The perfect storm


Sunday 16th October, 4:30pm

Liverpool @ 11/4
City @ 10/11
Draw @ 3/1
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I have written before about how Jürgen Klopp’s previous managerial tenures – at Mainz and Borussia Dortmund – have mysteriously plunged headlong into a murky trough during their seventh year.

I have even coined a handy phrase for this strange phenomenon – The Seven-Year Ditch – which has thus far failed to gain traction with the masses.

But while many people may not be familiar with the 1955 Billy Wilder movie, The Seven Year Itch, from which I took my inspiration, surely everyone is familiar with the image of Marilyn Monroe standing over a sidewalk grate – white dress billowing up around her waist as a subway train passes beneath – which comes from the very same film?

Well, to that end I have pitched an idea to SKY’s marketing department for a stylish, ambitious promo/hype-package ahead of this Sunday’s 4:30pm clash between Liverpool and Manchester City.

OK, picture the scene: it’s late at night and we’re in sleazy, sweltering, downtown Liverpool.  A forlorn, disheveled and profusely sweating Jürgen Klopp is walking alone along the pavement.  He stops.  Looks up.  And stares straight ahead.

Eyes on stalks.

Right in front of him is a blonde bombshell wearing a brilliant white cocktail dress which is being tantalisingly lifted up by a warm Merseyside breeze.  We see the shapely, athletic legs and cut back to Klopp grinning inanely – his fully exposed teeth as dazzling and luminous as the starlet’s evening garment.

We then cut back to the blonde bombshell legs, and the camera moves ever-so-slowly upwards, eventually revealing that this is not in fact Marilyn Monroe…Ha!  It’s Erling Haaland!  And in full pout too!

We cut back to Klopp for the last time, who continues to lasciviously observe the statuesque blonde.

Cue Martin Tyler voice-over: ‘It’s Liverpool versus Manchester City.  And IT’S LIVE!’

For some reason, I am yet to hear back from SKY regarding this idea.  Perhaps Haaland is unavailable?  Perhaps the idea of a warm breeze in Liverpool in mid-October was too incongruous even for them?  Whatever the reason, ultimately, it’s football’s loss.

After last weekend’s defeat at Arsenal it looked like Liverpool were sailing towards a perfect storm. Several big issues were combining to form one enormous disaster-movie of an issue: a collapsing Jenga Tower defensive unit, unexpected injuries to key players, and a club captain involved in a possibly problematic on-field spat.

This had the potential to be a Seven Year Ditch™ of Mariana Trench proportions.

But following a midweek walloping of Rangers in the Champions League, a new light has been cast over the crumpled battlefield maps. Green shoots of optimism poking through the laid-out plans.

Perhaps more analogous than a perfect storm for Liverpool, then, would be The Perfect Storm – Wolfgang Peterson’s big-budget 2000 movie about an ill-fated fishing vessel.  Which, despite receiving the sort of early poor reviews that would usually render a film a box office bomb, a relegation candidate, somehow ended up being a financial success – its appeal no doubt aided by two ascendant stars in George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg.

Wednesday night showed that Jürgen Klopp, too, can rely on some of his star names to throw him a lifebuoy – a resurgent Roberto Firmino added another pair to his impressive campaign tally, and Mo Salah suddenly emerged from beneath his cloak of anonymity to score the fastest hat-trick in Champions League history.

But, despite attracting attacking criticisms, Liverpool have always looked like scoring. It is in the other 2/3 of the pitch where more profound fault lines lie.

Is their already depleted, wobbling defensive unit ready to repel the striking, blonde, box office sensation that is Erling Haaland?  For he is no candle in the wind.  And will Jürgen Klopp’s admiring touchline gaze slowly transform into a mask of absolute horror and existential dread over the course of the 90 minutes at Anfield?  Get your popcorn ready…


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