Whether barely scraping into a Champions League place while leaking buckets of oil after the heights of their last two seasons is really “saving” Liverpool’s season is an open question. And there’s a more than fair argument that after their owners were one of the main drivers of the diabolical, Mr. Burns-level greedy, and ultimately incompetently-handled Super League Liverpool deserve to finish outside the top four. But that’s where the team finds itself, and the difference between not having Champions League income and having it is still massive and can point a club in massively different directions.
Liverpool only needed to beat West Brom, Burnley, and Crystal Palace to finish the season to almost assuredly qualify (goal difference could come into play). One team is already relegated, the other two have nothing to play for, and all three unquestionably suck eggs. But they were doing their best to fuck it up again, as they have all of 2021, giving up an early goal today to West Brom and huffing and puffing to find a winner after equalizing without generating much of anything to even bother the Baggies’ house, much less blow it down.
It had been a microcosm of the entire second half of Liverpool’s season, having almost all of the ball but barely creating any chances, much less scoring. Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané continued their wayward ways, the midfield outside Thiago didn’t do anything, and in injury time it looked like their season was going to finally be put out of its misery.
So if your strikers can’t hit a bull in the ass with a banjo, and your midfield can’t help, and if you can find him... ask your goalkeeper to pull your ass out of a sling?
This isn’t some tap-in or bungled finish. That’s a superb header into the corner that left Sam Johnstone, one of the season’s best keepers despite West Brom’s relegation, nothing more than a spectator.
It’s hard to think of a sporting equivalent. It’s pulling your goalie in hockey, except then having him come up the ice and bury a one-timer. Or having a pitcher pinch-hit in the bottom of the ninth and watching him blast one off the scoreboard.
Alisson becomes only the sixth keeper to score in Premier League history, and this goal is a storybook capper to his season, which has otherwise been a nightmare. His form has fallen woefully off the level that once had him mentioned as the best keeper in the world. Two blunders cost Liverpool the game against Manchester City at home. He has made several more as the season has gone on. Beyond all that by miles, his father passed three months ago and he hasn’t been able to return home to Brazil due to COVID protocols. Never would he, or anyone, have dreamed of possibly rounding off this annus horribilis by not preventing a goal, but by scoring one.
The only downer is that he didn’t do it while sporting this world-class mustache. I also wrote all this up with my hands still shaking. But that’s the life of a Liverpool supporter.