Pressure? What Pressure?
We will, no doubt, hear a lot of rubbish about ‘pressure’ over the coming weeks.
If the popular media narrative is to be believed, Liverpool will crumble/succumb/collapse under the ‘pressure’ and falter in the title race.
Will players who have swept all before them in recent months open the paper one morning , glance at the league table and suddenly lose their first touch? Err..no.
Will a chorus of ‘we’re gonna win the league’ suddenly drain all the energy reserves from Jordan Henderson’s seemingly-bottomless tanks?
Don’t be daft. Why should it?
Of course, there’s a certain ‘pressure’ every time Liverpool players take to the pitch, there always has been and there always will be.
Playing for Liverpool is a pressurised job.
After all, how many employees have 45,000 people watching them every time they go to work?
Jesus, my ability to type collapses out of my arse if one person is stood behind me, reading the screen over my shoulder.
If the whole office started singing ‘you’re shit and you know you are’ I’d go to pieces. And then go to HR with an official bullying complaint.
But that’s me, not Brendan Rodgers’ team.
Rodgers, his backroom staff and Dr Steve Peters have got the players feeling 12ft tall – or three times the height of Joe Allen for those still using imperial measurements.
And taking a team from seventh to first isn’t pressure. It simply isn’t done, so how can there be pressure?
Pressure is being favourites all season – every season, given your financial muscle – and not achieving what is expected.
If you had offered us a scrap for fourth at the start of the season we’d have snatched your hand off.
Now? Fourth? Pah!
Aussie cricket captain and Royal Australian Air Force pilot Keith Miller, when asked about the pressure of test cricket, famously said: “pressure is a Messerschmitt up your arse, playing cricket is not.”
Imagine Brendan Rodgers in the same situation.
He’d pull a tactical genius loop-the-loop manoeuvre that would end up with the German pilot being shot down over the channel by a crazed Luis Suarez.
Suarez in a Spitfire. Now there’s an image.
We know, and will just have to accept, that every misplaced pass, every mis-controlled ball from now on will be met with a ‘Liverpool look nervy here’ remark from commentators who should know better.
And we know that there will be times when we are under pressure (of the footballing kind) and will just have to come through it.
And ‘I’d love it, love it’ if the next time Rodgers is asked about pressure, he simply smiles, looks straight into the camera and says: “Pressure, my arse.”