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Paisleys men at the Parthenon

written by Michael Owen on 08/05/2007

A sunny spring night dawned upon us, the sense of antagonism and worry increasing by the second. Memories of 2005 rushing through every Kopites head. This game was the game to define our season. Liverpool Vs Chelsea, the Semi- Final 2007. Déjà vu? I think so!

Banners and flags were raised on the Kop; the almighty roar of the Kop could be heard from St, Etienne to Glenbuck. The players lined the tunnel, like a nervous snake ready to leave its safe resting place for the wild, brutal and unpredictable desert. Anfield was on hype, just like 2005. This was definitely a European night, this was definitely and Anfield atmosphere.

As the players shyly walked out of the tunnel towards the promotional ‘Athens 2007’ banners the noise level somehow again grew louder. Yes Chelsea fans money can buy you players, fancy cars and other accessories but it can’t buy our fans, and it can’t buy our atmosphere.

The game kicked off. Unsurprisingly the game was tight; mistakes were made by even the likes of Gerrard and John Terry. It was going to be one of those nights, one of those nights as a fan you don’t want. A game so close that it could go either way at any moment. Joy could turn to heartbreak, tears of happiness to tears of sadness within a second.

The minutes flew buy, the sweat dripping down my face, eagerly waiting for the first goal. The eagerness quickly turned to inpatients. We need a goal and we needed it fast. Then, we had a free kick. Stevie stepped up. “Not another swing towards the back post!” I thought in my head. It then hit me, he had gone to Agger! Before I had time to think why the ball was in the back of the net! 1-1 on aggregate, game on!

The second half was like hell, literally, and I was at the game in Istanbul! Each minute felt like an hour, each second like the minute. I looked at the clock anxiously every odd second, just to see if it had changed dramatically. Its okay when you have a three goal lead but when you are drawn one all it is much, much harder!

Finally, the whistle to end the torturous second half! This was relieving, a moment to catch my breath. Then, again. I felt sick 30 minutes of extra time to be played. What if they score? What if we don’t win? These and so many more questions were fighting to stay in my crammed head. Would history reverse itself to see us knocked out of the European Cup by the Cockneys? Surely not!

Both halves of extra time flew by, from what I remember anyway, the majority of the time I had my head buried in my jumper! Penalties were upon us, although tense, the atmosphere around Anfield was positive. We had seen our team win two finals on penalty shoot outs in the last two seasons; this was enough to give us all faith.

Pepe we knew was a great penalty stopper, both in Spain with Villarreal and more recently with us in that epic FA Cup final against West Ham last May. However his counterpart Cech was no pushover! He had a good penalty record, but thankfully for us not as good s Reina’s!

As in Istanbul booing was the main aim when the Chelsea players stepped up, as fans you have to try and help. As it happened, it may have worked with a penalty shoot out as dramatic as a Shakespeare play won by our men in red.

You’ll Never Walk Alone, as with 2005 was sung loud and proud. A night which yet again celebrated the two things this great club is about: success and the fans. Another unforgettable night at Anfield, ones which we will have to cherish with the new stadium build looming over our heads.

Now we could turn our attention to Wednesday night, AC Milan Vs Manchester United live from the San Siro. I personally didn’t mind who we got in the final. Though Man’ United looked the better team going into the second leg I had a feeling they couldn’t beat a fantastic Milan side at their home ground.

It turned out as I expected. Milan won the game, well I say that but really it was more of the Gattuso and Kaka show! Two players which I love to watch, Kaka I believe is the best in the world. I could say something about these two which I have never said about opposition players before, they scared me. Quite a lot actually,

So now, yet again we will be heading off to a European Cup final. The second in two years to be precise. Although ticket allocation will be slim, as Istanbul was. I would expect most fans ticket or no ticket to be in Athens. A game which may see Liverpool make more European history and make many other English clubs like Chelsea look, well small in comparison.

So will it be six in Athens, who knows? All I know is I want to be there to see it!

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