I LOOK across on 65 minutes or so and Raffy Gutmann, aged six, at his first final, is in tears; tears rolling down his cheeks. He’s in tears and really it isn’t unreasonable. I have no solace to offer. None whatsoever.
If I was six years old I would be inconsolable as well at that moment. I’m 35 and I’m going to need a lot of consoling now after penalties.
Liverpool got their equaliser despite the fact they weren’t playing particularly well. They never quite properly got going in the game.
The first half was cagey, Manchester City determined not to get caught on the counter. Liverpool eager to catch them but not too keen to do much else. City’s moment of quality through Aguero resulted in Liverpool’s best moment of quality — Mignolet’s save.
It’s that save that drives you mad when he lets the opener in. He’s a keeper capable of saving what he shouldn’t. And then something comes he should and it ends up in the back of the net.
He isn’t the only man culpable — that Manchester City attack like that shouldn’t surprise Liverpool. But he is by far the most culpable.
The play exploded from there, a game flapping in the breeze and both sides lacked quality — City lacked the ultimate touch, Liverpool the penultimate one. The same lack of quality which has too often been the case in the final third this season the issue.
When Liverpool did show quality they carved out chances and the equaliser comes from three or four of Liverpool’s players showing what they are capable of — the move flowed and despite it needing a rebound the goal was reward enough for the quality of the play.
That made the game flap around even more — City unable to have complete control, Liverpool with half a foot hold.
Liverpool stayed alive. They grinded and grafted. Grunted and grafted. Graft was their main asset, 14 players desperate to win for Liverpool, no one hiding.
They walked through 120 minutes of treacle. Nothing came easy for them, the goalkeeper making another world-class save from Aguero which cannot atone for the basic error however much you want it to. Origi denied and then penalties.
We can deconstruct the penalties another time. I don’t understand the takers or the order though I wouldn’t have had Can so what do I know? I know I wouldn’t have had Sturridge either.
What I do know is that we’re heading back north and if it was at all possible, if it were at all socially acceptable, I’d quite like to sit somewhere alone and do some of that weeping. I’d love to do some of that.
I’d love to let my inner six year old weep.
But we need to be grown ups. Football matches sometimes go against you. Some days you don’t play, some days you don’t get going but some days you dig in and you make it work. And still it goes against you.
It doesn’t have to be anyone’s fault. It doesn’t have to be a blame game. It’s football. Pick yourself up. Dust yourself off. Remember and then win the next one emphatically.
Afterwards Raffy was fine. Chatty. Enjoyed the occasion.
It got us all out the house. Got us all in each other’s company. Always the best thing. Always the best bit. Find your own solace but that will always be mine.
Up the homeward bound Reds. It’s meant to hurt.