[Semifinal, 2nd Leg, 2-5 on aggregate].
The Reds are through.
At this point, whether they win anything else this season, is already downright historic. No team has kept the chances of a quadruple this long, ever, because no team has ever made it to all the finals before while still gunning for a league championship. And not just mathematically, either; the Reds are right there, and one minor slip by City – a draw would be sufficient, for heaven’s sake – may well hand Liverpool the title. It just isn’t done.
Well, it is now, and it’s Liverpool who is doing it.
At this point, it’s also getting increasingly harder to imagine Liverpool not winning at least one more. That’s the truly mind-blowing thing about this; when you’re legit playing for all the marbles in three different places, random chance suggests strongly that at least one of them will fall your way.
Oh yes, a game was played today.
A good friend of mine, who is a Gunners fan but also loves Liverpool as a sort of mistress, sent me a popcorn ingesting emoji at halftime, as if to say, “can’t take my eyes off this one, mate”. Which was true, but my response to him was that Villareal wasn’t actually looking all that good. Liverpool just needed to decide they wanted to win this, and they could then blow the admittedly charming yellow submarine out of the water. As the teams came back and the Reds exploded on the pitch, it was apparent that Klopp reminded them of the same.
Of course, being able to casually throw one Luis Diaz into the game certainly helped. There should be no argument about his being man-of-the-match. If this season does end in the still unimaginable quadruple, how Liverpool ended up bringing him on board in January will become a legend told to generations of young fans to come. It is difficult to join any team mid-season and have an impact. Doing it in a team like this, with an impact this gargantuan, is just fantastical.
Fab’s goal was funny in that nobody expected him to shoot, least of all Rulli, who let it go through his legs. That he let the second one in that way on the Diaz header was, perhaps, another record in terms of the number of times a keeper gets nutmegged for a goal in a Champions League semi-final. Mane’s goal just killed the game and also ensured that Konate’s current record of never having lost a game with Liverpool stays intact a bit longer.
Every game and every victory bring more jeopardy and higher stakes.
Time to order a mountain of popcorn to last through to the end of May.