This is it. The Quarter-finals. The big time. The European Cup.
The draw was met by sighs when Andriy Shevchenko pulled out Man City to face us.
And understandably so, as every supporter wants Liverpool to play the giants across the continent and show the rest of Europe what the team is about. The memories of trips to European cities to watch the mighty reds play live long in the memories of fans who made the trips. Last week it marked 40 years since Liverpool travelled to Dusseldorf for the first leg of the European Cup semi-final against Borussia Monchengladbach. My Twitter feed included nostalgic pictures from those who made the trip and made those memories.
Without a doubt, it is the best club competition to be a part of, and we can make those memories on home turf like we have done many a time before. Similar to what we have done against other English teams in the past, in the forms of Chelsea and Arsenal.
When Liverpool faced Chelsea in the second leg semi-final, a vast sea of red was in full force inside Anfield. The night has gone down in Liverpool folklore as one of the best there has been. My Dad was on the Kop that night and he said he hasn’t heard anything like it since.
The generation before that had the Quarter-final against St Etienne when David Fairclough struck a late winner against the French side.
As the cliché goes, anything is possible on a European night at Anfield.
In the 2016 season, en-route to the Europa League final, the bus welcomings on Anfield Road were a wonder in itself to see the pictures of it after. Flags hanging from a scaffold, red smoke and a hell of a lot of noise let the opposing players know they were going into the Lions’ den and the Liverpool team knew we were right behind them on the streets.
The call to arms for Wednesday has been heard and a bigger scale of what has been before will ensue in two days’ time. No warning by Merseyside Police about the use of pyrotechnics in the vicinity of the ground will lead to arrests will stop the now routinely turn out in these huge games.
Man City ‘expressed concerns’ to the police about the reception they are scared to face. To be fair, City doesn’t know how to spell the word ‘atmosphere’, never mind make one, so who can blame them? They are bound to be afraid of a club whose heritage in Europe is up there with Real Madrid.
No team in Europe would have wanted to have drawn Liverpool due to the factors of Anfield and our front three.
The second leg would have been nicer to be at Anfield so we know exactly what we need to do. But instead, we have to approach the game with the attitude to win by all costs and an icing on the cake would be not to concede.
Considering our underdog status, most fans seem to believe that we genuinely have a real chance of making it six in May. I am one of those who believe. Nobody gave us a chance in the last eight against Juventus in 2005 and we weren’t given a chance against Mourinho’s Chelsea side that year either. Again, we weren’t given a chance against AC Milan in the final and look what happened.
We bask in our underdog status. Its what makes us dangerous.
Come out in full force on Wednesday, the Reds, those on the pitch, in the stands and on the streets.
Let’s give the next generation a night to remember and go on competing where we belong.