“It was crazy,” defender Joel Matip said as he recalled Liverpool’s famous comeback victory against Barcelona at Anfield. We’re nearing the anniversary of that match, and the club and its fans have been reminiscing about the good old days, since we are now planted firmly in the bad new days.
“The atmosphere was already crazy when we came into the stadium, even though everybody knew the first-leg result and who we were coming up against,” says Matip. “But the mood was good and it became better and better. It was just crazy. It was like a whole machine working there together - everyone, the players, the fans.
“We were getting more and more speed with the game. With every goal, everybody became greedier - the whole stands, the players on the bench, the players on the pitch, it was crazy. Everyone became quicker, did everything better.”
And then when it came to the critical moment, that corner that Trent Alexander-Arnold earned for the Reds and then used his quick-thinking to engineer that critical goal off of Divock Origi’s head, Matip was just as surprised as the rest of us.
“I was slowly on the way to the box, so in centre-back style I was slowly going from back to front! I thought maybe in 20 seconds there would be a corner coming in or something like this; I came forward and had a nice view of the whole situation.
“It was crazy. I couldn’t believe it, I didn’t know what had happened because he just put the ball in. I thought, ‘What is this?’ Then I saw Divock there and the ball in the net afterwards…
“I was a little bit confused, to be honest. But after a few seconds, everybody was celebrating so I just joined in.”
Matip wasn’t the only person that day who froze in suspended animation for long seconds after the goal to make sure that it wouldn’t be denied by the referees or VAR.
And now, the whole world is frozen in suspended animation as we wait for this pandemic to pass, so we’ve all come full circle.