ALL right, everyone.
Here’s five thoughts on that Liverpool game that’s just happened.
1) Me, me, me
I woke up in London this morning, had lunch in Nottingham, and arrived in Liverpool at about 6:30pm. Weighed down by travelling, and an inbox that never shuts up, I’d barely given the game a second thought.
About an hour before kick off, I bump into John Bishop who has a seat near me.
“What’s going on, John?” I ask.
He looks at me as if I’m mad.
“This. This is what’s going on,” he replies.
He’s right as well and it’s one of the things I like most about him — his ability to perfectly sum up a situation.
I then relax with a flapjack and start to look forward to the game.
2) The Circle of Life
I spent most of the first five minutes thinking that all the Dortmund flags look like the artwork for The Lion King musical.
You hear a lot about German fan culture and how brilliant it’s supposed to be. So, I’ll be honest, it’s a little disconcerting to see a load flags based on a long running Disney musical.
It put me right off and, judging by the first 15 minutes, had a massive effect on the Liverpool players as well.
3) Oh dear
I spend 40 per cent of the first half thinking I’ll probably knock this column on the head for this game. We’ve been torn apart, we suddenly need to score three goals, and the Dortmund fans are bubbling away like someone is trying to reduce a big yellow stew.
I then spend another 40 per cent of the first half trying to think of any yellow stews to make that previous joke work but fail to come up with any.
At some point, Dejan Lovren puts in the best cross that anyone has seen in world football in the last 25 years.
I spend the remaining 20 per cent of the first half thinking about that.
4) Ten to go
A lot of actual football happens in that second half but it boils down to this — there’s 10 to go and we just need one goal.
Suddenly, it’s no longer a football match — it’s a whodunnit. Because you know it’s going to happen, it’s the most inevitable thing you’ve ever seen. 45,000 people in the ground know it and everyone watching at home knows it.
Even those bubbling Dortmund fans have finally been taken off the heat. They’re flat, they’re still, because they know it.
The denouement is coming and it feels like it needs a pause in the action for everyone to gather their thoughts and consolidate their theories.
In my head a detective walks on, all crumpled coat and flattened hat, and talks everyone through the suspects. One by one, introducing them to us again — asking us whether it could be this person, or that person, asking us to consider everyone once more.
And all you know, with 100 per cent certainty, is that it WILL be one of them.
The action starts again — the 10 players in the last 10. As each minute goes by, each touch of the ball, they know that one of them is about to become a highlight forever. One of them is actually going to do this and, for those 10 minutes, I’d like to think that everyone considered themselves the culprit.
I have my own theory.
It seems mad, it’s not entirely logical, but he’s already put in the best cross that anyone has seen in world football in the last 25 years.
He’s capable of anything.
Dejan Lovren — he’s capable of anything.
5) Post match
I get up off the floor and hang around to cheer and shout things.
Finally, I walk down the steps and bump into John Bishop again. It seems like ages since I’ve last seen him and he looks more exhausted than that time he ran and swam loads for Sport Relief.
In among the crowd, he sees me approaching and says, “Fucking hell, Martin.”
It’s one of the things I like most about him — his ability to perfectly sum up a situation.
Up the Lion Taming Reds.