TERRACE TALK: Liverpool - Still basking in the glow of an Anfield classic

Sad thing about Bournemouth is; after you’ve seen one of the greatest games of your life a few days beforehand, it’s impossible to get excited about them.

I’m not being mean, though it wouldn’t be out of character. You still want to discuss the miracle just witnessed. When did you think it became possible? How does it compare to other classics?

Dortmund at times were exceptional and by halfway we needed three goals desperately. What did that remind you of? If you thought I wouldn’t mention Istanbul, who have you been reading for the last 11 years?

I could get stroppy by insisting Origi’s goal surpassed anything the Germans did (watch it again, it’s beautiful) but who am I kidding? Dortmund were better than us, just like Milan were all those years ago.

We still emerged victorious and yet people keep claiming Liverpool and Europe don’t have something special going on, even when the evidence hits them between the eyes.

The Milan resemblance didn’t end with finding ourselves well adrift. Klopp screwed up his team selection, just like Rafa did. We’d performed well in the first leg precisely because we recognised the futility of going toe-to-toe with genuine heavyweights.

Picking Firmino, Coutinho, AND Lallana in the same team was asking for trouble. That’s what we got. The attacking instinct was brave, same as diving off Beachy Head into a skip of broken bottles is brave.

The true beauty of Europe is that nothing’s ever really over. You could see it in Dortmund’s reaction to Coutinho’s goal; “we’ve clinched this twice now — and they’re still coming?” Anfield always has something to say about that.

You don’t need to ask us twice about bawling incoherently at foreigners. Dortmund played it brilliantly after the Origi goal by keeping the ball, killing our momentum and slicing like a surgeon’s scalpel through Liverpool’s ropey defence for their third.

So why didn’t they just do that at 2-3? That’d be like asking why a Milan player’s tying his bootlaces while Smicer is teeing up our second goal at the Ataturk. There’s no logical explanation for any of this.

The bitterness of outsiders about Great European Nights (“yawn” etc) is vaguely understandable but it shouldn’t dovetail into denying the evidence of one’s own eyes.

Perhaps they know it’s the mythology that seeped into those German heads and made the difference; even so, denial becomes a futile attempt at slaying dragons you can’t see. It’s natural we should want to perpetuate such mythology if that’s the case but even when we fail, there’s a near miss or two.

It all goes into the mix. Rodgers was mostly awful in Europe but we nearly did this to Zenit in 2013 and to Basel (with 10 men) in 2014.

Roy Evans wasn’t much better but his team nearly came back against PSG and Strasbourg in 1997. Houllier and Benitez, that all goes without saying.

United have a great record at Anfield, they never show fear, but on European Night they’re half-set jelly. Is this all coincidence?

The comedown from such a high was the Hillsborough anniversary, something that always makes me feel guilty I’m still around to witness such wonders. You know agony and pain share this stage we’re on with ecstasy and pleasure but at Liverpool it seems we get more than our share of it all.

Bournemouth’s captain helped lay a wreath for the 96 and you don’t really feel like football after such moments. Like with Dortmund’s fans, you realise most people are decent enough although this sport has a nasty habit of masking its humanity sometimes.

Still, we did well with a completely different team and Sturridge was class. They can’t help scaring you late on though, can they?

We won a game of football and then we won another. On a day in-between, we learned a lesson about perspective — if ever it were needed.


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