Wednesday, April 9, 2008

At least it wasn't boring

What a game. What a fucking game. I've been a Liverpool fan since birth, and I'll be damned if I can conjure up many moments over the last 5 years where we exhibited that much backbone in the face of adversity.

[off the top of my head:
1. The AC Milan CL Final, of course.
2. The West Ham FA Cup Final.
3. The UEFA Cup Final against Alaves.
4. The Liverpool/Everton derby where McAllister scored the winner despite being down to 10 men]

Of late, we've been characterized by a distinct lack of fight. Name a game against the Big 4 this season, or the last 3 seasons for that matter, where we've shown that kind of purpose. Sure, we took a lucky break en route to the 4-2 final result, but still... we never, ever put ourselves in positions to win like that.

Tonight, both teams played with the sense of doom and desperation that comes with the realization that there's nothing else left to play for. The urgency on both sides, while not mistake-free by any means, was a breath of fresh air compared to the lacklustre 1-1 draws in the first two meetings this week.

Walcott and Babel were the architects of a wonderful, gripping last 20 minutes where it seemed like even the smallest foul could turn into the most memorable moment.

In short, it was fucking wonderful.

It was why we watch this beautiful game in the first place.

Seeing Theo glide through the midfield to set up Samson Adebayor filled me with the dread I've become very familiar with as a Liverpool fan. I almost ruined my desk at work after that one went in, but the last 5 minutes turned that desk-pummeling rage into unbridled joy.

Wenger is convinced that the fix is in, but honestly, it was hard to see us losing that one, penalty and late Arsenal 2nd goal aside.

We've always been capable of European heroics at home, like Mark Walters slamming in the crucial 3rd goal 10 minutes from time at the Kop End against Auxerre, giving us a 3-2 aggregate win in that '92 UEFA Cup second round where it was previously thought impossible.

Precious Roy and I were talking before the game about the importance this fixture held to both sides, and he was spot-on in stating that Liverpool are in danger of becoming a Cup team.

Right as he may be, if winning like we did tonight is the final step in that transformation, then fuck, I'll take that outcome 99 times out of 100.

And I will rankle the ire of our Gunner blog contingent further than I did on email last night by saying that the more I watch it, the more I think the foul on Babel was an honest penalty. Here's a link to the video. I'll leave it to everyone else to debate endlessly, but I thought it was a PK. Initially I was on the fence, but seeing it more, I am convinced. Toure's foul was clumsy, far clumsier than Kuyt's, and I thought the ref made the right call.

It is generally unfavourable when massive games are decided like that, but like I said earlier: this is why we watch this beautiful game in the first place.

The human element, one that UEFA and FIFA would dearly love to erase in favor of the cold consistency of computers and instant replays, is what keeps our sport holy in the face of Russian moneybags owners, foreigner-dominated starting XIs and feuding Yanks who don't even love football in the first place.

The human element, like how the fuck did Adebayor miss that tap-in?

I am ready and willing to listen to the conspiracies against Arsene's "le sexy foot" that's being wilfully crushed by the dark forces that be, but I honestly don't fucking care.

Complain and gripe at will, but it won't change the fact that Liverpool won their biggest game in ages, and they fucking deserved it, so help me God. Of course, no-one will give them much credit for it, but hey.... baby steps.

Onward to Avram Grant's overpaid fucks.


The NY Kid said...

Despite my ranting last night (and in the thread below):

1. Liverpool do deserve all the credit for last night's game. Despite the end result, it was magnificent to watch.

2. There is no anti-Gunner or anti-Wenger conspiracy.

3. I will root for Liverpool to win the CL, since, as noted in one of our previous UF Rivalries post, Liverpool and Arsenal are merely contentious cousins, rather than feuding neighbors. After all, who can stand Cashley Cole, Avram Grant and the oligarchy?

hockalees said...

I have held back from posting a rant about the official's calls in both legs of the tie... anything I came up with to support my argument sounds like whiny bitching. We'll just have to respectfully disagree about both decisions.

I, too, will root for Liverpool in the next round (grrrrrrrr...) because I cannot believe that Chelski has a chance, albeit slim, to win the double with Nosferatu at their helm.

ΓΌ75 said...

I'm pulling for Schalke instead