In a very special Early Edition of The Raised Flag, we’ve been given a report from the week of 11/20/2017. Please enjoy.
Hearts will be broken on Merseyside tonight as Liverpool FC crashes out of the UEFA Champions League. In what many considered to be a dream draw, Jurgen Klopp’s men had only nightmares, winning zero points in all 6 group stage matches.
The troubles started early for Liverpool when, only a week after the draw, attacking ace Roberto Firmino tested positive for a controlled tooth whitening substance. The forward was banned for 8 matches and will have to continue serving his ban in the 2029 Champion’s League qualifying round (the next time Liverpool will qualify).
Things went from bad to worse for the club as, five minutes into the first group stage match against Sevilla, newly-fit striker Daniel Sturridge was substituted with a leg injury. Scans following the injury, which stemmed from a non-contact, dance-related incident, revealed 61 (of 62 total) broken bones. Sturridge was undaunted though, and took to social media after a successful surgery vowing to “return to the team stronger than ever”.
After the morale-crushing loss to Sevilla (falling behind in the 93rd minute to a Dejan Lovren own goal), the Merseysiders doubled down for a harsh trip to Moscow. Klopp was quoted as saying, “When you go against the top players like Michael Krohn-Deli and Simon Kjaer you have to be at your best… and we were not.”
Their fortunes wouldn’t turn around, however, as Liverpool were overrun against Spartak Moscow. Fans were bemused as the enigmatic German named James Milner in the Starting XI at left-back and as both members of a central midfield pairing. Klopp defended his decision after a tough-stubbingly grotesque performance which saw ex-Liverpool target Quincy Promes score four. “Millie came into the squad today eager to perform. He was like three new signings! Would I do it again? Yes!”
Fans began to question the maverick hug-machine as he did it again in their next match against Maribor.
Returning to Anfield, Liverpool were determined to avenge the previous loss to the Slovenian giants, but were hamstrung again after a UEFA sanction. The ban was handed down after Klopp named Virgil Van Dijk to the team despite him not being registered to the squad and in fact still playing for Southampton FC. Liverpool were cited as UEFA rulings unequivocally state “naming an opposing team’s captain in your XI constitutes a clear case of tapping up.”
Liverpool will hope to recover from this crushing blow against their ambitions next week as Everton comes to Anfield. The Reds will need the points in the league as they currently sit 9 points off of fourth, jeopardizing their chance to bottle it in the Champion’s League next year.