COME and adore them.
They’re the kings of Europe.
To adore, to love. To love is an action, it is active. It isn’t a passive thing. In the book The Reasons For Love by Harry Frankfurt he explores why we love, what love actually is. He determines in short that love is about care, its essence is there. What we care about deeply is what we love.
So we may say we love ice cream but unless we are Ben, unless we are Jerry, unless we are Haagen or Daas do we truly care about ice cream?
Do we feel ice cream’s concerns? Do we live its highs and lows? Ice cream we can like but we cannot truly love it.
We love Liverpool. Love.
I can’t stop crying. I can’t stop crying because I can’t stop thinking of those lads, those footballers who have given us everything, who have themselves shown such care and love. Since August this has been a love song. And you know who you are.
These words, this reaction has been very much about what it is and who it is we love. It’s been a discussion of how it feels, for the collective, for the individual, for them the players, for us the supporters. Discussion of the shape and the goals and the mistakes matters but what matters more, what matters the most is how it feels.
So often for the love you show a football team you get nothing in return. That’s fine. It’s the way it works. You don’t get the highs if you can’t hack the lows.
And I can’t stop crying. It’s unedifying. I am a soppy, sloppy mess. Because it just feels. Because we have cared so much for these lads and we see it reflected back to us.
Virgil van Dijk collapses when Divock Origi scores. He just hits the deck. It was bedlam, it was pandemonium and when it finished all I saw were people in tears and I now know that Virgil would have been in tears too but he has to be the grown up, he has to see it out.
The final whistle sounds and Jordan Henderson falls to his knees, head in his hands and while his face is hidden he is just shuddering, shaking. The release and the relief breaks through in sobs. I can’t stop thinking about it, what he has been through and what he has achieved and what failure would have done to him this time.
I see Dan Morgan who got a grip of me last year after Kiev and I collapse onto his shoulder. Everywhere there are faces moist with sheer delirium, sodden with delight.
What’s astonishing about all this is that I expected to win. Expected Liverpool to be better than Tottenham. But the game was an absolute dog, defined by the early penalty and then the tension of it was everywhere. It was in every pass. Liverpool had suddenly so much to lose. They had been favourites, they had the early goal, they are the better side.
The second half killed but for the first half of it Tottenham couldn’t land a glove. There was a flurry of half chances for both sides after Milner put an effort wide, and just when Tottenham were maybe turning the screw Divock Origi turned the ball home and there was carnage and we were out of purgatory and into euphoria.
Sadio Mane had been the best outfield player. Strong and precise and makes other forwards look strangely average. Divock had been frankly rubbish. Gave it away cheaply. But there he was again. Yet again. He has a claim to have had a better season than many true Liverpool legends. And now he is one, a legendary figure in this journey which needed the denouement it got.
Pound for pound, time on the pitch no one has a better massive goals to minutes ratio for The Reds I can think of. Build him a statue now. For providing Liverpudlians around the globe with massive relief and boundless joy.
But without a single doubt man of the match has to be the goalkeeper. Alisson stretches and shines where previous Liverpool goalkeepers in this game have given the whole thing up. He makes it look effortless and shot after shot in the second half of the second half. He ensures the half chances are left exactly as that – half chances. His positioning and focus is tremendous.
These two – Divock and Alisson – embody what is so good about the job Jürgen Klopp has done. Origi should theoretically be an outcast, someone just to improve upon. Instead he shows what some belief and fantastic coaching in the right environment can do.
Alisson shows what investing big can do as well. But investing in personality along with talent. We have so much emotion, so much cascading love and care that sometimes we just need someone to be very sensible indeed. He is just the very finest and he helped enormously on the night without being truly brilliant.
Expecting to win is something but living that win was something else entirely. Their concerns are our concerns, their dreams our dreams, their needs and wants our needs and wants. What they deserved we deserve. We are as one with them because of the love, because of the care but that second half hurt so much. Craig Hannan had to ask me to stop saying the time, every minute counted.
Winning was everything today. It’s nice to be nice and it’s good to play well but winning was absolutely everything. Coming second is not who we are, who we have been and who this team has become. And yes that hurt this season.
Liverpool got the points and played the football of champions but weren’t able to lift the main thing up domestically. They needed to be the winners, the fuck-off winners of a major trophy. Not winning the league hurt but tonight nothing hurts and everything is wonderful and Paul Senior turns up and now I am shuddering, shaking, head buried into his shoulder.
I told you. I can’t stop crying.
In a good season you get to fall in love with them, go on the journey and live with them. This has been a great season. And this is sort of the last time we watch them.
There’s Daniel Sturridge doing the arms – the magnificent bastard; Dejan Lovren going bananas; Divock being Divock. Adam Lallana the first to go to Henderson, to pick him up, to see his cheeks drenched. They all play their part, play a part in the chapter we have just seen which adds to the tapestry which is this football club.
To all the boys I have loved before. To the boys I will always love. For the journeys we have shared with one another, I have an endless loop of people I need to hold and to sob on the shoulder of. This is a love song. And you know who you are.
