Article by David Rice
Step back. Look around the room, the time, the moment.
There’s nothing anyone is going to say to you today that is going to assuage the despair you feel after a 3-0 loss in a European semifinal. A second European semifinal in twelve months. A European semifinal against Barcelona, against Leo Messi in his house, against Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho, friendly old faces mutated into new foes.
Nothing to say, everything for you to feel. I feel it too.
But I look around. A pub, a city, the collections of puzzled faces. What do I see?
Moments. Scenes that have brought individuals into collectives of hope and belief where little existed just a short time ago. I scratch a scar that has formed since Sturridge leveled against Chelsea. Seems like ages ago. I see a face that hasn’t quite looked the same since Origi 90+6. I can sip a drink that smells like Hugo Lloris’ mistakes, choke back a cough that comes with every time Salah tears the net with that strike against Chelsea at Anfield.
As Liverpool sides go, I’ve seen few that compare to this.
Actually, that’s a lie. I’ve seen none.
It is a side that is brave. It is flawed, but it holds its class up on high and throws its errors by the way side like an empty bag of crisps. And it asks questions that lack clear answers. Questions like: Can they? Will they? Do you believe?
Questions that ask more about you than they do about them. About the state of your bottle, your nature.
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At every turn throughout this campaign, they’ve given us back everything we’ve given them. We believed they would continue their European conquest despite having to go to the final game of the group stage to move on. And they, a team that leaked 52 goals last season between the Premier League and Europe, delivered a disciplined 1-0 victory over the second-best team in Italy.
We believed they would handle the pressure of a league title race over a long campaign and they responded by losing once in 36 matches. We believed they would conquer Bayern at the Allianz and they delivered a three-goal masterclass that laid down a marker to everyone on the continent.
This team has navigated the storm to deliver us the only thing we can sincerely ask for each August; the ability to dream. A campaign is long and arduous. Such is the road to any glory, never mind our road. A road fraught with doubt, with confusion, with challenges that simply don’t exist for the Barcelona’s and Manchester City’s of the world. That we stand here today two league matches and a European second leg from the greatest trophy less season that has ever happened is cruel. But we are where we are.
We’re watching Liverpool play at the highest levels, across the finest margins and on the steepest cliffs. The reality up here is cruel. But nothing, absolutely nothing, is decided just yet. And nothing should cause our faith to falter.
We’re approaching the end of the storm, an exhausting one as these things go. The onslaught of matches to come will undoubtedly be packed with memories, be it bitter, sweet, or bittersweet. I can’t and I won’t tell you what or how to feel. I’d be lying if I said I know exactly how I feel.
It doesn’t matter. We’ll have all the time in the world to deal with our feelings in a matter of weeks. Right now, I just want to believe. Believe in everything and anything. In what they can do, in how they might reward our faith one more time.
Liverpool might complete a double and they might just win nothing. For now, while we can, let’s just keep dreaming.
Article by David Rice