Ghosts of Christmas Past

Posted by Simon Curtis

What a lot of presents today at Anfield. Truly, a Christmas Party came early in the August sunshine.

The upshot of this pleasing scrap in the sun was a point for our Blues, scarcely deserved, but nevertheless welcome after a thorough examination from a decently drilled Liverpool side. I had predicted aesthetically pleasing stuff and that was exactly what we got, despite City coming off second best in many of the pretty triangles being painted on the pitch.
The Blues lined up in their new-fangled "Chelsea formation", with the slight side point that it was surely not invented with Kolo Toure in mind. Time and time again, faced by the astonishing speed and sleight of foot of young Raheem Sterling, Kolo looked like a fishing boat backing into port with its nets still attached to the pier lighthouse. I have had many nightmares at Anfield, despite never getting closer to the pitch than row F, so a point is never to be scoffed at, especially in circumstances like this where the team looks strangely somnambulant.

As my eight-year-old would say, straight to the presents, and there were plenty: first Kolarov, in his "spare me the defending role," didn't bother with Skrtel at a corner, gifting him a space the size of Texas to run, jump and meet the ball with a force that sent it skidding past Joe Hart before he could utter the words "Thanks, Uncle Aleksander". The next gift came from the often generous Pepe Reina, who once more came, flapped and failed, ultimately allowing Yaya Toure the easy finish. Referee Andre Marriner produced his present next, wrapped in silver paper and boasting a bow as red as the home shirts, as he judged Rodwell's block with a knee to have been handball. The ball, having hit him in the leg, reared up onto his arms. This is not an intentional action. Suarez's freekick placement was entirely intentional, however, City gifting a space on the end of the wall, as his perfect dink went around and in, bouncing just in front of Hart for good measure.

The biggest present, the one slightly behind the tree with enticing-looking wrapping, was about to be unveiled, however, as Skrtel, in a moment of utter selflessness, passed long and straight … back to Tevez, who rounded Reina and scored. Just as with dear Kolo, Brendan Rodgers brave new Anfield tika taka probably didn't come served with Martin Just Hack It Skrtel in mind.

Oh, what fun! What generosity! What royal shenanigans!

Skrtel, totem-pole skull in hands, was awarded with our lusty thanks for his timely and sizeable present. Never had Christmas seemed so early yet so welcome. This was better than Aunt Fanny's psychedelic socks, better than the fully-functioning, life size electric train set and better even than the poster set of Charlie's Angels that made you feel slightly funny as a 14-year-old.

The best present ever.

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