The place still smells the same. I guess the disinfectant I told everyone to use didn't work. That's how much I know about cleaning.
Anyway, those in charge here have asked me to come back on a weekly basis, and I couldn't be more excited to do so. Because there hasn't been more exciting and interesting time to be a Liverpool supporter. Good thing I'll have a week in between each time I have to collect my thoughts.
As the preseason schedule kicked off this morning (at least where I am) we can start to clean out our World Cup hangover and get ready for the new season. But of course, the hangover for LFC fans is a bit worse than others, like we got talked into that last shot of Jameson that we knew was a bad idea but did it anyway. Because the World Cup didn't come with the excitement of a new player on show that we hadn't seen much of or one of our stars showing the rest of the world what we had come to know (though Coutinho probably could have helped the Selecao, no? And Hendo playing so deep?). No, we had to watch the entire fulcrum of Liverpool land on Deadspin, become a laughingstock, and pretty much grease his way to Spain.
Would Luis Suarez still be heading to Barcelona had he not mistaken Chiellini's shoulder for Alpo? Probably. But what it did do was color how we felt about it.
Let me be honest: Luis Suarez is the best player I've ever seen put on red. That includes our captain. Because Steven Gerrard was never a contender for a Ballon D'Or or FIFA Player of The Year, as Suarez probably should be. Sure, Michael Owen won a Ballon D'Or in 2001, and no one's quite sure how that happened. Maybe everyone was really impressed out he out-paced an Arsenal defense that was all over 67 years old in that FA Cup Final. I don't know.
But Suarez was better than all of that, with more weapons in his toolbox than any striker I ever cheered on. Torres and Owen could blister through to a through-ball and finish. Robbie Fowler came up with finishes we didn't see. But none of them could get themselves there without a pass. Or make that pass. Suarez could.
Of course, you couldn't ignore everything else that came with Suarez. And all of that ended with texts from my friends who were only half-hearted footy fans asking "So is Suarez just a lunatic?" Yes, sadly, he is.
We've all found excuses to make ourselves feel better about supporting Suarez. "Well, that word means something different to him." "He just loses himself on the field." "Evra is a penis anyway." "He's an easy target for the FA because who will object to him being punished?" And on it went. We did it, we knew we were doing it, but that's what being a fan is all about I suppose. Because all those goals...
But after this last incident, I couldn't do it anymore. Oh sure, I would have pumped my fist just as hard every time Suarez scored for Liverpool, had he stayed. But there would have been pangs of regret right after. That's probably hypocritical. There have been total assholes on every team I've rooted for. Drug users, woman beaters, drunks, whatever. And I suppose just biting someone on the field is a lesser offense in the grand scheme of things than those.
I think what gets us all is that Suarez refused to learn his lesson right there in front of everyone. We saw all the bites, his apologies, and the followed bites. It all took place where everyone, especially those with knives out for us and Suarez, could see. There was no mystery, no checking of stories, no fact-checking needed. It was so blatant, so obvious. Not only did Suarez not have anywhere to hide, but neither did we.
I suppose 75 million pounds helps ease the pain of such a talent leaving. I'm sure his now former teammates won't be too upset about not having to answer the questions. And I always thought there was going to be a measure of regression for the Reds this year. They weren't going to get 50 goals from their strikers again, even if Suarez had stayed.
Suarez was a lot of noise, both good and bad. But in the end, I'm not sorry to see all the noise head out the door, because we all need some sleep. He brought us off our couch, and then sank us right back into it. The ride was too violent, and hence couldn't last all that long.
So long, Luis. You were just too much.