A FEW years ago a few newly promoted clubs adopted the song “we’re not really here” to the tune of Knees Up Mother Brown.
This was also the case with a side who found themselves at the top of the league but knew it couldn’t last. The significance was that they were the David to the Premier League’s Goliaths and though they were fighting against the big lads, they couldn’t believe their luck.
Last night, Liverpool were supposed to lose 4-0 to Manchester City. Everyone called it. “It’s not over! If anyone can pull this back it’s City!” OK, maybe a few would be a little kinder and just say it would be a “spectacle” or “an extravaganza of attacking football” but the basic narrative was that Liverpool would have to cling to that narrow 3-0 home win like a shipwreck survivor clinging to a passing piece of driftwood.
What was lost in that tale was that Liverpool did a number on City a week earlier. A three goal plus clean sheet number. The non-red world seemed to have forgotten all that stuff. The 50 per cent of the tie where Liverpool dumped on City from an unimaginable height.
If you’d sat down any Red before the home leg and asked them to draw a picture of paradise, it would look like that scoreline. We achieved that.
Ah, but the second leg would be different. There was the 5-0 at the Etihad earlier this season, the lack of Jordan Henderson, the return of Sergio Aguero and Pep Guardiola’s genius in battering sides. What’s more they’d be wounded after the Manchester derby and would fancy taking things out on The Reds.
Yeah, they might have a point. Two minutes on the clock, two individual errors from Loris Karius and Virgil van Dijk and City were in. Then there were the bookings and the bizarre incident where Ederson Moraes performed four yellow card actions in about 10 seconds.
Oh, and the offside goal. Well, it wasn’t an offside goal. It was a goal. Of course it was. The ref was nuts. Everyone could see that. The booking of Sadio Mane and Ederson resembled a poor actor who had been told to “do anger” in their only scene. He seemed angrier than both of them.
Then he gave no injury time. City fans can look at that as Liverpool favouritism, but we were just as confused as they were.
The second half was completely different. City went from swagger to stagger and suddenly there was a recognisable gap between our midfield and defence. We even passed the ball a bit rather than just hitting Mo Salah in the channels. Liverpool calmed down.
And it’s this that makes that night so special. City threw everything at us in a blizzard of crosses and overlapping full backs. Liverpool waited and waited. Block, harry, foul, frustrate. Block, harry, foul, frustrate. City kept Aguero in reserve but the game was over by the time he came on.
Though it’s not always reported as such, Liverpool are not all rush and pace. We’re not all blitzkrieg. When we have to we can calm the play down. James Milner is a master at it. We can play triangles and move five yards up the pitch. Not everything is an assault on their goal.
And speaking of goals, well, they were beautiful. Salah played his Kenny Dalglish 1978 finish and Roberto Firmino has so much to do once Nicolas Otamendi slips, but still managed to calmly slide it in. Cue carnage.
We’re not really here.
Liverpool will be content with a top-four finish. Maybe have a run in the cups, but that’s about it. Get out of the group stages in the Champions League but then bow out whenever they face a good side. Yeah?
But we are here. We not supposed to be, but we are.
We’ve just beaten City — a hell of a side — 5-1. The last time we won a European Cup quarter final by that scoreline was in 1984. We went on to beat Roma in the final. Just saying.
Oh, and if we get Bayern and then Real Madrid then it’s all back to 1981 and the greatest throw in in Liverpool’s history. Time to start looking at royal weddings and Grand National winners for coincidences.
These things come in waves. This is my third. The first was from 1977-1984. Then there was 2005-2009 and though Craig Hannan annoyed me on the post-match show last night by somehow inferring that those who can remember the Rafa era period are “old”, he has a point about this wave. This is theirs. The younger Reds who came close in 2014 but just missed out. Their first of many, hopefully.
And now another generation gets to do it all again. European royalty and don’t you forget it. ♥️ pic.twitter.com/yLOTk0G6MU
— Craig Hannan (@C_Hannan7) 10 April 2018
Liverpool are here and though there are difficult ties to face, be them in Rome, Munich or Madrid (I’m assuming they go through), we weren’t supposed to beat City in the same way we weren’t supposed to beat Bayern in 1981, Roma in 1984 and Juventus in 2005. But we did. We’re not scared of anyone.
The new league champions (guessing again, but on safer ground I reckon) have lost twice to The Reds in six days. Six. Days. AND they had the second leg at home. Who can stop The Reds when they’re in that mindset and form?
And this is why we do it. This is why we slope out of Wembley in 2015 after being beaten by one of the worst top division sides I’ve ever seen and still come back for more. This is why we continue to lurch from frustrating season to frustrating season rather than packing it in altogether.
