Monday, May 27, 2019

Why I begrudgingly respect Liverpool

David Nugent in Editorial, UEFA Champions League 8 May 2019

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Liverpool produced what could be one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the European Cup on Tuesday night. The Reds recorded a 4-0 win over Catalan giants Barcelona at Anfield to claim a 4-3 aggregate win and book their place in the final.

Many had written Liverpool off prior to the game. However, as we all know it is always a dangerous game to write the Reds off. As a rival fan, it was torture.

Hated it as a rival fan

As an Evertonian, I have had to put up with a lot in my close to 36 years of life. Supporting Everton is good training for the disappointments that life throws your way. They say it’s the hope that kills you and that is exactly right.

The Blues have not been as good as the Reds since the 1980s. Unfortunately, I was only born in 1983, so missed the glory years of the mid-eighties. As if it is not bad enough, we have our brothers from across the park rubbing our noses in it at every opportunity.

A good example is my timeline on Facebook and Twitter. It is full of Liverpool fans talking about their team, which is understandable considering their team’s remarkable display. However, what annoys me and other fans is that the majority seemed to drag Everton into it.

A decade and a half of writing about football have made me slightly less partisan. As an Evertonian and football fan, it frustrates me, though. If god forbid, we ever got to a final, the last thing I would be thinking about would be Liverpool. I would be enjoying the moment with fellow Blues. Maybe I am just in the minority!

Begrudging respect for Liverpool

I have liked Jurgen Klopp since his Dortmund days. He has somehow managed to maintain my respect, despite managing Liverpool. He has created a fantastic football team, who seem to have everything.

It would be incredible if the current group of players end the season trophy-less. It seems highly unlikely that the Reds will now finish the campaign without a trophy. If it was any other team, I would enjoy watching them play.

The likes of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are incredibly exciting players to watch play. It seems their backups are not bad either. Backup striker Divock Origi deserves great credit for his contribution this season, not just his two goals on Tuesday night either.

He has scored vital goals in the Merseyside derby and also recently scored the winning goal against Newcastle to keep the Reds in the title race.

The Liverpool backline have also been unbelievably good. Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson have been superb this season.

Still have a chance of the double

I have about as much respect for Liverpool as I can have as a lifelong Everton fan. If they win the Champions League, they will have deserved it. Liverpool are now the favourites to win the Champions League at odds of 1/ 2.

The Reds will face either Ajax or Tottenham in the final. At the moment, it looks unlikely that either team will stop Jurgen Klopp’s team.

The crazy thing is the mood around the Liverpool fans and team seems to have lifted. Prior to Tuesday nights game, there seemed to be the fear that the Reds may finish the season trophy-less and that their best team in years would miss out.

However, the win over Barcelona has lifted the Reds ahead of Sunday’s final day of the campaign. Liverpool host Wolves at Anfield while leaders Manchester City visit Brighton.

The scenario is simple. Liverpool have to better City’s result on the final day of the campaign. If both teams win, then City retains the trophy and the Reds will have to concentrate on winning the Champions League trophy.

As a rival fan, I have a growing feeling of horror that Liverpool will win the double. That will mean endless gloating from the lot across the park. Unfortunately, that is a reality for us Everton fans, who have had plenty of practice of being on the resulting end. We will have to take it on the chin, as Liverpool have been undeniably good this season.

Will Liverpool win the double this season?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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