Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants – Roma 4 Liverpool 2

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It’s 22.19 on 2nd May and my head’s gone.

Seriously. I’m all over the place. Logic has left the building.

I feel like the character Red at the end of The Shawshank Redemption when he says “I find I’m so excited I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head.”

I’m on the Tube going home as I type this. The couple next to me are discussing Silvio Berlusconi and how he escapes prosecution. I’m dying to interrupt and ask them about Gini Wijnaldum’ s goal and how one man can solve all the world’s ills with a limp header. I wonder if they’d mind.

Another man – this one sitting opposite me – is asleep. His head is bobbing up and down like one of those puppets you seen attached to the rear window of cars. I’ve no idea how he’s nodded off.  How can the world sleep after that? I know I’ve no chance. Each one of my fibres is alive and screaming for expression.

And the best thing about tonight? The loveliest thing about the Reds sealing another European Cup final place? This.

Liverpool were awful on tonight.

Absolutely dire.

We ceded possession on the edge of our box so often that it began to look like a tactical masterplan. In the second half the back five more or less stopped playing and pleaded to Edin Dzeko ‘Look, we’re shit scared of you. Can you stop this?’

It doesn’t matter though. We got so far away in the first hour at Anfield that the tie was all but done. Liverpool Football Club are going to Kiev.

And we’re nothing like the finished picture. There are concerns about this side and Jurgen’s style. It’s mad that we’re much better at 0-0 than 5-0 when you’d ordinarily expect the opposite. We can’t see out a game to save our lives, but all this is for another day. Liverpool are in the European Cup final. Or the European Super Cup qualifier if you like.

And that shouldn’t be. Liverpool should have been knocked out by the first decent team they played. That’s what the narrative says. We haven’t had a run in this competition for nine years so we should have bedded in and progressed in increments. Maybe get out of the group and then fall to someone worthier. That would at least when show development.

Oh no. Not this Liverpool side. This Liverpool side has other ideas.

As in 2005 we just announced ourselves with an enormous ‘Fuck you’ to the footballing Gods. The 2001 UEFA Cup victory sowed the seeds back then, but no one was expecting Juventus, Chelsea and Milan. New manager, first season, first trophy. The biggest one. We’re back. Thanks.

Bring on your Internazionale.

Bring on your Roma by the score.

All this and we still couldn’t beat Stoke. That makes it even better somehow. Funnier.

I’ve got to do the A.I Podcast tomorrow night with Trev Downey and Kam Brainch. There’s every chance I may have to mime or use Morse code. My voice is already at the high-pitched squeak stage. I’m sat on this Tube alternatively cackling to myself and punching the air. This is what this means.

Barcelona, Real Madrid

Who the fuck you trying to kid?

I’m made up it’s them too. Bayern are a bit good and I’ve no beef with them, but Madrid are an irritant. The sight of football blown up to its most amorphous mass and saccharin glory. The Fat Elvis of world football. The game seems to serve them and them alone with their £8bn budget and their cherry picking transfer policy. Trent Alexander-Arnold is from West Derby, Liverpool L12 and I’d love it if a kid from such humble beginnings can kick them off their stage in Ukraine.

I love the shortcutting too. Liverpool can’t win the League. We’ve only been close about three times since 1990 and yet we can leapfrog the entire continent on the next step above that. It’s like The Beatles going from Rubber Soul to Sgt Pepper without bothering with Revolver in the middle.

This isn’t about other clubs and I don’t have the joy some have over Everton and United fans sniping. For me this is just a further extension of what this club can achieve. We’ve barely any midfielders left; we seem not to have bothered spending any of the Coutinho money and are scrapping for fourth place in the League despite having beaten the Champions three times this year. But we can stand up when we need to.

We weren’t supposed to get to the European Cup final. We weren’t supposed to stare down the biggest club on the planet when we get to Kiev in 24 days. We were supposed to do as we’re told and play out to a mindless algorithm.

Not this team.

Not this club. 

Cos, Libpool are the team that we adore.

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