by Kashif Shakeel @KashifShakeel17
Like my Grandfather, I too was a RED.
Sure, we had our endless debates on which was the better time. I mean, he truly belonged to the golden period of Liverpool Football Club. Watching the club sore to heights that could only be imagined by the then “PUNDITS”, the standards they set for the modern game to be compared against, records which were only broken a couple of years back! Their quality could only be explained as sheer Greatness.
Anyway, I always tried to feel the energy off of him when he told me bout some of those matches! Trying to just picture myself at that time. Can you imagine watching King Kenny play? Ian Rush and Kevin Keegan? Our generation could only read them in record books and saw them on depreciated monochrome videos. But, being there when it was happening! Gives my shivers.
I was born in 94′, I was a RED even before I was born.
Being born during the so-called downfall of Liverpool Football Club didn’t really make much of a difference.
We saw the likes of Robbie Fowler, Sammi Hyypia, Emile Heskey, Xabi Alonso, Vladimir Smicer, the GREAT STEVIE G and many more dawning the Red Jersey oh-so-proudly.
Our history was our driving force. Knowing that you belong to the line of Champions is always a strong suit to have. Plus we have the KOP as the ultimate 12th man.
We were down but never out! YOU COULD NEVER COUNT US OUT, YOU WILL NEVER COUNT US OUT. And we showed that! Yes, we did.
I still remember the night of May 25th, 2005. Here in India, we have the Champions League screenings at mid-night. I was 11, not even in my teens yet. The match began, A.C Milan being the favorites were looking to take the most coveted trophy in club football for the 7th time in their history.
The first half could only be defined as a nightmare, a nightmare we could not wake up from. The Italians pumped 3 goals past Jerzy Dudek. We were done and dusted for the night. I mean seriously, going into half time with a 3 goal cushion kinda makes the second half a mere formality. Come to think of it, the Milan Team, comprising of DIDA, Hernan Crespo, KAKA’ were practically the ultimate team of that time.
Now the question arises of, what do you say to a team who is 3-0 down at half time? where will you find the force to drive them in the second half?
Rafa Benitez somehow managed to do so. He, god-knows-how, managed to bring the best 45 mins out of his players that shook the planet! 45 mins that changed the game, 45 mins that till this day are imposed on my memory!
It all started down the right, John Arne Riise making his trademark runs on the flank, crossing the perfect ball for Steven Gerrard to score and to make the tie interesting in the 54th minute. What followed next were 6 minutes that changed, I’ll re-phrase it, 6 minutes that made History. First, Vladimir Smicer beating DIDA from 35 yards and then Xabi converting on the follow of a saved penalty.
Liverpool Football Club had achieved the impossible. With 30,000 screaming Reds in Istanbul and countless world-wide, we went into the penalty shoot-out with an advantage, an advantage I’ll now say to be a bit unfair for the Italians. They were psychologically and physically drained completely, how would you feel giving away a 3 goal cushion in 6 mins?
What happened next, as they say is history. We Won on penalties. We put Liverpool Football Club right where they belonged, on top of the World!
That moment defined us! The character our players and our fans show is rare! That’s what makes us different from the other clubs. That’s what makes us LIVERPOOL FOOTBALL CLUB.
You’ll Never Walk Alone.