Andy's Articles

andyclegs

Andy C Legs
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Aug 22, 2019
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263
Hi everyone, just tried to write something about Saturday; maybe have a look if you get a spare 5. Any feedback at all would be, as ever, very, very appreciated. Andy.


A Perfect Afternoon
14th of December, 2019.
Liverpool v Watford.

I actually had time-out to chill and chose not to go to Writers and instead had a Morrisons Big Breakfast – never again! I’ll stick to my usual sausage bap – yum, yum! The girl behind the till though did say, ‘You’re here before the mad rush’. She always replies how it is there as the staff are constantly run of their feet like opposition defences trying to cope with Sadio Mane and Mo Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson running at them.

Well, it did allow me to get some sweets though – for those of you that are interested, yet again, those soft, almost doughy, refresher ones were on the menu, along with fizzy – sharp, cola bottles; especially as I am still trying to prevent the cold getting on my chest.

‘Four and half more years’ went the Daily Mirror back-page headline with a grinning Jurgen Klopp; but I bet he is not grinning as much as we all are at him signing a new contract to keep him at Anfield until 2024. ‘He is the best manager’ a Manc nonetheless, said in work the previous day. Quite.

I was actually at Davie’s house before Dean. Fudge, she the dog, not he the dog, as she is often called, greeted me with a wagging tail - of course I gave her a cwtch but hoped she would not ‘drop one’ too often in the next hour or two.

Within ten minutes, me, Davie and his wife, Carly, had been joined by Dean and equally importantly; his lap-top. It was the security net to our watching the reds as much as Virgil van Djke is a lynchpin to our defence.

‘Deanie’, as 7 year-old Kelsey, calls him, had done very well. ‘Speedie Deanie’ he could have been called. He had been out on the Crimbo works do in ‘Kar-diff’ the night before and had not been impressed with the fatty pork served-up in a restaurant with his works, though thank goodness he had not stumped up £45 a head. Consequently he had a late one (I bet I don’t have to tell anyone reading this, that Cardiff is rammed with pubs!) but Dean fell into bed in a hotel by the train station and had already got home and beat the rush in Tesco’s and had made it up to Cwmbran in double-quick timing - the like of which was on a par with Liverpool having sliced through Salzburg away in the week, where if they missed once chance, they missed two dozen – but scored a ‘worldie’ through an acute angled right-foot shot by Mo Salah, which is already a ‘Goal of the Season’ candidate.

So, Watford. Bottom of the table. A guaranteed three points then. Yes – all the way. No, no, no. I had spent the last half hour tweeting that we should not count our chickens before they were hatched. You all know what Liverpool can be like! Give them Man City or Spurs or Chelsea and they raise their game but anyone out of the so-called top-six then it’s a case of - which reds team will turn-up?

Sweets on the table as Davie for a change (thought I’d say that for you Carly) got the tea’s in and the game was about to kick-off.

Liverpool had Alisson, Virgil van Djke, Joe Gomes at the back with James Milner and Trent Alexander-Arnold as full-backs, as Jurgen sought to give Andy Robertson a rest. Gini Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson and Xherdan Shaqiri in midfield – in an attacking tactical move. The usual trio were up top – Bobby Firmino, Mo Salah and Sadio Mane. That was a strong team. Liverpool these days are a strong team no matter who Klopp picks. That’s another reason why every red is delighted he is staying on for ‘Four and half More Years’ – if it was an Election sound-bite, he’d win by a majority land-slide.

The reds struggled. Going through the motions. I was lulled at first into feeling that we were in no danger but as the game germinated, Watford made me go from sitting comfortably to being on the edge of my seat and being fidgety. It was like we were just waiting for Watford to deservedly score.

Liverpool were so slack in the middle and at the back. Watford fluffed their lines as Troy Denney and Saar, mis-kicked right in front of the Kop’s six-yard box. We just shook our heads in dis-belief and relief in equal measure at our good fortune.

Liverpool cannot keep doing this in games - riding their luck.

From a Watford corner, the ball was not so much hacked away but passed intelligently out on a rapier counter as Bobby Firmino flicked it on and Sadio Mane galloped away like one of them horses at Chepstow last week, and in the blink of a Jurgen Klopp smile, the ball was on the edge of the Watford area. Mo Salah controlled it with his left, went inside a player and then majestically curled the ball with his weaker right foot as the ball went gracefully past Foster’s left.

Somehow, it was 1-0.

‘Keep a clean sheet and we’ve won’ Dean said.

‘I don’t think it will stay this way’ I said, meaning that I thought Watford would score at some point.

Well, we just about got to the break un-scathed, through a minor miracle.

It was like Liverpool – and I’ve said this before, are doing just the bare minimum to win games. It’s like they were trying to conserve energy. It was not making my ticker go slow I can tell you. The amount of times I got stressed in the whole game was nobody’s business.

Watford should have scored in the second half as well. At one point, Liverpool got so dis-jointed that even Virgil van Djke was feeling the strain and nerves as he rolled a back-pass to Alisson which just about went wide of Alisson’s right post.

‘If they are like this now, what will they be like if they are going for the championship?’ Davie said. Exactly. The way they are playing Liverpool may not be in that position if they carry-on being so charitable.

The ball was played up to the Kop End, as Liverpool attacked and then, thanks to a great cross, Sadio Mane leapt to score a bullet header. The other three celebrated and then a few seconds I did – just in case it was a figment of my imagination. A feeling of relief. However, VAR intervened and chalked Mane’s goal off due to offside.

‘He was off’ Dean said, as they showed the replays. It still did not make us feel any better though.

Jittery. Jittery at home to Watford. I rolled back the years and saw us hanging -on against Wimbledon when we were defending Champions, then that Darren Barton scored a cracker at the Kop End and it ended 1-1. I knew then that we had majorly messed-up and I feared the same thing was going to happen on this day.

Gini Wijnaldum was holding his leg and had to go off. Another injury. That’s Lovren, Matip, Fabinho – all out and even though we have fortunately got midfield numbers, it is a worry. It meant that Milner – who had signed a two-year contract extension the day before, went into the middle as Robertson came on. He immediately added more zest, as Carly so rightly pointed out.

With time ticking by and Liverpool using their experience to good effect to kill it at every opportunity and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain having replaced Bobby Firmino, who’d not had the best of games, the reds attacked.

Origi, who had just come on, raced down the inside right and messed his shot up. The ball fell to Mo Salah, on the right edge of Fosters six-yard box and Mo being Mo, only went and audaciously back-heeled the ball into the back of the net!

It was just fabulous. No wonder we celebrated another special goal by him, in the same week mind, with such happiness and relief.

‘That puts more pressure on them (Leicester)’, Dean said, as he prepared to go home and have a few chilling hours on the sofa, in front of the TV having performed his chores.

It sounded like a perfect afternoon!

15/12/19
 
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andyclegs

Andy C Legs
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
263
To the Admin guys.
I apologise for the lack of paragraph's but was again, unable to edit my piece once I posted it.
Brilliant Forum again, by the way - don't stop.
Andy
 

Commando

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Another great read Andy. I wasn’t able to see the game as I was in the air inbound for four weeks in Fuerteventura. I’ve seen both of Mo’s goals. A pair of crackers.
Ben Foster the Watford keeper gave my nephew a match ball after he was warming up prior to the second half starting.
 

andyclegs

Andy C Legs
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
263
Another great read Andy. I wasn’t able to see the game as I was in the air inbound for four weeks in Fuerteventura. I’ve seen both of Mo’s goals. A pair of crackers.
Ben Foster the Watford keeper gave my nephew a match ball after he was warming up prior to the second half starting.
I bet your nephew was made-up with that gesture, Commando. Thanks for the comments - very much appreciated. Andy
 

Commando

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I bet your nephew was made-up with that gesture, Commando. Thanks for the comments - very much appreciated. Andy
He was over the moon. A Liverpool fan put a tweet out on Twitter saying what a good guy Foster was for giving him the ball. It prompted a reply from a Watford fan recounting the time that his Dad who suffers from dementia had a flat tyre. He decided to walk ten miles home. Part of the journey was along a dual carriageway in the dark where he fell into a ditch. Ben Foster and some members of his family had passed him earlier and thought something was amiss. They’d turned back and found the man. They took him home, cleaned him up and asked him where he was having Christmas dinner and invited him to come to their house.
It’s got me hoping that Watford avoid the drop this season.
 

andyclegs

Andy C Legs
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
263
He was over the moon. A Liverpool fan put a tweet out on Twitter saying what a good guy Foster was for giving him the ball. It prompted a reply from a Watford fan recounting the time that his Dad who suffers from dementia had a flat tyre. He decided to walk ten miles home. Part of the journey was along a dual carriageway in the dark where he fell into a ditch. Ben Foster and some members of his family had passed him earlier and thought something was amiss. They’d turned back and found the man. They took him home, cleaned him up and asked him where he was having Christmas dinner and invited him to come to their house.
It’s got me hoping that Watford avoid the drop this season.
That's such a heart-warming story....I agree with you, definitely would like to see Watford stay-up. That's the kind of story which will probably never make the papers as it is too good to be true because it is true....
 

andyclegs

Andy C Legs
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
263
Hi everyone, only a short piece this time around. If you get five, maybe have a little look. Any feedback whatsoever will as always, be much appreciated. All the best for Xmas, Andy.

‘Blue Door’.

18TH of December, 2019.

Liverpool v Monterrey

World Club Championship Semi-Final.

It was just as well then that I had booked the week off and fortunately finished-up for Christmas; afterall, there was a lot on the agenda and big loose ties to secure, plus there was the little matter of two reds games in a week to watch!

Me and my brother, Alan, were finally there – just on the brink of handing over the keys to the Estate Agents of our dad’s house. The house had been cleared and I’d helped the guys from the British heart Foundation who had done the job in two hours. Then I had at first got the maximum out of dads little cleaner – like Klopp maxing our squad out over the two consecutive days, until finally going on my hands and knees and brushing the red carpet stairs of dust; I mean, we did not want the new inhabitants walking into a dirty house.

‘Sorry I can’t offer you a chair!’ I joked to Al as we sat on the kitchen floor in still, just about, Dad’s house, drinking our coffee sachets with Al liking my choice of caramel ones – try them, they are quite lush.

It had been a hard slog since the Champions League win – since the night it had happened and now, finally we were, in football parlance, in the 89th minute and if we had been Liverpool, which I supported due Alan’s influence all those years ago, then we were heading nicely to full-time without any slip-ups.

Me being me, thought I’d wash the sink. Dad I’m sure would have been nodding approval with a, ‘Well done An-drew’. It was just a last touch of care.

Well, if I ever! Much to my stress, water began to pool under the pipe and go onto the floor…. In an instant I snapped into a stress mode which even being in work would have been hard to equal. It was like Liverpool had suddenly conceded a 90th minute goal and it was 1-1.

I just lost it.

I could have banged my head against Dad’s wall. ‘We have done everything right and now this!’ I almost screamed in total frustration. All me and Alan wanted to do was to just hand the keys over and say, ‘That’s that’ but no, we still had this un-expected hurdle to climb.

