I'll Never Walk Alone
I had the good fortune to spend this afternoon at the Lucky Bar watching the finals of the UEFA Champions League. Sadly, the first Inzaghi goal for AC Milan was complete garbage (the arm/hand ball was beyond obvious on the replay) but his second on the counter was sadly legit. Liverpool really should have owned the game based on its dominance of the first half. Coaching dilemma of the game -- why didn't Rafa Benitez bring on a sub at the half for Bolo Zenden, instead of waiting until 70 minutes to bring in Peter Crouch?
Despite the final score, this was a worthy experience for me in another respect. I've been trying to pick a Premiership team to follow for the past year -- and today's experience convinced me that I'm a Liverpool fan at heart. (Bill Simmons, read it and weep after picking Tottenham Hotspur. It's OK to be from Boston and root for Liverpool.)
Chelsea is working on destroying the Premiership with its version of ice hockey's neutral zone trap (famously employed by the New Jersey Devils), even before considering the impact of nearly unlimited Russian oil money on the league. Arsenal plays the most artistic football when they're all healthy, but can't seem to overcome injuries or even a good knock-around on the pitch (e.g. losing both fixtures to West Ham this past season). Honestly, I even have a grudging respect for Manchester United - Sir Alex coaches a solid, creative style to match the unlimited pounds he has in the transfer market.
But Liverpool has the hard-nosed edge and culture, not to mention the unbridled devotion of the late John Peel and the amazing spontaneously adopted theme song made famous by Gerry and the Pacemakers -- which shocks me because I don't generally go for show tunes.
My one fear now is the incoming interference of Tom Hicks' VC money. Honestly, Liverpool would be a much better fit for Bob Kraft's ownership style. He already has former Reds defenseman Steve Nicol as manager of his MLS side (the New England Revolution), and the team-first spirit of the Belicheck/Pioli-led Patriots would seem to fit at Anfield far better than one splashy signing that requires gutting the remainder of the roster (cf. Hicks' Texas Rangers experience with A-Fraud). We'll see what the summer transfer market brings... but at least I now have a specific team to follow in the Premiership for the 2007-08 season.