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  1. In recent weeks it has really felt like we’ve been playing the schedule of a Europa League side. Thursday nights under the lights, and the Sunday afternoon slot where crowds are sluggish as fuck. It’s the last league game for the club this month as they’ll have a fortnight off for the Premier League’s winter break. Except for the African lads and the South Americans of course. Stupid fixture scheduling is par for the course for the game’s authorities, coupled with additional fixtures added to the schedule. Who gives a shit about UEFA’s Nations League in the summer? Oh, I know there is an FA Cup game against Cardiff a week later but I imagine Klopp will pick a similar side to the one that dismissed Shrewsbury. Anyway: Zip. Zest. Zoned in. Zoom. I don’t ask for much. Last season’s corresponding fixture, rather than signal our intent to defend our league title and take on all comers once more, turned out to be a last hurrah before the defence disappeared for 3 months, the midfield had to fulfil square-pegs-in-round-holes duties, and the attackers forgot how to attack. Against Palace though, none of this was in evidence. Taki got the show going, showing sharpness to fire the ball past Guaita in the first few minutes. Palace had shown pace on the counter but they were vulnerable at the back. We were winning the ball back 30-40 yards from their goal almost at will, and it was through such determination that we extent our lead as Sadio got his customary goal against Palace. The third was a belter of an attack culminating in Bobby gliding through to control Robbo’s ball in with his first touch and roll it into the net with his second. Hendo got in on the act with a well-struck first time effort from the edge of the area, and Bobby got his second with a brilliant dink over Guaita from a narrow angle. Mo, who had started on the bench, was brought on for an ever-so-slightly peeved Sadio, and bagged a couple of goals for himself, one of which was a supreme curling effort from outside the box into the far top corner. 7-0 then, and the picture looked so rosy before Christmas. 24th August 1971 saw the Reds travel to Selhurst Park and claim a 1-0 victory thanks to Toshack. Read the match report, we absolutely dominated them but couldn’t kill the game off. This was Shanks’ rebuilt squad with many of the 60s stalwarts now departed and a fresh injection of youth in their place. The quality was not in doubt, but they were a year or so away from finding consistency to match their ability. Mighty Mouse haring about in attack is the perfect example. I can’t find video footage so here’s a match report. Cambridge University’s Footlights dramatic society had a reputation for providing the starting point for many of the UK’s greatest comedians and entertainers. The Goodies had been hugely popular but it was a group comprised of John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Graham Chapman, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam who would go on to really capture the public imagination. The combination of wit, quirkiness and cultural references went down a storm. And Now For Something Completely Different was a film comprised of sketches from their TV series, and was created for US audiences who hadn’t seen the show. The dead parrot sketch is probably the most famous sketch they ever did, and it is absolutely brilliant even today. The site I use for these No1 films is looking at the US box office and yet reading up on this film’s success over there, it was a bit of a flop when first released so I’m not sure how it’s listed as the most popular film for that week in August 1971 at any rate. As an aside, one of my housemates at uni had a line of VHS tapes along one wall of his room, a bit like Tommy in Trainspotting. Unlike Tommy, my housemates didn’t bother doing weights, nor (I don’t think) did he have a private video of him banging his girlfriend. He didn’t even have a girlfriend back then. Anyway, I recall And Now For Something Completely Different being one of the films he owned, but I never borrowed it. He had a shitload of sci-fi stuff so that was the first time I actually watched the original Star Wars trilogy. He had even made a computer animated short film with a mate of his, and that was a bit South Park-esque, only with practically everyone ending up like Kenny. The Palace game is one where I don’t quite know what they’ll do. They are without Zaha who is at the AFCON, and may be with Ayew who’s Ghana team have been eliminated already. The do have Conor Gallagher though, and he’s been amongst the very best young players in the PL this season. His parent club Chelsea will either sell him for a large fee, loan him out yet again, or waste him by keeping him without playing him like they do with a lot of their youth products. I doubt Palace will be able to buy him. We got a few more options than we had a fortnight ago, and I think Klopp will go full strength (such as it is) for this one. Whatever he does, as long as well are focussed and apply ourselves correctly, we can get the job done.
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