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Drunk kangaroos trapped in a sack full of adders

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GIVE IT SOME STICK

Back in the days before craft ale, beards and irony, Liverpool v Chelsea was tedious for just being a fixture. Between 2005 and 2007 the clubs met – let’s think – 789 times, producing 787 draws, three and a-half goals, a song about plastic flags and a cloud of Portuguese funk that still lingers over Anfield to this day. But at least that tedium was born of a proper footballing rivalry. It wasn’t the fault of José Mourinho or Rafa Benítez that Big Cup, FA Cup and Coca-Cola Cup tombolas kept pitting the clubs against each other every single time. The teams grew to know each other better than nonagenarian twins. So well, in fact, that games became notable for nothing of note happening in them. “$hit hanging from a stick” football, as Jorge Valdano called it. “The extreme control and seriousness with which both teams played neutralising any creative licence, any moments of exquisite skill,” Valdano sobbed, after losing 97 minutes of his life watching the Big Cup semi-final second leg at Anfield in 2005.

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