IT always does, to be honest, but the football world feels like a particularly strange place at the moment.
Rafa Benitez is back, smiling and joking, caretaker-manager of the club he once considered his bitterest rivals, Roberto Di Matteo is heading for the Job Centre six months after lifting the European Cup, and Manchester City are discovering that even the riches of Abu Dhabi can’t buy them a way out of the Champions League group stages.
As for Liverpool, well they’re busy taking tactical evolution to a new, extreme level. The “false nine” is the new buzzphrase at Anfield. Strikers? Who needs them?
Brendan Rodgers has used his side’s Europa League campaign as a laboratory, a place to uncover and reshape hidden assets, to concoct a system that can overcome the limitations placed upon his squad by the club’s underwhelming summer transfer dealings.
It is a policy that has borne fruit already this season. It was Europa League performances that convinced Rodgers the likes of Suso, Raheem Sterling and Andre Wisdom, teenagers, were ready to make the step up to senior football.
So it was not entirely surprising, then, to see the Reds boss continuing his experimental theme here, naming a side without a single recognised striker, and a £20m winger at left back.
It was not enough to secure a passage to the knockout stages. That will be decided when the Reds visit Udinese next month, after Young Boys twice came from behind to earn a draw. Liverpool’s crime here was one of defensive naivety, rather than attacking wastefulness.
Jonjo Shelvey, a central midfielder with a record of five goals in 52 appearances for the club, was the man tasked with leading the line, as Liverpool sought the win that would book their place in the knockout stages.
The term ‘false nine’ is one that has worked its way into football parlance over the past couple of years, used mainly to explain the impact made by the likes of Lionel Messi with Barcelona, or Cesc Fabregas with Spain. Players who occupy forward areas, but who defy the traditional characteristics of a central striker.
Shelvey, patently, is no Messi. He’s a work in progress, a player of promise but with room for improvement. This was another box to tick on his development sheet.
Dropping deep in search of the ball, yet still expected to trouble Alain Nef and Dusan Veskovac, Young Boys’ central defensive pairing, in the air whenever Liverpool looked long, the former Charlton Athletic man was swiftly in the thick of things.
His pass, smartly angled and perfectly weighted, gave Joe Cole Liverpool’s first sight of goal 16 minutes in.
He was at it again 10 minutes later, releasing Jordan Henderson with a sublime flick after showing to receive a pass to feet from Martin Skrtel.
Shelvey continued to take up intelligent, largely central, positions. His movement was to be rewarded on 33 minutes with the game’s opening goal, a close-range header after a neat move involving Cole and Suso down the right.
It was his fourth Europa League strike of the season, a triumph of awareness and anticipation more than anything else. Moments later his presence and determination caused panic at a corner, with Cole’s deflected effort eventually cleared from the line by Raphael Nuzzolo.
Cole, perhaps the real surprise inclusion – “the false 10”, as one wag rather harshly put it – enjoyed as productive a night as he has in a Liverpool shirt.
We are probably beyond the stage now where the former England international can revive his Anfield career, so horrendously do his wages dwarf his contribution, but here his touch was assured, his brightness undeniable.
He created four goalscoring opportunities in the first half alone, and can take heart from a performance which culminated in what looked to be the winning goal, smartly taken with his left foot 18 minutes from time.
It won’t be enough to save his Reds career, but it at least helped remind people – and maybe potential January suitors - of his existence.
His standing ovation, as he was substituted for Sterling moments after his timely strike, was as deserved as it was unexpected.
Told you football was a strange place right now.