David Hirshey writes regularly for Deadspin about soccer.
As much as I hesitate to stick my dick into the fan blades of Liverpool's commentariat, I realize I've been terribly irresponsible in not chronicling the Reds' every soul-crushing performance (anyone remember the Everton game?), tactical blunder (Gerrard at right midfield? Why not in goal?), sartorial atrocity (what's up with the pink shirt/purple tie combo, Rafa?) and Craig Bellamy chokehold this season. So today I'd like to make it up to them by celebrating the romance of the FA Cup, the trophy Liverpool so deservedly lifted last year — thanks to Gerrard's wonder strike at the death against West Ham — and dropped, Romo-like, on Saturday.
Far be it from me to gloat over Arsenal's 3-1 victory that knocked the defending champions out of the Cup and ended their 27-game unbeaten streak at home. You see, I kinda like the Reds and once serenaded my colleagues with a chorus of "You'll Never Walk Alone" during the middle of an editorial meeting. That, of course, was on May 25, 2005, when every sentient fan of British football became a Liverpool supporter, at least for that mind-blowing second half. I had watched the first half alone in my office and was about to shut off the TV when one of my office mates wandered in and said he had never seen a soccer game before and this was the European championship, after all, so why not just turn the sound down and leave it on? I wish I could tell you that I responded by saying "Look, goddamned Liverpool is down 3-0 to Milan but if you give me 100-1 odds, I'll bet you a thousand dollars that Vladimir Smicer comes off the bench to score a critical goal, Jerzy Dudek makes a fuckin' miracle double save on Shevchenko in the 119th minute, stuffs him again on his penalty kick, and Liverpool wins." Instead, I replied, "If you insist, Dan, but the game is over and the only question is how badly Liverpool will be humiliated."
So there's that. Plus, it has been pointed out to me by more than one Deadspin reader (OK, two — Gui Stampur and Tommy McMenemy) that I bear an eerie similarity to Peter Crouch insofar as we both cut a balletic figure when attempting bicycle kicks on goal. The difference is, Crouchie scores on them and I have to be stretchered off the field.
Still, I can't lie to you. I was delighted that Liverpool sucked ass on Saturday.
(more after the jump)
With the Finnish giant Sami Hyypia injured, the Reds have a big hole in their defensive fortress. Oh sure, Carragher's got heart and grit, but he's not going to make anyone crap their shorts. And, on Saturday, he and the normally hard-charging Steve Finnan were backing up faster than Michael Jackson moonwalking at the Apollo. This may have been out of some sort of maternal instinct to protect Dudek, who ever since his Champions League heroics, has seen as much action as Katie Holmes.
Given a rare start, the Polish keeper could only look on in eye-rubbing disbelief as Hleb and Rosicky, Arsenal's Eastern European wrecking crew, cut a swath through the middle of Liverpool's defense. After a neat four-pass interchange up the right flank, Hleb threaded the ball through a tangle of Liverpool legs to Rosicky at the edge of the area and the man known to his teammates as "Little Mozart" curled a sweet arpeggio of a shot into the upper left hand corner.
Dudek barely had time to retrieve the ball from the back of the net before Rosicky bore down on him again. Cutting in from the left, the Czech international appeared to have enough time to knock back a Pilsner Urquell, not to mention pick out his spot, as the Liverpool rearguard retreated, leaving Dudek to curse them in Polish. Not to cast aspersions on the Reds' defense, but it should be noted that the last time Rosicky scored two goals was when he undressed the U.S. in the World Cup.
Liverpool pulled one back on the double header from Crouch and Kuyt, but Thierry Henry (remember him?), newly energized after his month-long stay at Lourdes, killed the game off with a solo run that saw him pass to HIMSELF on the left flank, skin Carragher, then Finnan, before slotting the ball past the hapless Dudek.
So there you have it, my dear Liverpool commenters, a peace offering in the form of a Deadspin soccer post all about your beloved Reds. Now fuck off.