So, January really turned out to be one of the most chaotic, uplifting, depressing, confusing, enraging, hopeful months in, well, years. At least for Liverpool. For us here at the Liverpool Offside, all that stuff managed to help us to a record month while holding on to top spot amongst all the other fantastic blogs that make up The Offside network. If this keeps up, we might have to start talking about having six Australian readers one of these days.
As the end of the month showed with the wealth of great comments in the community below the fold, much of what makes this place worthwhile are all the people who take the time to take part in it in one way or another. So again, as always, a special thanks has to go out to you. Or not, if you're uncomfortable with praise or something. All I know is that we're closer today to global domination and a quality alcohol sponsorship than we've ever been, so hopefully we can keep putting out content that will keep you all wanting to come back.
And only part of that hope stems from the selfish aforementioned desire to achieve world domination in the field of everything.
* It's easy to forget that the horrible result to Wolves that led to the final gasps of the Hodgson regime actually ended December, and that January started with Joe Cole's last appearance to date as he came off the bench against Bolton and bundled in the winning goal in injury time [Click]
Despite the victory, though, most of the world went right back to the Roy Hodgson death watch, with fuel added to proceedings by a publicly chummy chat between the former Liverpool manager and his best friend from down the road [Click]
* With rumours in the air and Liverpool folding against Blackburn, a common routine began to emerge: wake up; check the news to see if he'd been fired yet; complain that he hadn't in fact been fired yet; check the news a few more times; go to bed; repeat.
As the days went by and nothing happened, I took to speculating that perhaps Roy Hodgson had called FSG's bluff, after a fashion, and that he wouldn't be sacked until summer no matter what he did [Click] before waking up one too many times with him still in charge and taking to writing a parable cribbed from Jospeh Conrad as a form of escape [Click]
* Despite a loss against United in the FA Cup to kick off his return to management [Click] the mood around the club was buoyed by Kenny Dalglish's arrival, even if lots of people thought I was an idiot for spoiling the mood with a cautionary tale about what might happen to Martin Kelly if he was overplayed [Click] before I took the chance to wind up the Tuesdays With Roy series [Click]
* On the pitch, a stumble against Blackpool [Click] and a tough draw against Everton [Click] may have followed, but everybody agreed the club was showing signs of life and that it was only a matter of time, even if some of us didn't agree on what Raul Meireles' best position might be [Click]
Then things started to get crazy, with Ryan Babel fined for Tweeting a picture of Howard Webb in a Manchester United shirt [Click] before finding that his helicopter had been sent to Hoffenheim [Click]
It may have taken him a couple of weeks to get there, but as things began to heat up in the transfer market, at least Liverpool managed to find their grove again [Click] with a win over Wolves [Click]
* Soon after, Liverpool rode a bit of luck to a victory over Fulham [Click] Luis Suarez joined the club after a couple of days where his arrival had appeared increasingly unlikely [Click] and the Torres rumours really exploded [Click]
For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to squeeze a tactics post into the final days of the transfer window [Click] but that didn't seem enough to stop the flood of Torres stories coming out as he officially handed in a written transfer request [Click] and Ed wrapped up a crazy final day of the window that saw Torres leave while Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll put pen to paper and signed up with the club [Click]
In retrospect, calling it one of the most chaotic, uplifting, depressing, confusing, enraging, hopeful months in recent years may have been underselling the insanity that was January just a little bit. I feel drained just looking back at all that happened over those crazy thirty-one days. May you live in interesting times, I suppose, and here's to an enjoyable February.