Fortunately, he is much more practical than me. Torch, light, problem sussed. B & Q – Brains and Questions maybe, was only five minutes away and that’s the beauty of Cwmbran; everything is so close to hand. I had thankfully taken a snap of the workings of, the sinks pipes.
‘Let’s ask an older bloke’ I suggested, gauging that he may have more experience over a younger orange and black clad assistant. After we found one – he knew, thank goodness, exactly what was required. A plug – a black grommet as it happens, on the end of some pointy piece which goes into the washing machine waste pipe at a 90 - degree angle. Now, for me, that is a good description – hopefully someone reading this will interperate it into proper, practical plumbing language!

Within ten, as I put the last bog rolls and cleaning bits and bobs into a box, Alan said those reliving words, in a matter-of-fact way, ‘Job done’. The relief I felt was immeasurable. It was as though – well, indulge me here, as though Salah had just teed-up Trent to play a delicious short pass into some keeper’s left six yard box and Bobby Firmino had with the delicate of faintest touch, gently glided the ball over the line to score a last gasp injury time semi-final winner. As if that would ever happen?

Alan had to go. He had spent over the time he could and should have.

‘Leave it with me’ I said as even then I had to ask him which set of keys were for which windows etc. He is forever in a rush my brother but now, hopefully, fingers and toes crossed, he will have more time – to perhaps relax.

I wanted to be at Davie’s for the game, despite knowing I could see it on my own TV. Just knew it would feel better to be with him, Dean and Carly and the girls. To be with my other family. Kick-off would be around the corner before I knew it.

As Alan left, I was still in Dad’s house. The living-room was bare. No TV which he loved to watch ‘Lovejoy’ on or ‘On the Buses’ or John Wayne or ‘The Simpsons’ or yet another repeat of ‘World at War’ which I and my brother love.

Just before I left, I said, ‘Take care Dad’, for a part of him would always be in that house; only we would never go in there again.
I just instinctively wiped the light-blue door of any cob-webs or dirt as, for the very, very last time in my life, I closed his door shut. He would have approved saying again, ‘Well done And-rew’.

He may have been gone but he will never be forgotten.

When I got home, I walked through my patio door. There was my Liverpool ‘Dream Dressing Room’ picture with Jurgen Klopp shaking hands with Bill Shanks and Stevie G and Kenny D and Elisha Scott and Henderson. It is my pride and joy. I could not see the bottom of it though because it was now covered by the top of a glass cabinet.

The glass cabinet which contains my dad’s physical pride and joy, a part of his collection. He loved model buses you see and I have put as many of them as physically possible there and they look grand. Instinctively, I have put a photo of him in the middle of them – he will be happy there.

‘You’re quite Crouch’ Carly observed later as the enormity of what had happened earlier, was setting-in.
I love Liverpool with a passion but during this game against the Mexicans I just for once could not be up-for it, like I usually am.

However, when Mo Salah did go down inside the right of the box I began to rumble and egged him on and then leapt off the sofa in customary, instinctive, joyful manner, after Bobby Firmino had scored the winner which we never saw coming.

Liverpool had come magically, right on que to rescue me. It had been a jolt almost from behind dad’s blue-door.

1076 20/12/19.



20/12/19
 
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andyclegs

Andy C Legs
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
263
Hi everyone, only a short piece this time around. If you get five, maybe have a little look. Any feedback whatsoever will as always, be much appreciated. All the best for Xmas, Andy.

‘Blue Door’.

18TH of December, 2019.

Liverpool v Monterrey

World Club Championship Semi-Final.

It was just as well then that I had booked the week off and fortunately finished-up for Christmas; afterall, there was a lot on the agenda and big loose ties to secure, plus there was the little matter of two reds games in a week to watch!

Me and my brother, Alan, were finally there – just on the brink of handing over the keys to the Estate Agents of our dad’s house. The house had been cleared and I’d helped the guys from the British heart Foundation who had done the job in two hours. Then I had at first got the maximum out of dads little cleaner – like Klopp maxing our squad out over the two consecutive days, until finally going on my hands and knees and brushing the red carpet stairs of dust; I mean, we did not want the new inhabitants walking into a dirty house.

‘Sorry I can’t offer you a chair!’ I joked to Al as we sat on the kitchen floor in still, just about, Dad’s house, drinking our coffee sachets with Al liking my choice of caramel ones – try them, they are quite lush.

It had been a hard slog since the Champions League win – since the night it had happened and now, finally we were, in football parlance, in the 89th minute and if we had been Liverpool, which I supported due Alan’s influence all those years ago, then we were heading nicely to full-time without any slip-ups.

Me being me, thought I’d wash the sink. Dad I’m sure would have been nodding approval with a, ‘Well done An-drew’. It was just a last touch of care.

Well, if I ever! Much to my stress, water began to pool under the pipe and go onto the floor…. In an instant I snapped into a stress mode which even being in work would have been hard to equal. It was like Liverpool had suddenly conceded a 90th minute goal and it was 1-1.

I just lost it.

I could have banged my head against Dad’s wall. ‘We have done everything right and now this!’ I almost screamed in total frustration. All me and Alan wanted to do was to just hand the keys over and say, ‘That’s that’ but no, we still had this un-expected hurdle to climb.

Fortunately, he is much more practical than me. Torch, light, problem sussed. B & Q – Brains and Questions maybe, was only five minutes away and that’s the beauty of Cwmbran; everything is so close to hand. I had thankfully taken a snap of the workings of, the sinks pipes.
‘Let’s ask an older bloke’ I suggested, gauging that he may have more experience over a younger orange and black clad assistant. After we found one – he knew, thank goodness, exactly what was required. A plug – a black grommet as it happens, on the end of some pointy piece which goes into the washing machine waste pipe at a 90 - degree angle. Now, for me, that is a good description – hopefully someone reading this will interperate it into proper, practical plumbing language!
Within ten, as I put the last bog rolls and cleaning bits and bobs into a box, Alan said those reliving words, in a matter-of-fact way, ‘Job done’. The relief I felt was immeasurable. It was as though – well, indulge me here, as though Salah had just teed-up Trent to play a delicious short pass into some keeper’s left six yard box and Bobby Firmino had with the delicate of faintest touch, gently glided the ball over the line to score a last gasp injury time semi-final winner. As if that would ever happen?
Alan had to go. He had spent over the time he could and should have.
‘Leave it with me’ I said as even then I had to ask him which set of keys were for which windows etc. He is forever in a rush my brother but now, hopefully, fingers and toes crossed, he will have more time – to perhaps relax.
I wanted to be at Davie’s for the game, despite knowing I could see it on my own TV. Just knew it would feel better to be with him, Dean and Carly and the girls. To be with my other family. Kick-off would be around the corner before I knew it.
As Alan left, I was still in Dad’s house. The living-room was bare. No TV which he loved to watch ‘Lovejoy’ on or ‘On the Buses’ or John Wayne or ‘The Simpsons’ or yet another repeat of ‘World at War’ which I and my brother love.
Just before I left, I said, ‘Take care Dad’, for a part of him would always be in that house; only we would never go in there again.
I just instinctively wiped the light-blue door of any cob-webs or dirt as, for the very, very last time in my life, I closed his door shut. He would have approved saying again, ‘Well done And-rew’.
He may have been gone but he will never be forgotten.

When I got home, I walked through my patio door. There was my Liverpool ‘Dream Dressing Room’ picture with Jurgen Klopp shaking hands with Bill Shanks and Stevie G and Kenny D and Elisha Scott and Henderson. It is my pride and joy. I could not see the bottom of it though because it was now covered by the top of a glass cabinet.
The glass cabinet which contains my dad’s physical pride and joy, a part of his collection. He loved model buses you see and I have put as many of them as physically possible there and they look grand. Instinctively, I have put a photo of him in the middle of them – he will be happy there.

‘You’re quite Crouch’ Carly observed later as the enormity of what had happened earlier, was setting-in.
I love Liverpool with a passion but during this game against the Mexicans I just for once could not be up-for it, like I usually am.
However, when Mo Salah did go down inside the right of the box I began to rumble and egged him on and then leapt off the sofa in customary, instinctive, joyful manner, after Bobby Firmino had scored the winner which we never saw coming.
Liverpool had come magically, right on que to rescue me. It had been a jolt almost from behind dad’s blue-door.

1076 20/12/19.



20/12/19
Hi Admin guys, I was half-way through paragraphing this and and I don't know what happened! lol Can you finish it for me please. Andy
 

Commando

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Joined
Sep 23, 2016
Messages
2,849
Wow Andy that was a really emotional read Mate. I hope that Bobby’s late winner brought a small piece of joy to what must have been a very difficult day for you.

Take care

CDO
 

andyclegs

Andy C Legs
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
263
Hi, could not go by and not write something about our unique achievement on Saturday so cobbled together this piece. Any feedback at all, would as ever be much appreciated. Hope everyone has a fab Christmas. Andy.
‘Grab a coke.’

Liverpool v Flamengo

World Club Champions Cup Final

21ST of December, 2019.

The flags were out – the lucky ones. Red and white cheque of course. Laid along the top of the fire – Christmas – nah, final – yes!

This is what we had waited all day for – to see Liverpool play the Brazilians because the moment we qualified for this final I got excited to see us pit our wits against Flamengo.

I’d spent most of the day just chilling in Morrisons and then in front of the tv, determined to lay and rest as much as possible, with a cold on my chest so it was a sofa and various cups of tea and coffee with ‘Only Fools and Horses’ constantly on in the back-ground as I fought, un-successfully to get off ‘Twitter’ which is increasingly addictive. Just how have I survived without it all these years!

That’s the thing about ‘Only Fools and Horses’ though, it doesn’t matter if your idling whilst it’s on at any given moment you can look-up and know what is going on and you can’t help but laugh, especially when that bus blows-up or Del Boy has a few words with ‘The Great Raymondo’. Just brilliant.

Davie and Dean and myself were the audience then, Carly was working and even though she was not there physically, she was there in spirit and no doubt ready to laugh at our antics.

The boys were drinking already but I had my tea – making it myself, as soon as Davie put the switch-up on the wall that is. One day again, I may have a few sherberts; it may even be Boxing Day. We will see.

And so, to the BBC and the preliminaries to the game. Mark Lawrenson recalled the last time Liverpool played Flamengo, in Tokyo in December, 1981. He revealed that the boys were drinking on the plane going over and they lost 3-0 to a Brazilian side which included Zico. I just about recall watching the game – showing my age. We were crap. It still didn’t make it any easier to take the defeat though and you only have to look at Phil Thompson and Alan Hansen’s glum faces when the Brazilian’s lifted the trophy to see that.

There were, a pile of sweets in the bowl and I grabbed a couple of the soft ones before kick-off. I wanted us to win but, but I just felt that if we didn’t then the League was and is, the be all and end-all this season.

Jurgen Klopp put out the strongest side he could have; Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson as wingers/full-backs, Virgil van Djke – back from illness and Joe Gomes. Then Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the middle with Bobby Firmino, Mo Salah and Sadio Mane up top. This side had not been on the pop – that’s for sure.

