Dry your eyes Luis. Not much has changed. All that is different is the degree of the miracle which is needed. It has gone from unlikely to highly improbable. No betting man would have given you odds before blowing that 3-0 lead and nothing much has changed.
Take the slapstick defending out of the equation. Remove the inability of Brendan Rogers to see beyond his single minded philosophy of winning with style and verve. Take the rigid inflexibility of this incredibly fluid attacking monster that is Liverpool and know that there are better times ahead.
The target was always to break into the top four. Ask any Liverpool fan at the start of the season would they be happy with top 4 and UTD in a shambolic mess and they’d have said yes please and thank you very much. It is always necessary to maintain perspective.
There are lessons to be learnt.
The first is that miracles do happen. They do. At 3-0 down and 12 minutes to go, you have to say that Crystal Palace were getting nothing from this game. But they did. In scenes reminiscent of Istanbul ’05, they conjured up an incredible recovery. The lesson to have learnt is that two proud bastions of English football, Aston Villa and West Ham, can indeed beat Manchester City.
The dream is alive.
The second lesson to learn is that there are various ways to win. You can win by scoring more goals than the opposition with no regard for defending. You can also win by scoring just one goal more and defending that lead. Sometimes. It doesn’t always have to be gung ho. Victory does not always have to be beautiful.
The third lesson is for the fans. I say this as a fan of LFC since I can remember being able to kick a ball. I say this with a heavy heart. We jumped the gun a little. We got carried away. When I first heard the “We’re gonna win the league” chant I cringed. The superstitious poker player in me cringed. The atheist in me cringed. The football fan in me cringed.
Whoever said to tempt the Gods? Who said to taunt the twisted humour of fate? Who really believes it is a good idea to proclaim victory when no sure victory is guaranteed? When did that become the fashion? When did Liverpool fans become so fickle and cocky?
I know this feeling I feel today. I have been here before. When I was 13 Michael Thomas scored in the last seconds to win the title at Anfield on goal difference. I cried my first man tears that day. The new generation of fan may get to experience that hurt and anguish. It is not something to enjoy or ever want again.
I know this feeling. It is an empty stomach and a brain spinning with regret. It is complete helplessness and despair.
In the age of social media and text messages, it is a lot easier for rivals to rub the failure in the face. In this age of 24 hour news we will torment ourselves and move on just as quick. We move on to the possibility of Villa beating City. We move onto that possibility because it is all we have… Miracles happen.
Do you believe in miracles?