Written by Ben Smith – @BenMightSay
Boy, is it good to be back. Six weeks have elapsed since the trip to Kiev, and I’ve been champing at the bit to get back into the groove.
The World Cup has been a blast, and has helped fill in the time between seasons, but I’ve missed the sound of turnstiles spinning and the bland taste of Virgin Trains coffee more than anything.
I went to 28 Liverpool games last season in total — the most I’ve ever done. It was the first campaign in which I documented everything on YouTube, which was sound timing given the incredible journey we went on, culminating with defeat in the Champions League final.
I’m delighted that I’ve got a catalogue of videos to look back on, but I do wish that I’d documented more, which is why I’ve decided to start blogging as well as vlogging.
By no means am I a terrific writer and I’m not too concerned about how many people read this. I don’t have any plans at this stage with regards to where I put these pieces or how this all pans out, but I’m just treating it like a diary. Each piece will be as much about the days out and the memories of each game as well as my take on matters on the pitch.
I love pre-season. I always look forward to seeing the fixture list come out and in this case, going to a ground I’d never normally go to and a city I’d never been to before.
I won’t be going to all of the warm-up matches for the 2018–19 season as there’s only so many holiday days at work to take and pennies in the bank to spend, but Bury beckons next weekend and luckily I am off to New York in a few weeks for the Manchester City game at the MetLife Stadium.
Chester was football mad on this scorching afternoon but not because the Mighty Reds were in town — England were in the process of beating Sweden to advance to the semi-finals of the World Cup whilst Liverpool were hitting seven past their non-league opponents.
Fabinho played the first half, Naby Keita the second. The latter was the more impressive of the two. Liverpool in general had a bit more zip about them second half. Daniel Sturridge looked the business, as he so often does just when you think it’s surely over for the England striker. His second goal — Liverpool’s seventh — had a very 2013–14 feel to it. Football is just too easy for him at times.
First half I loved Curtis Jones’ performance. He was taking risks on the ball and grasping his opportunity to shine. Harry Wilson also did himself no harm in his quest to force his way into Klopp’s plans with a couple of well-taken finishes.
The new Bobby Firmino song also debuted early on. Seems to have divided opinion — I think it’s boss!
After the game we strolled back into town to watch Russia vs Croatia in a boozer over a few beers and sambucas. Last season we made a habit of going back to the hotel after each game with a bottle of vodka, before heading to a nightclub (usually Popworld if it was a home game — if you know, you know) and yesterday was no different.
I felt dreadful this morning. Starting to wonder if we’re maybe overdoing the drinking after games and it’s not always necessary. It was probably just the excitement of the Reds being back again, and because we live in London and can’t always get back after the match, we usually just make a night of it and get pissed.
Bury next week is an up and back on the same day job. No booze until New York now.
Liverpool play Tranmere on Tuesday night — would love to be there but unfortunately have to give this one a miss. France play Belgium that night so I’ll have an eye on each.
Buzzing to have Liverpool football matches to talk about again. The squad is better than last season, and the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson, Mo Salah et al will have had more time to bed in. For me this has all the makings of a belter of a season.
Let’s see how we go. Up the Reds.