Well, Liverpool should have scored after about 50 seconds! Bobby Firmino though lofted a chance straight over the bar. If that had gone in it would have settled any nerves. Almost in the flick of a one-liner coming out of Del’s mouth, like ‘cushty’ Liverpool through Naby Keita could have scored again but the opportunity was passed-up.

We were exasperated that Liverpool had not taken that early lead and even more so when after dominating the opening quarter of an hour the reds surrendered all the momentum as Flamengo increasingly came into the game.

I began to shout at the screen. Increasingly annoyed by the way Liverpool kept failing to win the ball and then lose it when they actually had it with Mo Salah on the receiving end of a particular violent outburst, straight from the mouth of any past Phillip’s in a bad temper, proving yet again I was my late dad’s son! (It was only because I care and love Liverpool so much…) We all felt the same as another handful of sweets was grabbed in frustration, as though it was a crutch to fight against the on-screen developments.

For all of Flamengo’s possession though they rarely got shots off which troubled Alisson and when they did, he was equal to them, by flinging his left arm out at one stage. Liverpool were just out of ‘Bassett All Sorts’ you could say as they struggled to stop the stream of Brazilian attacks as they streaked through our non-existent midfield.

Was it no wonder, even at this early juncture we urged, ‘Get Milly on?’.

Liverpool survived, somehow, but in no small thankfulness to Joe Gomes who was outstanding throughout the game and is back to his very best, as Liverpool began to at last mount some attacks themselves before half-time. It may have prevented them from having an ear-bashing from Klopp.

More tea, more sweets as Baby Kelsey tried not to annoy her two older sisters, Kaitlyn and Kayla, who were both under-the-weather in some description or another; poor dabs. No wonder Kelsey spent the game, sat with Davie on his wide swivel chair which would not be out of place in the gaff of a 60’s Bond villain!

I put the soft refresher sweets into the bowl and before I could sit down, Deano was in like Sadio on the break-away and began to munch on them – well, it was Christmas and there was even love-heart shaped Ginger Nut biscuits in a box which I dipped into my tea and even offered Deano that option, as he scoffed one and then gave half to Fudge, the dog. He loves that dog – as we all do.

At the start of the second half, with a rocket up their proverbial back-sides, Liverpool, wearing all-red, came out of the traps, again, in great fashion and should have again taken the lead but Bobby Firmino could only put his shot just inside the right of Alves post before coming back out of goal.

Liverpool could not have got any closer.

I concluded that we were not going to score, that the ref – what a joke, was going to constantly get conned by Flamengo’s players who if you so much as said ‘Hi’ to them, were going down as though they had just been shot. Such play-acting tactics – horrendous. In response I took-up a slumped resigned position – almost a laying down one; trying not to get myself to even feeling that we were going to actually get on the ball again, let alone look like scoring; almost trying not to disappoint myself but really, inside, wanting us desperately to win.

The game was coming to a close. Oxlade -Chamberlain fell down and that was not good. Not good at all. That lad has had enough major injuries in his career to last at last two life-times. This time it was his ankle – not his knee which he recently had surgery on. We like ‘the Ox’ though he had not had much joy in this game.

James Milner – ‘Milly’ then, was, afterall, called on.

Then we got Sadio Mane away, with about a minute left. Running away to our right, on the screen, as we saw it. Sadio was about to pull the trigger and then he appeared to be kicked on the inside of his ankle, just inside the area. The shot was a poor one. I felt as though Sadio – for him and the form he has been in, could have done better. However, within moments Deano and Davie were off the sofa, shouting, ‘Pen-al-tee!!!’.

I really didn’t think that it was one but well, I’d take it, all day long! The Brazilians had cheated and play acted, going down with cramp now at any given second – even their keeper, who had then miraculously pulled off a finger tip save from Henderson’s scorching effort, to tip the ball over the bar. ‘How can a keeper have cramp??’ Deano shouted. Exactly.

The longer the delay, with Mo Salah cwtching the ball under his arm, ready to take the spot-kick, the ref – again I make no bones in saying this – the court jester more like, actually consulted the VAR screen, which we could see. My suspicions were confirmed. No penalty – worse luck. Not even a foul as a yellow card was rescinded. If we had been awarded the free-kick I bet Trent would have taken it – ‘It would be as good as a penalty’ Deano mused.

I just shook my head. Trying not to get aggravated. Just feeling again that, despite dominating the second period and creating, again, the best chances, Liverpool were not going to win.

Liverpool though, re-grouped and stood-up to anything which Flamengo threw at them as at one stage Andy Robertson endeared himself even more to us by having an argument with one of their players, illustrating the fighting spirit which characterises this Liverpool team to its core. I would not want to mess with ‘Robbo’, that’s for sure!

Then, with Flamengo in a rare attack, the ball came out of our area and Jordan Henderson played a beautiful, long, pass forward, on the deck, to Sadio Mane who had the beating of the defender. Sadio used all his experience and passed to his left to Bobby Firmino who had machined his way up field just to receive the pass on the edge of the area. Bobby did the rest as in the blink of an eye he controlled the ball, cut it inside the defender and slow mowed the time to a frame by frame count to coldly pick his spot and make sure that he scored.

Such a cool, clinical, cup winning finish put Liverpool near the top of the world.

Now it was time for me to leap off the sofa and shout ‘Yes’ to the ceiling, if not roof-top, to no doubt awake a sleeping Kayla.

We had scored. At last. In a World Club Cup Final!

As we celebrated, Liverpool and Mo Salah could have scored again, to seal it there and then. Liverpool really wanted this, especially Bobby, who had taken his shirt off in celebration of his goal, earning himself a needless booking. Just why is this a booking?

‘Kill the game’, ‘Go down with cramp’ we urged the reds, as the time ticked by and I got my maths wrong, thinking there was only two minutes left when there was actually another five to endure…

Liverpool though were in control and always, always when they have something to hold onto, I think back to those last few minutes against Spurs and to how close we were to winning the Champions League trophy. The mentality of these players now knows no bounds I’m sure, because of that night. They survived then and even scored a second goal and now, right at the death, in this final, they survived a scare as a Flamengo player shot the ball over when he could have scored.

Then the whistle went and we were all happy.

‘Champions of the World’ it sounded fantastic.

It was time to raid Davie’s fridge; grab a coke and celebrate!

23/12/19

1843
 

Commando

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Another great read Andy. Hope that you’re feeling a lot better soon. Those soft Refresher sweets are my eldest Grand Daughter’s favourite.
The booking for players removing their shirts stems back to some incidents of players removing shirts and having political messages underneath. You may remember God having “Support the dockers” on a t shirt once? It’s interesting to me that all of Davie’s girls have names beginning with K. I’ve known a couple of families that have named all there offspring with the initial K. It doesn’t seem to happen with other letters.

Keep the articles coming Andy. Have a great Christmas.
 

andyclegs

Andy C Legs
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Messages
263

  1. Another great read Andy. Hope that you’re feeling a lot better soon. Those soft Refresher sweets are my eldest Grand Daughter’s favourite.
    The booking for players removing their shirts stems back to some incidents of players removing shirts and having political messages underneath. You may remember God having “Support the dockers” on a t shirt once? It’s interesting to me that all of Davie’s girls have names beginning with K. I’ve known a couple of families that have named all there offspring with the initial K. It doesn’t seem to happen with other letters.

    Keep the articles coming Andy. Have a great Christmas.
    Thank you very much for that, very much appreciated. Hope that you and all your family have a fabulous Christmas
 

andyclegs

Andy C Legs
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Messages
263
Hello, just posting this on last nights game. Maybe if anyone gets three minutes, maybe have a read. Any, any feedback at all will as ever be much appreciated. All the best, Andy.

‘Quest to be the Best’.

Leicester City v Liverpool

Thursday, 26th of December, 2019.

I tried all day not to be tense. Just writing about Gavin & Stacey – being Welsh, I loved it, see.

Even picking-up my jigsaw again which has lain on the table now since, since, well, after June anyhow but getting enjoyment out of it and becoming addicted; again. It was no bad thing.

I’d decided not to drink – you know I’m just getting headaches these days from even half a bottle of cider – I must be getting old; at least it meant I can go and please as I want, as I hear my dad’s voice as I type this.

I got to Davie’s in good time though. Well before kick-off; kick-off to a game I had secretly billed as, ‘our most important in 30 years’, you all know the reason behind that statement. It was almost a whisper though; not quite trying to contemplate what would happen if Liverpool lost it.

Ian and Sarah came, both rugby fans but both Manchester United ones too – almost into the ‘Lions Den’ of three, nay, four (if we include Carly) avid, rabid, ravenous Liverpool fans who bleed not Welsh red blood but Liverpool blood.

The girls were in the kitchen and with about a quarter of an hour to go I was there too. Just chatting and feeling that at any other time I would be completely enjoying myself and engrossed in the conversation about Christmas prezzies and that.

Ian had a special one ‘Crimbo’ prezzie. An un-usual one. He had a voucher for a ‘Sky-dive’. Not in a million years would I do that! Ian though said he had always fancied it and Sarah had now given him a golden ticket for his dreams to come true. The exhilaration he is going to feel will be un-describable. Secretly, I wonder if it would be comparable to the time if and when Liverpool actually lift, lift the, no, no, no, my key-board is not allowing me to write it.

We took-up our match-day positions. Me and Deano, wearing that dark silver top with the Liver Bird on it, on my right of the three-seater and Davie in his swivel, Bond villain chair. There were sweets on the table but also snacks and rolls spread out on the main table – how thoughtful. Fudge was floating around and then Davie shouted, ‘Bag’ and off she’d trot into the far corner, having been spoiled by Deano with another sweet or bit of roll.

‘She only answers to you’ Ian said, supping his Carling can.

Klopp picked the strongest team. Alisson in goals, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson as attacking wing-backs. Virgil van Djke and Joe Gomez at centre-back. Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita, and a timely returning Gini Wijnaldum in the middle. Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Club World Cup winning goalscorer, Bobby Firmino were up top.

Leicester, having darkened the whole stadium to supposedly create an intimidating atmosphere had Jamie Vardy. Jamie Vardy who always, always scores against Liverpool every season without fail. They had James Maddison too and Brendan Rodgers – smile please for the camera, in charge. They had been dangerous all season.

‘Please reds’ I silently said, working myself-up. This was the moment. The time when it could all go pear-shaped. Where there was a danger that Liverpool could lose.

My, my, my, we were cursing. Cursing though at Liverpool’s inability to finish Leicester off in the first five minutes.

Just how many chances did Liverpool miss? Mane and Trent had one apiece. And they kept coming and coming.

‘You should be four nil-up!’ Ian said with about half an hour gone. I tapped him on the leg as though gently agreeing with him.

At one stage, Naby Keita drove from our half, on the left and played a delicious one-two with Sadio Mane, carried on with his run but failed to hit the target. If it was a Boxing Day bout – Liverpool would have been out of sight on points.

