One thing every Liverpool Fan has, as part of his armour right now, is the ability to get over hurt, easily for that matter. It didn’t just come to us overnight, rather we developed it laboriously, with great pain and anguish, over time. I think the only time we really hurt was in 2007 when we lost to Milan at the finals of the UEFA Champions League, two years after we defeated the same team in Istanbul for the title. The years after 2007 really tested my faith, as several great teams and individual talents struggled to return Liverpool to the glory days to no avail. At some point we even had to co-opt a legend to come and stir things amongst the boys, and had he been just any other coach, I doubt he’d have been let off the way he was, with mutual respect, the sort that includes not looking at the huge failures of his time as coach. This season looked like it, except for the fact that the defence started out as a let down, and I put our high scoring record to the fact that in those early days the forwards had to outscore our opponents or at least get a draw, several times after leading, with a two or three goal margin. The signing of Virgil Van Dyke did help to stem the tide but only to a manageable extent, as we still had goalkeeper issues, for which Simon Mignolet paid the price by having his starting lineup position exchanged for the bench. This however only barely scratched at the surface of the defensive challenge that bedevilled us all season, culminating in that semi-final against Roma, where even though we were leading by five goals to two from the first leg, it was palpitations all through the second leg for us fans (that two bottles of big stout I had at the sports bar where I watched the match after work, couldn’t calm my nerves, such that it was only by a miracle that I got home that night unscathed), as we got so close to losing all the leads, even after scoring two goals in the away and second-leg game, to end with an aggregate of seven goals to six in our favour. A patient of mine intentionally visited last week, besides what would’ve been his routine dental check-up, to sound me out concerning yesterday’s final. I told him finals could be very tricky, and that all Real Madrid may have to do will be to knock off a major contributor to our would be success, and that could simply turn the game around. I said this with Mohammed Salah (who has won everything there is to be won in Football, in Africa, his native Egypt and in England this season, the most mercurial of the very potent attacking trio that also includes the Brazilian, Roberto Firminho and Senegal’s Sadio Mane, that have menaced many a opponent’s defences this season to outstanding accolades) in mind. I wasn’t unaware of our defensive frailties and lapses, but I also recognised that Real wasn’t any better defensively, and the possibility of outscoring them, though slim, was there; and that the team could achieve anything if they believed, especially with the mob that’s the traveling Liverpool fans that can spare no cost, to go to the ends of the earth to support their beloved team, reminiscent of the one in 2005 with not so much in terms of experience, yet could turn even the worst of situations around for good, and in our favour when inspired. Which is why, even at three goals down to our one, with just few minutes left to the end of the game last night in Kiev, I still believed (though not so sure I wasn’t under the illusion, brought on by the Malibu Coconut Rum I was lounging on while watching the game at home), that we could still stretch the game into extra time by scoring two more goals within regulated time. When Sergio Ramos lived up to his name last night, and brought Salah’s night at the game to an abrupt end, and possibly jeopardising Egypt’s chances at the World Cup, I felt that the misfortune occasioned by the shoulder injury to Salah might galvanise his colleagues to stand ever more steadily in his stead, and Sadio Mane didn’t disappoint when he equalised; an offside goal by the merengues had already been disallowed for offside, if not they’d have been leading by two goals at the time. However, what many didn’t foresee was the undoing we were going to meet at the hands of goalkeeper Loris Karius, such that by the end of the three goals to one drubbing we endured at the hands of Real Madrid, it was difficult to solely lay the blame at Sergio Ramos’ feet for injuring our talisman, and costing us the game, even though he might now have to visit Egypt in disguise probably for the rest of his life, should he ever have such a trip in mind, either for business, football or pleasure. Today being the morning after, I reflect on what could’ve been only. How someone reminded me that Jurgen Klopp is final-tournament jinxed, and how I reminded him that Jose Mourinho never lost finals, but voila? Not even the myth that a British Prince Wedded but the Pontiff didn’t die, hence an incomplete cycle for Liverpool lifting the European Championship Trophy could dissuade me, because I simply questioned whether those were prerequisites when Liverpool won it the three other times earlier, before the last two where those events sufficed. I felt Klopp should’ve attempted something different from his routine, and taken the gauntlet to appoint someone to do to a Real forward what Ramos did to us at the risk of penalisation (though not that there wouldn’t be others to fill in the space, but at least we would’ve benefited from some destabilization of the opponent’s plans, howbeit for a brief period, or more in the best case scenario) and that’s even the extreme of options that I know may have been available to him, to turn history around. Finally, I mustn’t forget to mention my friend Fidelis, who was near spot-on in his prediction, including who was going to score for Liverpool, I hope he invests his ability to predict odds to making some money for himself in the betting game, though I know he might not want to consider it for religious reasons. For now, the thing to do is move forward, we are Liverpool, We’ll Never Walk Alone! ‘kovich PICTURE CREDIT: - THE MORNING AFTER, YNWA via @madukovich

Published by m'khail madukovich


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