Thursday, May 26

This Limey can Sing

So the hangover is wearing off slowly, and I have to abuse my powers here at LB to divert attention from the Cubs for a moment (they lost 5-1, so there you go) to bring out the Limey in me.

As a transplanted Scouser living in Brooklyn, watching the Mighty Reds yesterday was unbelievable. The lads of Liverpool FC pulled off perhaps the biggest and best comeback in European football history to defeat the overwhelming favorites, the Rossonieri of AC Milan. Very few people will understand the specifics of the situation, but having been a lifelong fan of those hard-working, working-class boys of LFC, all the Cubs fans will understand too (and my obsession with them grows stronger by the day), and there is a method to my whisky-soaked madness.

The Champions League, a tournament that decides the best team in Europe, enjoyed its championship game last night, and my boys were the overwhelming underdogs to a "classier, more talented" Italian side.

After just 50 seconds, the Italians went 1-0 up - one of the best Italian players in history, Paolo Maldini volleying in a corner kick.

After 38 minutes, the Italians went 2-0 up - great goal that we were powerless to defend.

After 43 minutes, the Italians went 3-0 up - again, superb play from AC Milan leading to an easy finish.

That is when the whisky started pouring, my team on the verge of historic embarrassment.

After half-time, the lads came out with a purpose, putting together flowing passes and beginning to seriously threaten AC Milan's goal, something they hadn't done up to that point. Led by our heroic captain, England great Steven Gerrard (only 23!!!!), we pulled a goal back - a pin-point header from Gerrard from a cross into the box.

3-1. With further pressure on the Italians mounting, just 3 minutes later the lads pulled back another goal, 3-2, with a cracking right-foot shot from 22 yards. 3 minutes later again, with Liverpool swarming all over the pitch, Gerrard wins a penalty. Foregone conclusion?

The Brazilian 'keeper, Dida (a man who's made a career of saving penalty kicks) saved it, but Xabi Alonso pounced on his own rebound to knock it home.

3-3, scoring 3 second-half goals in 6 minutes (a record) and coming back from the biggest deficit in European Championship history (previous biggest deficit overcome: 1-0).

A nervy 30 minutes rounded out the game, and after a scoreless extra-time, it went to penalties.

Liverpool's keeper, the great Pole Jerzy Dudek, saved 3 penalties to give Liverpool a historic win, 3-2 on penalties, and their first European Championship in 21 years.

Why am I boring you with all of this? Well, as cliche as it sounds, this sort of legend does happen. If Liverpool can do it, so can the Cubs. They need what Liverpool had last night - guts, fire, heart, determination, and all those other Hollywood sports movie emotions. No substitute from hardwork, and it sent the Italians back home to think about how they possibly let their chance slip.

Back on the drink I think! LIVERPOOL FC, EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS 2004/05!

Liverpool Upset at Halftime
3-0 down, 45 minutes to go

One Goal

2 Goals
3-2, 3 minutes later

3 Goals
3-3, a whole new game

The Final Save
The Final Save, Liverpool win

Champions of Europe
Liverpool FC, The Mighty Reds, Champions of Europe

AC Milan: Dida, Cafu, Maldini, Stam, Nesta, Gattuso (Rui Costa 112), Seedorf (Serginho 86), Pirlo, Kaka, Shevchenko, Crespo (Tomasson 85).
Subs Not Used: Abbiati, Kaladze, Costacurta, Dhorasoo.

Goals: Maldini 1, Crespo 39, 44.

Liverpool: Dudek, Finnan (Hamann 46), Traore, Hyypia, Carragher, Riise, Gerrard, Luis Garcia, Alonso, Kewell (Smicer 23), Baros (Cisse 85).
Subs Not Used: Carson, Josemi, Nunez, Biscan.
Booked: Carragher, Baros.

Goals: Gerrard 54, Smicer 56, Alonso 59.

Att: 65,000.

Ref: Manuel Enrique Mejuto Gonzalez (Spain).


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