So That Happened: Liverpool 0 -Fulham 1

Ha.

That's all there is to say. The match was on the calendar. Both clubs were required to show up with 11 starters and seven substitutes, and they would play for ninety minutes.

And they both did that. And they both looked like that's exactly all they had invested in it.

Which is fine. The time for stomping and yelling about league results passed long ago, and while finishing in the bottom half would be unsightly, does it really matter? In terms of prize money I guess, but considering the money Liverpool are going to have to throw around this summer, it won't make that much difference anyway.

Kenny did ring the changes, and you would have expected some to show more to enter the discussion for Saturday's lineup. But for the most part, they didn't, and the season's definition hinges on Saturday's result. But it has for a while now, probably even before the semifinal. So whatever.

Fine, bullets if you need them:

-Oh look, Fabio Aurelio is alive. So why wasn't he part of the rotation earlier in the season, when he might have saved Jose Enrique from wheezing?

-I know it won't be, but it would have been fine with me if that was Dirk Kuyt's last match as a Liverpool player. He'll get a run out in one of the last two fixtures. I'm terrified that he'll get a start Saturday, along with Jamie Carragher, because of past accomplishments. Yes, Dirk has provided effort out of his eyeballs and big goals at big times. But it's his position, either at support striker or wide in midfield, that needs a serious upgrade in class and skill. And Dirk doesn't have those any more, if he ever did. Liverpool need a truly gifted and lethal player in that position that basically is ahead of the midfield and either wide of or behind the strikers. Kuyt is not that.

-You can just repeat the same thing for Stewart Downing, minus all the good things.

-I know Jonjo Shelvey is only 20 or so, but I would like to see a least a hint of promise. So many not just misplaced passes, but passes that I couldn't figure out where they were intended in the first place.

-I fear that this performance could see Andy Carroll ruled out of the starting 11 for the Final, which is kind of a shame because he was one of the few who looked like he gave a flying. Worked tirelessly, and kind of had to create all of his chances on his own. Of course, he missed them. Still, some real service could have helped.

-Jay Spearing was also awful, and doesn't really belong in a two-man central midfield, which Liverpool switched to in the second half to accommodate Downing. Boy that worked a treat. But Spearing is still the only player of his type in the squad, and I can't imagine countering Chelsea without anything resembling a holding midfielder.

-I'm guessing Henderson's sub at halftime means he's starting on Saturday, and if that's with Gerrard and Spearing in a three-man midfield, I really wouldn't complain.

-We've screamed for Sebastien Coates to get more chances, and maybe we found out why tonight he didn't get them. Horrible with distribution, easily beaten for the goal and other times, and an odd defending policy of getting caught on a Fulham player's back, and then curling around him to make a tackle while facing his own goal. That can't possibly be proper. Oh, and he's slow.

-Hey look, Raheem Sterling. Probably won't see him again until he's loaned out somewhere next season.

Not that this changed anything, but with it the next one up, it's impossible to state how massive the Final is for Liverpool. If they don't win it, it would be hard to categorize this season as anything other than utter failure. Kenny's handling of his squad, his tactics, his constant like-for-like substitutions will come under even heavier scrutiny than they did before the League Cup Final and FA Cup Semifinal, where those triumphs relieved pressure for a bit.

If Liverpool win it, well, two trophies make a pretty hefty argument. No one will feel triumphant about the season as a whole, mind, but it could be argued that two pieces of silverware is a better jumping off point than where this season started, with at least the Europa League to come.

Considering all that's riding on it, have Liverpool had a more massive match to play since 2005? In Istanbul, a loss would have seen Liverpool out of Europe, with Steven Gerrard on his way to greener pastures (which he kind of tried to do anyway).

A loss now? Well, I don't even want to think about it.

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