Neil Atkinson’s post-match review for The Anfield Wrap after Liverpool 5 Toulouse 1 in the Europa League group stage at Anfield…
FIRST up – an apology.
There is no Post-Match Pint tonight. A technical issue ensued. Involving a tyre. So we are without a video commemorating Wataru Endo’s first Liverpool goal.
His first Liverpool goal. One of his Liverpool goals. What I most liked about it was his nonchalance, the feeling he will do this more often, on more storied occasions. The sense it got in the way of his main aim, which is to barrel into lads and have Liverpool come away with the ball.
But I like that he is part of this now. I like that Luke Chambers is part of this. That Calum Scanlon is part of this now. That we gather each other up to be part of the wider ‘this’ time and time and time again. It’s always someone’s first game, always someone’s first goal, always time to bring something new to the party.
Feeling the whole thing bubble away is what marks tonight out. Something that we have gathered up is happening altogether and it is so very exciting — so many players who are here to be special and to show they are special and to make things special.
Ryan Gravenberch is special. Bayern Munich have some questions to answer. They should be all bouncing around internally, but the biggest question is this: how did they stop that lad from enjoying his football?
That’s criminal. Because he looks like the most exuberant midfielder in town. He’s full of serotonin. He’s a dog with a bone. He’s Charlie in the Great Glass Elevator. It’s a delight to watch him and the sky is the limit. In fact, not even that. The Vermicious Knids can’t get near him.
Darwin Nunez is just a ride. He is your night out. He scores, rounds the keeper and misses, brings everyone into play, works towards his own goal and then surges the other way like Beckenbauer. He’s now both rock solid and electrifying. Every chance to watch him is a chance to feel alive.
Diogo Jota shows yet again that he is Liverpool’s no-nonsense forward. Everything is streamlined. All effort is exactly the right amount. There is no show, just output. He dances round three as though dancing around none.
Through the side there are imperfections but there is so much to marvel at and there is so much worthy of grace. Harvey Elliott provides grace. He grafts and provides constantly for his teammates. He is glue and he is decency and he is a Liverpudlian.
Curtis looked like a lad who hasn’t played for too long. Bournemouth needs to be in his future, but he was stout. Joe Gomez is present and correct, Joelly Matip played some lovely passes forward and Trent Alexander-Arnold is the very best of us. I love that Mo Salah got his armbanded goal. More of both in his future too.
They are a gang and they are in the midst of a caper. I love a caper, I love the new and the fresh, especially in a world which is bogged down in yesterday’s mistakes. I love the freshness, the newly cut grass, the record that you hear for the first time that bangs, the moment you catch eyes, the joke and the hook and the face turned red.
I love the journey and the beginnings of the journey, I love the pregnant pause and I love the feeling as the rollercoaster turns and climbs and I love gathering us all up and pointing us in a direction and saying there, just there, that way, brilliant things can happen.
On our way to fall.