"How do you write about a game like that?" I asked a convenient bottle of rum following Chelsea's 2-2 draw at Anfield. "It wasn't football. It's was... well, I've never really seen anything quite like it." The bottle -- my only friend in this cruel, cruel universe, I decided -- stared back unperturbed. I poured a shot or three and drank, letting the warmth flood through my body. "Seriously. How do I do it?"
And then I got a reply. "Pour another," Rummy said, "and then I'll show you how it's done." I did as was bidden, and the rum spoke some more...
* * *
"It looked mad, didn't it? You certainly don't imagine seeing those sorts of things at Anfield. Especially not with Liverpool and their supporters espousing, as they always do, values like justice and decency. But, Graham, it's a mad world, and if you think it all kicked off today, then you are very sorely mistaken.
Is Luis Suarez biting a man really a surprise? Remember 2010? The man missed seven games for trying to take a chunk out of Otman Bakkal when he was with Ajax. This is a man who bites people. He is a known biter. If you had said 'a Premier League footballer will get bitten this weekend,' you'd have guessed the perpetrator in an instant. Luis Suarez biting Branislav Ivanovic is not to be expected, of course... but it's not some kind of big shock either. The world was insane before today.
Neither is it particularly strange that he should score an equalising goal against Chelsea, or that we should collapse so utterly in the last few minutes of a winnable match. Have you not watched football before? Did you not see and feel and hear it coming? How naive of you to think that the Blues were going to come away with three points.
And yes, how typical it is that the referee ignores at least two red card offences -- I agree with you, by the way, that Daniel Sturridge's slide in on Ryan Bertrand was a sending off -- when Chelsea need a result. You're surprised by this? The last time it happened was a week ago, Graham. You don't really seem to learn very fast.
Oh, and speaking of Sturridge, you knew that was coming. In your heart of hearts, you know he'd ruin the game. He was destined to score, but the assist was even more likely to come. Danny 'doesn't pass' Sturridge, offloaded to Liverpool so that Chelsea could pick up Demba Ba. Surplus to requirements Danny Sturridge. Well, surprise, this is what happens. It's called a narrative, stupid. Seriously, what kind of sportswriter do you think you are?
Oh, and Chelsea not really playing particularly well. Boy, you sure don't have much practice writing about that. It must be so difficult for you to describe tepid play in such a novel formation as a 4-2-3-1. Fernando Torres doesn't do much? You'll have to [funning] plumb the depths of your creativity to describe such an unlikely ocurrance!
Yes, I'm being mean now. Drink more of me.
Anyway, how did you not see this coming? Jamie Carragher shouting at Sturridge when he tried to made amends for the botched field surgery attempt on Bertrand? Nothing out of the ordinary there. Jonjo Shelvey injuring Oscar within seconds of taking the field? His name is Jonjo. Oscar's lucky he wasn't carrying a shotgun.
Oh and yes, a penalty from a Luis Suarez handball. Real original. Your brain's never had to process that idea, has it? Or Eden Hazard scoring a goal while veritably exuding cool and composure. What new and hitherto unexplored grounds we are treading!
Here's where you criticise the referee for letting Liverpool play on past the allotted six minutes, which seemed to spring out of nowhere. Well here's the deal with that. When your manager tries to waste time with utterly pointless substitutions, Kevin Friend probably decided to let the game go on for a little while longer. I mean, granted, neither Sturridge nor Suarez should have been on the pitch, but how about blaming him for that or the initial six minutes rather than stuff he didn't really get too wrong?
Oh and boo-hoo, like you couldn't have seen weird and ineffective substitutions coming. You've been writing about Rafa Benitez's Chelsea for months now and you're incapable of talking cogently about how silly it is to, say, bring off Eden Hazard for Yossi Benayoun? Grow up. Goodness.
Was anything about the match unprecedented? No. It was just the wheel of history turning into yet more dropped points. You knew a win was unlikely from the beginning. Why is a 2-2 draw freaking you out so much now? Just because Liverpool did some stupid, violent things and then a man who was sent off scored the equaliser in the seventh minute of stoppage time? It was coming, and you knew it. Don't act so surprised. You've seen this all before."
With that, the rumalogue ended, leaving one detail as yet unclear. "But rum," I said, "what about the Oscar goal? He scored a header! From a corner! It was in the 26th minute!"
The bottle looked blankly back at me. I could see its label frowning in consternation. The pause got long, almost awkward, before it replied. "Graham, I really think you should stop doing acid."
"But you should also drink more."
Suffering, I obliged.