Once again, there's no point in doing a conventional wrap here with bullet points, because you don't want to read it. The afternoon was perfectly encapsulated, as was the team's performance, by Andy Carroll's dive in the 1st half. With the chance to actually do something and get into the match, the player and team took a look and decided it wasn't worth the trouble, and crumpled into the fetal position quicker than a Frenchman on quaaludes. It was as if the whole team just decided actually playing wasn't worth the effort, and you get what you get.
Sure, we could complain about a couple of biffed refereeing decisions. But when you're a shit team, those decisions matter. When you're actually good or determined, you fight through them. Guess which one Liverpool is?
I could moan about the day that it looked like Kenny Dalglish ran out of answers, as he tried, at last count, four different formations during the match. My favorite was switching Gerrard out to the right (not a terrible idea in itself) in a 4-4-2, which switched Bellamy away from the fullback he'd been torching all game, and somehow shifted Shelvey even deeper than he was before without Gerrard to make up for it. Therefore, Liverpool had exactly no one in the box during attacks. That was true fun.
I could yell about the ridiculous dive that got Pepe Reina a red card and will cause him to miss the semifinal. But when you engage and start a needless confrontation, you're asking for it. Maybe it's the frustration of everyone boiling over, maybe it's the regret of a player who could have left for better opportunities elsewhere, or maybe it's both. Still, I wonder what the reaction from broadcasters and media alike would have been had it been Suarez flopping to the turf after coming within maybe three inches of being headbutted.
We could finally all wave the white flag on Andy Carroll, who seemingly gets farther away from being the force we'd hoped. Maybe it's the lack of games, maybe it was the first trip back to St. James where he's strangely booed even though he never asked to or wanted to leave, or maybe he's just not that good. I fear it's the latter.
I could bitch about the way Steven Gerrard chucked it for most of the game, which he's had a habit of doing when things get rough. But then again, maybe he's got the right to do so after pulling the team out of so many fires. Maybe he's regretting staying too.
But really all we're left with is pondering how a season that did at one point look so promising could scud its way out of control with a defeat to the Blue Noses at Wembley on their way to finishing ahead of Liverpool in the table. In fact, a lot of unfathomable names could be ahead of Liverpool when it's all said and done and before they make me run. We have to wonder who would even take the manager's job if Kenny leaves, with Damien Comolli controlling the purse strings and having not yet proven he's not a blithering idiot. We have to live in fear of the possibility that the true top class players -- Reina, Agger, Skrtel, Suarez -- won't be able to find a reason to stay when Champions League clubs come calling this summer. And they will.