The pedantic idiocy of this last post, "Pity Gerrard...," was made clear to me last night as I watched a summer rerun of LFC v. Crystal Palace (played Nov 2004) in which Liverpool pulled a 3-2 win with an 89th-minute goal -- a penalty and hat-trick by Milan Baros. Asking Liverpool fans to have perspective is like asking Newcastle to defend.
What I noticed in this review is the KOP's importance to what occurs on the field. I had noticed that before, but this time its significance came home.
On the evening, Ian Dowie's men had already overachieved to go level at 2's away at Anfield. A quality evening for any Palace contributor in which he can put away his lunchpail, cherish the exhaustion and have a satisfying beer. Miller Time, innit? But Palace was backs against the KOP with Liverpool's wide Fullbacks, Traore and Finnan, pressing up in a menacing fashion. (The beauty of four-four-two is that it becomes two-four-four very quickly when the blood is up.) Palace were tired and Xabi Alonso and Louis Garcia were getting too much time in the middle. It seemed unlikely Palace could keep another out.
'Twelfth Man' offers no satisfying explanation. It is the commitment. That commitment from the stands demands a certain level of quality, commitment and togetherness from the team when the ball is live. Hearing the crowd sing "LIIIIH VAH PEWL, LIIII VAAAHHH PEWL, LIIII VAH PEWL," this is when it finally occurred to me where Liverpool FC's class comes from -- and it doesn't matter whether a player is Spanish, Finnish or from Huyton.
Liverpool -- the team and its community -- is class and it is the KOP's uncomprimising demands which make them so hard on Steven Garrard at times like Gerrard's negotiating feaux pas. But these are the same values from which Liverpool derives such classy football. They are inseparable; therefore it may be a while before Gerrard will be forgiven. Let's see again in August.