Majestic Mane scores as a jubilant Anfield roars. Liverpool claim their territory amongst Europe’s elite.
What’s a journey without obstacles?
Well, definitely not a thrilling one. Ask Jurgen Klopp and he will vehemently agree.
Injuries, loss of form, Super League distractions, Liverpool were all but challenged with obstacles galore this season.
Yet despite being faced with adversity that every obstacle orchestrated, The Reds came out stronger each time and never lost sight of the eventual goal, the light at the end of the tunnel, a spot in the 2021-22 Champions League.
Its no surprise, some detractors would have felt there was a time not too long back, Liverpool were in shambles and stood at a point of not even making it to Europa, let alone The Champions League.
In truth I was one among them, but guess what, The Merseyside Club have overcome criticism, lack of form and injuries to rightfully be where they belong, playing amongst the European elite.
This after securing a whopping 26 points from the available 30 in the last ten games, winning eight and drawing two.
Yes, let that sink in!
The latest and last conquest of the season being Crystal Palace, who were beaten 2-0 in front of 10,000 Kopites who flocked Anfield to support Liverpool’s march into Europe.
A brace from Sadio Mane was the key ingredient for the perfect recipe that saw The Reds in their new crimson red jersey get the better of The Eagles on an eighth successive occasion.
So, as Europe is now our calling, lets dive into this historical evening that saw a rampaging performance from The Reds:
An attacking first 45 sees both teams go at it
Liverpool started the game knowing nothing less than a win would see them play European top-flight football next season. They had to be ready.
Well, against expectation the readiness came from the opposite end as Crystal Palace made the first move of the game. Yes, in the 6th minute Andros Townsend curled a free kick over the far top corner as Alisson had to backtrack to tip it over the crossbar.
Liverpool were saved early.
Moments later, Townsend seized on another opportunity, asserting towards the Liverpool goal with his shot going inches wide.
The Reds had to score to stay relevant for Europe, though as things stood, The Eagles looked the more likely side to draw first blood.
I was flabbergasted!
After the initial scare, normalcy would return as The Reds started mounting attacks with Salah hitting his first shot wide.
In the 19th minute, Liverpool almost opened the scoring as Rhys Williams’s header went just inches above the post after the Englishman made no mistake in latching onto Andrew Robertson’s corner.
The Reds would continue to attack as Salah and Robertson created more chances albeit the goal was still not to be found.
As they say hard work has to pay-off and so it did when The Merseyside Club finally got their first in the 36th minute courtesy Sadio Mane who scrambled a Robertson cross in the back of the Crystal Palace net.
Wasn’t pretty but who cared, till the time Liverpool were well on their way to Europe.
With no further drama, the first half drew to a close.
Liverpool dominate the second half
When other matches also have a consequence on your team’s fortunes, its not the best space to be in.
Yes, was more than keeping a track on what Leicester and Chelsea were up to, and in truth was hoping we could get a second to keep all external forces at bay!
Well, thousand of miles away, The Reds would pay heed to my call.
Liverpool would dominate the second half and the second goal to seal the deal would come in the 74th minute as Salah made the run to the Palace D and fed a mouth-watering pass to an open Mane who made no mistake in slotting it in.
The brace from the Senegalese had all but confirmed Liverpool’s chances to play European top-flight football.
Jurgen Klopp was ecstatic, so was a jubilant Anfield and most importantly so was I.
The seemingly impossible had just been done!
Liverpool had secured the number three position in the league table as a place in the Champions League 2021-22 was more than assured.
So long Gini!
Yes, one of Liverpool’s most reliable, versatile and resourceful midfielders has decided to make the long walk into the setting sun.
No, Georginio Wijnaldum is not retiring from club football, but leaving Anfield after spending five magical years with Liverpool, winning the Premier League and the Champions League.
Respect to the complete team man who selflessly and untiringly always put the team first in every endeavor he undertook with captaining his side to victory in yesterday’s game, his last outing for The Reds.
Once the European debate was all but settled in the 90, it was so heartwarming to see this dedicated Dutchman get a rising ovation from the Anfield crowd and a guard of honour from his team mates. Emotions soared and rightfully so!
A well-deserved tribute paid to the hardworking and loyal servant for Liverpool.
So long Gini, you truly will be missed!
As I end this article, the last for the season, in this journey filled with obstacles, a team extraordinaire has overcome them all to inspire millions as we bask in the glory amid expectations galore for times to come.
‘Unity is strength – Let’s Go Reds – You’ll Never Walk Alone!’
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