Steven Kelly on the emotions that Liverpool fans are enjoying - and enduring - ahead of kick-off.
Reasons to be cheerful
Without Coutinho, no-one could make any more Beatles references — but there have been some fab threes too. There’s Nirvana, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, Emerson Lake & Palmer. Yeah, I wrote the last one just to annoy you actually.
One of the deadliest forward lines in Europe has been on the rampage all season. All kinds of coaches and defences thought they had the answer, turns out they didn’t.
Everyone focuses on Salah obviously, but Mane’s been the glue holding it all together. He’s had a great last few rounds in the Champions League and may exploit the desperation to keep the Egyptian quiet.
Tell yourself whatever you need to
Did you know that Porto hadn’t lost a home game all season? That Man City were the bestest team ever ever ever? That Roma were yet to concede a home goal in the Champions League?
End each sentence with “until dot dot dot” and you get the gist. Seems there’s always a reason why Liverpool can’t win a game — until they actually do. Has any ‘neutral’ ever thought they were guilty of wishful thinking, that this was something you so desperately didn’t want to happen that you’d clutch any straw?
No? Okay. Crack on then.
The usual nonsense
Last time Liverpool played Real Madrid in the final there was a royal wedding in England, when a gormless prince married a woman that was far too sexy for him.
Eintracht Frankfurt won the German cup, too. A London team won the FA Cup and beat a Manchester team at Wembley to do so.
Makes you think, eh? Okay, so I couldn’t actually think of a proper third reason to be optimistic. Busted.
It’s a football match, so that means anything can happen. You can be totally outplayed by a star-laden outfit like AC Milan, for example, and still come home with the trophy, y’know.
Reasons to be miserable
Tommy Smith once said he’d built himself a reputation in 10 minutes only to spend a decade living it down. Lovren knows the feeling.
Point to any amount of clean sheets you like (there’s been a few this year) but the minute he boots a clearance right into James Milner’s face and it goes in the net, the world’s head shakes and its tongue tuts. Ooooh, Dejan… There’s youthful inexperience on either flank but you’d still bet heavily on the Croatian being the one to balls things up. It’s a license to print your own money. Call this reverse-jinxing if you want, you all know it’s going to happen.
Klopp’s final hurdle dilemma
God, but the man’s in a bad cup-final rut. His last Dortmund team once did the hard part by knocking out Bayern then proceeded to lose to Wolfsburg.
It’s okay getting snotty about superstition but sometimes there’s really nothing you can do. Give Manchester City the gross national product of Belgium and they still couldn’t buy a win at Anfield.
Be all clever clogs, smile smugly then say “but everything has to end sometime”. It does, does it? Believe it when you see it and not before.
Relying on their arrogance being their downfall
Oh really; the team that’s in its fourth Champions League final in five years thinks it’s pretty good? Scum, sub-human scum.
Yes, they do have a star player who makes Narcissus look like Woody Allen but they won all those trophies and the musclebound popinjay scored three billion goals for one reason; they’re bloody brilliant.
That’s not arrogance it’s observation. Pinning all your hopes on them not doing their homework and ignoring all of Liverpool’s strength is a sobering exercise in futility.
But yes, they probably were the same in 1981…
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