They had been at it from the first second. Right on their ‘A’ game. They fought and thought, for every ball, for any stray pass, for anything which they lost, they played as a compact team as I’ve seen in ages. Leicester were not having a sniff. It was such a controlled performance. All that was missing was a goal.

All of a sudden, the ball was played into the area and thank God Bobby Firmino got in front of Salah and headed the ball firmly downwards so hard that Kasper Schmeichel didn’t have a chance to save it at his left near post.

It was 1-0 to the reds, at last.

I just raised both my hands in the air, my muscles taught, as though surrendering to my emotion inside. ‘Yeah’s’ I shouted from deep within. It meant the absolute world to me that Liverpool had made the break-through…

With their tails-up, like a grinning Cheshire cat, Liverpool did not rest as they went on the prowl for a second goal. That they did not get it can be down more to poor finishing than anything the home team done.

‘This will come back to bite us on the bum’ an exasperated Dean said, shaking his head as he downed another bottle of his favourite ‘Des-per-ra-do’s’, said in his best Newport towny accent! As I downed my diet- coke, having previously spilled a coffee on my white-blue top, with Carly having kindly applied the magic, ‘Varnish’ on it.

The girls were floating about now and they were no trouble, going back upstairs after picking. The both of them are as thin as rakes but they were un-lucky later; the Chinese was shut – how inconvenient; anybody would think it was Boxing Day!

I was worried. Every time we had watched Liverpool this season it was like a game of two halves. Mainly they would play not too good in the first half and then improve in the second period; I hoped, just for a change, they would just ‘carry-on playing’ in a movie title which Sid James could star as a smoking Jurgen with a baseball cap on and a bottle of Bud in hand.

The reds though carried on where they had left off. Attack after attack, in such a measured and controlled fashion that it seemed they were hardly breaking sweat. I have to say I can’t recall specific goal threats but it was just the whole manner in which they bossed most of the game which was the stand-out feature.

Leicester actually ‘had a spell’ and as they upped the pace, with the home crowd reminding us that they were there, having been silenced, me and Dean looked knowingly at each other; worried.

All that experience gained becoming not only European but World Champions though, came into play as Liverpool took a strangle-hold on the game again, after Vardy hardly had a sniff and when he did, there was Gomez sprinting to block him and put him back in his pocket, like some loose change which had fallen out.

Trent kept coming forward. Robbo kept coming forward as did the midfielders, with Jordan Henderson magnificent – pursuing Leicester at every turn.

‘Get Milly on’ I said.

‘Take Mo off’ Deano strongly suggested.

Klopp must have heard us.

Liverpool won a corner down the right-hand side of Schmeichel’s goal and as the ball whipped into the box – at last, it got cleared. However, my heart skipped a beat when play was stopped. The ref was only pointing to the spot, for a hand-ball.

‘Let’s not celebrate yet’ Deano wisely said as James Milner calmly stepped-up amidst antics which were designed to make him lose concentration.

After the messing about, Milner stepped-up and put the ball, with the inside of his right heel, past a despairing Schmeichel, in the centre of the goal.

It was 2-0 to Liverpool and I again just went ‘YES!’ in triumph.

It had been James Milner’s first touch of the ball, after he had come on for the again, impressive, Naby keita.

It was, what, 70 minutes gone but Liverpool were still hungry, still greedy to make sure of the three points on offer in a ‘six-pointer’.

Within minutes Trent Alexander-Arnold, with the freedom of ‘Filbert Street’ crossed the ball in. Bobby Firmino took one touch to control the ball with the inside of his right-boot and then majestically, with a swipe of the same foot, almost curled the ball nonchalantly into the top left-hand corner of Schmeichel’s net, to make it 3-0.

‘Oh my God’ I gasped in awe. Bobby was just making our dreams come that little bit closer with a finish which killed Leicester off.

Carly was chatting to Sarah, Ian’s missus, as we sat there, glued to the tv, mesmerised by Liverpool’s performance. It was a thing of beauty; there was more to come though, just like the bad cracker jokes which baby Kelsey delighted in saying to Deano later.

The ball again pinged out of defence, like one of those pin-ball machines, one-two-three sweep forward and as I watched Trent Alexander-Arnold I realised he was not going to break stride when the ball came to him and he finished the game off with a sublime, low, arrowed, accurate finish from the edge of the area, which nestled into the bottom right-hand corner of Schmeichel’s goal as snuggly as the fit of the pyjamas my mum had got me the day before.

It was 4-0 to Liverpool.

‘Now that’s a true reflection of the game’, Ian said, having given-up trying to secretly urge Leicester on, in the midst of a ‘Liverbird’ household.

It was a canter. Roll back the years. This Liverpool team were writing their own history.

Four nil flattered Leicester – as I wrote later on twitter, it should have been ‘8-0’.

Now it was time to play Kelsey’s spinning board game, as Liverpool had taken another baby step in their quest to be the best…

27/12/19

1670
 

andyclegs

Andy C Legs
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263
Hi, just wrote this little piece about yesterdays game. Maybe if anyone has five, perhaps have a read. Some feedback would mean a lot.

Cup of Coffee

Liverpool v Wolves

29TH of December, 2019



I was too coffeed-out. There is only so much you can drink. I had half an hour to kill before going to Davie’s for the match.

The closest place for a hot drink was Sainsbury’s. It was still open and I got a hot chocolate and plonked myself down, the only person in the café. Flipped the Mirror crossword open and tried to do it. No chance. It was just one of those days where I had now failed to get going in all three of them. Or was it that my mind was being distracted by Liverpool – that was my excuse anyway!

The sweet drink went down a treat – I can recommend it.

I contemplated navigating into a proper car-parking slot – you know, between two cars; what do they call it, parallel parking. Well, I’m sorry, if there is an easier alternative then I choose it and besides which, I immediately became superstitious, so parked down the road, on the right – where I have normally parked this season.

Carly, Davie’s wife, opened the door to me, with a smile as always. Then Fudge, the loving dog, was not far behind and as I began to stroke her under her chin, she just sat there and lapped-it up like the softy she is. I am sure she knows everyone. I am sure all pets do.

Deano and Davie were there and then Carly presented me with my top which she had kindly washed and dried for me – it felt like brand new and smelt fresh. It was like she was my little, though, big sister, the way she is with me – trying to guide me in the affairs of the heart but laughing at me at the same time!

They are all my extended family and in this holiday period, I have spent as much time with them as I had my mum and brother, if not more.

So, Wolves. Wolves who had come from 2-0 behind to beat Man City the other night and win dramatically 3-2! Incredible – it meant Conor Coady’s side had done the ‘double’ over Pep Guardiola’s so I knew, just knew, as every sensible red did, that they were going to be tough opponents.

Liverpool lined-up as follows; Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson as wing-backs, Virgil van Djke and Joe Gomez as centre-halves, Jordan Henderson – despite picking a knock-up v Leicester, Gini Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana in the middle. The front three again picked themselves as most of the spine of this team does; that’s just how it is these days.

Wolves were dangerous but apart from that Traore and Coady – the former Liverpool player, then I could not honestly name any of them but what I did know was that their collective was a very good, football playing unit which could cause Liverpool problems given half the chance.

I had been concerned that I had not got any sweets to go into the bowl on the table but I need not have worried. There were special ones there. Traditional Christmas ones – Roses! Anyone would think it was still Christmas – or that limbo period in between; waiting and bracing ourselves for New Year. The chocolates were just there and smelling so appetizingly, especially in their colourful wrappers – ‘Take me, take me’ they were calling and I soon gave in, just diving in without looking until the soft, sultry, sweet, texture was in my mouth, soothing instantly any tension I may have been feeling in those moments. It was like, like – well, a Divock Origi champions League Final goal in a wrapper!

Liverpool started brightly, attacking the Anfield Road End. Two chances went begging if my memory serves me correctly. It would have made all the difference if we had scored one.

I found myself kicking every ball. My feet forever moving as I lounged on the sofa, almost in a horizontal position. It belied how tense I really felt inside though. I just could not rest – Liverpool need to score – full-stop. That was all that was missing as they probed patiently for a gilt-edged chance.

‘Keep at it reds’, I sighed, as the tension arose around the living room.

Then the ball was in the box, Lallana jumped for it and played it to Mane and he finished, low, into the keeper’s right.

‘’YES!’ I shouted, raising both my arms in the air, in triumph as though lifting a trophy, criminally in my book, without hearing the fat lady sing or in this case, without a VAR check.

‘Wha?’ we all went. Looking at each other and the screen. Just wondering how they could possibly disallow the goal.

How long was it – two minutes perhaps. I felt sorry for all the fans in the ground. They must have been more in the dark than we were.

‘I think they are also checking for a possible offside, as well’ Deano wisely said as it dawned on me that our chances of being allowed the goal took a seventy-five per cent swing to the good.

Finally, a massive roar came from Anfield. The goal stood.

‘Now come on reds, get the first tackle in’ I urged, fists clenched, just knowing how slender our vital, vital lead was that we had just about got and been allowed, after VAR had decided Lallana’s shoulder, not his right arm, had touched the ball in the build-up.

The reds didn’t listen to me though. They did get a tackle in but it led to a free-kick. In an advantageous position. The ball was hacked clear, with a good old up and under and we all felt a sigh of relief. So did Liverpool’s players but Wolves were on it and got the ball to their right wing and as it was crossed into our box, one of their gold shirts slammed the ball to the right of a despairing Alisson.

It was 1-1 and we had been made to pay for switching-off.

It was gutting. It was like we had each been given a tin of roses to eat and Carly had snatched them away.

But lo, hark the angel that is VAR (not). Wait a second, as the screen was boxed again to look not at the lush green Anfield turf, but somewhere in the magnificent newish Main Stand. A monitor was being checked. Suddenly, my heart was skipping a beat at the remote prospect that maybe the legitimate – all day long, goal was being looked at.

VAR only went and disallowed it! The relief I felt was just head shaking. I could not fathom it out. I was just grateful that Liverpool were still, still ahead. As far as I could figure, a Wolves player’s boot lace was over the line in the build-up to the goal. I’ll take that all day long though. Especially, now, let’s re-wind a moment here, in VAR fashion, to when Bobby Firmino was denied a goal by VAR at Aston Villa, when we should have gone 1-0 up or to a Mane header v Watford when it could have given us a 2-0 lead, long before Mo Salah’s cheeky last minute back-heel.

Davie called it though. He said that the VAR people are never known and sit behind screens so they don’t get stick and pick-up their money without a problem.

It was, after all the drama, 1-0 to the reds at the break and it was definitely time for more chocolates and tea!

‘Fudge’ was baby Kelsey’s new best friend as she cwtched-up to the soft old dog, in the corner, whilst the drama un-folded itself into the second half with the reds briefly spurting to attack the Kop, which was urging the team on to score a second, which would have made all the difference.

A few times Liverpool seemed to be on the brink finishing - they could not pull the trigger though; it was akin to dunking a shortbread biscuit into tea, leaving it in the cup too long, before it collapses in the tea.

