Its strange how “stock phrases” in the media suddenly take a hold.
For the past few years there’s been a rather annoying trend to link words together that begin with the same letter to describe a team or situation. Gary Lineker immediately springs to mind as man exponent of this “art”. I paraphrase but are told about “battling Bolton” when they face the drop, “bullish Burnley” because they are supposedly punching above their weight in the Premiership or “Wayward Wigan” because they’ve shipped nine goals. You know what I mean there are stack of examples.
Now the new “in word” in media papers to “beleaguered”. Liverpool, since their exit from the Champions League, are “beleaguered”. Rafa is “beleaguered” as he is under pressure. It was only a matter of time before someone linked up the two and sure enough on Five Live’s match build up it happened when Gary Megson’s was smugly described as “Bolton’s beleaguered boss”. God save us all!
So to today’s match and it’s nice to see that we are now part of Sky’s Super Sunday again. I don’t think we featured on the last one. However, despite our bad form, and for that matter Everton’s, we are part of the bill. Admittedly we are on first which many will smugly see as symptomatic of our recent form. Yes here we are opening the bill as a prelude to the main act of the afternoon (cue drum roll) Arsenal and Chelsea. Yes sir, yes Sir we know our place shall we tug our forelocks a bit more? However, in all honesty which is the bigger game? Says Rafa
“I don’t think there is a bigger local derby in England. It’s a fantastic game for everyone involved and I haven’t seen anything like it at this level. You can see the passion in all the people and that’s good for the atmosphere and the football.”
Will we see the same amount of passion displayed at the Emirates?
Everton and Liverpool go into this game with a fair bit in common other than coming from the same city of course! Both are going through trying times re their league form. Everton have won one in ten and, if the newspaper reports are to be believed, we haven’t won in the league since Henry VIII was king! Both teams have major injury problems and both now play in the Europa League! Both Managers are under pressure at the moment but are too good to sacked.
Both also have stadium issues. We are told that one will be built for us but sod all appears to happening and Everton have just had an application for a new one rejected. This of course resurrects the old issue of the shared ground. The initial reaction is no way and I don’t think it will happen. However thinking about it logically I guess there are plus points particularly in these troubled times. A shared stadium means half the construction costs and half the running costs however more tellingly less control for the owners? Any erosion of identity might be offset by the City having a top class arena that everyone can be proud of. Of course there are examples of shared grounds but none in this conutry. Perhaps it just needs someone to make that first step but not in Liverpool it would seem?
To the match and I guess today is the first day of the rest our season! All the naval gazing that’s gone on this week and in the run up our elimination from the Champions League needs to stop. We need to concentrate on getting the win, the fact that it’s against Everton is irrelevant. Hopefully now that our European fate has been decided the pressure might be off and any fears or hang ups the team had can disappear. Sadly the injuries are still there. Torres looks unlikely to start and Babel and Riera still aren’t ready.
Prediction? In derby games they say that form often goes out the window however, we haven’t lost against Everton in the league since 2006. I think it’s ours for the taking and we are also due some luck. Hopefully this will get things moving again and we can kick on. 2-0. I’ll leave the final words with Rafa.
“I feel 100 per cent like a Scouser. It’s a special feeling around this game because for the weeks around the game you have a lot of people happy and a lot of people unhappy. You have to approach the game knowing it’s very important. We (me and my family) know some Evertonians – not too many but some. Everyone is waiting to see what will happen.”
Aren’t we all? Enjoy the game.