Tuesday, May 12

Home truths

West Ham 0 Liverpool 3

It’s chaos at Mile End as numerous fans try to get on the truncated District Line trains. Planned closures for maintenance work, scheduled a year in advance, says TfL. It takes three trains before it’s possible to squeeze on board. You wonder if it might be possible for West Ham to have planned injuries. We could book Kieron Dyer in for September to May already.

Yossi receives a cheer as Jeremy Nicholas announces the teams and plays Fat Boy Slim. We would cheer Mascherano if we remembered him ever playing for us. We kick off and after 60 seconds, in horrible sallow motion, Torres plays the ball though our defence. The centre backs have stepped up, Neill hasn’t and Gerrard calmly rounds Green to score.

Fraser arrives after eight minutes citing a suspect package at Stratford (thought to be Di Michele’s shooting boots) and a late night watching the remains of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band. They even performed I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles (better than Frank Sinatra’s version) but sadly there was no sign of Billy Bonds doing a turn.

We improve after the early shock, Kovac heads Noble’s free kick over the bar. Amazingly, Boa Morte is causing them problems. He’s chopped by Mascherano and Alan Wiley waves play on, resulting in chants of “You’re too fat to referee!”.

Tomkins makes a superb tackle on Torres, which we all think is Moore-esque. Boa is hacked down by Mascherano again (what do you expect from a poor man’s Hayden Mullins?) and Liverpool race down the field to win a penalty. Torres heads over after a defensive mix-up, Yossi chips into the path of Torres and Boa Morte pulls his shirt. Green saves the penalty like a goalkeeping Odysseus, but the ball falls straight to Gerard who can’t miss.

Then comes our chance. Carragher air kicks in comic style, leaving Di Michele to run at goal. He hesitates like Bobby Zamora on Valium, tries to round Reina, kicks the ball against his foot, dives and gets booked for simulation. “He wanted to beat three players and then back-heel it in,” suggests Matt.

Liverpool continue to break at lethal sped in the second half. Yossi blazes a volley over, Green saves from Kuyt, Benayoun fires just wide. Boa still wins a few free kicks and Collison gets on for the final xx minutes. He plays one sublime ball to Ilunga down the left.

Di Michele seems to get the ball more than any other player, control it superbly, and then make ridiculous decisions rather than play the simple ball. “How many times? Get him off!” rages the vicar’s son beside me.

Herita (Hammer of the Year anyone?) never stops trying and with Noble is involved in our best move of the game, which ends with the hapless Di Michele firing wide. But really it’s like training game for Liverpool

“It’s a wake up call for this side,” suggests Matt. “We’ll struggle to stay up next season if all we have is Tristan and Di Michele up front,” I suggest. We need to buy at least two strikers.

Four minutes from time Babel has a header saved but scores from the rebound and the Koppites are singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.

And then, because of the 5.30 kick-off, it’s time to rush to East Ham to make an Islington dinner party with Julie from Growing Communities and Polly a barrister turned environmentalist. No consideration for the chattering classes at Setanta.

We’re down to ninth, and now have to hope Parker and Cole are fit for our final two games, otherwise our obligatory tenth spot beckons.

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