Reaction To a Magical Night At Anfield
By Dave Turner
10 minutes in and it’s already 2-0… that’s it, right?
Marco Reus bangs one home to make it 3-1 in the second half…so much for the comeback attempt, it had seemed.
Even at 3-3, could they possibly do the unthinkable?
As improbable as it was, what we witnessed from Anfield on Thursday night was nothing short of remarkable. It was emotional, it was raw, it was captivating. But, most importantly, it serves as a reminder of what it’s like to find even a small slice of European glory.
Yes, a Europa League quarterfinal win over what was probably a better overall side in Dortmund isn’t nearly as poignant as that remarkable night in Istanbul, some 11 years ago, but that’s okay. Not every defining moment needs to be a championship for it to matter in the hearts of the supporters and players alike. For this group of players, though flawed, but with the heart of a lion, this stunning comeback against seemingly insurmountable odds is special in it’s own way.
Suddenly, amidst a season that has seen a managerial change, countless injuries and plenty of disappointing Premier League results, there’s a real chance that this team can accomplish something this season.
With the enigmatic Jurgen Klopp at the helm, this squad seems to have taken on a completely new persona. Gone are the stoic days of Brendan Rodgers and instead, there is a fight and a true passion for football that seems to radiate from the former Dortmund manager.
“[trailing] Dortmund 3-1, thats the moment in football and in life when you have to show character and that’s what the lads did and it was pretty cool to watch. To come back in a game like this against this highest quality opponent and win, you need a little bit of luck and everybody who was part of this game, who saw the game, [knows the result] is deserved,” said Klopp to reporters after the match.
Klopp’s influence on this squad is already being shown, even without a summer transfer window to work with and now, they stand within arms reach of a title and a spot in the Champions League next season.
Credit the lads with an unyielding effort that saw them see this one through to the end. Dejan Lovren might have been the most unlikely of goal scorers to head home what will be a goal etched into the annals of Liverpool history, but to see him and Mamadou Sakho both get rewarded for their tenacious, though tenuous defensive effort over the two legs against BVB is a rightful ending to this latest chapter being written by the club.
“It’s [an] amazing feeling. It was one of the best games in the last two, three years. We never stopped believing in ourselves, we told ourselves at half time we just had to believe,” said Lovren after his header sent Liverpool through to the next round.
There is still more football to be played this season, but this night will be special for a long time. Not just because it kept Liverpool alive in the tournament, but because of how it felt. Throw out everything you know or will know about this club and just soak in what you witnessed on April 14th. The incredible comeback that once again reminds us why our blood, sweat, tears and money that we pour in to the club are all worth it.
A few more points:
- – This was in no way a perfect effort. At certain junctures, LFC looked out-classed. Though they stood tall when it mattered, perhaps this match will serve as a benchmark for Klopp when he tries to piece together next year’s roster.
- – That cross from James Milner, after the excellent touch from Sturridge, was nothing short of extraordinary.
- – They both got exposed at different points in the match, but the tenacity of Dejan Lovren and Mamadou Sakho is incredible. What they lack in skill, they come close to making up for it in pure desire and tenacity.
- – Divock Origi is blossoming before our eyes. One of the hardest things for a young striker to do is to slow things down, with confidence. Whether it’s just a simpler first touch, or a pause to assess what’s around you, letting the game slow down around you is a key to becoming a true world-class finisher. Though Origi has a long way to go for that title, the goals he’s been scoring lately speak to the poise that he’s beginning to develop.
- – The Anfield crowd was astounding, once again. The atmosphere was incredible, starting with the extended rendition of you’ll never walk alone, all the way up to crescendo of pure, unfiltered joy that came with the winning goal. Spectacular.
One last thought on an important date:
It’s certainly fitting that this latest triumph on the field came just a day before the anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster.
I was only one year old in 1989, so I’m not going to act as if I experienced things as many of you did, but I do feel the need to address such an important subject.
What I will say, is this: From terrible circumstances, the most important thing is to put our very best foot forward with everything that follows afterwards. As a fan-base, as a group of human beings linked together by a common interest, there is much good being done, still today. The continued efforts of so many Liverpool supporters (certainly including members of LFCNY) to not only keep the memory of those lost within our minds, but also to STILL seek further justice, some 27 years later, speaks volumes to the character of many wonderful people. People who are trying their best to honor those we lost, while fighting for the true justice that is so rightfully deserved.