AS THE late spring sun shone down and the deafening sounds of the crowds around me echoed through the narrow streets off Anfield road, it suddenly felt like we had rediscovered what it is to support Liverpool.
Lining the roads shrouded in smoke, we were reminding ourselves of our unrivalled ability to stir and scare those who might have fancied their chances, only to be met by a haze of pyrotechnics and a fan base reinvigorated by the Europa League run they’re on.
Amidst the billowing red mist, there was scaffolding as high as houses packed with young reds with their arms risen and their fists clenched – each losing their voices for Liverpool. There was an aggression and relentlessness emanating from the fans like we’ve not seen for some time that continued into the stands and spilled over onto the pitch.
We’ve embraced this UEFA cup campaign and have been rewarded with moments that evoke the kind of feelings and fervor that I’m sure were felt against St Etienne in ’77 or Chelsea in ’05. These are the beginnings of a resurgence dressed in red, led by Jürgen Klopp.
“It was an atmosphere where everybody, except our supporters, believed it was meant to be,”
– Thomas Tuccel.
You see, it wasn’t just that we had waltzed past United. It wasn’t that Dortmund had been defeated at the death in the most dramatic of circumstances by the most unlikely of heroes. Nor was it the unbridled display of emotion on the face of Daniel Sturridge as he put Villarreal to the sword in the second leg.
It was that the famous Man United were pictured gazing in awe at the Kop during You’ll Never Walk Alone. It was that at 3-2, World cup winner Mats Hummels held a huddle with his teammates because they were rattled, disorientated and deteriorating.
“This is an occasion to be celebrated. In no way whatsoever will we be affected negatively by the atmosphere, if anything we will be affected positively and galvanised by it,”
– Villarreal boss Marcelino García Toral.
What you have not experienced you will not understand, Marcelino, because the yellow submarine was sunk before it had even reached the ground.
This competition has reignited a feeling within us reminiscent of ’05. We’re now singing Bob Marley, forging a bond with players previously written off and dispelling our own doubts that Anfield’s atmosphere cannot be what it once was. We’re having fun again. The most fun.
Jürgen Klopp is reincarnating Liverpool in his own image as a club that feeds and thrives on a brand of football that is built on emotion. There’s a romanticism to the idea of the reds on their adventures in Europe and this has returned, while that midas touch of madness that separates us from the others has been restored.
It’s not often the most desirable of two cousins is the one known for having big ears and while Anfield outsiders and Europa League detractors will argue against its significance in comparison to the Champions League, we’re forcing our way into the eyeline of Europe’s elite with our performances – both on and off the pitch.
This is a consolation competition? Nah, we’ve demanded centre stage.
We’re a club steeped in European existence but starved of any tangible success over the past decade. It’s time my generation were rewarded – allow us our St Etienne or Chelsea. Football is about defining matches, moments and gathering cups in May and now this crop of players have the opportunity to add another to the club’s collection.
More importantly, they’ll hope this is their first of a new, more illustrious era. Tonight is the night they leave their own lasting memory at our club. Do not let anyone tell you that football is about anything other than nights like this.
Never mind a place among Europe’s top echelon next season, a win against Sevilla consolidates moments like Dortmund as one of the greatest in our history. Give us that.
While the process of rejuvenation has already begun both in the stands and on the pitch, there’s a feeling that a win tonight at the end of Klopp’s first season will be the foundation for new beginnings.
It’s there for all to see. Win the UEFA cup and the message from Liverpool reads loud and clear.
The Reds have reawakened and are coming up the hill, boys.
this is why I subscribe to TAW. none of this over-analytical, stats are king, stuff. none of this P&L, finance is king stuff. It leaves me cold. Its nothing I can do anything about or impact.
But pieces like this. This is football for me. Its about winning. Big fuck off shiny trophies, being king of the hill for a day.
good stuff Craig.
“A win against Sevilla consolidates moments like Dortmund as one of the greatest in our history.”
Exactly. The journey is great but what makes beaten Juve over two legs with Scott Carson in goal at home and an injury hit team away more memorable than Barca 07 is the absence of an asterisk.
I’m sure it will make a difference to me later but for now I couldn’t give a rats about CL qualification. I want a night.
I read this piece in Craig Hannan’s accent.
This is what Brits mean when they say “buzzing”. It’s all in the feel my lads and mates friends and compatriots; members of this fellowship of nutters madmen and lovers. I feel buzzing after the build up, the punishment we gave United the Dortmund side left speechless and heartbroken then off again to the Villareal side who danced a merry jig 90 riproaring minutes before the fat lady had started into a lovely rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone. It’s always good singing your song at the end, like being in charge of the music at a party that is. Brilliant chances for chat ups there.
We’ve been working on it, the players have, they know it; Klopp will be sure of that. They’ve tasted silver and none of them seemed much too fond it. Semiprecious silver is I suppose, it’s a color that leaves an argument with the other footballing tribes. It’s another nearly there for our club and for us and we have grown far too used to that.
