WE see things they’ll never see.
Here we are again, the Reds after a proper European night, writes CHARLIE CHRISTIAN.
It feels good, doesn’t it? For all we endlessly talk about winning the league, I think these nights mean the most to us — the nights which make the hairs on the back of our necks stand up more than any other.
It might ‘only’ be the Europa League, something I feel almost embarrassed saying in my Millennial, Sky generation youth. Europe is Europe after all, of course. But that wasn’t just any Europa League night, was it?
That was Liverpool traveling to the absolute cream of Europe and laying down a very clear marker.
We might be deficient in many areas and our league position might suggest mediocrity but make no mistake, under the floodlights on these nights we can have anyone.
The job is only half done of course and conventional logic tells us that Dortmund are still the favourites to progress. They are Dortmund, after all, right?
— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) April 7, 2016
But then, no. Last night proved that conventional logic goes out of the window when Liverpool play in Europe.
Just look at that Dortmund side. Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan, Reus, Bender, Hummels — those five alone would walk into most of the world’s top teams and that’s without mentioning the outstanding supporting cast they have surrounding them (Lukasz Piszczek, I’m looking at you in particular).
Exactly 11 years ago this week, Juventus came to Anfield. Over time, that night has morphed into a series of numerous incredible Anfield spectacles which eventually formed the road to that night in Istanbul but the example is pertinent.
Just after our goal #LFCOn that particular occasion, Juve came with Alessandro Del Piero and Zlatan Ibrahimovic up front. Our equivalents? Milan Baros and Anthony Le Tallec. Such a juxtaposition seems almost surreal but we know not to take such things at face value when it comes to Liverpool’s continental travels.
In the build up to last night’s game, most ‘neutral’ spectators had Dortmund down for a relatively easy win. Hell, so did a lot of good Liverpool fans and I can’t blame them for that. How could I?
Thomas Tuchel’s starting lineup in comparison with ours was utterly terrifying and the prospect of facing that side next week still makes my heart skip a beat.
And that’s where my recollection of us conquering Juventus way back in ’05 becomes relevant. We didn’t progress to the semi-finals of the Champions League that year because we had a selection of the world’s best. We went through because we had a manager who knew how to get the most out of what was available to him and a crowd which so consistently, so passionately, willed it to happen.
We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves here, of course we don’t. But to me at least, the parallels are clear. This side may well be underdogs but being underdogs suits us just fine in times like these.
It was the author Neil Gaiman who said: “Trust dreams. Trust your heart, and trust your story.”
I’ll leave the formations, the tactics and the set-piece plans to Jürgen. So you should, too — on Thursday of next week, it’s up to us to trust our dreams, our heart and our story.
We’ll see things they’ll never see.