WALKING out the ground there is loads of singing. Loads of harassed faces. I bump into Ben Jono. Collapse on to his shoulder. This is overwhelming. Everyone is exhausted and exhuberant.
This is the essence of tired and emotional.
I was terrified for Arsenal. A wreck. That was it. Are these what I thought they were? Are they a brilliant football team?
I was horrified for Fulham. Clawing at my face. Are these what I thought they were? Are they a serious football team?
Today I woke up. Did the dishes. Decanted the port. Had a shower. Then the panic set in. What do I wear? Long day ahead. Breakfast at 11. Expect to be out all night. Looks chilly. What do I wear? What coat? Knitwear or just shirt?
Duncan there overwhelmed. Shaking his head. See Steve Graves. In excelsis deo. Some lad grabs me. Put that in your Anfield Wrap. Oh, we will. You are telling me we will.
This morning the football didn’t come into it. These are a brilliant football team. The football was the least of my worries. These are a serious football team. Liverpool will win.
Team news. The manager has a decision to make. Decision for him seems as straightforward as my morning. All in. He’s urged the crowd to be all in. He’s gone all in. He’s said to his team they are to seize the day.
Now you’re gonna believe us.
Aguero starts from the bench.
Seize the day.
Walking to the ground with Mike Girling. “This,” he says, “is what you are in it for. If this isn’t for you then find something else to do.”
It’s been a year of days. I’ve seized them. I’m not letting them go. Do not let them go.
Now you’re going to believe us.
I’m sitting alone today. I mooch up to my seat. The emotion of it is suddenly overwhelming. Nearly in tears. For a long time I wondered if we’d ever be in this position. Sages suggested we’d be looking at a long journey to this point. And I honestly, honestly, honestly wondered, as awful as it is to admit, if I had a long journey in me. Everyone sensible counselling caution, almost revelling in the length of the journey. Talking to you about process and cycles. Extrapolating this, analysing that. Rome not built in a year. It was at odds with what I think of this city and its football. At odds with how I think full stop. Just do it and work out if you had permission to do it afterwards.
This isn’t a title decider. Nothing silver is won today. Arsenal wasn’t a title decider. Fulham wasn’t. However today’s game tells the rest of the world, those who don’t follow us, the story Arsenal and Fulham told us. We are a serious football team. A brilliant football team. Tug your forelock in front of it. Genuflect if you feel the need. These lads are The Business.
So The Business:
– The noise when they came to the corner flag Kop end at twenty two past one was intense.
– The silences and tributes were impeccable.
– The opening explosion something to behold. The crowd, often maligned was wonderfully intense. As intense as what was in front of it. And the utterly relentless Raheem Sterling eased his way through City, taking an age to slot home. Such precocious ability so aggressively harnessed.
– I see stories of the season everywhere I look. But this second half of the season surely belongs to Raheem. Dzeko urging his teammates to sharpen. Coutinho hunting for his life.
– They targetted Liverpool’s right with numbers, want to break quickly on Liverpool’s left. They looked to pressure Henderson in possession. They made a virtue of the necessity of Toure’s substitution.
– They are good at football. The crowd’s constant barracking terrific and necessary.
– First half Manchester City were good at football but not Liverpool at football. Liverpool kept coming, Sturridge should have scored, Gerrard elicited a fantastic save from Hart. Skrtel was never to be denied on an occasion like this.
– Liverpool kept coming, got themselves into a nervy funk before half time when lesser sides might have just shut everything down. However they should, again, have got a third. They kept coming. Champions Elect.
– What a team we have here.
Then Manchester City destroyed all my certainties. Destroyed all our certainties. They started the second half brilliantly. Milner made a huge difference but David Silva was remarkable. For the first time in a very long time Liverpool simply couldn’t cope. We were the ones undressed. The lazily maligned Demichelis had Suarez as much in his pocket as anyone has managed this season.
Now you’re going to believe us.
We have played Manchester City twice and they have been two proper football matches. They are a proper team. Splendid. Three points each feels a fair outcome.
Coutinho’s superb third turned the game into something akin to the rearguard actions that started the season. Liverpool clung on, Henderson jumped in, Lucas arrived. The crowd was magnificent throughout. Not taking no for an answer. We will not be denied. We will not be moved.
