Football is a sport that never ceases to produce epic drama. On Tuesday night my beloved Liverpool faced the mighty Barcelona at Anfield, aiming to somehow overturn a 3-0 deficit from the first leg of their Champions League semi-final. The score line flattered Barcelona but given the quality of the Spanish side, it looked to be a very tough ask to somehow win. If there is one lesson Liverpool’s players have never learned, it’s how to give up – and with the remarkable, intense Anfield atmosphere, it didn’t take long for the Reds to open the scoring. Divock Origi has been something of a backup player at Liverpool, but he added to his important match winner against Newcastle at the weekend with an early poacher’s goal to give Liverpool hope. At half-time it was still only 1-0, with the Reds needing two more goals to force extra time and three goals to win outright, whilst hoping to keep Barca at bay.
In the second half came the arrival of Georginio Wijnaldum. He’d come on as a substitute for the injured Andy Robertson, scoring two quick-fire goals to stun Barcelona and level the tie. From then on Liverpool were relentless and the fans were electric – Barca were rattled and just looked unable to cope. Origi settled matters with twelve minutes to go, seeing to it that Liverpool were into their second consecutive Champions League final. I’d considered the tie dead and buried after the first leg, yet somehow we’d silenced the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Coutinho at Anfield.
If that comeback was epic, I’m honestly not sure it can be compared to last night. Tottenham Hotspur, the team my mother, father, brother, wife, father-in-law and brother-in-law all support, went to Ajax trailing the Dutch side 1-0, having conceded an away goal. Ajax had knocked out Real Madrid and Juventus from the competition and would soon reaffirm their status as the tournament’s surprise package, moving into a 2-0 lead at home and leaving Spurs needed three goals in 45 minutes. Impossible? Not for Lucas Moura!
It was a case of another two quick goals to put Spurs to within touching distance, which left Ajax and their fans nervy and anxious. Still, time was ticking by and it seemed like it would run out, until the last minute of injury time – virtually the last kick of the game – when Moura completed his hat trick and put Spurs into the final.
For me personally, I naturally want Liverpool to win. They are my team. I want nothing more than to see them emerge victorious. If that is not to be, I’ll settle for Spurs, for I know how delighted it would make my loved ones. Either way, win or lose, I am incredibly proud of the Reds!