SOMETIMES, I feel like I can’t even sing.
When they get their first corner in injury time this thing hit me — I’d been stood in the away end watching the game and I suddenly wondered if I could manage to defend the corner. My legs were jelly.
My head had gone. I mean, I’m old — 36 — and weigh far too much, but I am 6’1″ and hadn’t run around. But my legs had gone. My head had gone. Everything had gone.
Liverpool, the 11 lads who add up to Liverpool in these core moments, cleared the corner. They should probably have scored on the break if we are all honest, if I have remembered the last five minutes correctly; if the chaos isn’t out of order in my mind.
But focus on the clearing of the corner. Of their legs being there. Their heads being there. Focus on what they gave, what they did, what they showed — not what they didn’t do.
Because you can argue they didn’t play well. Argue your face off. Like I care.
They gave everything. They did everything. They showed everything. Like they care.
They care. This is the thing. They care. They probably care more than me, more than me eating my curry in The Vine post match because my legs might be jelly but my life gets to be easy where this shit is concerned.
I panic and sing and shout though sometimes I feel like I can’t even sing, late spring, drifting off. But Liverpool, Liverpool battle and work and shout. These pampered multi-millionaires, they care — they care about each other and they care about this club and they care about getting their collective just desserts this season.
They care about getting into Europe’s elite club competition because it’s where they will really prove themselves. They care because this has been their everything for the last nine months.
This has been their everything.
West Brom want to make football matches an endless running battle. The thing to say is to rise above, the thing to think is play your football.
Yeah, right. If this season has shown Liverpool anything it has shown that rising above isn’t that easy, that rising above is easier said than done — that winning the right to play doesn’t just lead to simply playing, that winning the right to play can become an all consuming task.
Liverpool got their goal today through Roberto Firmino and spent the rest of the game trying to win the right to enjoy it. That that right only came at the final whistle made it all the sweeter. Simon Mignolet makes the finest save second half and keeps Liverpool ticking, keeps Liverpool able to win the right.
11 – Roberto Firmino has now surpassed his @premierleague goal tally from last season (10 last season, 11 in 2016/17). Haul.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 16, 2017
Across the pitch footballers devoted themselves to their battle. Both sides. West Brom are a good football team. A horrible one, yes, but a good one. They know how to do their thing, clever players like Darren Fletcher, who can make a game work the way their manager wants it to. Fletcher and Yacob, experienced footballers. Old and wise footballers who have brought their side to where they need to be.
Liverpool are a side who are broadly young and who are becoming old and experienced. They show that in Gini Wijnaldum and Nathaniel Clyne, two footballers who bring energy and nous to all they can, holding lads off like nobody’s business; waiting for players to join.
Everywhere is ugliness. Everywhere is one more second ball, one more thing to hoof clear, one more shuttle run, one more time to show and get yardage and send. One more channel to run.
Everything is beautiful. Liverpool are beautiful. They are so young and old. The Reds have taken another three points they needed to take. One more step.
Up the win-on-your-terms Reds. May they remain less jelly-legged than me.