We’re going to win the league.
On the final whistle I burst into tears. Shaking, my shirt unimportant. Hipflask empty, heart emptier. They’ve shown themselves to be brilliant, be serious and be hewn from iron. What a performance in both halves. Resilience in spades.
We’ve done this much. We are the only side that controls its own destiny in mid April. No one gave us permission to do it. We just did it.
Four to go.
Pics: David Rawcliffe / Propaganda
I don’t know how I got through the afternoon. It was painful. It was full of elation. It was terrifying.
I’d started to wonder in recent years if I’d ever see us win another title in my lifetime and then this season has come along. At times I’ve dreamed of us being here, willed us to be here; and now we’re here it’s even more terrifying. I haven’t felt this nervous since the European cup in 77.
I don’t know how I’ll get through until Norwich and it will all start again. I just hope the lads are psychologically stronger than I am :=)
Chaotically, mind-bogglingly, madness-inducingly beautiful this is. All of it.
Obviously ive not read the above bollox.
But what a strike by my fav player, ole shit hair cut, coutinho!!
Who’s your barber Bob, I could do with getting my ears lowered today
This is turning into a very emotionally stressful period. If I had known what this was going to take, I would not have as blithely wished for it, as I do, as we all do, every season. They keep going, and they are pulling us along with them, every painful match, every rollercoasting minute of every game, they demand that we put in our last full measure of devotion for every heartstopping second. If they’re going to live this, we are going to have to live it with them…kick every ball, stretch for every tackle, endure every moment of every game as if we are there with them. See it there, on his face, what we are all feeling. Our captain. We are all in this together, and it will kill us or it will make us, there is no more middle ground. We are all, all in.
Neil – I’ve watched these matches and read your post match articles this entire season. I can’t even describe the joy I’m feeling now. This team is so much fun to watch. This is what football should be. This is why I never give up hope. I’m sitting in a pub in Milwaukee Wisconsin sharing this moment with my best buds not wanting this season to end but dreaming of the moment at the same time. I love this club.
Oh my lord, what a game. One for the ages.
Tears of relief at the end because those last 10 mins were nearly the end of me. The joy will sink in later.
Had anyone else been in my gaff when Coutinho scored, they’d have been calling the cops.
But this is what it’s all about. Do or die and regret what could have been.
But not this time. So proud of the lads, the gaffer, and the Anfield faithful today, words almost seem pointless after that.
‘Extrapolating’ – are you being serious? you pretentious twat!
Straight from the book of Peace. GB84. Intertextual innit….
Bob if you don’t want pretensions you could always read the articles on teamtalk
Roller coaster of emotions, highs of first half, lows of second rage at company’s shove of luis. Elation of the third, nerves for the final 12+. One or two tears wife laughing at my silliness. drained afterwards and having to go to work. Don’t know how I’ll survive for another 4 weeks
Mike Girling’s right. So are you. Luckily we now have a manager who agrees with you both. No fear. The Liverpool way. What a job Brendan’s done with this team!
It’s funny but emotions are getting the better of me too. I don’t think I’ve shed a tear in the last 20 years but this month it’s becoming every day. More today at the final whistle. I can’t quite believe we’re gonna win the league.
I was doing okay at the final whistle. Elated, but in control. I listened to some of the post-match analysis and Brendan’s interview and got in the car to drive home. I stopped at the lights a little way down the road and realised I was crying. Seriously, WTF are these bastards doing to us?
Thank you both making me feel a little more sane. I was all balled up and crying like a damn baby after the final whistle. It was Stevie’s face that did it, his emotions triggered mine and it all just came out, unexpected, unfiltered, tears of joy, tears of relief, tears for my fellow Reds.
So fucking exciting.
So fucking excruciating.
So god damn tricky.
So 3 points.
So on to Norwich…
To those that either can’t be bothered to read these articles, or quite simply don’t like them because they have the audacity to use a variation of words that are still found in the English dictionary…your comments really make me smile.
Football like any other sport attracts more than it’s fair share of knobheads, and we’ve got you to prove that no matter how good life is some miserable twat is always stood somewhere nearby thinking it’s hilarious to try and piss on your chips? Piss away crazy lar…I’d dropped them anyway cheering like fuck!
