“This does not fucking slip now.”
This sentence will either be lost in all the social media repetitions, or go down to be the most quoted words from LFC’s captain Steven Gerrard in years to come.
As the referee Mark Clattenburg blows his whistle to signal the end of a pulsating match between Liverpool and Manchester City, the first thing video cameramen do were to rush to the captain in red to capture how he tried to stop tears from flowing.
He couldn’t. But how could he?
Here is he standing in the middle of Anfield, with forty over thousand supporters singing his name, where he led his courageous men onto the pitch and stood firmly on the ground as they knock Manchester City back down in their attempts to climb over us. It took a heroic effort to command that kind of aura in one of England’s most famous football grounds.
“This is gone, next week we go to Norwich, exactly the same, we go again!”
That he said, arms in arms with the likes of Slovakian national team captain, Uruguay’s national team top scorer and former captain of PSG. You freaking pay attention when the Liverpool captain shouts the battle rally.
There is something different with the squad this season. The players are showing that special kind of affection to the club, the desire to succeed as a team, and the will to drag your comrades across the finishing line. When the red-hot strikers Sturridge and Suarez fail to lit the match, Coutinho and Sterling will stand up to be counted. When Sakho and Skrtel fail to stop the opposition, Mignolet will go full stretch to tip the ball away. When the team goes under pressure to defend a lead, Lucas and Toure will step in and take responsibility. When a bomb dropped in front of your battalion, Henderson jumps into it with no hesitation and takes one for the team. When you need nerves of steel to stab in that injury time winning penalty, Gerrard puts it away to spark wild celebrations.
There is no ‘me’ in the current squad. It is always ‘we’. For every pre- and post-match interview every single player will say the same thing; ‘we’ want to win it, ‘we’ will take it one game at a time, ‘we’ will try to stop them from scoring, I’ll trade my goals if ‘we’ can go and win it, ‘we we we we we’.
This season is some sort of breakthrough season for Liverpool. Not only the team gave the supporters something to cheer about, they gave them something to dream for. Majority of the neutral fans, and even some rivals, are now willing the team in red to hang on at the top come end of the season because it has just been some kind of special thing brewing in the red half of Merseyside. It's a wonder to see some Manchester United fans want this Liverpool team succeed, because if there is one person that really deserves to lift the Premier League trophy at least once in their career, it is Steven Gerrard.
Brendan Rodgers took the helm for a little less than 2 years, and my words how he has galvanized the sleeping giants. 52 wins out of 93 games. 200 goals scored. Entertaining passing football with dazzling results. Reinvented a goalscoring midfield captain to anchor the defensive line. Plucked the little Brazilian from Italy and gave him the magic wand. Saved the career of a forgotten striker. Gave confidence to a make-weight midfielder to reclaim a national team spot. Pushed a young fullback to become one of league’s best prospect. Enhanced a burnt-out miniature winger to become world-beater. Tamed a wolverine to lead the goal and assist charts. Anything more and people will worship Rodgers like god. And you can be rest assured Robbie Fowler wouldn’t mind that.
Anthing can happen between now and end of the season. Liverpool can probably go on and win it for the first time in 24 years, but we can also probably lose steam and falter before the finishing line. Whatever the league position come mid of May, it has been a fun roller-coaster ride led by our manager and captain. How long has it been for a Liverpool supporter to be able to feel such elation in the last couple of few decades?
Even if we end the season with nothing, the least Liverpool has given us; like how the majestic flying banner hovered over Anfield yesterday said; the dare to dream.
This splendid display of swashbuckling football was a fitting tribute just days before we pay respect to the 96 fellow supporters from the Hillsborough tragedy. We can now really see the golden sky shining at the end of the storm, and you can be darn sure that you’ll never walk alone in this.