THERE is a period of time between Dortmund’s equaliser and the pinball in their penalty area finishing where Philippe Coutinho has the ball in their area for what seems like forever.
In that period of time the big bang happens, galaxies are born, dust becomes matter, life climbs from the oceans, something becomes upright, language is created, the dark ages, middle ages and modern era occurs. The Americans elect Cruz or Trump. Human life becomes extinct. Coutinho still has the ball in their area.
I may never get over that period of time.
I’ve had a lovely day. Spoken to loads of Dortmund people and they have been sound. New friends. A great set of lads. They have had an edge to them though. They expected to win the game. They liked themselves. They backed themselves. They are right to, you know that now. They are right to because they are good. Very good.
Coutinho still has the ball in their box by the way. I close my eyes and that is all I see. Liverpool with the ball in their box. They can be good. We have the ball in their box and we will do until the end of time.
But we are good too. We are good. We had an edge to us on and off the pitch tonight, an edge which has been lacking. We needed a bit of luck. We were always going to, but then they needed a bit of luck too. This Liverpool side is cheaply and easily disparaged. They say our days are numbered.
Our days may or may not be numbered. Who knows? We are all immortal while Coutinho has the ball in their box. Locked in the moment.
That first half there was Liverpool finding their way through the game and Liverpool roaring defiance in the stand. There was communion. That is the key thing. There is that moment that clicks a team and a support together. Gnarl.
Shall we talk about the football and what it felt like? Scary, uncertain and then explosive.
Liverpool could go in 5-3 down. Liverpool should go in 0-2 up. Liverpool go in 0-1 ahead. Football is a series of moments — loosely linked moments, moments that have some context but so often are just one lad trying to do something good against another.
Liverpool had a first half full of good moments, good instances, and Liverpool realised that they were in a contest they more than deserved to be in.
That realisation and how Liverpool coped with their moments thereafter was the most important aspect of the game from our point of view. Split seconds. Mamadou Sakho throwing himself in front of the ball; Dejan Lovren’s last-ditch tackle. Alberto Moreno winning his battles.
Split seconds and all eternity — the nature of football, never more summed up. Singing, shouting, jumping and demanding, moments that last forever, moments that flash past you. Footballers making decisions and doing their best.
The last 30 is about graft and shape and digging each other out. Dortmund are a good side and good sides can beat you; Liverpool have a 50-50 chance at Anfield. Dortmund have two goals in them. They have four goals in them.
You know what? So do The Reds.
Dortmund, for a side so highly spoken of, seem strangely vulnerable. They seem to have a rick in them — not alone there — and they seem to have space behind them.
They come to Anfield needing to score but that is the least of their problems. I’d be surprised if they didn’t score. They are so potent. It will come down to split seconds. It will come down to eternities.
Coutinho has the ball in their box, Liverpool have them penned in. Having screamed my head off for 45 minutes I found myself drained once the galaxies became dust and our period of pressure finished.
It was draining because it meant and felt like everything. Football matches which are, and feel like, everything. God bless them. What a Europa League run this has become.
Heart pounding, throat aching. Worrying, worrying, worrying. But the Reds saw us all through to set it all up. Don’t worry about a thing. Every little thing is going to be alright.
There’s an old standard. You got your education from the Kop. Just saying. In a bit.
Up the gnarly bastard Reds.