Wolves pressed and pressed. Forcing Liverpool back as I again, squirmed, contortedly on the sofa, almost going into a defensive ball, as I tightened my grip on my jumper, with the tension rising, to even greater heights when not only did Virgil van Djke of all people get caught out for his over-confidence on the ball but especially when that Traore came on and started to rampage down our left and then our right.

Trent was having a torrid time against him. Twice he left him go and in came the ball to the edge of the ‘d’ and two shots were wastefully fired over, thank goodness as I reached yet again for the roses, for a crumb of comfort to ease my nerves.

I shouted, violently towards the screen at one stage, towards my heroes, urging them like some far away sergeant major to ‘get some in’ (you must be as old as me if you recall that tv series) and ensure they held-out under another barrage of Wolves missiles as another ball was pulled across and chance somehow wasted. At this point Joe Gomez must be singled-out for special praise. He was magnificent – reading every move and covering Trent at every turn, and boy can he put a sliding Hansenesque tackle in and I can give him no higher praise than that. It was though, yet again, the team collective strength which was the most important factor; not any individual’s performance.

I can always tell how tense and tight the game is because I counted the clock down from 70 minutes onwards. Then past 90 minutes and the extra, contorted filled four minutes.

Was it no wonder, that at hearing the final whistle, I jumped up off the sofa and shouted, gleefully at the top of my voice, ‘YES!!’ and made a bee-line for the toilet for a relief flowing wee jimmy riddle!

Whilst there, it sunk in that Liverpool had incredibly lost only one League game in 2019 – I do not think any Liverpool team has ever achieved that feat in a whole year.

However, as I left Davie’s, I still, still, could not hear the ‘Fat Lady’ singing in the distance but just, just, just, very, very cautiously whisper it, maybe she was waking-up from her 30 - year-old sleep and preparing to have a cup of coffee…

30/12/19.

1740 AC Legs
 

Commando

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Two more fantastic reads Andy.
I remember “Get Some In” with Robert Lindsay as Smiffy. At that time he only used to play characters called Smith (Citizen Smith) although he was referred to as “Wolfey” in that role.

I look forward to the Sheffield United write up.

Happy New Year
 

andyclegs

Andy C Legs
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
263
Two more fantastic reads Andy.
I remember “Get Some In” with Robert Lindsay as Smiffy. At that time he only used to play characters called Smith (Citizen Smith) although he was referred to as “Wolfey” in that role.

I look forward to the Sheffield United write up.

Happy New Year
Oh thanks mate. Much appreciated. Yes, the old lady used to call him 'Wolfie'!!! Very funny. I was in work for the Sheff Utd game so I gave it a miss to write it up as I only seen about 3 minutes highlights. From what Deano text me, told me we were in 2nd gear. Still so very, very pleased with the result though as we usually start January's stutteringly. Lets really hope that win bucks the trend......
 

Commando

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Oh thanks mate. Much appreciated. Yes, the old lady used to call him 'Wolfie'!!! Very funny. I was in work for the Sheff Utd game so I gave it a miss to write it up as I only seen about 3 minutes highlights. From what Deano text me, told me we were in 2nd gear. Still so very, very pleased with the result though as we usually start January's stutteringly. Lets really hope that win bucks the trend......

Yes, let’s hope so. Fingers crossed. On second thoughts make that fingers, toes, arms, legs, eyes and everything else crossed.
 

andyclegs

Andy C Legs
Joined
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Messages
263
Hi, just had a stab at writing something about Sunday so if anyone has five, maybe have a read. Any responses would be very much appreciated. Cheers, Andy.

‘Klopp’s Kids beat the Blues’

Liverpool v Everton

FA Cup, 3rd Round

5th of January, 2020.

Carly, Dave’s wife, greeted me at the door, in her green District nurses outfit, and said, ‘I have to go to work now’. It was gutting, as Carly is as much a part of watching the game as the tv itself.

‘Fudge’, the dog, followed close behind – forever looking for attention. I mean, that sad looking face and big brown eyes, how could I refuse as I patted her head and fondled her chin, before she led me to the living room door.

It was here I found Davie and Deano, two veteran red fans of my vintage, who have not only shouted at the tv with me but have also had dreams and songs to sing in the pubs around and inside Anfield itself.

It was a good job, whilst in Morrison’s that I had not completely wasted, whiling, away my two hours, twittering having coffee, in between attempting two annoyingly difficult crosswords, for I did actually get not one, but two packets of sweets. Two packs of those soft, Refresher ones – pink/white and blue/red ones – almost without realising it; they had been selected for the ‘Derby’.

‘Dave just went over the shops to get some sweets’, Carly said, no doubt secretly wishing she was staying with us. Then I produced the sweets I’d got for us so we had ‘double-bubble’. The odds on the yummy sweets lasting before half-time were as long as Liverpool’s winning the game.

So, this was the FA Cup tie which our manager, Jurgen Klopp did not want, after the team had played something ridiculous like 8 games in about a month and travelled half-way across the world in the process - such is the price of a success which we could have only have dreamed about 4 years ago, before he came.

The Derby, Liverpool v Everton. I had taken in the fact that it was the most played FA Cup tie. One of the lads on twitter, ‘Andy Mills’ I think it was, asked what was the best reds game ‘we’ had seen. Despite many European triumphs, I plumbed for the 1986 FA Cup Final, when Liverpool finally, completed the Domestic Double, by beating Everton 3-1 with 2 goals from my hero, Ian Rush. At this moment in history, I am standing by that – just.

With Liverpool’s first choice team in dire need of a rest, and klopp’s options dwindling more than the chances of peace in the Middle East, there was an un-familiar Liverpool line-up which ran out at Anfield for the tie against Everton.

Adrian was in goals which was a gimmie, James Milner was at left-back and captain. Neco Williams, a young Welsh lad was at right-back – he had distinguished himself v Arsenal in the 5-5 League Cup draw, by whipping in the last second ball for Origi to finish and take the tie to Extra-Time and Penalties (which the Under-23’s won). At centre-half was the re-called Nat Phillips (no, no relation!) who had been playing for Stuttgart in the German Second Division. Alongside him was ‘Mr Rolls’ to Virgil van Dijk’s ‘Mr Royce’ in the form of Joe Gomez who has been nothing short of sublimely purring since coming back into the side.

In the middle was Pedro Chirivella - a young twenty something, alongside the experienced Adam Lallana and a local lad called, Curtis Jones, who had scored the winning penalty in that epic cup tie against Arsenal.

Up front was Divock Origi – given another rare start but mind, he likes Everton and had helped destroy them in December’s 5-2 win. New £7.25 million signing, Takumi Minamino from RB Salzburg was making his debut and also there was 16 year – old, Harvey Elliott, who had come on at Anfield for less than five minutes, in Thursday night’s 2-0 win over Sheffield United.

So, the team was not exactly the normal line-up and to be fair, we did not expect anything from them, other than for them to give their all.

Everton – well, I didn’t care or to be totally blunt; didn’t take any interest in them or their line-up. I just knew that newly installed manager, Carlo Ancelotti, would be fielding his strongest team and knew that if Everton were ever going to beat Liverpool, for the first time in 10 years, let alone for the first time in 20 years at Anfield, then Everton would never be presented with a better late Christmas gift-wrapped opportunity.

The sweets were already half-full in the bowl as the first half got under-way and the Blues had won the toss and decided to get Liverpool to attack the Kop in the first half.

The kids started slowly; a tad nervously as expected.

‘Well, you never know’ we said, with Davie sitting in his favourite swivel, bond villain chair, whilst I still grappled with the make-up of our team, never mind the Everton one.

Everton should have scored, not once but at least twice.

Adrian saved with the base of his heel on one occasion proving again, a great stand-in for Alisson. We held our breath as 8,000 blues breathed bitterness down on him.

‘Phew’ we went, with me greedily grabbing not one but three sweets as they were going down like a paratrooper jumping out of an aeroplane.

Liverpool though suffered an early blow after 6 minutes as James Milner went off. Klopp must have looked as worried as we were as our ‘Milly’ our ‘Swiss Army Knife’ as Davie called him, reluctantly left the field. It made Klopp’s decision not risk too many regular players a wiser one.

Everton were having joy down our left, especially facing our young sub, the Algerian, Yasser Larouci; a strongly built man, who was great in the tackle and improved as the game went on.

The blues should, just should have taken the lead, when Holgate headed the ball straight at Adrian. Anywhere either side of Adrian and the net would have bulged.

It had been a gilt-edged chance.

‘We need to be quicker’ Deano said, as he expressed his concerns that we were getting bullied in midfield.

The youngsters though were holding their own, at least they were not on-their way to an un-flattering 5-0 scoreline; like they had suffered at Villa in the League Cup before Christmas. This time, as they were knocking the ball about, their confidence was increasing; they were posing a threat.

At one stage Divock Origi managed to turn inside the area, following a pass from Elliott and his low shot was saved by a sprawling yellow shirted Jordan Pickford, who tipped the ball away down at his right near post. It was a good save but had the ball gone in, the goal would not have counted due to offside. The subsequent corner was dangerously whipped in at pace – like they all were taken by either Elliott or Chirivella and they always beat the first man, as Deano demands.

As the half-time whistle blew Davie got-up and very kindly made another lush cuppa (he could do it again. Carly would agree!) and we were all happy with the way the first 45 had gone.

‘We are still in the game’ Deano said and that was all that mattered to us.

Gary Lineker just had to get a dig in though about scoring a goal in the 1986 Derby win at Anfield and if he did, as my mum would say, because I nearly lost it!

‘Yes, tell them about what happened later at Wembley, Lineker, when we won the Double!!’ I screamed, still recalling him and Rio Ferdinand’s joy at Liverpool being 3-0 down at Barcelona last season (and looked then what happened then when he had gloated!).

It was a good job Davie had got them other sweets, the bitter ones, which look like a bottle opener, with sugar on them but become sweet, the more they are sucked and the soft red and white ones, which look as though they have a cherry, because not only were we eating them but also Kelsey was, the 7 year-old baby and Kaitlyn too, before she escaped back to her room away from us three loons.

Whatever Klopp said to Liverpool at the break must rank as one of his most famous pep talks for when the lads, quite literally in some cases, emerged for the second half it was as though they had donned the jerseys of their more senior teammates, for they just pressed like a red hot iron and passed the ball around, subsequently bossing the second half. It was a joy to watch. Incredible. The three of us just could not believe it. I mean, I was not too stressed or kicking every ball like I can do. It was the manner of their display – it defied belief.

I can’t even signal anyone out as they all played as one. Everton hardly had a sniff of the ball, because Liverpool dominated the second half, especially with the Kop behind their backs, who were superb and never stopped singing and urging.

Neco Williams fired in a fierce warning, with a thunderous long-range shot from outside the left of Pickford’s area which the England number one could only spill but there was no-one there, like a Salah, to capitalize.

‘He’ll get Mane on’, Dean said, ‘why not. A bit of quality’ he suggested, as we saw Sadio warming-up with about a quarter of an hour to go.

All that was needed was a goal to cap a fine performance.

