not be a long wait, with the looming threat of Ball-Cap Tone and his Baggies followed by the formidable noggin of Steve Bruce on the immediate horizon. Do we set a depressingly underwhelming goal of finishing comfortably in fifth, in the forlorn hope that such a target will prolong our diminishing interest in the campaign? Well, okay, but that would mean recoiling in horror on each of the 347 occasions Harry Kane inexplicably wanders through in bullet-time to notch another goal between now and season's end. So far, so unappealing.
No doubt tomorrow (or possibly the next day or, y'know, the one after that) will bring a re-ignition of the passion for analysis that normally hammers at this Irishman's beleaguered brain-pan, but for now all that interests me is the trivial and amusing stuff, like who gets custody of Colly if Brendan is replaced? Who will buy the Huyton newsagent's copy of Tiny Forehead Weekly when Steven Gerrard departs for Los Angeles? And who exactly is Raheem Sterling calling fat?
Two of those aforementioned questions may be (are) of my own invention, but it is a worrying fact that Liverpool's needlessly controversial forward did actually refer to the burgeoning corpulence of some of his teammates. Speaking about his dietary preferences in a recent interview, the dino-armed attacker made a casual reference to the careful plan some potentially rotund colleagues follow, lest they become porky.
"After training I have lunch in the canteen with the team," explained the shisha enthusiast. "My favourite is mac and cheese with Caesar salad. I’m not in the fat group, so I can eat what I want, but I always choose vegetables and fruit."
The fat group, eh? Well, now you've got me thinking, Raheem. My enthusiasm for a Liverpool-centric topic has been renewed. Let's start asking the really tough questions. This is a proper subject for hard-hitting investigative journalism. This warrants the analysis of the multifarious self-proclaimed sages that clamour for your cyber-attention on Twitter. This is the burning question -- which of our beloved stars might the fat group consist of? Oh, we'll have hours of fun with this.
But we won't, will we? Have fun, I mean. It's dawned on me in real time, as I write this. Some of us might treat it with the lightness it warrants, but the angry seething masses, well, they'll latch onto it with a rabid passion. What should be a source of harmless mirth will be turned into utter scorn and a facile opportunity to harangue and lambaste those we dislike the most. This is the ugly truth of modern fandom. We stand beneath a common banner and sing the same songs as some individuals we find utterly rebarbative.
This becomes apparent, not when the club is floating on a cloud of elation as we were this time last year. At times like those, it seems as though a fug of MDMA-fuelled love settles like a blanket over the hoards. However, when team's fortunes are in ruins and the future is unclear, that once unified group becomes riven into point-scoring, told-you-so, agenda-driven factions. That's the unpalatable reality and we have just recently teetered over the the cusp of such anarchy.
You'll forgive my colleagues and I here at TLO Towers for not indulging such nonsense. We'll just bring you the stories and try to keep the bile as absent as possible when we pass opinion. Now's the time to stand together and find common ground. Modern children of technology that we are, we may occasionally and understandably wish to simply skip to the good bit, but the challenge now is to find relevance and some modicum of pleasure in what remains, so step away from the remote and let's dream modest dreams of Pulis-vanquishing, Mourinho-discomfiting and a nice lunch of mac and cheese.