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Digging Deeper Into Liverpool’s Champions League Final Loss To Real Madrid

Wasn’t meant to be.

Liverpool FC vs Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League final Photo by Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

There’s nothing to say when you lose. Real Madrid are celebrating their 14th European Cup while Liverpool go home empty. The rational thought tells you that this Liverpool side were the best team you’ve ever seen. But this week shows us that fate, destiny, and what’s deserved never line up. Sometimes you stare into the abyss and there’s nothing there but darkness. There’s no late minute winner. God, or whatever controls everything, isn’t just and doesn’t come in the time of need. There’s no thief in the night. It’s just loneliness and despair.

The difference this season is one goal and one point. That’s the margin we’re faced with. That’s what separates us from the greatest sporting season ever and the pain we currently hold. Reality never makes sense but the truth is the truth.

It’s easy to say hindsight is 20/20, but perhaps you felt the narrative shift before the match even kicked off. A match scheduled to start at 9pm local time in Paris didn’t kickoff until 9:36pm because of two delayed kickoff times. First it was 15 minutes. Then it was 15 more. Then it was six more minutes because UEFA needed to make sure their showcase concert went off without a hitch. Meanwhile, paying fans were outside of the stadium for hours trying to get in. Instead the police were tear gassing ten-year-old kids and UEFA officials were scrambling to lie about what was happening. We already know how this is going to play out. The media will believe UEFA and the government when they lie. Solidarity to those Liverpool fans who had to suffer at the hands of police brutality.

Dissecting The Narrative

Liverpool actually started the match well. The first 40 minutes of the game was a display we’ve seen more times than not over the course of this 63-match campaign. Ramp up the pressure and create chances. We’ve seen this story before, haven’t we? Liverpool are relentless and they build and build and dominate.

Except this isn’t that story. This is a story of injustice and robbery. Or, from the Real Madrid perspective, it’s a story of having a divine right in the face of logic and rationale. That divine right came, ironically enough, in the form of a VAR decision that went against them. In the 42nd minute, Karim Benzema found himself behind the dominate Liverpool. He cut inside Andy Robertson, got a shot off, and the chaos that Real Madrid thrive on was created. The goal from the scramble was ruled out, but that was the moment that Real Madrid’s dark magic needed to get going. Shortly after that Alisson made a mistake before the half time whistle. It would go into the break 0-0, but Madrid had all the hope and Liverpool would hold all the doubt.

Ancelotti would use the halftime to build on the chance that wasn’t. The seed of doubt was there and in the 59th minute Madrid capitalized. It’s a counter. It’s an ungodly pass. It’s 1-0 Madrid and that’s how it ends. They’ve got the goal and trophy. Liverpool have the pain and the what ifs. It goes that way sometimes. The hardest thing to swallow is there’s not faults to be discussed. Sure, you want

A campaign that felt like destiny ends in the hardest lines you could ever imagine. It’s one goal. It’s one point in the final nine minutes of the season. It’s standing alone at the altar. It’s staring into the darkest abyss. Sometimes, maybe more times than not, you have the courage to stare into the abyss and there’s nothing there in return. The universe is uncaring, it doesn’t bend toward justice, and is constantly trending towards entropy. You don’t get what’s deserved when you deserve it most. That’s why even though Liverpool took the season to the literal last game they could play, the overwhelming emotion is pain.

Seasons end but the Reds do not. I hold nothing but pain right now. I am alone. We are apart. But the hope on the horizon lives forever. Head up. You’ll never walk alone. Up the 2022/23 Reds.

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