Origi got into the area, on the right as Pickford looked at it. On the edge of the ‘d’, Curtis Jones demanded the ball. Well, his wish was Origi’s command and before we knew it, in the blink of a Fudge bark, the ball was flying into the top left-hand corner, of Pickford’s goal.

I leapt off the sofa.

‘Oh my word, oh my word’ I kept saying in total disbelief at what I had just seen, before grabbing hold of one of Carly’s table chairs and banging it down on the wooded floor in total joy.

‘I cannot f**king believe it’ I then kept saying, as it dawned on me that we had just scored one of the finest Derby goals ever and it had been scored by a 18 - year - old Scouser.

On this occasion I did not care that they showed the goal over and over and over; it was an absolute dream-boat of a strike.

Everton were just stunned. They had no answer – no matter what Ancelotti did. Liverpool’s kids could even have scored again soon after.

The Blues were totally rattled.

Liverpool kept passing, passing, passing the ball around, very rarely letting it out of their sight, let alone possession.

It was a master-class of keep-ball.

When the whistle went it signalled that Liverpool had won a famous Derby victory - it had been a case of ‘Klopp’s Kids Beat the Blues’.



6/1/2020.
 

Commando

Well-Known Member
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Messages
2,849
Great write up Andy. I particularly liked “in a blink of a fudge bark”. :LOL:
So proud of our Baby Reds. All of them played like seasoned veterans. Let’s hope that they get more game time in the next round.

Those “bottle opener” sweets are really sour to start with aren’t they. We’ve just found a sweet shop near to Tranmere Rovers’ ground that has sweets that I’ve not seen for years. Mrs CDO and myself will be making many visits there in the future I’m sure.

Keep the write ups coming. (y)
 

andyclegs

Andy C Legs
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
263
Great write up Andy. I particularly liked “in a blink of a fudge bark”. :LOL:
So proud of our Baby Reds. All of them played like seasoned veterans. Let’s hope that they get more game time in the next round.

Those “bottle opener” sweets are really sour to start with aren’t they. We’ve just found a sweet shop near to Tranmere Rovers’ ground that has sweets that I’ve not seen for years. Mrs CDO and myself will be making many visits there in the future I’m sure.

Keep the write ups coming. (y)
Oh, thank you, as ever, for any comments and also 'likes' - so much appreciated.... I just enjoyed writing this but did not know where to start or end. Thanks for taking time out to everyone who reads my little pieces. Andy. (y) ;)
 

andyclegs

Andy C Legs
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
263
Hi, just wrote this little post match piece. Maybe have a read. All feedback much, much appreciated. Andy.

Bailey’s Time

Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool

11th of January, 2020.

Davie greeted me at the door.

‘Leicester are losing’, he happily told me. That was a shock, as I had deliberately made sure I was un-aware of any football scores.

Dean was there and Carly – Davie’s wife, so ‘the gang was all there’.

‘Crumbs Crouch, what are you doing here so early?’ Carly laughed, as usually I arrive with ten minutes to spare before kick-off.

It was good to be there. It was almost as though I had waited around all day for the game. Just going to Morrisons and then back home and trying to see where I can go with a long - term story of Leighton Phillips.

I decided to do a Timeline of his career and fill in some details of his Welsh appearances – with his club appearances on the other side. To do that though I had to research a Rothman’s book and to do that meant tidying-up my mini library of books. I got to his 25th appearance in the end though, much like Liverpool seem to have acquired this fantastic knack of grinding out wins.

So, as I plonked myself down on the sofa, akin to taking my old seat at Anfield; Leicester only went and equalised. ‘2-2’.

‘I’ll take that Crouch’ Davie said, smiling.

‘Too right’ I agreed.

Then, then, then, those three letters, which can mean so much, appeared on the screen of the BBC studio. ‘VAR’. We all held our collective breath’s and went, ‘YES!!!’ as though Liverpool had just scored. Well, they had in effect but only ‘if’ they could win their game, which was fast approaching like brighter days after four o’ clock.

I was armed and dangerous. Though the sweet bowl was full I had in reserve, akin to Klopp now being able to call on Shaqiri and very soon Fabinho and Joel Matip, bought little white mice sweets, along with a bag of chocolate and cream hundreds and thousands – three for a pound in Morrison’s (get on it!).

With Carly doing me a tea and also a doughnut – I was being spoilt, again, by my adopted family. So, we were set, especially as the others had opened bottles and cans; back home I had a Bailey’s on the rocks waiting for me.

Spurs away. Always dodgy. Even more so now that Jose, the ‘Not so Special One anymore’ was in charge of them. We just, just knew that he would not park just one bus but if he could, all 151 model buses which I had inherited from my late dad. They look fantastic by the way in his cabinet, with his photo inside of it, as you go into my house; I think he would have approved.

It was going to be a battle of attrition, akin to a slogging match like the 3rd Battle of Ypres in 1917 and this time we hoped that right would prevail. To say we had history with Jose was an under-statement. We never meant to hate him but Carly hit the nail on the head when she just said, ‘When I look at him, I ate him’. Quite.

That game, we all know the one, when he scuppered our chances as Chelsea manager, weighed heavily on our minds before this game. We just could not stand it if he did us over again.

Jurgen Klopp selected his strongest Liverpool team. It goes to show how stable it is as any red can rattle off at least nine of the starting 11 without even thinking about it. Alisson was in goals. Trent Alexander-Arnold (who was December’s player of the month) and Andy Robertson were the attacking full-backs. Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez were the centre-halves. Jordan Henderson (captain), Gini Wijnaldum and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were in the middle with the terrible trio up top in the form of Mo Salah, Bobby Firmino and newly crowned African Footballer of the Year, the very humble, Sadio Mane.

As for Spurs, they were without Harry, I’m going to claim any goals I possibly can, Kane. A player I did not always dislike but do now after he tried to claim a goal and deny Mo Salah his Golden Boot in 2017-18. He was a big loss but they still had Son, who I would love to see in a red shirt and hope that our new signing, Takumi Minamino, takes inspiration from. Lloris was missing as well but there was still the coveted Christian Erikson – another player I’d gladly take off Tottenham’s hands – to warm our bench.

Liverpool attacked, almost after starter orders had been sounded. Bobby Firmino was inside their area, to the right of the screen as we looked at it. He shaped-up to shoot and their keeper, Gazzaniga, made a good save. Then Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was Johnny-on-the-spot and fired in the rebound which we all thought was going to creep inside Gazzaniga’s right post; only it didn’t.

We all disappointedly sat back down.

‘That was a real chance’ Deano said; as an early breakthrough would have made all the difference against Spurs who were set-up in a typical 10-1 Jose formation.

Liverpool though continued to probe. Passing out wide at every opportunity – we just had to be patient I tried to keep telling myself as I got increasingly hyped-up, with Carly looking at me and Davie saying, ‘Alright Crouch’ at my angst boiling over at Jose – did I mention I don’t like him, or as my mum would say, ‘I don’t like the look of him’ and my brother would say, ‘I wouldn’t trust him as far as I can throw him’. Exactly, anyhow I was riiled and just desperately wanted Liverpool to score.

Sadio Mane put the ball over the bar as he almost lay flat on the ground. By his standards we knew it had been a chance.

‘How did he miss that?’ Dean said in exasperation as Davie continued to have ‘if looks could kill’ glances from Carly every time he called Jose a ‘*unt’.Davie though led his defence with a rock solid alibi, as though aided by Virg and Gomez, ‘it’s football love’, with Carly disapprovingly shaking her head. It would have been an opportune moment to have joked that Davie was going to get another bruise after we left, as we jokingly jest that Carly is the boss in the house; they are both so funny and Davie winds her up at any opportunity.

‘I have to put-up with this all the time, Crouch’ she said to me, with me trying not laugh!

I love them – fair do’s, in my typical Welsh manner…

We could hear the Liverpool fans – after Deano had tried to figure where they were located in the ground – Spurs new ground on this, Liverpool’s debut there. They were behind Alisson’s goal and soon had something very significant to sing about and dreams to more than day-dream about.

After great build-up, Mo Salah was inside the centre of the Spurs area. Three players surrounding him. Don’t dare tell me that Mo doesn’t make a major contribution to our team. It was akin to the King himself, Dalglish in his pomp with his bum sticking out, shielding the ball; that’s the highest praise I can bestow on Mo. With a flick of his boot he squeezed a square ball to his right, to Bobby Firmino, who was on the edge of the 6 - yard area. Bobby did not even look as he struck a left-footed shot which arrowed straight into the left netting of Gazzaniga’s goal. It was as though Bobby had just flicked the switch of a kettle, that’s how easy he made it look.

‘Yes’ we all shouted with me jumping off the sofa, fist clenched. It was a vital breakthrough.

But lo, hang on a cotton picking second, as my dad used to say, when I were a lad, as we had to wait in mid-ecstasy, almost, as we looked at the screen with VAR checking the goal. It was such a let-down moment. I could use an ecstasy fuelled analogy here but let’s just keep it clean, and say it must be like calling a ‘House!’ in bingo and having instantly having it checked.

‘It’s a goal!’ one of the other three said and we were pleased to say the least.

Liverpool still probed a tad before the break but not too so much of an extent. It was all on Spurs now as we had torn Jose’s blue-print into little pieces; we had forced him to go back to the drawing-board.

At the break, with Carly kindly making me another tea, as she said, ‘I do everything in this house’ whilst looking at a smirking Dave who had, to be fair, whipped his measuring tape out, to suss out if a set of draws could be transferred from one girls bedroom to one of the others. Kayla, the oldest you see, wants to have her room re-decorated, especially as she is about 14 now, and of course, you can’t do one room without doing the other two, and also Carly wants something done to the hall again as well – it seems they never stand still in the Wheatstone House; a bit like Liverpool continually re-developing Anfield and striving to emulate the Old Trafford football stadiums of this world!

I put the three bags of assorted sweets in the bowl. ‘I don’t like chocolate ones Crouch’, Davie wise-crackingly moaned.

‘Don’t worry Crouch, I love chocolate’ Carly said, smiling in anticipation of having more of the sweet brown stuff. So, like a magician producing a rabbit out of the hat, I put a bag of the soft refresher favourites on the table; just for Davie.

‘That’s better, Crouch’ he said, as the second half began with no changes and Liverpool just passing, passing, passing, side-ways, back, side-ways, back, between Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk, to Henderson, occasionally to Gini Wijnaldum and on rare occasions to a bursting Trent Alexander-Arnold or Andy Robertson - who one time went into a full throttle tackle which he could not avoid, due to his natural rhythm. No foul. End of.

Many times though, we all were concerned. Just wanting Liverpool to kill the game stone dead with a second goal.

‘Just one Spurs chance; that’s all it takes’ Dean the sage said, echoing how I felt. Just knowing a Spurs goal would alter the whole complexion of the game.

We did not know what it was; over-confidence, a lack of concentration or something which Spurs had done, by maybe pushing-up more, because all of a sudden, in the best story-telling way, Liverpool began to look rattled.

Henderson should have cleared the ball near half-way, someone else could have got a tackle in, Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez were hesitant and if anything got in each - others way, as Spurs broke-through a few times.

