Every day the nightmares are the same. It begins at Anfield on a sunny Sunday afternoon. I’m in the Kop end, absorbed in the game. Liverpool are dominating Chelsea. Steven Gerrard finds Philippe Coutinho on the wing, he cuts it back to Mamadou Sakho, who plays it back to the captain. Then it happens: Gerrard slips, falling to the ground as Demba Ba swoops in. I wake up, panting and drenched in sweat. I don’t sleep again. The mornings are long and hard, not because of college (I’m fine! Everything is so fine), but because of the constant pain of being a Liverpool fan. I toil through the day, only to live the same nightmare every night.
Last night, however, was different. No nightmares interrupted my slumber. Steven Gerrard remained on his feet. I woke up smiling. Yesterday, Liverpool played Manchester City in the Champions League quarterfinals, and something weird happened. Not only did Liverpool win, they dominated.
“Walk on through the wind, walk on through the rain…” Ah, another day. But this one is different. It’s MATCHDAY. Time to get through the next few hours until kickoff.
Breakfast time. I eat alone. Every so often, when I close my eyes, the image haunts me. It could be one of those days.
(definitely not Mo Salah wearing blue there…)
You, a Man City fan, eats with friends. Me, a Liverpool fan (and intellectual), eats alone. I stare into my bowl of oatmeal, musing about its consistency. Not unlike the Liverpool’s midfield, at arms length it is solid and appealing, up close it’s a mess. It slips off my spoon. Nothing symbolic about that.
I pass time being very productive and definitely not watching the same video on loop. To reiterate, I have NEVER seen Steven Gerrard’s goal against Olympiakos before. Definitely not the one in the 87th minute of a crucial 3-1 win in 2004. So… yeah.
T-minus two hours and 45 minutes until kickoff. The air has become thin, resources are scarce, there’s a dryness to my throat. Could be a rough afternoon.
So it turns out climate change is real. Just learned that in my class. Information is unlikely to be retained due to the more pressing issue of Liverpool fans throwing bottles at the Man City bus as it arrives. I read that Jurgen Klopp “apologized.” Don’t think he’s too broken up about that behavior.
They’re serving jerk chicken wraps at the diner. I usually love jerk chicken wraps. The mixture of provolone and banana peppers is quite lovely. But I can’t eat today. Not with the news that Emre Can has been confirmed as injured. 90 minutes of mediocrity with Jordan Henderson, here we come.
The City lineup is released. All seems standard: foreign and terrifying. The exclusion of Raheem Sterling is interesting. Pep Guardiola is probably up to some kind of wizardry.
I’m out of breath, having run back to my dorm from across campus. And now the Wifi won’t work. Great. I won’t be able to sing along to the Champions League song now.
Kickoff. Come on lads! *prepares for pain*
Leroy Sane is terrifying. Trent Alexander-Arnold is 19. This may be a tough evening for the Liverpool lad. Scary to think that he’s six months older than me. Could be me out there tonight.
1-0 LIVERPOOL. HE’S ONLY GONE AND DONE IT! Salah picks up a loose ball inside the six-yard box and smashes it in for a lead. Was he offside? Maybe. Do I care? Not one bit. My tears momentarily stop.
I have returned to the fetal position. Every time Liverpool press and win the ball back, Jordan Henderson gives it away and sends me into cardiac arrest for the fifth time this minute. We look about as secure as a broken lock.
Andy Robertson takes me to a happy place. The scrappy scotsman can pick a cross like no one else. He makes my heart flutter with his left foot. Also, earlier in the season he did this.
2-0! My favorite player strikes again! Alex Oxlade Chamberlain- who I have always loved and not once called “a waste of money”- bangs one in from 25 yards. Dare I say… Gerrard-esque? I’m your No. 1 fan, Ox. Keep doing what you’re doing.
My lord. That’s the third time Roberto Firmino has forced Nicolas Otamendi into a bad pass in the last 10 minutes. He may have the world’s worst tie selection, but he can press.
3-0! SADIOOOOOO. Salah does what he does best… everything. He makes Vincent Kompany look silly before floating in a wonderful cross that meets the Senegalese winger perfectly. Not the most convincing header, but who cares? We’re too good!
Virgil Van Dijk… I have always said he was worth $75 million. Always has been and always will be. Unfortunately, he’s missed a free header right before the half. He’s out there trying his best though, which you’ve gotta love.
Halftime! Time to pace obsessively around my room overanalyzing how we’re going to blow this lead.
And we’re back! Liverpool have proven to be as effective at holding a lead as I am in making a decent cup of tea (always too much milk, sorry Mum), so this ought to be interesting painful.
It’s already time to break out the defibrillator. James Milner has lost the ability to pass, and Alexander-Arnold looks like a little boy defending Leroy Sane right now.
Salah picked up a bit of a knock there. He should be fine. He’s a tough lad. No way this can go wrong.
Salah has limped off with an injury. Oh no.
I’ve been breathing into a paper bag for the last five minutes now. Everything seems to be going wrong. In other news, Liverpool are defending rather well.
I have no nails left. Kevin De Bruyne exists now, and that’s not good. He’s been picking Liverpool apart. Loris Karius is looking less and less handsome by the second. Just kidding… I mean look at him.
Firmino has been subbed off. Is Klopp trying to make me sadder?
Jordan Henderson is so average. No reason why, it just keeps repeating on loop in my brain.
Dominic Solanke has been a menace since he came on for Liverpool. He cut back a lovely ball for Mane, but the Senegal reacts slower than a tranquilized sloth.
Liverpool haven’t touched the ball in what feels like years. I’ve been banging my head against the wall to pass the time.
Not long left now, lads. We may not actually screw this one up. *knocks on wood excessively*
First real chance for Man City, and David Silva can’t control the ball in the box. Hehehehehehehe.
My favorite moment of the match as Raheem Sterling gets booked. Deserved it for taking double the money three years ago. Yeah, I’ve let it go.
FULL TIME. *Breathes again.*
Time for class. Yeah, I go to college. I may smile today… or maybe even dream of this glorious victory tonight.
Literally 30 seconds later
I’ve remembered that there’s two legs. We’re screwed.