Killer whales. Orcas. The most dominant force in the ocean. They could feed on tuna, penguins, small children, anything really. But what really seems to get an orca going is a nice, fat sea lion.
Now, your average orca tries to catch a sea lion out in the open water when they’re feeding or transiting between sunning themselves and finding a mate. We can all relate. But, there’s a group of killer whales in Patagonia that prefer a little more adventure in their lives. At a certain time of day, in a particular bay in Argentina, they’re able to sneak in with the tide and catch the sea lions unaware. To do this they have to time the wave break, actually swimming up onto the beach, snagging their prey and making it back into the water, all in one choreographed motion, before the wave retreats. Otherwise, they can beach themselves and it’s game over for the killer whale and 1,000 sea lions get to watch him expire on the beach with that typical sea lion smirk on their face. Damn sea lions…
Liverpool are Patagonian killer whales. They’ll be damned if they do things the standard way and if they pull off a victory you know it will be something spectacular but there’s a chance that in the process they’ll beach themselves and get laughed at for eternity.
An orca whale hunts sea lion pups on a beach at Punta Norte, Valdes Peninsula, Argentina, on April 17, 2018. This predatory ritual occurs annually along the southern Atlantic coast in March and April, coinciding with the development of the sea lions.
Daniel Feldman / AP pic.twitter.com/Fk3wOo8cUJ
— Seref Sezgin (@SEREF737) April 21, 2018
Statisticians FiveThirtyEight.com have had a go at predicting the Premier League’s top-four race after having a bad day at the office during the American election. They have Liverpool at 97% to make it over the line to Chelsea’s 3% as of Sunday. Their numbers have only moved 2% in the Blues’ favour with the draws to West Brom and Stoke City. Comforting as that is, Liverpool still need results on the pitch rather than a spreadsheet.
Dropping points against the two most hapless clubs in the Premier League in back to back weeks with Champions League places on the line is the equivalent of getting juked out of our whale jockstraps by those sea lions. We are still alive and confident, but we must be wondering, couldn’t we just have filled our bellies out in the open ocean rather than trying to pull off a YouTube stunt to survive?
The scenario we’re left with is that Liverpool need to either hold the Plastics to a draw at their place, beat Brighton on the final day of the Premier League or just go ahead and win the Champions League in order to qualify for next season’s race for Ol’ Big Ears.
It’s fairly straightforward in isolation, but of course, this is Liverpool and a tight situation is quickly turning into our crisis de jour with the confluence of injuries, player defections, coaches going awol, referee conspiracies and Twitter generated suspension fears.
So now, trying to pull off this incredible sea lion snatch ’n’ grab isn’t enough. We have to pull off a triple backflip through a flaming hoop, too.
Thankfully, this squad and its manager seem to have the perfect personalities to thread this needle. Naive enough to the danger, optimistic enough to try anything, and crazy enough to go at it full force.
Try to imagine the likes of Bobby Firmino, Sadio Mané, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil Van Dijk or even Dejan Lovren sitting at home worried about the potential consequences of a catastrophe in Rome or a collapse in the season’s final two weeks. It just isn’t in their makeup. That isn’t to say that they’re infallible, but if they’re going to die on that beach they’ll do it going as fast as their fins will take them.
Bobby Firmino, being Bobby Firmino.
— Ben Webb (@BenWebbLFC) April 26, 2018
Have I taken this whale analogy too far? Probably. But, the point is we are an absolute mad bunch. The supporters, the squad, the manager, the recruitment team, all of them, all of us. This all is part of the incredible ride that is Liverpool FC.
Unlike the blackfish, Liverpool actually need to do something crazy to be able to make it as far as they have. This flawed squad is not making it through Europe and breaking scoring records without a crazy pants strategy. The thing is, crazy attracts crazy, at least that’s what my wife tells me. Liverpool have played this frantic, partially controlled style for three years now, and with it working to the extent that it has, players from around Europe will hear that siren call. Not all of them, but the ones willing to run through a wall, kick a ‘keeper in the face at full speed, or risk death by beaching will be queuing up at Michael Edwards’ door this summer just to be a part of this insanity.
It isn’t easy to be in the middle of it at times, but would you rather follow any other club? You know you wouldn’t. Take a deep breath, watch some National Geographic, and take comfort in the knowledge that those whales only beach themselves 3% of the time.
Free Willy and up the Mad, Mad Reds!