I don’t know where to start.
“Get in there” has been yelled more times in the past few days off highlight shows than any other in recent memory. It seems like the most apt thing to say after another night of turmoil, hell, wrecked emotions, shredded nerves, and ultimately, unbridled joy. This feels as good as I ever imagined it to be. I’m drunk on sentimentality, romance, and emotion. This feeling after beating Chelsea in the semi finals of the Champions League is what we spend endless hours thinking about formations, refreshing the BBC site as Transfer deadline day approaches, and trawling through ‘highlights’ of the reserves game at Wrexham for. Nights like Tuesday night.
Ultimately though, we’ve beaten Chelsea again. And this time, they have nothing to complain about. We can celebrate safe in the knowledge that there were no “Ghost goals”, no contentious refereeing decisions, no suspended players, and no handballs not awarded. Don’t be fooled by Mourinho’s “We were the better team” protestations. There was only one side looked like winning it. We hit the bar, had a perfectly good goal disallowed, and bar Drogba’s half-chance in the first-half, they didn’t have anything to really trouble us. Mourinho’s hollow jibes are a poor attempt at covering up the real problem; in the space of 4 days he’s blown Chelsea’s massive hopes for this year on his own. He should never have dropped Lampard and Drogba at home to Bolton, and their subsequent failure to capitalise on United’s stuttering form of late has hurt him. The confidence gained from beating Bolton would have been the perfect tonic going into tonight’s game for his flagging players. They’ve blown it all, and he’s to blame.
Their failure though, and that we’ve ended it for them just as we did two years ago, makes it all the more pleasant. They must really hate us by now. They can hand out their pathetic little flags to wave in the stands, coupled with the billions that oligrach cnut has pumped into transfers, but the facts are there: Twice now they’ve been rolled out in the Semi-Finals of the one competition they so desperately want to win by a team replete with Djimi Traore’s, Vladimir Smicer’s, and Bolo Zenden’s. HA HA HA.
They must be astonished as to how it can happen. Look at their side, their money and their resources, and they still can’t beat us, even when they’re leading after the first-leg. They just don’t get it though, they don’t understand that in the psyche of our club there’s an unshirkable defiance. A wonderful, indescribable ‘X’ Factor that wins us five European Cups, that takes us from 3-0 down at half-time, and that makes outsiders like Javier Mascherano, Bolo Zenden, Pepe Reina, and others never ever want to let us down on occassions like that one.
The performances of some were more-than-magnificent. What we criticised in the aftermath of Stamford Bridge two weeks ago, we should now laud. The workrate was back, the tenacity was there, the tackles, the obduracy, the grit. We showed some bollox, and led by the irrepressible Jamie Carragher we stuck up a massive ‘Thou shalt not pass’ sign right in front of that git Drogba, and the rest of ’em. Their supporters pine for 30 Million Shevchenko’s, 120 grand a week Ballack’s, and 9-year contract John Terry’s. It’s all fruitless though when you come up against “A Team of Carraghers”.
They only even managed to score one penalty, the hapless fuckers. And that was a testament to Reina. What a goalkeeper this guy’s turning out to be. Make no mistake, he’s not just a partypiece penalty-stopper, he’s a wonderful all round keeper, and as shrewd a signing as Rafa has made at the club.
His determination was matched all round the park. Finnan, Agger, Zenden, Crouch, Pennant, Gerrard – all of them excellent. Special mention must go to three individduals though; Carragher, Mascherano and Kuyt, for theirs were as good as examples of never-say-die as you’re likely to see on a football pitch. Kuyt has been criticised, and rightly so to some extent, for labouring rather than finishing. Only a fool would suggest that tonight’s endless endless running and work didn’t have it’s merits. He was wonderful and we couldn’t have asked for any more. Mascherano was refreshingly excellent. How is it possible that we’ve got as good a player as him from the West Ham reserve team? And of course… OurCarra. An absolute bloody hero.
Quite how Carra’s interception/deflection/tackle, call it what you will, went over the bar from a yard out late in the second half I’ve no idea. They say you make your own luck, and you couldn’t deny somebody of Carra’s workrate that adage. Let’s hope in years to come we talk about that clearance over the bar being as key a moment to success as Gudjohnsen’s miss in ’05 was.
I’m not even bothered about whether we make it ‘Six Times!’, I’m still revelling in the hysteria. I just want to savour this, trawl through the net for Mourinho’s post-match quotes, and watch Kuyt’s penalty hit the back of the Anfield Road net again, and again, and again…
As I sat there in disbelief watching the celebrations erupt around our great Stadium, with tears streaming down my face, I thought of a few things; How could we ever leave this magical home we call ‘Anfield’? We don’t need to eulogise it with ‘Theatre of Dreams’ style propoganda. I thought about the feelings that must have been running through the heads of our new American owners. And finally I began to wonder where, how and why my support for Liverpool football club ever came about. I was too drunk with emotion to even come up with answers though.
I have no idea really, and will obviously have even less of a clue if somebody asks me in 40 years time. I will never ever forget nights, memories, and the outpouring of emotion that follows beating Chelsea tonight though.
I guess really, I’m just thankful I support the greatest football team in the entire World.