Thousands of Liverpool supports will line the streets of Merseyside tonight when the Reds’ come home after their historic victory in the Champions League Final.
The flight will touch down at John Lennon airport at 16:15 and after a new conference they will embark on a two hour open-top bus tour from 18:30.
A thrilling match last night left many of us on the edges of our seats for well over two hours (and thousands more to suffer hangovers this morning), to see Liverpool take the crown even though they may not be allowed to defend it next season!
Maldini had given Milan lead in the first minute (is that the fastest goal in a Champions League Final – somebody please tell me?!?!?). The incredible decision to play Kewell instead of Hamann backfired immensely when Kewell limped off after 22 minutes and was replaced by Smicer.
Milan’s six minutes of utter domination at the end of the first half left Crespo with two goals in the 39th and 44th minutes, leaving Liverpool with what looked like mission impossible (but lets remember they’ve got Captain Fantastic!).
Despite that halftime score 100’s of punters placed bets at bookmakers for Liverpool to go on and win at 100/1! Bookmakers admit they were hit hard by the second half blackout.
After the break Milan were caught in what they call a 10 minute blackout. Hamman had come on for the injured Finnan, and Dudek produced a fine save (although I wish he’d learn to catch!) to stop a Schevchenko’s free-kick making it four-nil.
Gerrard lead by example after 53 minutes with a blinding header, followed a minute later by Smicer causing Dida to fumble and score from 25-yards out – the fight was on!
With Gerrard brought down in the area on the hour (in what should have brought Milan down to 10 men!) the spot kick was on for Alonso, Dida saved it, only with the Spaniard to score on the rebound.
The ground was alive, it had been for the last 8 minutes since Gerrard’s header as he wound up the crowd more and more, but a real sense of agony to ecstasy grabbed hold. Those of us watching at home (neutral or otherwise) could not fail to join in the spirt of what could be the greatest comeback in European history.
The last 30 minutes of normal time were back and forth, Traore redeemed his poor performance after clearing a Shevchenko shot from the line.
Extra time and tired legs loomed. An uneventful period of extra time followed with Milan dominating possession and Dudek performing a miracle double save from a yard out with 3 minutes to go.
Dudeks prompting by Jamie Carragher to do a Grobelaar and dance his way to victory paid off (with his mind blowing dancing antics!), as the second Cup Final in a week was settled by a penalty shoot-out. Serginho and Pirlo missed Milan’s first two penalties, with Hamann and Djibril Cisse on target for Liverpool.
Substitute Jon Dahl Tomasson put Milan in contention before Riise missed for Liverpool.
Kaka scored for Milan, and after Smicer scored for Liverpool, Shevchenko’s kick was saved by Dudek to spark wild scenes of celebration, who knows who Liverpool’s fifth taker would have been – more to the point – who cares?!
Liverpool in winning their fifth European cup get to keep the cup, even though they may not be allowed to defend it next season after finishing fifth in the league!! Someone at UEFA has to re-think that one!!!
“We cannot change the rules in the middle of the season, we cannot take another team out of the competition for Liverpool,” Uefa spokesman William Gaillard told BBC Radio Five Live, “We can discuss the changes for the future but not for next season. It is the Football Association who must decide between Liverpool and fourth placed Everton and they have chosen Everton.”
The FA’s spokesman David Davies believes Uefa should make a special exception for the Reds to be able to defend their trophy.
“We think Liverpool should be in next year’s competition for sporting reasons and in the wider interests of European football and we’ll carry on lobbying,” he said.
This might be just what Gerrard needs to convince him to stay at his one and only club, the Reds rather than making the move to Chelsea!