The Red Sox Lover's Guide to Liverpool
Reina, Pepe: Goalkeeper since 2005. Perhaps the best in the Premier League between the posts. Nothing gets by him, much like… Oh right, the Sox have only question marks at catcher this year.
Relegation: At the end of each season, the three worst teams in the Premier League get dropped to the second division, to be replaced by the best three in that lower tier. The closest analogy would be if a whole baseball team got sent down to Triple-A, then had to play there for an entire season in order to earn its way (maybe) back to the majors. Liverpool hadn’t been relegated since the 1950s, but in this season’s early weeks before John Henry entered the picture, the team was so bad that fans were already preparing for the worst. Several months of (mostly) wins later, soccer’s sword of Damocles has lifted.
Rush, Ian: Striker, 1980-1996. Dalglish’s partner in glory throughout the ‘80s. As if separated at birth, he shared a moustache with Dwight Evans.
Scouse, Scouser: Proud slang for Liverpudlian — the citizenry, the accent, you name it. We just don’t have an analogue for this. “Bostonian” has the flavor of dictionary paper, while the verdict is still out on whether the truer “Masshole” is a gleeful moniker, an indignant insult, or an ironic term enmeshed in air-quotes.
Shankly, Bill: Manager, 1959-1974. The Red Auerbach of Liverpool, he managed the Reds for 15 years, won the team’s first FA Cup, and is honored with a statue outside Anfield stadium. Though Terry Francona’s getting close, there’s no Sox chief who’s ever been as beloved or revered, who is the sports soul of the city in which he worked and won.
Spion Kop, aka “The Kop”: Just as the Green Monster is the most famous fence in baseball, the Kop is perhaps the most famous single stadium section in the Premier League, boasting generations of loyal Reds fans. Now if only “Nuf Ced” McGreevy and his Royal Rooters had passed down season tickets through the ages, and their descendants were still leading the cheers in the Fenway bleachers…
Suárez, Luis; and Carroll, Andrew: Forwards since January 2011. Liverpool’s two big signings during this year’s transfer window (soccer’s version of the trade deadline), essentially replacing departed star Fernando Torres. Though their arrival proves John Henry will spend on the Reds, how they play will say much about the future of the team. Reds are monitoring them now as we’ll be monitoring Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford. (Pictured above)
Torres, Fernando: Forward, 2007-January 2011. When he was on, this Spanish striker was the most exciting and productive player on the field. But when he was not — which was often this season — fans and the press fretted over his psyche and whether he wanted to leave the club. And then come midseason: He was gone when Chelsea FC broke the British transfer-fee record by paying Liverpool £50 million to acquire him. Fans felt spurned and fretted over his sudden absence, even as they bid him good riddance. After Boggs, Clemens, Nomar, and Manny, you know exactly what this feels like.
“You’ll Never Walk Alone”: Famously recorded by Liverpool group Gerry and the Pacemakers, this soaring, sentimental club anthem is sung at every game — and the title is even cast in bronze over the Anfield gates. Still, for all its verve, it’s a pretty slow song. Imagine if Sox fans sang “Dream On” all the time, instead of “Dirty Water.”
Zenden, Boudweijn; and Ziege, Christian: The only players in LFC history whose surnames began with the letter “zed.” The Red Sox boast seven, but like these two guys, all of them pretty much sucked. Sorry, Bob Zupcic, but it’s the truth; and unlike soccer, there’s no crying in baseball. (Pictured above right)