The other day, Liverpool became champions of Europe. They literally snatched the title from AC Milan's pockets. Milan was leading 3-0 at half time, Kaka was toying with the much vaunted Liverpool defence, and almost all pundits [including yours truly] had written off Liverpool.
Incidentally, this was the back-to-back Champs League final that I've watched alone. Champs League used to be a festival in college. The finals, or even a group 1 match featuring two big clubs, would mean party time. A get together with friends, food, and drinks. Of course, the drinks part was totally contingent upon someone's father (someone: the person at whose place we were staying back) lurking around in the TV room because he failed to resist the temptation of silky smooth midnight football, or that someone's mom lurking around in the TV room, pretending to knit woollens at 2 am. While we completely appreciated this someone's dad's appreciation for the beautiful game, we toally failed to grasp why someone's mom would want to pretend to knit woollens at 2 am. What was it that she was trying to 'notice' in a bunch of boys watching football and having fun? One theory goes that she was trying to check up whether we actually gang up to watch football, or something else ( porn?). Another goes that she probably was trying to check whether we were gays. And so on and so forth.
An extremely fun night was the Man United Bayern final some years back. I was grinning with sadistic delight at the sight of United slowly moved towards an honourable loss. But alas! a few moments of last minute madness gave them the game, and the trophy. Much to the maddening delight of the United supporters around me. While I was feeling completely sick.
This year, I was really hoping for a Milan Chelsea finale from the beginning, and I was one game away from fulfilling my hope. But a superb semi final aggregate victory against Chelsea took Liverpool back to the elite European Trophy final after a 2 decade gap or so. Amazingly, in both games, Steven Gerrard completely nullifed the omnipotent Frank Lampard in midfield. In the other semi, Milan scraped past a resilient Eindhoven. Milan almost lost, but then, in the end, didn't quite. I gave a wry smile after seeing Milan almost peeing in the pants after being bullied by a few pint sized Koreans.
The final line-up of Liverpool-Milan did leave me somewhat irritated because I feared the game would be a defensive masterpiece and would end in a heroic 0-0. Thankfully, my needless fears didn't materialise (but the wrong prediction did, damn!). It turned out to be an amazing game by the end of 120 minutes - not the best I've seen, but definitely one of the best.
The next day, most of the cliched 'Liverpool Ole' type news articles came up with this interesting historical titbit:
in 1981, Liverpool beat Real Madrid - Prince Charles got married in 1981, and again in 2005.
in 1978, Liverpool beat FC Brugges - the pope died that year, and again in 2005.