Because one day we get nights like these, seasons like this. Well, there’s probably a bit of masochism in there too.
We’re in the last four. We go further than that. Much further.
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“What a night!” 😍
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All good stuff mate! But I’m genuinely confused on the offside goal. From my understanding, it is offside. When Karius punches it, he is in front of Sane, leaving only one player behind him. And there needs to be 2. Unless you are saying the deflection off Milner was a deliberate play of the ball… which is mad.
For what reason would Sane be offside? You are allowed to stand in any position you want on the pitch – you only become offside if the ball is played to you by a member of your own team whilst you are stood in an offside position. At no point is a ball played to Sane by a member of his own team whilst he is stood in an offside position. So there is no infringement of the rule.
Nice piece but read the Laws of the game will you before spouting that the Sane ‘goal’ was a goal. The ball hit Milner, it wasn’t a deliberate pass so Sane was offside. The match destroying VAR would not have been useful here as the ref would have to decide intent on Milner’s part and, in my opinion, he had no intent to deliberately play the ball back, it just hit him.
As I replied above… For what reason would Sane be offside? You are allowed to stand in any position you want on the pitch – you only become offside if the ball is played to you by a member of your own team whilst you are stood in an offside position. At no point is a ball played to Sane by a member of his own team whilst he is stood in an offside position. So there is no infringement of the rule.
Matt , the offside law in this case is as per Frankie. The ref would just need to decide if it was intentional from Milner or not
Surely this only applies if a City player plays it forward? They’ve destroyed the offside rule so much that we don’t know the rule anymore!
Though what has been said is right, it’s not important where sane is when the ball richochets off of Milner, what matters is where he is when the ball is initially played forward by his own team, KDB in this case. If same was offside when a ball was played forward then hit Milner and fell to him, he would be offside. When the ball is played forward in this case, sane is onside and resulting richochets off Karius and Milner don’t change that.
Sorry JohnE but that’s not right. As Courty says the offside rule has become somewhat confusing but the absolute basis of the rule is that you are only offside if the ball is played forwards to you by a member of your OWN team. If the ball had been played forward by a City player whilst Sané was in on offside position then we would need to consider whether the touch by milner was intentional or not. However in this case the ball was not played forwards by a City player whilst Sané was in an offside position. It is therefore absolutely irrelevant what takes place with milner and there is no infringement of the rule.
The best way to think about the confusing aspect of the rule is like this: if Sané is stood in an offside position and the ball is played forwards to him by a teammate he is offside. If Sané is stood in an offside position and the ball is played forwards to him by a teammate but the pass takes an unintentional deflection off milner on the way through, he is still offside. If Sané is stood in an offside position and the ball is played forwards to him by a teammate but it is intercepted by milner who then plays an intentional backpass which goes to Sané then he is NOT offside – this is the only way that this rule comes in to play.
In this situation there was no ball forwards to Sané by a teammate whilst Sané was in an offside position and therefore there is absolutely no basis on which Sané can be considered offside.
Sorry for the long post but hope this clears it up. Source: I’m an F.A qualified referee
Dougboy bang on! If you play a back pass from a defensive position to an opponent in an offside position he becomes onside.If the ball deflects to that opponent from an attempted interception (I.e. NOT deliberately played ) he is off side! But you and me are the only ones who seem to to have read this secret rule!
The bassturnedtored thread on twitter had me convinced for a while.. but…
But that only matters if Sane is an offside position when the City player crosses, he isn’t. That is the moment the position matters. He moves into an offside position, but that is not an offence when the deflection off Milner happens.
Maybe. But I might change my mind again.
A player in an offside position at the moment the ball is played or touched by a team-mate is only penalised on becoming involved in active play by:
– gaining an advantage by playing the ball or interfering with an opponent when it has:
– rebounded or been deflected off the goalpost, crossbar or an opponent
– been deliberately saved by any opponent
A player in an offside position receiving the ball from an opponent who deliberately plays the ball (except from a deliberate save by any opponent) is not considered to have gained an advantage.
Sorry Frankie,that makes 3 of us!!!
Salah and Firmino have both been so stupendous this season.
But Milner needs some recognition- that man is a soldier, a dependable warrior who plays every game like it might be his last.
He gets dubbed a great servant, when really he is the master.
We are lucky to have him
I may be wrong – but I think Sadomasochism rather than masochism may be the word you intended you use there Karl. I will go back to my pint – catch you in Kiev.
But Kane was offside from Alli’s pass at Anfield in February, yes?