It’s that time of year when I shelve my usual collection of records until January and allow something with a slightly more upbeat tempo to grace the Klopp-family turntable.
As unapologetically nihilistic to the standards of acceptable composition my musical tastes may be, Christmas demands something a little more festive. Naturally, I am currently sat listening to ‘Got Something For You’ by Best Coast and Wavves – I dare you to name a better yuletide Lo-Fi collaboration!
On the off chance you aren’t familiar with the track, I will use a slightly more mainstream example for my opening analogy. Mariah Carey once sang ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You.’ I can tell you, dear reader, all I want for Christmas is a new goalkeeper.
I drafted Simon back into my starting XI against Middlesbrough after Loris Karius and I shared a heated exchange in the Tate Liverpool. We locked horns over a new Glenn Ligon installation called ‘Untitled.’ I interpreted it as a paradoxical piece of social commentary interwoven with a message on authorship but naïve Loris dismissed it as, “a pretentious series of wall fittings.”
I told him that someone with a mind as small as his might as well f**k off to the next room to be spoon-fed Yves Klein’s latest collection of garbage… and that he would be dropped for our visit to The Riverside. With those words ringing in his ears he left but returned 40 seconds later after refusing to cough up the exhibition’s £11 entry fee.
We made amends shortly after but I had already texted Simon by this point with a message containing the goalie gloves emoticon and a winky face.
Simon didn’t let me down, nor did the boys adorned in brazen yellow who ensured we returned to winning ways. Adam Lallana was a tour-de-force on the pitch but I was more impressed to learn that he had made Sky Sport’s ‘Most Mentioned on Social X1’ this morning – these are the stats you really want to see as a manager.
As I’ve attested to before, Adam, along with Jordan are the two that concern me the most after the big Nivea deal went to their heads, so you can understand why I was hesitant when asked if they could stay in Middlesbrough an extra night in order to “watch some birds.”
However, I decided to grant them this treat as reward for such a good performance. Besides, who am I to deny a man the spectacle of Teeside’s greatest late night Falconry display?
We all have to treat ourselves once in a while. To my surprise, as the team coach weaved its way through town en route back to Liverpool, I spotted them running alongside, begging the driver to let them on. The looks on their faces suggested they’d been wholly unimpressed by the rare breeds on offer. Perhaps one of them had been bitten by a deranged tawny owl? I decided not to ask.
The journey home gave me the opportunity to host one of my ‘Dr Kloppo’ clinics with my keepers.
This is a simple meeting of minds exercise I regularly encourage amongst my players and gives them the opportunity to talk to their boss about everything from their personal demons to which high-octane box set they are currently enjoying. James Milner took the minutes. Simon shared with me that he regretted not throwing his shirt to the fans at the full-time whistle along with the rest of his teammates.
He went on to explain that he was worried no one would want it because he “wasn’t as cool as Joel Matip.” To be fair, Joel is very cool indeed – his monthly subscription to GQ and ever-present musk of Boss Bottled attests to that. Confidence was clearly low amongst my shot-stoppers so I suggested a morale boosting exercise forthwith.
The next morning, I fired up the Opel and drove Simon and Loris into Liverpool city centre with a box of signed Mignolet and Karius replica shirts in tow. We toured shopping centres with the intention of giving away the jerseys to young fans.
It was to prove to be my most disastrous day since our humbling at Burnley back in August. By lunchtime, we hadn’t given away a single one and our offer had even caused several children to burst into tears. We moved onto the hospitals but the children there were equally as despondent before the sight of Loris actually caused an elderly gentleman to temporarily flatline.
Dejected, we eventually dumped the box outside a homeless shelter. Later that night I received a phone call from a giddy-sounding Simon: “Gaffer, there’s a man sleeping under one of my shirts in the doorway of WH Smiths. It’s covered in sick and he stole a pen from the shop to cross out the name on the back but it’s my number! My number!”
I must try my best to keep this news from Loris until I can find a new backup to Simon in January. I wonder if Peter Enckelman is still playing?