Just at the point of a Spurs player pulling the trigger, Virgil van Dijk made a brilliant block-busting goal saving tackle, flinging himself at the ball like Tarzan swinging from a tree to rescue Jane. It was as vital as a reds goal.

However, Spurs should have scored, again, as I looked at the clock which was ticking as slowly as though I was stuck in a long Post Office queue collecting my mums pension before Christmas, as Son pulled a shot wide and then Spurs sub, Lo Celso in near Alisson’s right near post and I held my head in my hands, as though a crash was going to happen, just expecting the net to bulge. Miraculously though, Lo Celso somehow put the ball wide of Alisson’s left post, with the ball having skimmed the goal-line…

It was a real let-off and you could almost have heard a pin drop in the Wheatstone’s living room.

‘Oh my God, how did he miss THAT?’ Dean sighed, expressing our sentiments…

In response, Divock Origi, who had come on, had a bit of twinkle toes magic; beating three players to get a shot off which was comfortably saved.

Alisson then saved and he took heed of our frantic instructions; ‘TIME! Hold the f**king ball’, we urged collectively, just hoping we could waste more precious seconds.

‘Blow-up you *rick!’ I screamed at the referee, Martin Atkinson, as he tried to give Spurs more time to equalise.

All the while, I just kept trying to keep a check on my mounting excitement as another victory drew closer, closer, closer, all the time, with every kick away, with every tackle, with every last Liverpool players breath of desire; as finally the whistle blew.

Phew!

We had won but as The Duke of Wellington said of the Battle of Waterloo; ‘it was a mighty close - run thing’.

It signalled ‘Bailey’s Time’.



12/1/20

A.C.Legs

2141
 

Commando

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2,849
Thanks for that Andy. I was flying home from holiday as this was being played. So I never had the nerve jangling, nail nibbling final minutes that other Reds had. The lad in the next seat to me was a fellow Red and we were both anxious to land and get our phones back on to see the result. As we were taxiing to the terminal he nudged me and told me the score. What a relief. Onwards we go.
As to sweets, we've returned home to a house full of various chocolates and sweets. Our Grand Daughter is a nursery nurse and received lots and lots of gifts from the children before the pre Christmas break. She doesn't have a sweet tooth at all so the fridge is chocked block with chocy and there are bags of other sweets in the dining room. The only trouble is that Mrs CDO and myself put on a few extra pounds while on holiday and have promised to cut out treats until we regain our "beach bodies". I suppose our other Grand Children are going to have to help us out when they visit.

Keep the articles coming.

CDO (y)
 

andyclegs

Andy C Legs
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
263
Thanks for that Andy. I was flying home from holiday as this was being played. So I never had the nerve jangling, nail nibbling final minutes that other Reds had. The lad in the next seat to me was a fellow Red and we were both anxious to land and get our phones back on to see the result. As we were taxiing to the terminal he nudged me and told me the score. What a relief. Onwards we go.
As to sweets, we've returned home to a house full of various chocolates and sweets. Our Grand Daughter is a nursery nurse and received lots and lots of gifts from the children before the pre Christmas break. She doesn't have a sweet tooth at all so the fridge is chocked block with chocy and there are bags of other sweets in the dining room. The only trouble is that Mrs CDO and myself put on a few extra pounds while on holiday and have promised to cut out treats until we regain our "beach bodies". I suppose our other Grand Children are going to have to help us out when they visit.

Keep the articles coming.

CDO (y)
Hey, cheers for that Commando
Hope that you had a fab holiday and chilled lots.
It's become a tradition now this sweet eating and it's all too easy!!!
Not over yet by a long chalk...

All the best, Andy
 

andyclegs

Andy C Legs
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
263
Hi, just tried to write-up a little something on the game yesterday. Maybe have a little peruse if anyone gets five. Any comments would be much appreciated. Andy.

‘Red Shoes’

Liverpool v Manchester United

19th of January, 2020.

I lay on the sofa, in my best ‘Uncle Albert’ voice, reading about ‘the war’, just trying to keep calm - before the storm.



Within minutes, Davie greeted me at his and Carly’s front door. He had a fillip.

‘Leicester lost 2-1 to Burnley’.

Excellent.

‘Alright Kels’ I said, and repeated my greeting, but 7 – year-old baby Kelsey was oblivious to me, just as I am to anyone suggesting that a certain team (in red) are going to win a certain trophy. Kelsey you see was engrossed in a game on her mobile – what would we do without them!

Sweets in the bowl already and waiting but there was no Carly – who had only, in my mum’s Welsh voice, ‘now jest, left for work’ – that was a shame.

I gave Davie his 21st (hahaha) birthday card for sometime soon and within a second of me sitting down, Dean announced the unsayable ‘ If we win this today – that should be it’.

It was like a red rag to a bull.

‘No. no, no’ I protested, trying to shout him and Davie down – to no avail.

‘Why, don’t you believe in this team?’ Deano asked.

‘Of course I do’ I replied, ‘but I won’t believe it’s over until the fat lady sings’.

‘I can’t remember the last time we won it’ Davie said, chomping on the soft wine gum like sweets, as I asked him how old he was, because I can never remember!

‘38’ he replied, as he recalled having the home top with the flecks on it, with me recalling having the same top for my birthday in that March, 1990 and consequently wearing it on every subsequent visit to the Kop that season.

‘My first one was with the yellow Liver Bird on it’, the simple design one, I thought ‘and I must’ve been about 8 or 9’ I continued. It was a lush top – Nike take note.

The teams were soon out and the hairs went up as that song, our song, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ was boomed out with Deano having said that the fans had greeted the coaches – too right I thought, as I had put on twitter; it was, like every game now, the most important one In 30 long years.

This was it.

The Liverpool line-up read like a Who’s Who of Potential Greats; Alisson in goals, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson as wing-backs. Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez at the back – it was like reciting your address – that’s how familiar the team is. Jordan Henderson (Captain), Gini Wijnaldum and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the middle with Mo Salah, Bobby Firmino and Sadio Mane up top - tormentors supreme.

Man United – they didn’t have Marcus Rashford, who had come on and off in the mid-week win over Wolves; so that was a bonus. They did have Martial though and he had previous against us; for didn’t he score two on his debut that one time, mmm.

They were still Man U though, no matter what XI they put out; still liable to come and trip us up and they would have loved nothing better. Still a threat not to be taken lightly.

And, so it proved. Untied had much more of the ball in the first ten or fifteen minutes as Liverpool began to, ‘Feel themselves into the game’ as Deano said.

Then Liverpool went on the attack.

The ball over the top, flighted long and rangy by the artillery shell of a Virgil pass was a key weapon as Mane and Mo Salah got behind United’s packed midfield.

Corner. Corner, creeping closer corner, like a shadow of red soldiers advancing across no-mans land, towards the enemy trench. Then, all of a sudden, the ball was gloriously thumped into the top left-hand corner of De Gea’s net!

It was only Virgil van Djke.

‘What a header son, what a header’ I could have gasped in my best excited Andy Gray Scottish voice.

This was the vital, vital breakthrough which we had craved.

I jumped off the sofa and ran down the wing so to speak towards the kitchen in complete celebration. Shouting ‘Yeaaaaaahhhhhhssssss’ at the top of my voice.

Then, moments later it seemed, I jumped off the sofa again, in a double-take celebration as Bobby Firmino curled home a pearler which swept into the same portion of De Gea’s net.

‘Yes, yeahhhhs,’ again I roared like a lion on drugs and as we were now 2-0 up, I felt that we could crush them.

But oh no, no, it got disallowed and I could not believe it. Virgil van Dijk had supposedly fouled De Gea as he had challenged for the ball. The Dutchman had hardly touched De Gea.

I was gutted.

Liverpool pressed, pressed like a vice and very soon, thanks to slick passing movements, Gini Wijnaldum got in on our left and slotted low and accurately inside the base of De Gea’s left post. It was a superb finish.

Off I exploded again, like a pile of TNT, this time nearly hitting the kitchen door. Then, then, reality struck or VAR, did as the goal was ruled out for offside.

‘Yeah, it’s not a goal’ the boys concluded.

‘I’m never going to celebrate a goal again’ I said, absolutely distraught, with my heart beating ten-to-the-dozen.

United even survived a gilt-edged chance from Sadio Mane who when clean through, somehow shot straight at De Gea.

‘How did he miss that!’ Dean shouted, perplexed that we had not scored again. ‘This is going to bite us on the bum’ he added.

At half-time I got our favourites, the soft refresher like sweets and the pink and green ones; pouring them into the bowl, which was almost empty. We would need, to para-phrase Sir Huw Dowding, as regards the foreign squadrons, in the Battle of Britain, every last one of them.

At one stage in the first half I had even caught Kelsey’s attention, as she stopped to look and stare at me, as I had shouted at the top of my voice at some slack defending by the reds.

‘Sorry Kels’ I said, ‘but it is these bast888s’, as though I had a stone-wall alibi.

‘What do you mean, you always shout!’ Deano had responded, with me laughing.

With Liverpool attacking the Kop In the second half, they went for it.

Just how, how they never scored in that exhilarating first quarter I will never know. We were all going nuts with pent-up excitement of being so near yet, yet so far.

Mo Salah with that chance. Clean through and he just got the hair’s breath of touches to the ball when with any sort of powerful connection, it would have rippled the net.

‘He doesn’t score easy chances’ I gasped, almost holding my head in my hands, adding, ‘he only scores spectacular goals’ as I thought back to the hat-full he’d missed against Salzburg away and then fired home that second from a ridiculous angle which Pythagoras would have been scratching his head at.

Henderson fired in a rocket which looked in all the way until De Gea showed his undoubted class by somehow flinging out his left arm to tip onto the post. There were other chances but I’ll be buggered if I can recall them right now. It was all a red blur – like a Martian weed from ‘War of the Worlds’.

It left the game, as I did say then, several times, ‘On a knife-edge’.

United had survived the onslaught – by the skin of their teeth. They were jammy but were still in the game and still only one goal behind. Liverpool seemed to just go into their defensive shell. Tried to conserve energy and beat off United almost with one hand but the ball kept going back to United and United kept coming dangerously forward.

‘Watch him, watch him!’ I roared on more than one occasion, pointing at the screen, as a United player came down Liverpool’s left, having the freedom of Anfield. Do you think Trent heard me above the din – no chance!

The sweets were going down as my nerves began to be shredded. At one point I held out my left hand and found that it was physically shaking. That’s how tense I was. That’s how tense these games can get to you – especially this one, especially on this occasion when Liverpool were continually unable to get hold of the ball as though it was someone reaching for the remote as it hung tantalisingly on the edge of the sofa.

‘I’m just waiting for them to score’ I said, shaking my head as another attack went in, like a flight of Stuka dive-bombers attacking the little ships in the channel off the beaches of Dunkirk. Fortunately though, Liverpool had some high calibre defensive guns in Alisson, Gomez and the outstanding, Virgil van Djke.

