Another triumph over adversity; the day a microcosm of the season when Liverpool are first deposed but have the will, the strength, the sheer grit to fight their way back to the summit.
Watching Manchester City breeze past Roy Hodgson’s supine Crystal Palace was deflating. Watching Chelsea re-enact 2014 with endless time wasting and cynicism was more than just a drag; it was agony.
At half-time, it feels like this thing we crave is slipping away – again. Honestly though, we should know better by now.
They always find a way, every week to reinforce belief that this is our year. Not because of the sickly, romantic ideal that winds up the neutrals but because of the evidence presented in front of us.
— VJ (@StillMagic10) April 14, 2019
Exhibit A on a cold Anfield afternoon is the certainty of Sadio Mane’s header, Exhibit B is Mohammed Salah’s shot.
Shot is the only word that does it justice. The flaming speed of it, the unerring trajectory of it, the absolute lethality of it. It’s only hours old as I write this but it already belongs in a museum.
One of those goals you’ll watch again many times over but one that will always remain etched in the minds eye. There’s more to it than just a goal. It’s Salah, against Chelsea, striking not a blow for his faith but for our religion. Mo Salah – Liverpudlian.
The opener is netted by Mane but it’s really all about Jordan Henderson. This is a man who wants this title more than me and you, a man for whom adversity means nothing.
Fans are fickle; we crave and laud the exotic, the superstar, the miracle worker. Henderson is none of those things but belongs in the company of those who are. He is replete with other qualities – resolve, intelligence, energy, desire – but he’s a bloody good footballer too.
His cross to the far post sends everyone in the opposite direction. While Mane is mobbed by team-mates Henderson is left to cavort alone right in front of the Kop. It’s more vindication than celebration.
His eyes are wild, every vein bursting, each sinew stretched to the limit. Only when he jogs across to join his buoyant comrades does a smile break. Later, when limping off, the crowd sing his name; a tune that pre-dates the Jurgen Klopp era and reminds that this lad has been in our lives for eight years. Jordan Henderson – Liverpudlian.
Both these Liverpool goals – one a blinding light, the other a tapestry – are greeted with delirium. God only knows how we’ll survive a title winner here against Wolves in May.
We still need a City slip but the more we cling on, the more destiny calls. You can hear it in the acclaim for the Egyptian King, that belting Firmino song, the Van Dijk tune and in every booming chorus of Allez, Allez, Allez.
But, there was a roar at full-time as the players approached the Kop that sent shivers down the spine. Then you’ve got Klopp punching the air in a fashion that might see his right arm eventually end up on Walton Breck Road.
Aside from the emotion and hope there’s logic. Surely this Liverpool team can’t be denied their place in history. Thirty-four down and just four to go, all of which we should win.
Manchester City have a much tougher last five and unlike in 2014 have zero margin for error. The Reds are just waiting to pounce.
These are the days that will define us.
This is our time. How do we know? Because when you witness a goal like Salah’s, you just know.
We’re primed to end 29 years of adversity.
*Odds are subject to change