Neil Atkinson’s post-match review after Liverpool 3 AC Milan 2 in the Champions League at Anfield, where it was a joy to be alive…


THERE is no end to the feelings. And this is why we are here.

Here on this page, here with this writing, but here in this ground, in this pub, in this bar, in this life, solely for what it feels like.

It felt like a joy.

It felt like a lot of other things, I grant you. It felt stupidly frustrating. It felt like a let down for a bit. It felt like something in the universe was wrong.

But in the end it felt like a joy. It felt like a sweetheart deal. It felt like Daft Punk were playing in our house. It felt like the pounding drums. It felt like I missed you if you couldn’t be there. It felt like we were all back.

I have sensible football points:

– Liverpool squeezed the life out of AC Milan for 25 minutes. They destroyed them, obliterated them. They had good players hanging on for dear life.

– Mo Salah wasn’t just the best player on the pitch but the best in the world. Then he misses the pen and he is in his own head.

– Henderson gets a knock around 28. This precipitates a lot of Liverpool’s issues. It ends up dragging Fabinho out of position which drags Joel Matip. AC Milan work it out neatly.

– Divock Origi is excellent for 30 and done for 15. Then OK for 10 and gone. It must be tough coming in from nowhere.

– Mo Salah finds himself and devastates. He is the very best of the footballers. Honestly, the soundest. When he scores and when he gives it the big one it is a reminder. His identity is complex. He is everything to so many people, but the thing he is the most is a 29-year-old lad who fucking fancies himself and rightly so. He is a delight, a joy, a fucking ride. An absolute fucking ride. Scouser than you.

– From there the captain does the decent thing, the captain thing, the Ste Gerrard thing. He doesn’t do that Ste Gerrard thing often. Maybe he will more, but it sort of doesn’t matter. When he does it is a treat. He’s also the finest. It is a hell of a strike.

– Mo Salah wants to win the Champions League more than you.

– James Milner could take my soul to the corner.

Ultimately though, the mature football stuff escapes us tonight.

Because we got what we craved. We got what we needed. We got the sheer night out of it all. We got clumsiness and the nervousness and we got the mistakenness.

Then we got the glory, the glory we had missed and the glory we had deferred. We got the moments and we breathed them in and out.

I write this in the Glenbuck. The last time here was March 2020.

It’s been hard and I’ve missed you. You’ve, hopefully, missed me. I’m soppy and silly and knocked asunder. This is the game and what it can do.

Liverpool have merely started their European campaign and I am a state. It’s a big week on one hell of a journey. There’s so much to come.

These are our lads and, if you are reading this, we are all our people. What did it feel like?

It was a joy. And just imagine February. The biggest cup can be ours.

Love you handsome, love you gorgeous. Let’s go dancing.

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