When the two teams walked out last night the atmosphere was already at fever pitch in the city and in the ground. As I took my seat in the main stand I knew we were in for a night of twists and turns.
From the moment I heard we were planning to line the streets I’ve got to admit I was dubious. Things like that are done for cup finals, trophy processions and celebrating a big win. I remember turning to my mate ryan as we left ‘the park’ pub and saying something along the lines of, ‘it’s all gonna be fucking bittersweet if we mess this up’ we walked down and joined the crowds with flags banners, songs and passion and to be honest it was something special. We were all United, willing our heros to make us dream again…….
It was a mixture of pandemonium and excitement, pride and fear, I was beginning to think dortmund would either be loving this, thinking that our players would be distracted by the hype or hating it thinking that nothing like this has ever greater them before
As we joined in with repeated bursts of ynwa, fields of anfield road, oh campeone and more it gradually got louder, brighter and more vibrant. The dortmund fans were amazing. 3000 came over but they sounded like 10000 a constant voice for their team. The ynwa shook the ground to its foundations and if anfield had a roof it would have been blown off, the minutes silence was the polar opposite though. Never before have I taken part in one where the only noise was the wind. It was immaculate and really united both sets of fans. Huge respect to dortmund for taking part and a thank you for being so vocal in supporting our cause.
Once the game got underway it was clear that BVB were not there to mess about. Reus strides forward effortlessly with the ball, aubameyang is just a box of tricks and the fluid passing of their defence and midfield is magical, once they were 2 up I had severe doubts about our credentials, stray passes, maybe a touch of nerves and just a genuine divide in class.
We were looking like a team buckling under the weight of expectation. Then half time came and to be honest we never really let them get involved again. Sakho and Lovren sussed Reus and aubameyang out, milner was trying to be everywhere, Clyne, despite slipping all over the place flung himself into every tackle he could. Origi continued his good run of form and all of all sudden the ground erupted. The swagger was back, the nerves replaced with belief and in an instant, despite us still needing two goals we were feeling we had all chance, then Reus did his stuff and that was it.
I turned to my mate and just said, ‘now surely it’s impossible ‘ to score 2 against dortmund is crazy but to score 4 just doesn’t happen.’ Joe Allen and Sturridge entered the fray and all of a sudden the game changed. Joe Allen the player slated by so many has been the main man recently. He covers so much ground and his ball control is looking sublime. I really think he added furthur confidence to a team that was already high off the anfield atmosphere.
Time was dragging on and when the goals from sakho and coutinho went in the feelings around the ground just turned into a mixture that I cannot describe, we had hope and belief but we had concern and worry. I don’t think it’s possible to find a word for it, we willed the 4th goal to come, we begged for it and I’m sure many religious people hoped that their God would work some magic for it.
As the ball made contact with lovren and hit the back of the net there was nothing that could stop the subs and coaching staff exploding with joy and embracing each other but that was nothing compared to in the stands.
Flares went off, which probably means another uefa fine, flags were waved and men embraced other men that they didn’t know. Of all players it was lovren, a man that during Rodgers reign was slated as an appalling piece of business. He has transformed under klopp and has cemented his place in lfc history with that one goal.
As we played out the final minutes and dortmund had their free kick there was still time for worry, when they failed to score, we knew, the footballing world knew and dortmund most definitely knew.
Anfield is a fortress and the 12th man can never be dismissed.