Wish you were here?

The Spanish and the Italians have the right idea.

The football season shouldn’t be starting until late August, or even early September.

Mid-August is for going on holiday.

I’m on holiday. I’m in France. I’m in a little village up a mountain just above Evian. Yes, that place with the water. The kids have been running amok in the play park, with running water battles going on. Stylish, wide-eyed and demure French children watch on in astonishment. French children who look like they belong in a Petit Filou advert.

Liverpool have won at Arsenal. Liverpool have won 4-3 at Arsenal. Liverpool have won 4-3 at Arsenal while I’ve been in France, on holiday. The last time we won on the opening day at Arsenal it was the first act of the epic 1987-88 season. Just sayin like.

I’ve not seen the game. I’ve missed it. The outcome of the match, offset by the fact it was out of reach leave me to deal with the concept of not knowing whether I should laugh or cry.

It feels like I’ve had to watch from the window while my mates go out to play. I feel like the last baked bean in the near empty tin. That one that gets stuck in the circular crevice at the bottom of the tin and can’t be shaken out. Baked beans can be jubilant too though.

I’m led to believe that we still can’t defend very well.

I’m led to believe that we can still attack with style and a certain élan.

I’ve seen the goals. Well, our goals at least. Via Twitter, on a laptop with the use of the Wi-Fi on offer at Le Scoubidou bar.

As much as can possibly be gleaned from a 2min 33sec clip on Twitter it looked to be as follows;

Coutinho, 1-1; spectacular free-kick.

Lallana, 2-1; thumping finish.

Coutinho, 3-1; nice work from Nathanial Clyne and a thumping finish.

Mane, 4-1; wonderful solo goal and an intriguing piggyback celebration with Jürgen Klopp.

Sam Allardyce looks more ridiculous than usual when in sunglasses. It makes him look like he’s posing for a publicity photo for his role as an aging breakfast show DJ on a small radio station in Devon, rather than the new England manager.

Beyond the goals I saw, derogatory comments about Alberto Moreno, a penalty save from Simon Mignolet and familiar frailties in defending set pieces seemed to be the popular consensus to be on offer from Twitter.

While Twitter isn’t the most reliable oracle of information the universe can offer up, this all sounds like the Liverpool FC I know and love.

I’m happy with 3 points won in North London. I’m happy with an away win at one of ‘the big teams’. I’d be happier had we played in all silver-grey and Clyne scored the winner with a 20-yard header from the edge of the penalty area. I’d be happier if Arsenal still played at Highbury. In fact, I’d just be happier if we could repeat the whole of the 1987-88 season in 2016-17. There is innovation to be found in imitation.

Poor old Arsenal though eh?

Arsenal long ago stopped feeling like Arsenal. I have a theory in that football clubs who move away from their long term ancestral home stop feeling like the club they were.

Southampton feel significantly less like Southampton since they moved from The Dell to St Marys. Manchester City feel strikingly less like the Manchester City of Maine Road. Sunderland, Derby County, Bolton Wanderers, Middlesbrough all went the same way. West Ham United started to feel less like West Ham United the moment the first taxi took to the pitch during Upton Park’s ‘closing ceremony’.

Leicester City certainly feel a lot less like the Leicester City of Filbert Street.

Of course winning the title has made them feel like the Leicester City of Filbert Street were nothing more than a figment of a furtive imagination.

Depending upon how old you are, Arsenal either used to be the Henry led purveyors of fine football. The Unbeatables. Or, they were the bore the hind legs off a donkey “1-0 to the Arsenal” of old.

To me, they were both of those things in equal measure.

They became much less ‘Arsenal’ once they moved to The Emirates however. Big bucket seats at a ground that feels like a bigger version of The Reebok, or whatever it’s called now at Bolton Wanderers. They play football in an arena, rather than a football ground. There is an over-riding feeling that there should be cup holders between the seats. I’m not anti-Arsenal, but there is something satisfying in how they’ve yet to take a league title to their new abode.

A rival has been put on to the back-foot with this win. Arsene Wenger is under critical scrutiny from Arsenal fans already.

One down. Thirty-seven to go.

As wins go, I heard this one on the grapevine. I’ve been humming that tune since around 7pm Sunday (French time of course). The Slits version of the song too of course.

Next up, Burnley away.

We started 1987-88 with a run of away games due to an old Victorian sewer collapsing underneath the Kop. Just sayin like.

Today, we’re off to the top of the mountain in a cable car, then on to the beach we go.

*Climb mountains, then recline on beaches.

It’s the same thing we ask of Liverpool FC this season.

*Metaphor alert.

Steven Scragg

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