WATCHING the clock. Counting it down. Calling the minutes out — 83, 85, 87.
Then Adam Lallana picks it up, holds it, holds it, holds it. Opens his body. Finds Divock Origi. And Gini Wijnaldum steams forward. Veins in his neck bulging. Lungs bursting. Body crying out for oxygen. There he is as Origi puts it across the box, there he is and he plays it back across Petr Cech and it is there, Liverpool have won it and it is there.
Bedlam. Pandemonium. A sheer explosion of just fuck off, just fuck right off, just fuck off and give us the points, our points, the points we deserve. Covered in joy, drenched in relief, shaking with fuck off, Liverpool in excelsis deo. Build it up in red and white, poor old Arsenal.
It. It is there. The ‘it’ is the ball. I grew up on Clive Tyldesley commentaries, me and my dad pacing the house when Liverpool played away from home and Clive was on Radio City. Tyldesley would describe a break or a mêlée and end it with “it’s there” if Liverpool scored. The object of our desire has happened. It is there.
It is there. Liverpool owned it for the first 45 minutes. It belonged to them. In the sense of it being there twice, in the sense that the location of the ball and control of it was wholly Liverpudlian. Arsenal were second best, third best, fourth best. The ball was Liverpool’s in every way that mattered.
One of the key things to take from the game is the gulf between the two sides. Yes, Arsenal do well second half but it simply isn’t enough. Liverpool are better than Arsenal. In truth Liverpool are better than Tottenham. Why results like last Monday’s hurt is because, come the end of this campaign, there should be a table that reflects that. Liverpool are better than any London side, bar the lads who will almost certainly become champions.
Tonight belonged to Liverpool not least because of the much-maligned Emre Can. He had a very good game at the base of the midfield and Wijnaldum next to him helped hugely. It’s a way home in Jordan Henderson’s absence.
The goals are all marvellous but let’s walk around Roberto Firmino’s ball for the second. The presence of mind is startling. The awareness better than an entire crowd. It is quietly breathtaking, and so huge thanks to Sadio Mane for making it worth our while, a superb driven finish. It’s there.
It is there and it is everything and Saturday opens up from here like a present, like a hidden cavern of wonder, like a jewellery box. Monday hurt and it hurt because the sheer joy was completely absent. This evening the opposite. Let the adoration cascade, come, come and adore them. Drink, dance, carouse and seduce. Sing, shout and jump. The Reds held up their end of the bargain. You uphold yours.
It was a joy to be alive this day, my friends. That is Liverpool’s doing.
Up the it’s there Reds. May they own all our Saturdays.