The post-mortem is in full swing. Just two games ago Liverpool stood on the brink of the greatest achievement since 1965 (the year they won their first FA cup). This morning that dream lies battered and broken. Only time will tell if the wounds inflicted by a tremendous Palace fight back are to prove fatal (they probably will).
So does 2013-14 represent a golden sky or a storm? If you are like me, the answer probably changes minute to minute, much like our season. Compare how you felt after Hull City with the euphoria that greeted full-time against City at Anfield, and you see my point. It all depends how you look at it. Perspective is everything.
No player illustrates this more than Luis Suarez. Last night he cut a dejected figure on the turf at Selhurst Park. Make no mistake, this man wanted to deliver Liverpool’s 19th title just as much as the magnificent travelling Kop.
I believe his tears were genuine. The pain he felt was real and heartfelt, and made all the worse by how tantalisingly close the dream was/is. Flashback to those pre-season friendlies last summer though, and we see a very different man. Forced to train alone, sulking and begging to leave. What a difference a season makes. Perspective is everything.
Luis Suarez deserves to play at the very highest level of world football. Last summer he couldn’t see that happening at Liverpool. None of us could. Most of us thought we would struggle to achieve a top four finish. How many really believed Suarez would still be around come May?
Had someone offered us top three, and the prospect of watching ‘El Pistolero’ in the Champions League at Anfield next year back then…………. Well you get my point. The fact is we would have accepted that gleefully.
From this perspective our season represents a glorious treat. We have witnessed the most remarkable rebirth ever.
Fresh from signing a new long-term contract, the one time pariah is now cleaning up as they hand out the end of season awards. His 31 goals and 14 assists have transformed both his and Liverpool’s season, and alas our expectations too. Never has a player and a clubs journey been so perfectly in sync.
Luis has been a model pro on and off the field, terrorising defences in the right way. Liverpool have served up sumptuous football, lapped up by the élite of the European football. Guardiola described us as awesome only a matter of weeks ago. History seemed with us, and positives were all around.
If only we could live in that moment forever. Instead fate drags us kicking and screaming into the here and now. As hangovers both real and metaphorical begin to clear, the perspective is once again transformed.
Liverpool sit on top of the league (not the targeted fourth spot) with a game to go. An unlikely miracle may yet deliver us the holy grail, but we all greet the morning with broken hearts.
Whatever happens next Sunday, most reds will greet the summer with far more optimism than they felt in 2013. You just feel that the best players in world football will be looking at this Liverpool ‘project’ very differently now. Can anyone really see Spurs or even Chelsea and United nicking our targets now?
Next season we will be rubbing shoulders with the very cream of European football. Trouble is just as we can’t live on past glories, neither can we yet enjoy the bright future on offer. We have to live in the now.
Perspective’s a bitch.
6th May 2014
This and more work by me published on www.jeffgoulding.com