The Merseyside Derby: Because Liverpool Makes Me Sit In A Bathtub With All My Clothes On

"Some people believe football is a matter of life and death; I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that."
-Bill Shankly, Liverpool manager, 1959-1974

This is how I spent my Tuesday afternoon. (Thanks, Liverpool)

I sat in my empty bathtub on Tuesday, fully clothed, swiping my thumb across my phone as fast as I could to refresh Twitter. Playing through my headphones was "Lost in the World," and I think I even tweeted in all caps that I was, like Kanye, lost in the world. I don't know why the tub felt right, but it did.

Had you laid eyes upon me, you would have and rightfully should have called for help.

At the time, Liverpool was into the double-digit attempts in their shootout against Middlesbrough in the Capital One Cup third-round game. This is around the time when your goalies come out to take a penalty kick. You would have been in the tub too if it was your squad and all you had to go by was Twitter for about 20 minutes while all this happened.

How the game ended contributed to it all, of course: Liverpool leading 2-1 in overtime then giving up a penalty with the last kick of the game. It was a nervy game, too, with the Championship (the division below the Premier League) giving Liverpool all they could handle at home. It was nerve wracking in the worst of ways. It was more a wave of relief than joy when Liverpool finally won 2-2 (14-13).

Despite being a fan of a few sad sack teams who really know how to lose, no other team has this effect on me.

Trust me, Liverpool are no strangers to losing. I've seen impotence on offense and cluelessness in defense lose Liverpool games. I've seen own goals sink Liverpool in the Champions League.

I've even seen one of the most bizarre goals in Premier League history lose one for Liverpool.

But a loss always comes as a major disappointment, more than it'd mean to me if my Dallas Cowboys lose (should happen at least seven more times this season), or if my Washington Capitals lose (getting easy to laugh at their losses lately) or if my Virginia Cavaliers lose (they're pretty good at everything but college football, pretty much the only thing that matters).

It's stupid beyond all measure how much this team means to me. There's an ocean between me and this team. I've never even been to Liverpool and I've seen the team in person once.
So if a tight game in an ancillary tournament can send me to the tub, what's a really important game going to do to me? Say, one against Liverpool's cross-town rivals?

That game just so happens to be tomorrow morning. Liverpool is playing Everton in the Merseyside Derby. Derby games pit teams against their close, close rivals. In England, it's common to have two teams in the same city, like Manchesters United and City. London has six teams in the Premier League this year, so derby games are based on proximity, like the North London Derby with Tottenham and Arsenal, which is also this weekend.

Just like the stadiums for the two teams, less than a mile apart in Liverpool, the Merseyside Derby is going to be a close one.

Where Liverpool are lacking most is in the defensive department. New signing Dejan Lovren has yet to really feel out the rest of the team's center backs to get a good understanding with one another. Add that to the continued aging of center mid turned defensive mid Steven Gerrard and the defensive lines of Liverpool are shaky at best at the moment. They don't look like they'll have Daniel Sturridge fit for the game either, which is a big loss for Liverpool. They've been missing a creative spark and some pace going forward and their goal totals in the last few Premier League games have shown it.

That's not good for Liverpool, considering Romelu Lukaku is coming to town with Everton. Lukaku is a big, talented pain in the ass. And he's going to be up for this game.

I don't have a good feel for this game. Both teams have stumbled out of the gate and look worse than they did last season. The team that wins this game could be quicker to get their feet beneath them.

But the game means more than three points on the league table. One side gets bragging rights until the next derby. It means everything to the city.

Me? I'll be going insane, probably. Driving myself up a wall over a game for bragging rights in a city an ocean away.

No, it doesn't make any sense at all to care this much. But that's half the fun.

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