Sweet dreams bobby…kiss kiss
History favours a brave general.
Rodgers is good. He can stay.
That was quite a trip. Slightly dazed to be honest. I’ve got tangled passages of play still swirling inside my head. Big rubs of the green alongside passages of brilliance and dabs of calamity. Some drama for a Sunday lunchtime. Same result though, 3 more, we chalk ’em up and move on. It’s become metronomic. We are powered by a force far more beguiling than the fossil fuelled clubs beneath us.
Next up, a road East to Norwich. The title not in our bag yet but in our hands now. 360 diamond hard and marathon long minutes and change remain. I’m determined to look every second in the eye and savour them all. It’s a dream within a dream. Rodgers and Gerrard are going to do this.
Unfortunately, Chelsea also control their own destiny now too but hopefully the CL semi-final serves as a suitable distraction. Exciting times.
Amazing! I’m still an emotional mess now. Elation mixed with worry and excitement. This is one heck of a ride. I have no idea who the guys in the pub were that I was embracing, but I do know that we all BELIEVE!
Brilliant stuff. You can smell the angst, feel the energy and be a wee bit closer to football and Liverpool history by just reading it. Just brilliant. Keep it coming!
Absolutely fantastic article! Encompassed all of the emotions I went through!
( one thing though, the blue chavs also have it in their hands…)
No they don’t, even if Chelsea win all their games (including against us), City can still catch them with their games in hand.
I’m loving every minute of it. In fact, the most stressed I’ve been was during the second half of the Sunderland match when I could barely watch the game on TV and decided to pace up and down instead, glancing from time to time as the crowd oooh’d and aaah’d every few minutes.
The club has always been important to us as supporters, that would never change no matter what our situation, but over the course of 9 months we have become relevant again in the wider world of football. The dark days of the last few years, whilst never forgotten, can be put to the back of our minds as we enjoy the excitement of watching entertaining football being created by a team that consists of what is essentially a very likeable group of players.
Enjoy the ride for the next four games and let’s see where we are at 5pm on Sunday 11th May.
Great piece Neil you’ve summed up this mad monumental day perfectly ,I’ve been a Liverpool fan for 45 years and even I can’t cope with this mad trip we are on right now , I’ve never taken LSD but this journey to winning this title must be what it’s like,
Each game is mind blowing right now and the after effects last about 48 hours with articles like yours , the podcast ,all in the game , you tube video’s of the team coach coming down Anfield rd, reading players tweets I could go on and on, panic is setting in as my sky box memory is maxed out with all the games on keep how can you delete beating the blues , blitzing the gooners, tormenting our manc friends ,the spurs demolition and now bringing City to their knees.
Make us Dream. Will to win.
Like most long time fans, I have waited patiently for this moment.
Yes moments like this… to hear the roar of Anfield willing the team to win the league…
Now that its here… I’m going to savour every moment of it…
How is it that a City I’ve never set foot in, can conjure up so much emotion within me? Perhaps it’s because I’m crazy. Perhaps it’s because I’ve endured years and years of this journey as well, watching from 3,000 miles away. Perhaps it’s because of the history of the club and it’s commitment to the 96. Perhaps it’s because Scouse culture is so tangible. Perhaps it’s because I know what this means to the Captain and what he’s gives to the shirt. Perhaps it’s because I know what it means to the local supporters. But it’s definitely because of what it means to me.
Though the journey is not over, yesterday was glorious…even in Richmond, Virginia.
The Scouse influence is strong in dear old Richmond, the Penny Lane Pub is our own special piece of Liverpool and it’s force is strong.
This. Just THIS.
I was at the MCG last June and that was special. It was the start of something special. This is our year and now your gonna believe us !!! YNWA.
First home match I’ve missed this season (bad holiday planning) so had to settle with getting text updates from my mum when anything remotely exciting happened! Deffo the most tense 90 mins of my entire life, lost at least half a stone walking round Universal Studios in the searing heat with the even more searing tension! Roller coasters? What roller coasters? Shed a war cry and a little tear at the end. My mum was in bits describing Stevie’s tears. I feel spent, overjoyed but totally spent! YNWA!