Saturday, March 14, 2009

It ain't over till it's over!

Towards the end of the match, I was asked to come up with a hypothetical headline to sort of capture the amazing spectacle that had earlier unfolded before our eyes. "Man U Thrashed at Theatre of Doom". Nah too long. "Red Devils slaughtered like lambs". No punch. "4 shoved up Man U's ass". Too vulgar. "Liverpool spanks Man U into meek submission". Too erotic. And my tongue started twisting as I was launching into the next one, which sounded like "Day of the Triffids at Old Trafford"... Writing headlines is not an easy job.

Why not just "Liverpool beat Man U 4-1", asked my incredulous friend. No! We Liverpool fans had been waiting for a day like this for a long time coming. It would have been a journalstic travesty to let Man U off with just any other headline. For almost 2 decades(can anyone even fathom the length of 20 years?), Liverpool had been living in the shadows of a dominant Manchester United team. If there was any team who had gotten on the wrong end of a stuffing, Liverpool would be it. Painful memories of a Jamie Carragher double--own goal doubles-- way back in 1999 came flooding back to my mind. A last min O'Shea goal at Anfield a few years back nearly set off an internal haemorrhage. At last, I managed to make peace with the devil and actually admired how Manchester United make the art of playing effective soccer seem so easy. Why? All you need to do is to send your defenders up at the last minute and pop your head at goal. Liverpool had become so pathetic that a draw at Anfield was considered a gift from the gods.

In many ways, we found our lives running in parallel with the fortunes of the football club we support. Somehow cheering for a chronic loser seem to condition one to be a loser in life. We learn to accept our lot, and learn to accept that the others will always have it better, and easier. Liverpool fans tend to hang their heads a tad lower, and smoke, and read Camus.

Until today, that is. We simply could not believe our eyes as the goals went in one after another. Manchester United given a hiding at Old Trafford? The expensively-assembled team of arrogant entertainers taught a footballing lesson from the gentlemen of Merseyside? It was like George Bush pleading for forgiveness for his Iraq fiasco. But happened it did. The last time Man U was thrashed at home by any team was in 1992, and by Liverpool, 1936. 1936! John Lennon and the state of Israel weren't even born yet. Perhaps it was the genius that was Torres. Perhaps it was the inspiration that was Gerrard. Or perhaps the industrious Kuyt, or the exuquisiteky-skilled Aurelio. (I always tend to notice the underdogs, even in a team of underdogs.) It didn't matter why. When Andrea Dossena signed off the match with a lob that floated into goal with such careless mockery, we were already delirious with joy and pride. With new-found self-confidence, and boasting pools of testesterones we never knew we had, we roared ourselves silly with delight. And with each roar, the years of frustration just melted away. And they always say, "Even the dogs have their day". But I say, this is a new world order. If it's always about fighting anyway, let's just fight to the end.

As for the headline, how about this: Liverpool strips Man U off their cloak of invinsibility. Summer is coming, but Man U may yet catch a chill they're never forget.

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