Liverpool vs. Barcelona MOTM review: Another Fab Night at Anfield
Words, words, words.
All I have to describe this team are words. But words just aren’t enough. That irrational feeling of hope at kick-off, despite everything. Hearing the noise and seeing those players put 40 minutes of effort into the first 7 minutes, that’s what describes this team.
The delirium after the third as we think, “My word, they’re doing it again.” The somewhat calming feeling of confidence as you think they’ve come this far, they’re not going to lose it now. That’s what describes the Reds.
The feeling at four, just as we start thinking about extra-time and whether we can make it there without conceding. The overwhelming joy that hits you as you look at the referee pointing to the centre-circle, somehow allowing a goal of such cheek and guile to stand. This wonderful club is all about emotion. The unique feelings we experience bring about the memories that never die.
Liverpool Football Club have advanced to their second consecutive Champions League final, and how? The smartest of minds had written them off, then they made the very best of players look like amateurs.
The emotions of this week alone have been utterly surreal. From the pain of potentially ending the title race at Newcastle to the joy of finding the victory. No one cared about Tuesday’s game, we had written it off, it was all about Monday.
The pain then of Kompany’s strike sends us hurtling back down to earth as the overwhelming fear of ending this remarkable season trophy less starts to become a crippling reality for many. Now look, these Reds.
Tuesday was written off, now Sunday is written off. To have the freedom to bounce between priorities this late in the day is remarkable. Yet another thing that cannot be put into the words and we should not take it for granted. How many seasons have effectively been over at this stage in our modern history? Now we are stuck with the dilemma of which of the two greatest shiny things is the shiniest. Mad.
Picking a man of the match after that performance is more difficult than overturning a 3-0 defeat to Barca. Everyone was 10/10. Perfection. Fabinho is the choice, but it could have been anyone. Specifically our number 3 because he was carded early on for one of the best tackles we’ve seen this season.
With the injustice of it and the potential effect it could have had on such an important game, it could have affected him greatly. It looked like it had, initially, as this problem was combined with the efforts of one of the most horrible players to play against in Suarez.
It appeared as though Suarez had targeted Fabinho early after the yellow. He sensed an opportunity and did everything he could to frustrate the Brazilian. He succeeded, Fabinho was visibly irate at both the ref and the former Red, but he never let it affect his impeccable performance.
By the end of the half Suarez saw he was getting no joy and turned his attention to his rival from the first leg in Andy Robbo and appeared to have caused the injury that ended his night prematurely. In the second half Fabinho had another monumental task in front of him in the shape of Leo Messi.
Messi was very central throughout that half and running directly at Liverpool whenever he got the ball. Perhaps both him and Valverde were targeting Fabinho, knowing he got booked for conceding the foul that led to their third goal last week.
As the goals flew in and the atmosphere got crazier and crazier, Fabinho had to keep his cool and smother the best player in history and time his tackles perfectly. He was stuck between a rock and a hard place – diving in and risking his second card or backing off Messi and risk conceding the goal that would in all likelihood crush our chances of advancing.
He walked this tightrope for an entire half of football and somehow succeeded. It must be said that Messi was incredible on Tuesday night as well. Fabinho didn’t have the fortune of facing him on an off-day, if that’s possible. He got the very best of the very best and gave it all back to him and then some.
Fabinho was my hero on Tuesday. One of eleven. And now we march on to Wolves knowing that anything is possible, these Reds have shown us that. In fact if there is anything this bizarre week has shown us it is that literally anything is possible in footy and if it isn’t, that’s because Liverpool haven’t faced it yet. Mo will be sporting his Never Give Up top again and we’ll bounce into Sunday and bounce out with the Premier League trophy.
Hope doesn’t kill you; it makes it all worthwhile.