Sunday, November 2, 2008

Oh The Agony

something from the past:
Watching the Liverpool-Standard Liege game was almost similar to the famous one in Istanbul. It had all the dramas albeit of different proportions because of the number of goals scored (or not scored in this game), the near-misses, great saves and the lingering feeling of defeat. This was especially in the extra time periods. One goal by Standard Liege and we would be doomed as there would be no CL football for us this season. The difference this time was we celebrated without the penalties kicks. Good thing too because I don’t think my heart could have survived that.
I could not afford to sleep to wake up at 3am for the game. Just couldn’t take the risk because I was way too tired and did not trust myself to wake up to the alarm and stay awake before the game started. With a few mugs of strong coffee, I started watching the game with much confidence. After all, this is Anfield. We never really had any problems in qualifying games under Benitez. But as the game progressed, and watching players like Benayoun and Gerrard playing below par, an agonistic feeling of despair started to creep in. Watching Torres miss kick an intended cross into the stands did not help either. What if the unthinkable happens tonight? What if we do not qualify for the group stage? Not only that would suck like hell, it would also mean the loss in income of tens of millions. That itself would send LFC into a harder shade of red (pun intended), not to say that LFC is not free of debts at this moment. 

 Everyone could see what we lacked in that game. And it was apparent in the three games before this game. Wide area player has been the hottest topic so far this season. We need a true winger and not Benayoun who strays into the middle of the field all the time. Or Kuyt, who can’t really cross and who is more a striker than a winger (not that we are complaining now). The Barry saga, Reira, Milner, Downing and other so-called sagas have been the talk of the town lately. So, watching the game last night, I asked myself why the bloody American owners aren’t giving Benitez what he wants. No money? That could not be the case because I have read many reports that said the fund needed for new players is there for Benitez. Parry is being the usual croak he is in the transfer sagas? Maybe not so too since the latest reports says Parry and Benitez have kissed and made up.  

 Then it dawned on me that maybe, just maybe the owners were waiting to see whether we qualified for the group stages and buy players needed only after we qualified. After all, qualifying means more money in the coffers. 

As the match continued to look like a stalemate, I started to curse at the owners, not the first time by the way. These is probably a case of the owners not really wanting LFC winning any silverware but a case of ensuring money saved at all costs and only spent when there’s money guaranteed from elsewhere, such as Benitez having to sell players to raise the money for new players. Amidst my curses, I began to think of the unthinkable. Losing last night’s match would have meant that LFC will not be ensured of the tens of millions. Without this lucrative income, the owners would not be able to service their debts. This will mean that they will have to sell at last. Good news for DIC and a blessing in disguise for us all? Especially for those who hate the bloody American guts and what they stand for in terms of football. Utter shit and I don’t think the owners really care whether we get our CL football fix during the season.

 The owners could have just given what Benitez wanted, players capable of providing the good crosses like the one by Babel last night. They are genuine businessmen, I am sure they know where to get a mere 20 million from. By doing that, the owners would have ensured a better chance for us to win last night’s game. After all, isn’t that what everyone connected to LFC wants? Even if we had lost (unthinkable, really!), at least we would have known that the owners are on our side in this particular case and we will be seriously challenging for the premiership this season. Now, what if we had really lost last night? Benitez would have been told, because we did not qualify for the group stage and because we lost the potential income, we can’t afford to buy any more good players. A conspiracy theorist would even suggest that maybe the owner really wanted us to lose so that they could kick out Benitez for the failure.

 As the game went into extra time, the feeling of despair was a wee bit too much for me. This feeling was a bit different from the Istanbul game. In that game, the belief of a comeback was always there especially after our first goal. But in this one, it was more like a feeling that we have ridden our luck too many a times in the first three games this season and the unthinkable was about to happen. Most probably it was because of the way we were playing, not convincing at all, and watching sadly at a few of our players being ‘ole’d by opponents and outplayed in the middle of the field. When the goal was scored, there was no usual screaming and shouting from me. Just a weak ‘YES’ and a little sigh of relief. Watching the reply and seeing that Kuyt actually connected the ball with his shin rather than his foot sent me into further despair and I asked myself what has happened to the Liverpool that we saw towards the end of last season. Until the final whistle was actually heard, the worry that the one away goal needed by Standard Liege would be scored swelled until I actually became numb! Only when the whistle was finally blown by the referee did I actually start breathing normally. Not good at all when it is only a qualifying match.

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