Saw Fuad coming out. Saw Phil Blundell in a boozer. Can’t wait to see Steve Graves, can’t wait to be in Glastonbury Tuesday with Ben Johnson. Can’t wait to watch Sadio Mane and Mo Salah play football for us again. Can’t wait for what happens next. The journey doesn’t stop.
Elsewhere you will get the calm analysis. Jonathan Wilson and Michael Cox will speak some sense. Barney Ronay will be wry. Rory will be different class. Me? I just want to snog the face off you and off the the Liverpool players.
Thank you for coming here and reading these words. In a sense this is sort of the end of a bit of storytelling but the journey doesn’t stop. All of this has happened before and all of this will happen again. You are here because you care, because you love. This is a love song. And you know who you are.
Jordan Henderson on his knees, Sadio Mane with the trophy. Loving life, loving Liverpool. The kings of Europe. Adore them.
I can’t stop crying.
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It was a game straight out of the EPL, and suffered as s spectacle for that reason. It got the monkey off Klopp’s back, and the way we set up reflected his anxiety at winning everything but winning nothing.
Nevertheless, it was satisfying, not least because of the ‘Ah, yes, but…’ comments from mainly Manchester United fans after the various match reports.
Shit game it may have been, and a debatable penalty, but so what? WE WON THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE.
Spurs did well to get there, though; better than we did, to be honest. But as in a game of conkers, you accumulate all your defeated opponents scalps.
And how much is Divock worth NOW!!??
“the way we set up reflected his anxiety at winning everything but winning nothing”
We scored in the first minute and then pretty much played on the counter. Thats called tactics and has nothing to do with fear of winning nothing. It played right into our hands and Spurs were shite in possession. Alisson didnt have to pull out any worldies.
Tactics were spot on. Long break, the heat and a gruelling 97 points season . You cant play with full-throttle under these circumstances. Liverpool did what mature champions do all the time. And Spurs looked like what they were. A team that was very very lucky to be in the final in the first place.
Was it fuck unedifying. Glorious fella, glorious.
Wonderful words, Neil. As usual. Cherish these moments and hold them close to your heart, because whatever happens next it will not be the same, for better (hopefully) or worse.
Cherish them and enjoy!
Something that has been in my head since last year, since the run to Kyiv. The lyrics of a well-known song by a well-known artist. I think they sum up our current predicament.
“These are the days of miracle and wonder
This is the long distance call
The way the camera follows us in slo-mo
The way we look to us all
The way we look to a distant constellation
That’s dying in a corner of the sky
These are the days of miracle and wonder
And don’t cry, baby, don’t cry”
Days of Miracle and Wonder indeed.
Good man Neil. Thanks and enjoy the love.
I have nothing more intelligent to say than I love you Neil. Thank you for this.
Neil thanks again for all your writing and keeping us supporters in the balance.
Jurgen Klopp did it. He and the Reds finally did what we all wanted them to do, to get over the line. Now they have cemented their reputation as champions of not England, but of Europe.
Spurs had us on the ropes at times and thanks to Alisson we came through before Origi reminded us of why he was given his fair shot.
Seeing Henderson lifting that trophy is all I want to see moving forward. Loved the hug from his dad, was it?
The Reds and Klopp can now start winning now. What a glorious night for Liverpool.
We have two more to go. Chelsea on August 14th, and then City in the Charity Shield.
I’m so jealous of you lot who will be at the parade. Take some great photos though you probably don’t need them being there. Have a great time.
Up the 6 times Conquerors of Europe Reds!
See you all back on here in a few weeks.
Tonight’s game is probably the biggest marker of what Klopp has brought to Liverpool. We can now play shite and keep a clean sheet. We can play shite and win a football match and most importantly we can play shite and win a European Cup. We are on the way up. This is just the beginning.
We didnt play sh_te. We played in 2nd gear. Spurs were shite. But they shouldnt have been in the final. And they wont in the future. Their miracle was getting to Madrid.
You always got the feeling that if Spurs had played better, Liverpool would’ve played better and so on and so on until they couldn’t play any better and Liverpool would always have that extra quality.
I like their manager, I like that they’re not financially doped up to the eyeballs and I like that their fans and ours rubbed along together in Madrid.
But we were better than Spurs all season and we were better than them on Saturday night…
Did they deserve to get to the Final? Well they beat Ajax, Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund so it wasn’t a fluke. Now if City had got to the final…..??
I remember when Jurgen Klopp first took over he was asked about Divock Origi. His response was: ‘we’re going to have a lot of fun with this player”.
So often these things don’t come to fruition. The manager believes but the players can’t deliver. We’ll not this lot. Not these lads.
Last night reminded me of a footballing rope-a-dope. We’d scored the early knockdown. Got it on the board. We calculated that we could comfortably take whatever the opponent had to offer and take them out at the end. So if proved.
Everybody connected with the club deserves this for the season it’s been. It ends in glory.
