(A man speaks as the camera pans across a non-descript training pitch)
“It just seemed natural. Like we hd been half red already and the natural next step in our careers would be to go full red. For a while we regarded it like a funny but meaningless pattern, kind of like getting four Cs in a row on a multiple choice test. Now there are eight of us here and we know that’s not the case.”
I’m Sadio Mane, captain for South Liver-Hampton-Pool.
(Camera shows Mane, wearing a Liverpool training jacket and Southampton shorts)
“Southampton has an amazing academy. Everyone knows that. But the most curious part about our group is that we don’t have any connecting characteristics. Crouchie is slow and ambling, Dejan is tall and scary, Nathaniel and I are quite pacey, and it just felt like Liverpool were too lazy to scout anywhere else… (turns back to the camera with a start) not that we don’t love playing for the Reds…
The truth is we like it. There’s a certain amount of continuity and we know each other. It’s nice to have friends at the new club. And we’re not just friends at Liverpool! Some of us have left Merseyside and we still have a Whatsapp group.”
(The interviewer interjects)
“You know Sadio, for all the good things you are saying about this… um… arrangement… or I guess pattern, you seem to be quite uneasy.”
(Mane scratches his head and thinks before answering)
“It’s awkward, you know? People talk… they ask questions… and just sort of make us feel bad about having made the transfer from Southampton to Liverpool. Like we shouldn’t have made the transfer even though it is clearly a step up when you consider where the clubs finish in the table and their histories.
We didn’t do anything wrong! You agree right?!”
(The Interviewer answers hastily)
“It’s not my job to pass judgment. I present the facts.”
(Mane waves his hand in disgust)
“You’re just as bad as all the rest of them. I play in the Champions League now! I would never have had that opportunity in Southampton!!”
(Interviewer, defensively adds)
“Well I mean in just the past four years Liverpool have spent over £100 million on players from Southampton, and that doesn’t even include the potential Van Dijk transfer…”
“You don’t get it I guess. Oh wait, gimme a second I got a text…
Virgil and the Ox want to know what address they should put into their Uber, they are on their way. “
(Sensing a shift in the interviewer’s attitude, Mane)
“Oh shut up! What are you an Everton supporter? Screw you. You must hate Liverpool or something. We’re doing this interview over. You won’t shame me.”
(The scene fades out as a voice pronounces)
The story of Liverpool and Southampton’s transfer relationship will never truly be explained, but whispers of South Liver-Hampton-Pool will never fade from the Premier League’s collective memory.