Hello, if we were having a coffee this week and you know nothing about football (soccer) then you might want to indulge me or spend your time looking at these pictures of shaved llamas instead. (Please don’t look at the llamas or, if you do, please come back.)
That is because this coffee is a toast; a toast to hope and dreams, to excitement and to ultimately fall possibly as little as 11.2mm short.
On Tuesday night, I went to see Liverpool v Barcelona at Anfield. Liverpool were trailing 3-0 from the first match in Catalonia, and that should have given us no chance of progression. Barcelona have one of the greatest attacks in the game, and if they scored one goal, that would leave Liverpool needing 5.
I didn’t think Liverpool were too bad in the first game. The result flattered Barcelona. That gave me a little bit of hope, but no team had done this sort of thing in this sort of circumstance, especially considering that Liverpool without two of their three main attackers.
Liverpool scored in the 7th minute, and the second and third goals arrived from Gini Wijnaldum in the 54th and 56th minute. The comeback was complete, with the 180 minute tie effectively reduced to a 35 minute match. I didn’t see the fourth goal go in. When I saw Trent Alexander-Arnold step away from the corner kick, I turned to look what was happening elsewhere. By the time Divock Origi had swept the ball in to the net, I was having to ask everyone around me what had just happened.
One of the greatest European comebacks ever had been achieved with little fuss in what was a truly brilliant performance.
That left the small matter of a title decider today. Manchester City were top of the league by a single point ahead of Liverpool. Liverpool needed to win in the hope that Manchester City dropped points. Liverpool went 1-0 up against Wolves, and soon after there was a cheer from the crowd as news of Brighton’s opening goal against City came through. After a few false cheers and then some real ones from the Wolves fans indicating that City had taken a 4-1 lead, the 29 year wait goes on.
That doesn’t tell the whole story, though. Liverpool had two of the three highest goalscorers in the league. Their goalkeeper won the Golden Glove award for keeping the most clean sheets. Virgil Van Dijk won the Player’s Player of the Year and PFA Player of the Year awards. Liverpool went the whole season unbeaten at home, and lost only one game all season, to the eventual winners. More importantly, Liverpool claimed 97 points, enough to win any title since the Premier League’s inception except for last year, when Manchester City won it too.
It was an incredible season. Thanks to the win over Barcelona, we still have the Champions League Final in Madrid to come, and I entered in to the ballot to get tickets for that this week. There are more important things than football, but for 90 minutes there sometimes isn’t. To be so good and not win the league is disappointing, but the manner of defeat is important and no Liverpool fan can really look back with anything other than great pride.
And that 11.2mm?
This is how close Liverpool were to getting a possible 1-1 draw with Manchester City in January.
11.2mm. So near, yet so far.
I got in from the match in Tuesday night and couldn’t sleep. That somewhat screwed me over for the rest of the week. I’m feeling the same sort of fatigue as last year when I got diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency so I’ve booked for another blood test, but the lack of sleep doesn’t help. Thankfully Moo let me have a lie in this morning, which was awfully kind of him.
That kind of sums up my week, to be honest. I hope that you had a good one.