We won it 6 times
The tears! I didn’t know the tears were there, I thought I could take it in my stride. But when Jordan lifted that trophy…
Somewhere in Madrid Glenn Hoddle is tucking into his enormous fried breakfast and muttering ” Never a penalty” for the 7,000th time to people who stopped listening hours ago. Harry Kane trips over on the carpet in the hotel foyer, bends the last four inches of his nose as it hits the floor
and looks up imploringly for the penalty decision he isn’t going to get .
Meanwhile , in another hotel across town , the world’s greatest man sits , a dishevelled mess with a huge grin on his face and realizes that he is also the world’s greatest football manager.
Genuinely laughed out loud at that Ron. You may be able to give Ben Jonno a run for his money.
Seeing Hendo with his Da was my undoing.
I’m so made up for him, this most human, most decent, most defiant of Liverpool Captains.
And for Klopp.
He has delivered.
He has turned doubters to believers and then some.
The Liverbird is back on it’s perch.
Very nice Ron.
It could feel euphoric but somehow it feels like relief. Tears of relief for these lads who have given everything this season. Relief for the best manager in the world who deserves this cup more than anyone. For the captain and all his naysayers. For all the fans who made the journey to Madrid and the millions watching in pubs and homes around the world. Relief to not be have to deal with the dissapointment of loosing another cup final.
Whilst Liverpool wern’t at their best tonight I agree with Titus_Red above. They didn’t play shite. Could have done with some more possession but they were controlled at the back. They won the game at both ends of the pitch. Controlled and clinical. To hot to run around like mad men. Lost momentum having not played for a while. To good to loose to that Spurs team.
As Neil rightly points out Alison is sublime all game. What a keeper to have. Mo so calm for the penalty. The whole team are hero’s with many contributions throughout the champions league campaign. For me though, it’s big Divock Origi. I think we have all questioned his ability at times, I know I have. How that lad routinely comes off the bench and scores such huge goals is incredible. He has the calmness of presence required to win us the champions league. In the last 2 games thats exactly what he’s done. Get that statue built sharpish Liverpool.
Thanks Duff3r, you are a gent. Ditto the Hendo moment , especially after his Dad’s illness. What a lovely reward for that family.
The world is a beautiful shade of red this morning and it is wonderful to feel a part of it.
Love it Neil. Love this club. Love these players, love this manager. And I love The Anfield Wrap. Up the Mighty Reds.
I am so happy not just for me but for the group of players and for Klopp they are all a class act on and off the pitch. I’ve been watching the reds since 1981 and this team is up there with the very great sides and the great thing is our story has only just begun! I watched the game with my 14 year old son and 12 year old daughter and that was the first time they saw us lift a trophy, I was spoilt at their age as we were serial winners and dominated English football. I am so glad they witnessed what I have been privileged to experience over the years. Amongst the highs and lows this is what makes following our magnificent club worthwhile. Love to you all and thanks Neil and TAW it’s been a pleasure sharing the journey this season with you. Can’t wait for the next chapter. Xxx
Spurs supporters out in Madrid very magnanimous in the bars after the match. No rubbing their noses in it by the Reds. Respect like it should be. Loads of younger lads out here as well made up for them to get their first taste of true Liverpool glory.
A great night. Made up for Henderson. TAW have stood behind him 100 per cent and last night any doubt over what he has done for this club was finally put to bed!
Champions of Europe!!
Brilliant article Neil, well written, and very well said.
I totally get where you are coming from, I couldn’t stop crying last night either. This season has been something else, I’m incredibly, incredibly proud to be a Red, to have been able to share in this magical team and this magical manager. So much emotion, this season had already left an indelible mark on me, but now, after last night, this season is now one of the most amazing I have ever seen. Maybe the greatest ever.
So much emotion, and you are right, today does feel a little like the ending of a chapter. But, I have never been so excited about the next part of the journey. Today feels, otherworldly. It’s so emotional how these players and this manager have given us something truly special, the impact they have had on all of us.
Thanks so much to all of you at The Anfield Wrap, this has been my first full season reading you lot from beginning to end, and all of you do a cracking job, your passion for the Redmen really comes across. So thanks for all your efforts.
What a night. What a season! And now we need a slight lyric change…From Paris down to Madrid, we’ve won the fucking lot…
Fantastic writing as usual but this time I’ve got goosebumps! Thanks, Neil
Absolutely brilliant writing Neil. I’ve been a subscriber to TAW for some time now, and it’s for days like these. You, and all of the staff at TAW deserve tons of credit for helping Liverpool fans around the world to come together in one place, and be part of something bigger than ourselves. The feels. If I ever meet you in person, I’m going to get the urge to give you a big hug. Would that be weird?
Brilliant write up as always Neil
Also anyone that has said Jürgen Klopp is a loser, is a bottler and he hasn’t won anything yet they could fuck off before but now they can fuck off forever
Great read Neil, I love the team, love the Reds, those magnificent, incredible mentality giants. Love Klopp, what a guy, what a manager, what a human being!! Love you all! What a night, what a season, what a club! Up the Reds!