Still in disbelief at the weekend's shock result? You're not the only one...
Every now and again the self-styled ‘biggest league in the world’ throws up a result so staggeringly incredulous that it reaffirms one’s faith in the beauty, the joy and, most of all, the sheer unpredictability of football.
Last Sunday, produced one of those goose bump-inducing results: Liverpool 1 Blackpool 2. Yes, you read that right, Liverpool, the most successful British club extant, 1; Blackpool, a team that only returned to the top flight this summer for the first time in 39 years, 2. Let’s put another twist on that: Liverpool, whose starting 11 yesterday, would cost well over £100million to buy, 1; Blackpool, a team assembled for £5million, 2. As eighties football pundits Saint and Greavsie liked to remark: it’s a funny old game.
Of course it’s tempting at times like this to patronise the supposed minnows; witter on about their moment in the sun and the like, but this was no freak result. Blackpool passed Liverpool into submission. They wanted it more. Liverpool were wretched, lethargic, uninspired. Even Malcolm Tucker would fail to put a positive spin on their performance.
So does this mark a sea change in the Premier League? It’s doubtful. Chelsea with all their Russian roubles propping them up currently bestride the league like an unrelenting colossus. In second place, sit Manchester City – a team put together with all the compassion of someone hiring a crack squad of mercenaries for an important, and financially lucrative, hit.
However, beneath them there is a hint of a new meritocracy in football. Manchester United are broke; Arsenal still too fragile (West Brom spanked them in their own backyard last week) and Liverpool, well, they’re broke and fragile.
Although it’s doubtful the top four will look remarkably different come May, there is renewed optimism among football fans that the game’s highest echelons are no longer a mirage. Blackpool’s stunning result at Anfield, yesterday, is proof of that. Fans who predate Sky’s commercialisation of the beautiful game will no doubt be hoping long may it continue.
Pictures: Getty Images