WE’RE back then.
Oh good lord we are back. The sweat is pouring off me. My heart is pounding. My legs are shaking. I have hugged a million strangers. We’ve just won but I might not make it through 37 more.
I can’t wait for 37 more. I couldn’t wait for this. It has loomed large in my mind since July. Loomed larger since San Francisco.
Mad life syndrome – you are in San Francisco and talking to the Liverpool manager, looking him in the eye and wanting him to say things about the new season – and he does. Mad, mad life. He says to be excited. He says to expect an intense Liverpool. He says to expect a greedy Liverpool.
A greedy Liverpool.
Did we see a greedy Liverpool? We saw a mad, mad game.
The Reds teased us. Teased us during the game, streaking into a 1-4 lead before letting two goals in. Teased us after, coming over for their deserved ovation late after the final whistle. The captain reinforcing. Urging. But when they came over they did so as a unit. They were acclaimed as one. As Liverpool.
Consecrate those memories in front of the supporters. Feel together as a unit. Be Liverpool. The Liverpool we need. The Liverpool we might just deserve.
There are things that matter today. Things you can remember. Things you can do again:
– Set pieces were defended well after conceding from one.
– A one goal lead was played out when under pressure away from home.
– The 15 minutes after half time were the heaviest metal of football. Liverpool were magnificent. Three marvellous goals. Liverpool everywhere you look. A swarm.
Liverpool everywhere you look. That was the main thing I took from the game. Liverpool playing in a manner that couldn’t be lived with, playing in a manner difficult to sustain.
Goals gave them the freedom to do it. The equaliser and the second liberated Liverpool. They got to the place where they could play their football by putting the ball in the back of the net. Philippe Coutinho’s equaliser was sensational. But then what wasn’t until the sixty third minute.
Sadio Mane was astonishing. The speed and the power, but the sense. All the time the sense. He sees the game out marvellously after winning it. Jordan Henderson’s second half was very good – his first stuttering. Neither Georginio Wijnaldum nor Adam Lallana set anything alight for 45. Both excelled as the game wore on.
The intriguing choice for man of the match could well be Roberto Firmino. Endlessly willing in unconventional ways, he wants the ball at his feet, twisting and turning and bringing people into the game. The correct choice is that there wasn’t any one man. There was Liverpool. Liverpool were everywhere.
Things you can’t do again:
– I feel sorry for the left back. I really do. But there comes a time.
– The goalkeeper microcosmed his Liverpool career. Fair play to him really.
But why focus on that? Why focus on that for a second? Because Liverpool are playing football, Liverpool are winning and Liverpool are in front of you. Sweat pouring off them, sweat pouring off you, them clapping you, you clapping them and everyone gets to be rightfully proud, and rightfully happy, while safe in the knowledge this happens 37 more times because this is the treadmill, this is how it works. There is nothing but this.
Liverpool play again in six days. I can’t wait. You can’t wait.
Up the greedy Reds. For clarity – that’s all of us.