you'll sing the song
 
you wanna know wat pain feels like?
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
heart & soul of victory
THE loudspeaker system started off with a few dirges. The Smiths, that kind of thing. As if they were mourning Anfield's lost years.
But as the kick-off grew nearer and the players came out to warm up, the giant flag bearing the club's crest rippled over the heads of the fans in the Kop and the noise grew louder.

Twenty minutes before kick-off, you couldn't hear the loudspeaker any more. "We Shall Not Be Moved," they roared. Then it was "When The Reds Go Marching In."
As the Liverpool players trotted back to their dressing room for their final preparations, a great roar went around this grand old ground that made the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end.

And when Anfield stood as one and 42,000 supporters held their scarves up and belted out the most rousing rendition of You'll Never Walk Alone some of us have ever heard, it felt humbling to be in the presence of such passion.

One of the great sights in world football right there in front of you, reawakened by this magnificently unlikely attempt to stir the ghosts of the past.

Up on one of the top tiers, a banner spelled out a simple message. "Respect for Your Elders Gives You Character," it said. It was illustrated with the likenesses of four European Cups.
In the press box, Tommy Smith, Alan Kennedy, David Fairclough and Phil Neal and many more of the heroes of yesteryear, felt the emotion swell. Out there in the middle of it all, Jamie Carragher, the heart and the soul of this new Liverpool side finally knew he was a part of the great Liverpool tradition.

He saw Chelsea wilt as the walls of noise bombarded the players from the stands. Even this wonderful Chelsea side had never experienced anything like this intensity before.

Before four minutes had elapsed, Carragher saw the Kop suck a weakly-dinked chip from Luis Garcia over the goalline in front of them just as legend says that they can on nights like this.

They dragged it and dredged it over that line with the fury of their desire and they were ahead before William Gallas booted it clear. Carragher, born a few miles up the road in Bootle and brought up through the Liverpool ranks, must have thought in those moments of joyful pandemonium of Bill Shankly's claim that the Kop was worth an extra man on European nights.
He must have thought of how St Etienne were overrun here on the way to that first European Cup triumph in 1977.

And he must have begun to dream that Chelsea would be swept aside just like Borussia Moenchengladbach and Juventus have been in other famous Liverpool victories here.
He has given more to the Liverpool cause than anyone this season. Only he has played in every single Premiership game, his form never seeming to falter.

His friends are still friends from this city, even he has moved a few miles north of Bootle to Blundellsands. His values are still theirs.
A couple of weeks ago, he recounted a story about how they had poked fun at him mercilessly for acquiring a wallet. It was seen by them as an affectation halfway to wearing a sarong.
Even his father is a hero, celebrated for being arrested at the England v Holland game earlier this year after being refused re-entry to Villa Park.

Carragher played like he was playing for all of them, throwing himself into every tackle, every header, never giving Didier Drogba a sniff.
His reading of the game was faultless, too. Time and again, he stifled danger with a smart interception to the point where Chelsea's frustration began to grow.

Over the two legs, Carragher's contribution more than any other helped to bridge the 33-point chasm that separates these two sides in the Premiership.
He knew that this might be his best shot at playing in a European Cup Final. He knew it might be his only shot. And he responded accordingly.

When the Kop sang "You'll Never Walk Alone" again to welcome the players back after the interval, it suddenly seemed clear that if Liverpool were to win, this would be a collective triumph, shared between 42,000 people. A triumph of the will.

So Carragher was far from alone. The rest of the Liverpool defence were superb as well. Jerzy Dudek produced one outstanding save from a Frank Lampard free-kick, Steve Finnan was meticulous.
Djimi Traore was uncharacteristically and whole-heartedly brilliant, Sami Hyypia was commanding.

Infused by the spirit of the evening, they responded to ghosts of Shankly and Bob Paisley and the lingering spirit of Dalglish and Keegan, Hansen and Lawrenson.
On other nights that might sound trite and wide-eyed but how else can you explain what happened here last night?

How else can you explain it other than to say that Carragher and company are heading to Istanbul, transported there by the greatness that this ground still holds in its pores.

--Oliver Holt , Mirror
posted by bobby @ 8:29 PM  
1 Comments:
  • At 1:38 AM, Blogger insanityiscreativity said…

    I have a love hate relationship with liverpool.
    Should they win in istanbul, i have to prepare for the worst.

     
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Name: bobby
Home: Dorset, Island, Singapore
About Me: Man in Pain
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