A Film, PSG and the Context: Defining Perspectives of the Day
By David Rice
How do you summarize your Liverpool supporting life these days?
I sat down on Monday night to take in the new Steven Gerrard documentary “Make Us Dream” expecting little more than a fitting tribute to the man who captained Liverpool through the formative years of my Liverpool supporting life, the period in which my blood was dyed redder than before somehow, my mind captivated by incredible goals and heart handed over to a singing Kop.
While the documentary was on song with what I’d expected, it was in fact even more fitting in ways I wasn’t prepared for. The film is, perhaps unsurprisingly, highly emotional, ending in a fashion that lacks satisfaction or finality. It’s clearly intentional, a reflection of the life of its primary subject.
If you weren’t watching back then, if you weren’t wading through the waves of Liverpool’s ebbing and flowing form during Gerrard’s peak of pomp and vigor, you may not have the same reaction I did.
But seeing Gerrard put his heart and body on the line up close in this film, more intimately than we did on the television back then, ran me back in my mind through the memories and the feelings of those days. Of watching him struggle with that groin injury as the club struggled to navigate the Hicks and Gillette era. Of watching him take on a completely different role in 13/14 as the team became the polar opposite of the previous Liverpool side to contend for a title. And ultimately, watching him come so close, yet finish so heartbreakingly far from the one thing we all wanted, for him and for us, more than anything.
As I write this, Liverpool have just suffered a blow to their Champions League hopes after losing to PSG at the Parc des Princes. It’s a match that, like the film, reminds me of where we’ve been and what it’s taken to get the club back to where we always want the club to be. Playing in games like that.
It’s easy for dissatisfaction to bubble up over the course of a season. One season lasts roughly 10 months of your life. You can start it as a kid and end it an emotionally tattered adult with a newborn child. That’s how long it is. That’s why we often refer to it as a journey. You can mark your life in Liverpool campaigns. You can contextualize everything from your personal growth to the status of your friendships in Liverpool moments.
How do you summarize Liverpool?
Context is everything. And we all need to keep it in focus a bit more. We’ve heard this team hasn’t clicked. We’ve heard that our stars aren’t in form cause they aren’t repeating past performances. It’s really just a way to say we aren’t the same as we were before. But that we expect more, a better version of the same things we enjoyed previously.
Would you think this way with an artist? If Dali painted The Persistence of Memory and then just kept painting that over and over again, never progressing to Geopoliticus Child, never creating The Elephants, never giving us the Hallucinogenic Toreador. Would he be the master you know him as today? Would you have asked him to just keep painting that first masterpiece, simply expecting it to be better each time?
In the case of Dali, history would remember him as being quite shit if he had, a one hit wonder. Would history remember the Reds that way if they’d played the same as last season? Maybe not, maybe we’d still be the darlings of entertaining football rather than what we are now; a results driven, consistently good side.
I’d rather things be just as they are. The key is always moving on, developing, creating a body of work so impressive there are museums dedicated to your greatness, even your madness.
We as fans have the simplest job of all: Enjoy the ride.
At the beginning of the season, Klopp told Redmen TV that we have to win our average games,“bringing our best performance each week and if it’s not there, still being able to win.” He went onto add that “you can’t have an entire season where you are flying, it’s really rare.” Those words tell you all you need to know about where we are and why we are there.
The results of this season are no accident. They’re the result of careful planning and execution by Jurgen and the players. You feel as if we’ve not gotten out of gear, and yet, we haven’t lost a league game and with one convincing victory in the next Champions League match at home to Napoli, we’re likely through the most difficult group in the competition.
How do you summarize your life today?
This Liverpool side is capable of adding new installations to the club’s museum of achievements and when they do, how do you want to remember the way you enjoyed it? Will you look back and say we shouldn’t have done it that way or are you going to look back and just think, “yeah, that was sound.”
In the sense of providing context, of realigning your perspective, Make Us Dream is perfectly timed, I suppose. It digs up the heartbreak a lot of us have managed to bury and forces us to revisit it. Forces us to acknowledge, if only for a moment, just how good things are today. Just how happy we should be to be Reds on a day like yesterday.
Yesterday, I woke up before dawn and clocked in early so I could clock out early on the other end and make it to the pub in time for kickoff. To see my friends faces brimming with anticipation and to collectively will that ball into the back of the net together. To appreciate what that game means and where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re going. Can you?
How are you going summarize your Liverpool loving life today?