IT could only have happened in Liverpool.
When I watched Liverpool recover from a three-goal deficit to stuff Barcelona — widely considered the best team in the world — by a gob-smacking, mind-boggling, gravity-defying 4–0, I honestly believed that this was the greatest performance ever by an English football club.
Getty Images – Getty Liverpool beat Barcelona 4-0 in the Champions League, after being three goals down from the first leg
Liverpool celebrate beating Barcelona after epic Champions League semi-final comeback
Now I have sobered up. And a few days have gone by. And I have had some time to think about it in the cold light of day.
And you know what? I STILL think that was the greatest performance by any English football club in history.
In the other Champions League semi-final, Tottenham had their own magnificent, Frank Sinatra-sized comeback from a 3–0 deficit against Ajax. And all credit to those swaggering Spurs. But that felt like the triumph of a football club. Liverpool’s win felt like a victory for a city.
Liverpool gave a three-goal start to a team boasting the best player on the planet. And then Liverpool gave them a bloody good hiding.
You did not need to be a Liverpool fan — or even a football fan, or even a sports fan — to watch that match and feel glad to be alive.
Liverpool v Barcelona was a performance that made you believe in the power of never giving up.
It made you believe — truly believe — that passion, commitment and hard work are rewarded.
It made you believe — ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough.
And I am not sure it could have happened in any other city.
That performance demanded a cocktail of pride, community and grit that you are unlikely to find anywhere else.
The fight. The fortitude. The belief that it ain’t over until it’s over. The tempo. The pace. The passion.
I swear you could feel the heartbeat of a city.
YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE
I have been inside Anfield when they are singing You’ll Never Walk Alone.
I have stood beside those Liverpudlians when 50,000 of them are being a Gerry And The Pacemakers tribute band.
And hearing them sing You’ll Never Walk Alone live is one of the wonders of the world.
Once — overcome with excitement — I even joined in their singing (a cause of great mirth to my Scouse mate, who insists you can’t sing You’ll Never Walk Alone in an Essex accent).
Liverpool is a special place. Scousers are special people.
In my experience, they are the most loyal and loving of friends and the fiercest and most implacable of enemies.
Look at the way they changed their minds about Luis Suarez, former buck-toothed darling of the Kop and pantomime villain on Tuesday night when he embodied the hubris of Barcelona.
So cocky were Barcelona, so totally convinced that they were going to walk all over Liverpool, that Suarez promised that he would not celebrate in front of the Kop.
YOU GOT THAT ONE RIGHT, GOOFY!
Barcelona were too dismissive of Liverpool — the team, the ground, the people.
The greatest team in the world? Well, maybe. But Barcelona underestimated the resilience of a proud working-class city.
The best of Liverpool and its people came together in 90 glorious, life-affirming minutes on Tuesday night. And Barcelona could not cope. Nobody could.
At its most dramatic, sport can tell us something worth knowing about life.
That was why grown men wept openly at Anfield.
Never give up, Liverpool seemed to say. Never give in. While there is still hope, you must believe. Never stop fighting. For you are loved.
And, as that beautiful old song has it, hold your head up high.
Getty Images – Getty Luis Suarez’s return to Anfield turned into a nightmare
Getty – Contributor Liverpool’s win was a truly emotional night
Getty – Contributor Liverpool’s players could barely believe their victory
Jurgen Klopp swears live on TV after miracle Liverpool comback against Barcelona
Racism is a mixed picture
LIKE young Archie, my daughter was the first mixed-race child born into our family.
And although much has been written about diversity recently, what is most interesting is this: Nobody really cares.
Instagram/@Sussex Royal The royal baby has been named Archie by the proud parents
A mixed-race royal baby is not a big deal because mixed-race relationships are so commonplace. In my family. Maybe your family too. And now in the Royal Family.
Which is not the same as saying that racism no longer exists. Danny Baker was fired by the BBC for posting a “racist” royal baby picture, featuring a posh couple holding the hand of a chimpanzee in a bowler hat and spats with the punchline: “Royal baby leaves hospital.”
It was a monumentally stupid error.
“The picture in context was obviously shamefully racist,” Baker later apologised. “It was never intended so.”
Danny was attempting to be funny… about class.
Darren Fletcher – The Sun Danny Baker, speaking on his doorstep in his pyjama bottoms, apologised for the tweet
He failed – catastrophically – and admits to “racism at its basest”.
I have known Danny for 43 years. He is no racist.
Far more offensive was Strictly pro Neil Jones posting a picture of his ginger head imposed on proud Harry’s body. The BBC should sack that moron.
There is no doubting racism still exists. But our society is far more racially integrated than it has ever been.
“What we need is a great big melting pot,” went a song in my childhood. “Big enough to take the world and all it’s got.”
And for millions of us, that melting pot is our family now.
11 Reasons Prince Harry will be the best dad to baby Archie
Real or no deal, TheresaLIAM FOX, who has believed in Brexit as much as anyone, tells Tory MPs that a customs union is “the worst of both worlds”.
Fox is dead right. To take us out of the EU while keeping us in their customs union is not a compromise.
It is the white flag of unconditional surrender.
We must either leave and be free to trade with the world, or we must stay and start running the European Union. REAL BREXIT OR NO BREXIT.
Theresa and Jeremy can shove their stinking customs union where the Brussels sun doesn’t shine.
Cameron’s got tub be kidding
Rex Features The thought of David Cameron in a hot tub is infuriating
THE blood boils at the thought of David Cameron warming his voluptuous man-boobs in the £8,000 hot tub he has just had installed at his family’s holiday home in Cornwall.
The coward Cameron doesn’t deserve to be chillaxing.
He called the EU referendum for selfish, cynical reasons then shamefully ran away when the thick peasants like you and I chose not to listen to his advice.
“Loaded the guns then you run off home for your tea,” as The Jam sang in The Eton Rifles.
What chaos Cameron caused. What toxic divisions and political paralysis.
And now Dave warms his moobs in his eight-grand hot tub while his country squirms in a poisonous swamp of his making.
But as Cameron soaks his whale-like carcass at his holiday getaway, we can take one consolation.
Things would be even worse if the fat bottler had stayed.
Go grande with that, Khaleesi?
A production error left a coffee cup in shot on Game Of Thrones
I MISSED the Starbucks cup that managed to find its way into the dining hall of Winterfell in the most recent episode of Game Of Thrones.
Fifteen million dollars an episode and they can’t hire someone to take away Daenerys Targaryen’s coffee cup before they start shooting.
HBO Game Of Thrones remains must see TV as it nears its conclusion
But I reckon I missed it because my eyes were still full of tears after Jon Snow’s post-battle speech.
This fourth episode of the final series was a blinding return to form for Game Of Thrones.
So for me, at least, that coffee cup did not spoil the fun.
But you can’t help wondering about the conversation when Dany was picking up her semi-skimmed latte.
“What name on the cup, love?”
“Daenerys Targaryen, Stormborn, Mother Of Dragons, Breaker Of Chains, The Unburnt, Khaleesi Of The Great Grass Sea.”
“Better make it extra-large then.”
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Instagram Lulu’s comments are silly as she looks nowhere near 70
NATIONAL treasure Lulu, 70, laughingly complains that nobody offers a seat to an “old bird” on the Tube these days.
That’s because with her golden tresses tucked up inside a baseball cap, Lulu still looks like a hot young thing.
Try for that seat again in ten years, Lulu.
Better make that 20.
Lulu, 69, looks youthful on The One Show as she discusses West End return