07 May 2022

Dammit, Liverpool. C'mon.

I should've known. Like Charlie Brown, Lucy, and the football, I should have known. Saturday was full of harbingers and omens and divinations. After Man City's shock loss to Real Madrid sent them reeling into a tailspin that should almost certainly carry over into the Prem, opening the door to Liverpool getting closer to an unprecedented quadruple, we saw Chelsea concede an equaliser in the extra minute of stoppage time added to the preceding six minutes of stoppage time and Man U get absolutely humiliated by Brighton. The stars, it seemed, were all aligning for us. All that was left was for Liverpool to do what everyone expected Liverpool to do. Alas and alack and all that folderol, here we are.

Let's first of all clear up any misconceptions, misgivings, or other misbegotten mysteries. I don't want Liverpool winning a quadruple. Hell, I don't want their u18s winning a friendly against my local Sunday league side. Having cleared that up, I thought we were all on the same page with this weekend's proceedings, with Liverpool pursuing the categorical imperative. If you haven't read Kant's 1785 treatise Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals, I have pertinent questions as to why you are even here or why you are investing any of your emotional or pyschological wellbeing in the antics of a score of professional athletes whom you will likely never meet and who certainly do not take said wellbeing into consideration...but I digress.

Here's the dime-store version: beating Tottenham is in and of itself fully aligned with the notion that you should "act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at all times, will that it should become a universal law." For those in the cheap seats who can't afford the dime store version, it comes down to this: defeating Tottenham is a good thing regardless of who benefits from it. Let us not cheapen it by considering such cynical and self-serving ends as "winning a quadruple" or "finishing fourth". Defeating Tottenham is essentially the trolley dilemma writ large: you return the trolley after shopping not because you benefit but because it's the right thing to do. Corollary to that, you beat Tottenahm not because you take three points but because—say it along with me now—it's the right thing to do.

Those pondering how this result affects Liverpool's chance at winning the Prem on their way to winning that quadruple should hang their heads in shame. Such tawdry, cheap, and (dare I say) lurid notions are why schoolboys once wore trousers without pockets (lad, balls and pockets are only suitable for billiards). Those pondering how this result affects Arsenal's chances at finishing fourth should similarly question their moral rectitude. Still, while I have my mind in the firmament, my feet are planted firmly on, uh, firmer stuff. I understand full-well that not all of us can have minds brimming with the stuff of life, and I must therefore sully my hands with baser considersations, so here we go.

Liverpool screwed the pooch. Sh*t the bed. Lost their bottle. Got Spursy. A win would have ratcheted up the pressure on Man City, whose fragile psyche lay shattered in a million little pieces after their Bernabeu battering. More important, it would have knocked Spurs back off their pursuit of fourth. Instead, all three of Liverpool, Tottenham, and Arsenal end up with a dissatisfying result. For Liverpool and Arsenal, the dissatisfaction is self-evident. Yes, for Tottenham, one point is better than none, but it still leaves them with their hopes pinned to us dropping points both in the NLD and elsewhere. 

Speaking of elsewhere, beating Leeds is now somewhat more pressing, categorical imperatives aside. Restoring a four-point cushion over Tottenham would go a long way to restoring a sense of order in the Prem. For too long, it's felt all out of sorts, what with Tottenham finishing above us and us failing to qualify for Champions League play. Hm. Maybe we're not setting categorical imperatives aside after all. Achieving these ends have nothing to do with what benefits us, after all; it only has to do with setting things right in the grander scheme of things.