Morning seems strange, almost out of place.
Searched hard for you and your special ways.
These days, these days
Ian Curtis (Joy Division & England, 1980)
God knows what Ian was on about. He was mooching about in Macclesfield/Manchester neck of the woods in the 70s. I don’t think he was really into his footy, and given the parlous state of City and United back then who could blame him. Some biographers reckon he was a United Red, but I doubt he really gave a shit about them.
Who do you support E ? Erm, United. Yeah, United. Man United? Yeah, Man United, why not.
These days. These Days.
Curtis had some big fish to fry. He’s someone I really admire, and I’m glad he didn’t apparently share my passion for football. He had plenty to be getting on with, and he knew didn’t have much time.
I think if he had anticipated a longer life, he would have found football. He would have really gotten it. I’d like to think he’d have looked down the M62 towards the mighty river city, and its mighty Scouse Reds, and thought, I’ll have a bit of that. He’d have defected. Converted. He’d be our Mark E Smith.
These days, like this today, are not so numerous that we can ever take them for granted. You love The Reds. Of course you do. Why else would you be wasting precious time reading a blog on a football fan website?
You’re very excited about today. I’m very excited about today. This day.
Napoleon, god love him, used to talk about ‘journees’. The days. Their importance was implied. By grouping and pluralising, folks back in post-Bourbon France knew what he was on about. The swathe that the Grande Armee cut across late 18th/early 19th Century Europe was not to be matched until The Reds of Shankly and Paisley repeated the trick with 6 European trophies in 12 years in the 1970s and 80s (for decency and poetic licence I’m airbrushing Hitler out of this, ok?).
What Napoleon was on to, was the knowledge that great things/occurings are only the sum of your greatest days. Those times when you feel that everything has been building towards a moment. It will happen today, or it will not happen at all.
In our footballing lives – in our Liverpool supporting lives – there have been days. As the seasons pass, I’m beginning to realise that you count the joy or the pain that they bring you not in trophies or lost finals, but in days.
How many trophies did we win under Rafa Benitez, for example? It was two. How many days though? How many days did we have under Rafa Benitez? I’ll give you five in the 05 season alone – Olympiakos, Juve home, Juve away, Chelsea home, Istanbul.
I’ll bet you can more or less remember what you were doing on each of those five days.
That was then, and this is now. This is truly a day.
We’ve already had 2 days this season – United home, United away. Now is our third.
Of course, fate may render this one as forgettable and as anti- a day as the UEFA cup Quarter Final of 2003. That year we went up to Glasgow and got a nice 1-1 at Celtic. Brought them back to Anfield, with expectations raised for a big night, with a big atmosphere and all set for the march towards the Semi Final and beyond.
Freeze frame. What happened next?
I couldn’t remember. Hadn’t got a clue. I’d erased it. Deleted and made space in my cloudy memory for better days. Winning days.
Then I was reminded by handsome John Gibbons that we lost the second leg at Anfield 2-0 to Glasgow Celtic. It all came back to me. A day I’d chosen to forget.
Let this not be one of those days. The anticipation far exceeds that of 2003. Far exceeds that of the Benfica Quarter Final tie of 2010. This feels like it has more in common with those ‘journees’ of the UEFA Cup campaigns of 1973, 1976 and 2001.
Some proper punditry then to get the juices flowing.
Borussia Dortmund have risen like a black and gold phoenix from the ashes of the first part of their 2014/15 campaign, and are now standing again on the toes of Bayern Munich. Suddenly you look at their team and you see names everywhere – Hummels and Reus and Mikhitaryian and Aubamayang. Then there’s others we didn’t know who we now know – like that Wiegel kid in midfiled. He looks some player.
Borussia Dortmund are really good. That is why this is such a big day. If we beat them, we will be in a European Semi Final. We will have eliminated Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund in doing so. Our span will be broader, our chests puffed out. Like defiant demented seagulls. We will suddenly have a season on our hands.
When we bought into Jurgen Klopp as our manager, it was because we believed he was put onto this earth for these days. Jurgen has looked different in his pre-Dortmund press conferences. He looks steeled. Ready for the challenge. The time for winking, and grinning, and coaxing and charming is over. This is business. This is war.
We can tie ourselves in knots second guessing the manager’s possible team selection for tonight. I’d like Jurgen to be bold as brass and start with our two strikers. There are stirrings in that Sturridge/ Origi partnership. Let tonight be their night.
Mainly though, Liverpool must be manly. Jurgen says brave. Only bravery will win this type of day. All players have it in them to give a range of performances. This is one where you’re at the upper end of your personal scale or you aren’t worthy.
Let’s not waste any more of each other’s time. We have a day to get on with.
