Thankfully Yours – In Spite Of It All

Sports fandom is the act of perpetually adjusting the narrative to please yourself. In football, this is especially so. The outcome is never certain and seasons all have rollercoaster moments. You do what you can to make those moments yours. As I paint this picture of our sport, I’m aware that emotions run high and deep when it comes to LFC. We are SUPPORTERS…not simply fans. We are REDS, too, with a figurative tie to the players on the pitch.

READ MORE: When The Season Isn’t Funny by Jeff Cutler
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Yet there comes a time when complacency sets in. It is a time when you take things for granted. You and yours put trust in a COMPANY (John Henry) to have the same goals and outlook as you. That’s the narrative that gets adjusted.

Delusionally Yours

What I mean in this case is that we can shift reality ever so slightly to maintain our delicate connection to our chosen team. We keep Liverpool on a pedestal. I’m not accusing anyone, especially the smart and attractive readers of American Scouser, of constantly lying to themselves and others about a team we all respect and revere. BUT, there are some fibs being told.

Our eyes don’t lie. Yours don’t either. Yet still, even with the support of numerous replays and angles and commentators scratching their heads in disbelief, we see rulings made the opposite of what we saw on TV. I guess I’m angry at myself for letting this ruse go on so long.

The horse I’m riding in on right now is the one that says all players and referees are liars. I need to be convinced that they’re not before I can be unabashedly happy about this sport again. Liverpool isn’t free of blame. In fact, they’re perpetuating the problem by not reining in some players or outlawing certain tactics.

Lawfully Yours

I’ll raise my hand and say Endo’s tackling is far from textbook and clean. You can raise yours as well. I practically lost my mind the last two matches seeing him operate in midfield. His patented move is either tackling cleanly and then stepping on the opponent when he gets up. It’s either that or sliding in properly to nick the ball only to twist his sole upward to inflict injury on his target.

ASTV Shorts: Does Endo’s Price Tag Go Against Him?

The first thing I thought about Endo’s play this season was that somehow Jordan Pickford had Freaky Friday’ed bodies with him. The body-switched midfielder recklessly slid at people the same way the Everton keeper ruined VVD’s season and almost career a couple of years back!

However, Endo’s crazy play didn’t hurt us or hand us a loss. So, am I a bad person for saying “Well, he got away with it so it must be right?” Perhaps I am.

Apathetically Yours

In some people’s eyes, it’s the same as watching someone shoplift from Wal-Mart figuring it’s not really hurting anyone. But this behavior is bad for the sport, bad for society, and bad for human existence. Most of all, it is bad for Liverpool’s team image.

I love this team. Liverpool was my entertainment answer when I got fed up with the hypocrisy of the NFL. Liverpool is STILL my answer for entertainment and social connection. But, I am starting to see some cracks in the facade of this beautiful game. It makes me question the time I spend watching and how invested I get in matches.

What makes this situation even more untenable is the fear that the sport is fixed. Yeah, I said it. But how hard would it be to fix matches? It’s probably been done multiple times, but fans are mostly oblivious. And we didn’t always have the technology to dissect every play, but now we do.

VAR Sits At Their Own Table

Do you think the VAR volcano that erupted in late October and earlier this month was bad? It was hardly anything. For the VERY FIRST TIME, fans, managers, owners, and players were all focused on holding referees responsible for blowing multiple matches in a row.

Who’s to say the referees weren’t all in it together? Sports betting is now huge across the planet. The slightest tweak to a match can have huge financial repercussions. People can make hundreds of thousands of dollars or more just by placing prop bets. Whether it be the number of corner kicks or yellow cards, there are game actions that can easily affect proceedings that ARE NOT REVIEWABLE in any fashion.

What’s the next step, literally and figuratively? Does Klopp keep sending this maniac onto the pitch hoping he’ll start playing cleanly? Does he tackle the same way in practice? I can’t believe that would be tolerated, so he must have the capacity to keep his studs to himself. What the actual heck?!!

Maxims I’ve Learned From Liverpool

Now that I’ve riled myself up to the point of calling soccer talk shows about this issue, I’ve decided to take a double dose of my anxiety meds and focus on the good things. I know it didn’t start out this way, but I really am thankful for this sport and this team. And now that I’ve gotten all that crap about Endo off my chest, here’s what is really important (though I still think he needs someone to take him aside and fix his technique).

Accept Your Situation As Best You Can

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Firmino-less, Milner-less, Mane-less, Hendo-less side we’ve been playing with all year. Players move on. Liverpool folks and FANS are impressive. They are happy for the time we were granted with those players. We are also looking ahead to good times with our current crop. I have yet to hear a real fan complain that any athlete has let us down.

Soccer Pubs Are Special Places

I went to my regular pub the other day to watch a Champions League match. Liverpool wasn’t even playing. Even without a crowd going bat-crap crazy and singing songs until their voice gave out. The pub was still THE PUB. When you find a place to gather with your Liverpool family you’ll instantly feel it. Shared experiences are the best. In football, they are integral. Don’t take yours for granted.

Every Kit Is Awesome

Look around yourself at a match if you’re lucky enough to go in person. Or look around your pub. Or look around the pitch during pick-up games. Our kit choices are as individual as we are. They are also our shared uniforms. I don’t care if you’re wearing a green and white checked jersey with a collar or the most hideous pink keeper kit, it’s fantastic. These jerseys we wear to watch a game are something I consider badges of honor. We are ALL together on the same team. My bright yellow kit is beautiful in my eyes even though it may burn yours.

Family Matters

As much as fans gripe about nine thousand matches in 15 days from December to January, it’s such a gift. That period of nonstop games, in different competitions, all over the world, has brought me so much closer to family and friends than I could have imagined. It’s not that we couldn’t catch a game together during other months of the year, but holiday times are different somehow.

Maybe it is because people are home with family for specific meals. There are still huge blocks of unscheduled time that can be filled with Peacock TV and ESPN+. Not to mention “special errands” you have to run.** **This obviously alludes to possible runs to the PUB to see the soccer family.

Persevere

The last item I’d like to comment on is perseverance. We’ve watched this squad get knocked down. On the flip side, we’ve watched them succeed and celebrate. This club has persevered in a simple, straightforward way. Akin to my point about accepting your situation, there’s also a time to look forward and hang on. The ride is NEVER going to be an easy one. But most rides worth taking are worth the effort.

Ultimately, hang in there. I’m saying this to everyone. The hope is that the upcoming crazy fixture season and good managerial moves (TALK TO ENDO!!!) could see us in the top three this season if not runners-up.

So if you can adjust your perspective on the season, on the world around you, and on your challenges, everything will work out. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours who celebrate!

Ugly Crying and Tissues American Scouser Podcast

We think there was a game this weekend as well but the main topic of course is Klopp's farewell
  1. Ugly Crying and Tissues
  2. Two Week Notice
  3. Having Fun Again
  4. The Turkish Rodeo
  5. Glimpse of Hope
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