On Monday night I sat in the stands at Anfield in awe of the situation we, collectively, found ourselves in. Another win. At home, in the league, in a close game. As usual. Only this time after trailing, against the odds, when things hadn’t quite gone to plan.
I say we here because I like to think I’ve contributed something to this journey. And I have, even if perhaps in the grand scheme of Liverpool things it’s been a small thing. It’s been my time, money, emotion. It’s been everything I’ve been able to. And you, too, have contributed something as well, wherever you are and whatever it’s been.
Of course you and I, sat in the stands or in pubs or on couches or behind desks, haven’t contributed the assists or goals like Sadio Mané or Trent Alexander-Arnold. But we’ve still contributed to this.
So I sat there in awe. Awe both of the present, of the moment and the win, and of something larger and more abstract. West Ham United had gone up 2-1 in the 54th minute. Against Liverpool. At Anfield. It’s happened before, but not often this season. Not many opponents get to say they’ve gone ahead against this Liverpool side.
While I received an onslaught of texts and tweets from friends about how my presence in the stands had jinxed this team, I asked myself a question many of you have probably asked yourselves, “Can this Liverpool team actually lose? At Anfield?”
The answer Monday night was, in the end, inevitable. No. They cannot. No only are they not capable of losing, they find the very proposition absurd. It’s an affront to the football gods to even suggest it.
So, of course I was in awe when Mo Salah shot at Łukasz Fabiański and the Kop willed the ball into the goal. And then I was in awe just under 15 minutes later when Joe Gomez lined up a speculative left-footed effort from 25 yards out that somehow ended up with a Mané goal from the goal line just a few moments later.
How can you not respond in awe? What this team did on Monday night, and what they have done and will likely continue to do, is the closest thing to perfect most of us have ever seen.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the moment. All of the moments. Jurgen Klopp has instructed his team, and us fans, that the match in front of us, each match in front of us, is the most important game of our lives. Every single one a cup final.
It’s why a Monday night 3-2 win over an 18th place West Ham can feel so massive. In the grand scheme of footballing things, it really wasn’t all that important. In the grand scheme of things, it will could slightly change when Liverpool wrap up the league and not if they do so. But in the moment, at the final whistle, it was also the biggest win in Liverpool Football Club’s history. Because every win is.
That’s why I sat there in awe about, well, everything. In the moment and out of it. Because when you try to step back, to put it all into some kind of perspective, it really is incredible what we’re witnessing.
The wonderful thing about everything, every touch and pass and tackle and game, being so important is that you, myself, and this team get the opportunity to reinvent ourselves every month, week, day, match, or minute. For normal teams and fans, it might be acceptable for there to be a slip. Not us; not this Liverpool side. We’re after perfection.
It’s counterintuitive, but when you’re striving for something like this it is, in a way, freeing. The games now matter more than they perhaps ever have for Liverpool, at least in the Premier League era. Yet at the same time, given the standings, they don’t. Because these days, Liverpool are inevitable, never mind the scoreline. I’m in awe of that inevitability, and of what it means.
It means that in a few short weeks now, Liverpool will be crowned league winners for the first time in three decades and Premier League champions for the first time. Ever. There’s still a mathematical chance that it doesn’t happen, of course. But we know that it will. Math and statistics aren’t fully capable of describing what this Liverpool side is and what it has achieved. It doesn’t take that feeling of inevitability into account.
The inevitability of this team helps being in the here and now. When you know how something is going to end it can make you brace yourself, especially when inevitability for Liverpool used to mean something terrible was going to happen. The Slip. Kiev. Finishing a season with 97 points but not winning the league. Glory so close and yet so far.
Sometimes you get to a situation in life where you know what’s going to happen, you might shield yourself from the moment or the emotion. I’ve written before about the passing of my mother. That situation was incredibly difficult for me and there were times during that season of my life where I numbed myself from truly feeling the depths around me. And later when used those coping mechanisms I had learned to further brace myself. In good times, too. Because I was convinced things were going to go wrong.
This is not one of those times. The joy of winning the league is happening right now. You have permission to feel it; to feel alive. Because at best this doesn’t happen often. At worst you may never get to do this again. So hold on to this and never let go. We’re arriving at the land of milk and honey.
Not every single one of us has been a Liverpool supporter since 1990. Some of us haven’t even been alive that long. But every single one of us has felt the weight of waiting 30 years for Liverpool to win a league title.
These are the greatest of days for Liverpool fans, with the Reds on the march to glory and you and I and every other Liverpool fan around the world going with them. We’re just a few weeks away from the greatest day of our lives.
It’s been worth the wait. It’s worth the wait. I’m sure.