You can dislike the punditry, but Merse is an impossible man to loath. 'It'd be like hating a shaggy dog that runs up to you and wants you to throw it a stick,' say the boys...
The summer window is officially open, and Premier League clubs have wasted no time in doing deals. But what do you remember of the transfer silly season so far?
The New Year spawns many a New Year's resolution. I propose that the new season do likewise. So, what's your new season's resolution? Let me tell you mine.
This season, I'm going to attempt something that goes against my very DNA as a Liverpool supporter, something I should have done when the face of football changed ten seasons ago with the arrival of Roman Abramovich into the English game. I'm going to try and take an enlightened view on Manchester United, the Red Devils to its fans, for too long the Great Satan to me.
Growing up in suburban Dublin in the 1970s and 1980s, kids for the most part supported either Liverpool or United. And despite the fact that United were at times largely irrelevant as serious on-field rivals to Liverpool in that period, their fans in my school and on my road kept the Manchester side front and centre in my mind as Liverpool's great enemies. No matter how well Liverpool did, United, I was assured, were better. Every league or cup win over the Merseymen was rammed down my gob, every United trophy treated as if it were the European Cup itself.
I've carried my schoolyard dislike of United right through my adult years, sharpening with every title win as Liverpool declined into soap opera and pantomime. I would have carried it into this season too had I not had a road to Damascus type moment over the summer when considering where Liverpool are right now, where they want to go and what they need to do to get there.
Clearly, it's imperative that Liverpool get back into the Champions League. Being there will help the club grow on an off the pitch and compete at the top table on a consistent basis. It could, allied with Liverpool's global reach and brand potential, be the platform for knocking United off their bloody perch! (A man can dream can't he?) By the same token, failure to qualify time and again is seeing the club's legendary status gradually leach away. Top four is a priority.
The time has come to recalibrate and refocus as a Liverpool fan. Yes, Manchester United present a barrier to entry as they more or less own one of the four coveted spots. But critically - and here was my epiphany - United are there on merit, by virtue of the many great decisions made in growing that club in the last 25 odd years.
Manchester United are what my club should aspire to be. Looking at FSG's plans for Liverpool, you get the impression they are thinking on similar lines. If Liverpool are to get back to the top of the tree, it will be by making great decisions on and off the pitch and using the club's own resources to get there. And that is how it should be.
Yes, United are a rival - but they are not the enemy. They are the role model. Liverpool's enemies are Chelsea and Manchester City, two traditionally flaky and middling clubs who have grown to positions of prominence in the English and European games as a result of the riches bestowed on them by their owners. Neither club could have hoped to reach such lofty heights under their own steam. The owners of both clubs have skewed and subverted the game in England. If neither club had won the lottery, so to speak, then by the historic order of the English game, Liverpool would consistently make the top four and would accordingly be growing more powerful.
By their very existence, City and Chelsea hold Liverpool back. Their riches guarantee that one or usually both take up critical Champions League spots. I see little value in their achievements on the pitch since both were given billionaire backing, little romance or inspiration in either club's story. On balance, I would prefer Liverpool - no matter how long it took - to try and grow from their own resources as United did, than be bought by a billionaire and be catapulted back to the top.
So enough is enough! This season, I'll no longer be childishly cheering either side on in the hope that they stop United adding another title to the trophy cabinet. If United do so, then good luck to them - Liverpool should watch and learn. Struggles for Chelsea and City would be much more deserving of celebration. This doesn't mean I'll be supporting United and greeting every victory - just that I'll try to be more philosophical about what it means.
Like my New Year's resolutions, I'll probably cave within a few months. But in principle, the pledge is sound.
So tell me, what's your new season's resolution going to be?
Paul Little - follow him on Twitter