If one waxes poetic in the comments section of an Internet site, it’s good to get it bang on. But poetry is what we want, poetry is multilayered and collaboratative, conjointly we have become a collection greater than my tired soul can remember. Our Rodger’s Run always felt that little bit of a dreamscape; something occurring in the half life between awakening and dreaming. Suddenly surreal was our poetry in motion and along with it a mixture of relieved disbelief and some bloody epic football.
Now, I’m buzzing and right now in this moment you can’t hold me down, I’ve literally got to keep on moving said with a glimmer of mischief and a crooked grin. Klopp will be keeping things like like that too I imagine, he’s a tornado that one, he’s even figured out how to shut down clickbait transfer rumors and get a key player to commit himself to Klopp’s project. Bloody bravo there, silly season can turn nasty and Klopp’s triangular alchemy is 3 angles: fan’s bonds with players, players bond with manager and a belief by all that Liverpool FC is being given the proper respect by those privileged enough to own the enterprise.
What’s different about FSG? To me I see a group of people who are smart enough to learn from their mistakes and brave enough to make them. This is all a bit said with strictly applied rules of relativity and a belief that the ticket price time bomb might not have been so artfully diffused if it didn’t threaten to blow up that vision of a heretical Holy Trinity sold by Klopp. That said a win in a European final is the kinda thing that will encourage Mr Henry to approve the second phase of Anfield expansion adding 8,000 more firy voices equal parts scouse passion and impossible to understand to that frothing cauldron that sunk the yellow submarine. FSG went and got Klopp before anyone realized it was possible, credit. They looked at Arsenal and the Emirates and sensibly realized that kind of a project to be incompatible with plans to pay proper money for proper players (£30m on Firmino done and dusted before as Klopp himself said “how did Liverpool do this?” is the kind of business that wins titles) and managed to add 10,000 more seats without interfering with the games played. It’s not sexy but the toxicity lingering from our unfortunate previous owners reign of incompetence and the near ruination of our Club has split a once United supporter base apart. Much like those mumbo jumbo books on CBT the self proclaimed non-academic Jurgen Klopp that somehow snuck themselves into those pictures of his desk stress an acceptance of progress paced not at your own desired speed but at the speed progress chooses to take, so goes this club. To whit: a Europa League final can never be Istanbul, Sevilla can never be Milan, this is not 2005 and yet.
And yet outside of Leicester a victory tonight surely would mean that our time under Klopp has proved a far greater success than any other English team. Spurs finished second which as we can elucidate is pretty much worthless, especially when you cock it all up at the end. Sorry, Spurs finished third so while my analogy might be a bit useless my point is still fairly well validated. Looking at the Mancs, the Devils and the other less distasteful ones, one wonders is 5th place and the FA cup worth another year of LVG and turgid football and while certainly there’s excitement for the debut of Pep at City but their performance against Madrid was diabolical, a team that saw not an opportunity for risk and glory but caution and dignity even in defeat. It’s unfortunate we played Villareal the next day because it’s hard to remain dignified in defeat if it looks to all the world like you simply didn’t bother to try.
I’m buzzing mates I told you, I’m taking roads perhaps never traveled nevermind less. But ah poetry in motion but now we’ve got a different style and measure a different cadence to our art on the field, the contained fury of Dylan Thomas having supplanted the overwhelming Chaos of Rodger’s Reds playing to an Allan Ginsberg beat.
But in the harsh pragmatic life of football, the game and the place it occupies within us collectively is probably better served emulating a Dylan Thomas, his words suggest Dortmund was no miracle but rather the end product of determination and desire:
“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.”
Words may not posses forked lightning but this team is capable of catching fire and burning long into even the darkest of nights. Klopp has made so many believers we’ve come so far with a squad full of players smoldering with rage: written off as examples of systemic failure from the top (Lallana and Lovren), being overlooked and moved on the cheap (Coutinho) or having your heart and bottle questioned in equal measure (Sturridge). And now it’s up to Klopp to channel that rage into an aggressive and intensive performance that suggests Mr Thomas need not worry about us failing to fight.
Come on you Reds,
Write Your Names in Liverpool Lights.
As my favorite British expression goes “Liverpool bought a ticket” now it’s time to win the prize.
They were analysing the final for a good thirty minutes last night on espn in south america.
That´s the first time I´ve seen our club get that kind of attention here in 7 years.
The commentator of the dortmund game stated how it had been the finest game he´d ever worked on. Hearts and minds are being won over again. Regeneration.
Winning continental titles matters, whether its big ears or the long vase.
Let´s do this redmen.
Fantastic article Craig, got goosebumps reading that, something special is in the air, not just for tonight but for the future, tonight will just make all the special moments this season stand out in legendary status… Up the Reds…