Onwards reds. These are the days.
My hopeless guess at a legendary LFC 11 :
Mignolet; Clyne, Sakho, Lovren, Moreno; Can, Allen; Coutinho, Lallana; Sturridge, Origi
Liverpool v Borussia Dortmund kicks off at 20:05 BST. If you are in the UK, and not fortunate enough to have a ticket, it is live on BT Sport. The bookies have Dortmund as favourites to win the tie at 7/5. Liverpool are generally 2/1 with the draw 13/5.
Loved the Rafa bit…great memories. Nervous as fuck but this gave me real fire in the belly. Finish work at 2.30 then out and on it. Up the Reds.
We’ve already had 2 days this season – United home, United away. Now is our third. >>> Cup final didn’t count?
I suppose we eventually lost so it got erased? makes sense I guess
After reading the first few lines of this I assumed it was written by Neil. As I got to the end though it seemed more like something Rob would write.
Having read through it a second time I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s basically a transcript of a dialogue they both had – picture Alas Smith and Jones facing each other across a table with a dark background.
Nice one Rob. I’m ready. Can’t wait. Counting down hours.
Think he’ll find room for Milner.
Ian Curtis was a Man City fan. Pull yer finger out, AW research department !!
Yes he was
Prove it for me. Seriously . I want you to be right.
Barney Sumner (a red of the wrong variety) said that Ian was a City fan. Good enough for me.
I want this. I really want it – just like 2001 in those big matches against Porto, Roma and Barce in the semi.
I want this. Let’s fucking have ’em.
Do you want it Sir, do you, do you, do you really, really want it?
–just a bit of mid 90s Fast Show humour haha
Up the Reds for Europa Cup glory tonight at the real Home of Football
Excitement been building the last couple of hours. Counting down the seconds till 5. Up the reds, make this a night we look back on in years and say that’s when it started. That’s when Jurgen laid down the marker that we were to be feared.
Morning sunshine; here comes the rain. Nah I kid, and tritely. It’s a glorious day, crisp, a temperature that might make sense in Liverpool. Here in DC it just raises questions over climate change. Well at least amongst the 999,675 residents. I think there’s something like 300 Republicans in Congress so that number is startling accurate. Accurate. Shots on target. Shots. Passes. Quickly now one two one two and then BOOM (to borrow a phrase from Herr Klopp) because that’s the speedy narrative we weave when our Brazilians are making their magic and Lallana is his doing his best imitation of not playing like a Brit. Frank (and I do mean Frankly) he’s bloody good at having a bit of the continent in him. Two Ls, if my mom wasn’t an English professor who lived in the UK for 5 years growing up I’d argue he had a bit of the Spaniard about him. Fortunately my mom is all those things and informed me of the highly specific reason behind English surnames with the Spanish double l. Luckily this has been forgotten, but the point is he’s a bloody brilliant player. He plays on speed of mind and God we’re going to need to be fast to beat Dortmund. Does their keeper have a worldie? 50/50 on that but I’m tired and I wanna go home home being the biggest and brightest back where We belong and I damn well better hear the Anfield Air crackle across the entire Atlantic Ocean explode a little synapse in my head and spark my riot.
Love. Club. LFC.
Really enjoyed that, thank you!
Have you ever kissed a girl Matthew?
Going to bed now. 4 hours kip. If I can sleep at all. Then up at 0300 for k/o. Will be a different day i’ll be getting on with; different to the one they’re getting on with at anfield in 4 hours time.
Hoping its a great one none the less. If it is then listen out to the East – just before 2200 your time. You might just hear the cheers from 7 time zones away.
All good tup-thumping stuff that I like and love about TAW. A call to the supporters far and wide, a call to arms, a call to the four corners of Anfield to get behind the Red shirted lads come kickoff, a call to heed without question — just like the call to Morning Prayer by an Islamic fundamentalist in ISIS-run Syria.
As Freddie Mercury once sang “These are the Days of our lives – onward, onward Redmen. Up and at them
As that band that sang the song Tub-Thumping said absolutely nothing profound or philosophical but rather insisted on describing what sounds very much like a wack-a-mole game I’m very much in favor of Freddy Mercury lyrics. Let the afternoon drinking commence.
Fucking hell. I’m properly up for this now after reading that. I’ve got the buzz.
And I thought Benfica 2010 was great but I get why it’s underrated/been forgotten. Lucas was the complete midfielder going forwards and backwards for one night only; Reckon the Joe Allen cult status is similarly solidified tonight.
Forget the Pink Lads – back into town for a night to remember!
Nights like this define football clubs. They define managerial eras. Remember this night. We began tonight.