Written in the stars? Some things are just meant to be.
Sunday at Anfield and with twenty minutes to go, Spurs equalise. It feels like the roof has fallen in and crushed a million dreams. It’s not meant to be after all. It’s all been a massive con; a ruse of the highest order tricking us into thinking that the league title is our destiny.
Good morning, Reds… 👋 pic.twitter.com/EjMYPidtcG
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 1, 2019
Riyad Mahrez’s missed penalty back in October is no longer a clue to the eventual outcome. Divock Origi’s last minute Derby winner rendered a mere footnote in what will be the most valiant but ultimately vain chase. Xherdan Shaqiri’s deflected double against United robbed of its comedy value. Those scruffy wins at Huddersfield and Brighton – when winning without playing well – just lobbed into a 29-year void.
All of this is coursing through my mind after Lucas Moura slams home at the Anfield Road End. A whole season’s worth of recall instantly refreshed by this terrible, numbing sight. Spurs fans celebrate like there’s no tomorrow, as though it really means something when in the grand scheme of things – a top four finish – it matters little. To us though, it represents everything and it’s gone.
What happens next is one of the greatest things I’ve seen at Anfield.
First, those twenty minutes ebb agonisingly away. Spurs should score twice and on the break but we ride our luck. Luck; that most indefinable football quality is on our side and we ride the hell out of it. For some it’s too much to take and the exits at the back of the Kop take a hammering. This isn’t about beating traffic; I’m convinced the early dart is an expression of pain.
But then, that moment.
All is I can see is that ball rolling towards the line.
It is a most glorious trickle of all time, a pathetic little dribble off a Spurs shin and it’s there! It’s is the shittiest goal imaginable but it beats a vicious curler, a flowing move, a bullet header hands down. The next minute is a total blur. I think I’m on the deck, then I’m back up, then on the floor again. Faces are contorted, as though in the midst of torture. This has got nothing to do with happiness, nor relief, not even joy. It seems a weird thing to say but it’s mostly a release of anger, a primeval release of pent up aggression and it’s f*****g brilliant.
Mohammed Salah has played his most vital card – a tame header which has a perverse greasiness to escape the clutch of Hugo Lloris before clattering into the legs of Toby Alderweireld . Salah gets the credit from the Kop who roar his name into the rafters. It’s quite possibly the loudest chant I’ve ever heard at Anfield; truly ear-splitting, an electrical current of song carrying the name of the Egyptian King.
Imagine seeing that goal on telly if you’re a Manchester City fan. It must’ve been absolutely galling and we know because of we’ve had to suffer ourselves at the hands of Federico Macheda. I’m not sure whether Pep Guardiola, David Silva or Sergio Aguero enjoy a Sunday roast but whatever dishes were served in Manchester were suddenly laced with Scouse arsenic. Lucky Liverpool, eh? Well keep on saying it boys because fatalism eats away at the soul.
— Hotel Tia (@Hotel_Tia) March 31, 2019
Roberto Firmino’s first-half goal, a classic downward header from Andy Robertson’s devilish cross pales into insignificance now. So much for the beautiful game, so much for those who pore over mesmeric exquisiteness, those who feast on aesthetic brilliance. There is nothing quite as gorgeous as a jammy own-goal, at the last gasp at the Kop end and a celebration which leaves you struggling for breath.
Istanbul was written in the stars. This one is too. Some things are just meant to be. Try telling Kopites anything else when you’ve seen Virgil Van Dijk boot the ball out ground.
*Odds are subject to change