‘Time!!’ we all roared as Alisson at last got hold of the ball, with seconds remaining. Do you think he listened to us – did he heck as like as he kicked the ball high and long to Salah, who was lucky to still be on the pitch, as he had lost countless balls. However, Super Mo held this ball up. Then he only left two United players in his wake as he sped off towards the Kop End. De Gea came out to the edge of the area and Mo Salah only nutmegged him and finished United off with a low powerful finish into the bottom left-hand corner of De Gea’s net!

This time, this time, I did not care, all hell broke loose as I went nuts, jumping off the sofa, again and just celebrating in ecstasy….

I think half the street heard – never mind poor baby Kelsey, as the realisation kicked-in that we were at last on the verge of beating our most hated of enemies, in such dramatic fashion.

‘That’s not offside!!’ one of the boys shouted in joy.

Then we heard it, heard it for the first time, and as I write this it is giving me goose-bumps, with me now trying to fight back the emotion, as the Kop began daring to sing a thirty – year-old hit.

It felt fantastic – one day, hopefully, I will be able to sing it, along with the fat-lady, who is now perhaps putting her make-up on and flicking through her wardrobe, with a view to maybe, performing and saying, ‘Now, what jewellery shall I wear with my red dress and red shoes…’

20/1/20.

1764
 

andyclegs

Andy C Legs
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
263
Hi, I have only just finished trying to write a piece on the Wolves game so if you have five then maybe have a look. Any feedback, as usual, would be very much appreciated. All the best, Andy.

Jelly Babies

Wolves v Liverpool

23rd January, 2020
.​

I parked the car almost adjacent to Davie and Carly’s house but do you know what; I was almost tempted to park it down the road, on the right, by the speed bump – just in case, just in case I jinxed Liverpool’s incredible un-beaten start.

Davie greeted me and I said, ‘Where’s Fudge?’ as she always barked; she must have heard me because no soon had I said it than there she was, that big old white/ brown coloured dog with paws as big as my hands.

I wrapped my hands around her soft fury head as it lay in my arms, looking down at her gob-stopper brown eyes and I smoothed her for at least a minute – one-to-one quality time. Davie called and whistled; off she went, leading me to the living room.

‘I haven’t got a good feeling about this tonight’, Dean said, looking smart as hell in that white away top – it makes me think that just for a long change, that I’d invest in one, as well as the half a dozen of the books on ‘Number Six’ I’ve got – I couldn’t resist!

Davie quickly made the tea as he happily poured the sweets I’d bought into the bowl. The soft refresher ones – found in Aldi as it goes, how convenient, especially as I’d dropped my mum off and done my weekly shop there, whilst also fitting in a visit to my mortgage company – ‘making the most of my minutes’ as an ex was oft to say.

There was no boisterous talk of the ‘t’ word which I shout at the boys for even daring to utter, as we caught-up and we discovered that Deano had booked yet another trip to the ‘states’ – for next September. Somewhere different on the agenda for him though, as he showed me a sweeping beach with stunning blue clear sea – somewhere in Hawaii. I thought ‘great’ but my ears really pricked-up - as though hearing Man City had dropped points, as he told me he was going to go to ‘Pearl Harbour’.

‘Take plenty of photos’ I urged him – as we are both well into our war history. In fact, I had supposed to have seen ‘1917’ with him earlier in the week but Deano had sheepishly text me that he ‘Can’t wait’ so downloaded it. ‘I still love you’ I replied as I just knew I had to go it alone to the flicks to see it on the big screen. It was worth it - as I felt I was there in the middle of the trenches.

Wolves – dodgy, dodgy, dodgy with a capital ‘D’ for good measure. I had even taken note of some of their players, suggesting that we get ‘Jimenez’ their tall forward and of course ‘Traore’ – no, not the one who scored an own goal at Burnley which was his glory, as in our old song, but the battleship like winger who could weave his way like a corvette. He would again be the one to watch.

My heart had skipped a beat when I had read that Virgil van Djke may have been missing – it will happen one day and Liverpool better be prepared, however I was relieved when the boys told me that he was playing.

‘Crouch’ said Davie, ‘don’t go running to the kitchen this time, then’, as I told them that I had woken-up with a bruise like pain in my lower back!! I had been able to live with it the whole day in work and the last thing I wanted was, for the reds to give me a separate pain in the a**e!

Liverpool, amongst the darkened stadium and stage-managed light show lined-up in a roster which has become as familiar as finding your way home; as Alisson was in goals, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson were the wing-backs. Virgil van Djke and Joe Gomez were the rocks at the back. Jordan Henderson – the ever-increasing driving skipper was in the middle along with Gini ‘the dynamo’ Wijnaldum and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The terrorising triplets were up top in the form of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Bobby (who’s not scored at Anfield all season – who cares?) Firmino.

‘Come on reds!’ I roared.

‘I bet we will be slagging them off in twenty minutes!’ Davie said.

‘We’ve become spoilt’ Dean said. Quite.

The thing is, as I again can hear my late dad’s voice as I type this, we just know that Liverpool can blitz teams, tear them-up in a devastating spell, almost on a whim, ala United and when we don’t get this, we are not happy – like spoilt kids (unlike Davie/Carly’s three girls who we actually seen during the course of the match, as they came down from eternal evening hibernation in their rooms).

The reds began to find their feet. We observed that it usually takes a short while for them to feel their way into games and then – bang!

A corner on the Wolves left and the ball was in Patricio’s top left-hand corner, via a powerful header, from, from, well, Jordan Henderson of all people! He had somehow made a stealth bomber like run and the ball seemed to come off the top of his shoulder. VAR took a peek but allowed the goal.

Liverpool were ahead.

‘Keep a clean sheet now, and we’ve won’ – Dean said.

Liverpool kept control of the ball. Passing inch perfectly – as Davie observed. Just about getting to the ball in the nick of time, getting a toe end to it and controlling it. The confidence was just oozing out of them. If they were a cat – they would have been purring.

How many clear-cut chances did they have – a few. We cursed – Mo Salah mainly as he went through one-on-one and yet again failed to hit the target. The game could have been so much more comfortable and put to bed by Mo all on his own. You can’t change him though – he’s a genius.

Wolves sensed there was a chance as they kept trying to play down the channel and through Liverpool’s high line. They should have equalised and for better quality finishing may have gone in at the break level.

‘That flew by’, Deano said as we dived into more sweets – with me also having got ‘Jelly Babies’ – Doctor Who’s -Tom Baker’s favs.

There was a real concern though for the reds as Sadio Mane – a candidate for not only our player of the season but surely Footballer of the Year, had just stopped and gone down. Then he had got back-up as the home crowd had a go at him, then back down again.

‘He’s f**ked’, Deano gravely observed. It was bad news and they did not expand on it at the break – a bad sign. Takumi Minamino had come on – not as we suggested, Divock Origi. To be fair, he looked a bit lost but showed one or two good touches.

Davie asked about what ‘Orthodontist’ means as baby Kelsey, sporting an apt all-red ‘onsey’, was going to have to have a job done on her teeth in the not too distant future and as soon as she found out that it was a brace then the oldest, Kayla, wanted one as well. Kids – what are they like?

Wolves came out at the start of the second half and we all looked at each other, as though just knowing what was on the cards. It would not have taken the genius that was Alan Turing, the Enigma code-breaker, to fore-see what came next, as Liverpool were second best to every ball and being run ragged by Traore and company; especially as he time and again, beat ‘Braveheart’ Andy Robertson.

Traore crossed the ball over and for once, Joe Gomez or Virgil van Djke could not conjure-up a majestic interception, as that man Jimenez, planted his header into the right of the all bright green Alisson to make-it 1-1.

‘The next five minutes is crucial’, Deano said, all tense like. He was right.

Liverpool could not get a grip. All the control they’d had was gone. Traore was running them ragged.

‘We’ll have to buy him so he doesn’t do this to us again’, Davie suggested as Robertson and even Henderson, bounced off him. ‘Is he English?’ Davie said.

‘If he was, they’d want to call him up’ Deano replied with more than a grain of truth.

We just knew we would be lucky not to lose the game.

‘I’d take a draw now’ I had said worryingly at one stage. Wolves were that dangerous.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain went off and he can have no complaints. We had not been impressed with him as Deano had slated him for not passing as good as he could have.

‘Never mind’ Dean tutted as Fabinho came on. Not a bad sub to call on.

However, Liverpool weathered the storm – not exactly trough the wind and rain, but certainly by keeping the hungry gold Wolves at bay, from their larder like net.

Bobby Firmino got in the clear, after an intricate move and, and, well, could only shoot straight at Patricio, with the goal at his mercy.

‘That was an open-goal!’ Deano gasped, his blood boiling like a mini Mount Etna.

By now Carly was home. She made a cuppa and we told her that we had been ‘crap’ but had had chances. Presently she sat down next to me on the sofa and told me about how beneficial the green tea was that she had suddenly started drinking.

‘It’s got anti-oxidants in it Crouch’ she said as I recalled smelling it many times a few years back, when Liverpool had mounted their last challenge on the un-mentionable ‘T’ word.

Mo Salah, found himself just inside the area. Back to goal and he somehow rolled the ball forward with a piece of dazzling skill which only he can produce, as he beat two players. Henderson, who had been again leading the fight to stay in the game, saw the gap and as Mo laid the ball back to Hendo, the skipper played the ball forward into Bobby Firmino’s path. Somehow, don’t ask me to describe it, Bobby, with a band of gold’s around him, viciously fired home into Patricio’s right-hand side.

I just could not help but cwtch Carly in celebration as I just dare not leap off the sofa, for fear of hurting myself and just in case, as Davie said, VAR intervened.

It was majestic. Over and over they showed the goal as we heard the reds fans singing Bobby’s beautiful soulful song which every red is addicted to as much as wanting to talk endlessly this team of mentality monsters which never give-up and which never settle for a draw.

‘Massive. A massive win!’ Deano said.

‘That’s the hardest game we’ve had’ I suggested and it was – no wonder we were all excited; now.

Before I left, I dipped into the sweet bowl, there were no refreshers left – only Jelly Babies.



24/1/20 1843
 

Commando

Well-Known Member
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2,849
Great read Andy. I'll have to look for those soft refresher sweets the next time I'm in Aldi. They're my Grand-Daughter's favourite. Tell me though, are they the pink and white ones? I got told off last week for buying her purple and green ones. There's gratitude for you. :) Nail biting stuff last night. That was probably our hardest game until we meet Citoil at the Emptihad. Glad to come away with the three points.
 

andyclegs

Andy C Legs
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
263
Great read Andy. I'll have to look for those soft refresher sweets the next time I'm in Aldi. They're my Grand-Daughter's favourite. Tell me though, are they the pink and white ones? I got told off last week for buying her purple and green ones. There's gratitude for you. :) Nail biting stuff last night. That was probably our hardest game until we meet Citoil at the Emptihad. Glad to come away with the three points.
They are the white and pink ones - lush!!!! Got to get them for Sunday. It was tense and can't believe it what's happening.... Hope you know Davie, Dean n Carly well now - !! Thanks so much for the comments