Wednesday, 29 February 2012
There’s seems to be whole lot of huffing and puffing of chests going on down Anfield way. Suddenly the Mickey Mouse Cup has been rebranded as if it’s up there with winning a flaming Oscar.
(Not that I watch the Oscars. I spent some ten or fifteen years staying up and waiting for one of them dirgy speeches spat out by some mademoiselle with tears pissing out her eyeballs to be interrupted by a shout of ‘It’s not a proper fucking job, you c**t!’ It’s never happened, sadly.)
Still Dirk Kuyt was keen to point out what a brilliant trophy the Carling Cup is. And of course Kenny was weeping like he’d just received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Which in a funny way might’ve been true.
The champagne had barely dried on the dressing room walls before the folk with Liverpool cut into the fabric of their beings started trotting out the careworn clichés about this being a start. A new dawn, Something to build on.
Well now, how sturdy are them foundations? The facts are that Liverpool should’ve lost. Kenny Miller’s chance three minutes from time wasn’t so much gilt-edged as a gentle-rolling 24-carat Faberge egg. Cardiff lumbered back into the game in extra time despite the fact that only 3 players were actually able to stand. The Bluebirds penalty kicks hit posts but pinged away. Liverpool fell over the line like a bunch of pissed pensioners falling through an open door.
Not that this wasn’t thrilling stuff. The plucky underdogs did their bit and earned every one of the inevitably patronising pats on the bonce from the pundits, although similar gestures from the likes of Carragher and Bellamy after Gerrard Mark II had written his name momentarily above his cuz in Liverpool folklore were admirable.
Yep it was a cracking final.
I’m just gobsmacked that Scousers seem to see it as some sort of rebirth. I mean when Boro lifted this pot in 2004 I was similarly elated but no one thought that Lionel Messi was about to pick up the phone. Apparently there’s not a blade of grass in Europe that hasn’t been trampled upon by a Scouse in waiting. Napoli’s entire frontline are huge Beatles fans, and I hear that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a huge fan of Roger McGough.
But let’s look at the facts. The Champs League is a big big ask for Dalglish’s men. For all the attempts to bring a little more vim to the frontline, Liverpool have served up the sort of gruel even Oliver Twist might’ve not gone back for.
Dalglish has got one thing horribly wring this season and that’s his support of the twonk of a Number 7. You just hope that if the goofy Uruguayan fooks up another time then King Ken’ll be ensuring he’s Bugsy Alone.
But the biggest question marks for Kenny have to be with his signings. Jordan Henderson never looked like much more than a comedy potato in a stripy top at Sunderland. The orgasmic ripples that greeted his every mishit pass mystified me then. But now...? Well it’s right up there with riddles such as ‘What’s the point of sprouts?’ and ‘Why do some women sneeze like timid squirrels?’
Then there’s Andy Carroll, a pony-tailed pisshead with potential. Do they feed that potential? I don’t mean in beer and kebabs, I mean in terms of getting to the byline and sticking one on his forehead, cos the lad’s got the makings of the best header of a ball that England have. He gets off the ground, too, and powers it in – he’s not a lanky flicker like your Crouches or your Niall Quinns.
Although even without that service there were times on Sunday when just your run-of-the-mill plod to the near post would’ve brought him a sniff, but Carroll was back on his heels more often than a donkey in stilettos. (No, that’s not a personal thing, I just liked the image.)
Unsurprisingly he hasn’t made it into the England squad. Although given the parlous state of England’s options upfront, he might as well be. Darren Bent’s nasty injury has robbed England of a goalscorer – although not a natural one by my reckoning. I doubt Bent’s ever netted with his eyes open.
Stuart Pearce has got one thing right, mind. Giving people a telephone call to tell them they’re not wanted. Capello didn’t even bother to text. It’s hard not to think of Michael Corleone turning to Rob Green and whispering ‘You are nothing to me now.’
"What is this telephone of which you speak, Stuart?"
I see no harm in Pearce starting with Sturridge and Welbeck tomorrow night. It’s better than Kevin Bleeding Davies. Or that bloke from the Championship – Jay Bothroyd - who got a cap recently for, I dunno, being alive. I mean the lad’s so poor even Craig Levein hadn’t checked out his parentage.
Still I’m upbeat about Euro 2012. Capello’s jumped ship, England have to travel vast distances to play their group games cos they’re based in Poland and playing in Ukraine and clearly no one at the FA realised how blinking huge these countries are. Rooney’s out for two games. We haven’t got any other strikers.
What could go wrong? Well, everything! Not even the Archbishop of Canterbury thinks we’ve got a prayer. And that’s a good thing. It’s worked wonders with the rugby team. All right Wales beat ‘em but they were plucky the fellows in white, what what? I mean they’re going to be shit for a bit so let’s get behind them, eh?
It’s all about keeping expectations low, Koppites. One Carling Cup and the world’s your oyster? It’s not even your winkle, lads.