I’M on the top of the world,
Lookin’ down on creation,
And the only explanation I can find,
Is the love that I’ve found ever since you’ve been around,
Your love’s put me at the top of the world…
(R. Carpenter & J. Bettis, 1972)
THERE’S Gini Wijnaldum on Tuesday night, at the final whistle, on his knees, covering his eyes.
He’s looked into the face of god. Can’t take in what he’s witnessed. He’s seen pure bliss.
There’s Trent Alexander-Arnold in the 79th minute prowling by the corner flag. He feigns to leave the kick to another but then in a blinking of an eye he’s spun on a heel and into the ball. He whips it into the path of Divock Origi, who in turn sweeps it into Ter Stegen’s goal.
Anfield erupts, manager Klopp later hails Alexander-Arnold’s ruse as a moment of divine genius. But Trent’s done that before. In the playground, in PE, in his back garden. The boy who just loved the game. The genius is that he’s always the boy.
James Milner. He’s got his arms around his comrades, tears streaking his features. He’s openly weeping and all the world can see. James doesn’t care. James is a real man.
Anfield, five minutes to kick off, Champions league semi final second leg, Liverpool v Barcelona. The ground collectively aches as every man, woman and child belt out You’ll Never Walk Alone.
Liverpool’s timeless anthem can be rendered in many different ways. Sometimes it is defiant, often joyous, other occasions angry but tonight it is a lament, a song of collective sadness and togetherness in the face of great disappointment. A Liverpool team, arguably the best the club has ever been represented by, looking increasingly like seeing out a magnificent campaign with little prospect of tangible reward.
Only at Anfield is everything possible. Only there could Tuesday night happen. The team that couldn’t be broken lifted itself from a canvas it had never deserved to be prone upon, raised its guard and started to swing and jab.
The footwork was electrifying as Liverpool danced through and around the self-styled best football team on the planet. Barcelona were tenderised, dizzied and then floored, blows raining down, an onslaught they were powerless to resist.
Now Liverpool are ready. Finally, Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool are ready. Ready to step forward and accept the mantle of champions. Thus far they have been imperious, kings of all they’ve surveyed but kings without a crown.
The team that Klopp built deserve to be league title winners for the 2018-19 season and to step up and claim that prize by beating Wolves on Sunday. The record would show that the team that took 97 points from 114 on offer were the best team in the land.
Liverpool may not become league champions on Sunday because it is extremely likely that another incredible collection of footballers, Manchester City, defeat Brighton and finish top of the Premier League, ahead of Liverpool by the narrowest of margins.
At the beginning of the week, as a ridiculous Vincent Kompany goal took City back to the top of the pile, it seemed Liverpool’s match with Wolves would be consigned to footnote territory. Heavy defeat in Barcelona a week ago looked likely to compound Liverpool’s misery and to provide a sad conclusion to what has for so long been a story worthy of having a glorious finale.
Then Tuesday night happened. Anfield happened.
Now everything has changed.
We’ll be positively strutting down Walton Breck Road on Sunday. City really can’t hurt us now. We have travelled two steps further than them in the competition they coveted the most. We are favourites to be crowned at last and crowned as kings of Europe.
Of course, it may not happen and we may not win the league either but the landscape has changed. We have more than a puncher’s chance of real silverware. Sunday can now be treated as a potential incredible bonus. City can pip us to the title and we can shrug and wave them off as we pack our trunks for Madrid.
We haven’t reached the summit yet, but it’s very much in sight.
Regardless of what happens next, the view from up here is wonderful.
Predicted 11: Alisson; Trent, Matip, van Dijk, Milner; Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Henderson; Salah, Origi, Mane
Kick off: 3pm, Sunday
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Odds by RedsBet: Liverpool 20-67, Draw 9-2, Wolves 37-4
For more buildup to The Reds’ final-day clash with Wolves, and extensive reaction in the immediate aftermath from Anfield, SUBSCRIBE to TAW Player…
Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda Photo
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We have to go for the win and then see what plays out elsewhere. This has to be bigger than the Barca game we have just had. We really need to get right behind the lads and just keep going right to the very end and then see what happens… Miracles can happen. let’s all believe and enjoy this amazing team of ours.
Dude, you’re everywhere!
I predict Liverpool will win the title, Sergio Aguero is doing to score an own goal in the 95th minute that causes them to draw with Brighton :)
Would be great if it happened. I’ll just settle for a draw, even if it’s a beach ball that get’s the important goal to get a result against City.
Just added it to the madrid trip playlist.
“Only at Anfield is everything is possible “ to paraphrase Shankly “If they didn’t believe us before, they do now “.
I hope and pray. Brighton, please please please do it. Please become my second favourite team ever. I will pay pilgrimage, I will love and adore you in ways you can’t possibly imagine. Write more than just your own legend.
And please, can we beat wolves. At this stage we would lose both and they’d still be the ones I love the most for what they’ve already done. But hopefully that won’t happen. What a team, what a manager, what an incredible season and even after Sunday we still have a big day to come. But wouldn’t it be amazing if Sunday was actually, in its own way, the biggest? Let’s do this, let’s all do this.
Two more to go.
Let’s just play our best and see what happens.
Come on you Reds!
Let it be
Been a pleasure having these to read each evening before the game, a fantastic expression of every range of emotions as we’ve gone on.
I came to this thinking that you’ll have the right words to say and you didn’t disappoint. Going to swerve the pub tomorrow to watch the game with the kids in the hope it is a monumental moment. Your piece from Basel (I think) that you missed to stay with your lad resonates.
What a year it’s been. Let’s crown it tomorrow!
All the best today Redmen. Good luck. There is a chance today and this is football. Let it play out and stay in it until the final whistle and let it play out. Let’s all believe.