Liverpool have almost returned to Premier League action, but this week has marked a year since the Champions League final in Madrid. What are your memories of that night and the celebrations that followed?
What a night it was and, to be honest, I couldn’t believe it had been a year. I remember it like yesterday. I was fortunate to be in the Wanda Metropolitano and the sea of red before the kick-off was one of the most incredible things I have ever seen.
As for the final itself, a lot of people say it’s a final one but, trust me, when you’re involved with as many as 60,000 with the majority inside the stadium, it̵7;s nervous from start to finish. on the finish.
The game comes after a three-week break for both sides and you can tell. It is a very slow game at times but one you feel can explode at any time.
That’s why the release of Divock Origi marked the occasion as it was a complete and utter celebration. I was standing at a perfect angle to watch his shot arrow in the lower corner past Hugo Lloris and I couldn’t get tired of seeing it.
Then there was no way anyone Liverpool were leaving Wanda until they could tell. We got there until midnight at the very end with the whole squad performing to park the trophy with their families.
I take inspiration from Alisson to my family’s FaceTime which is emotionally captivating, but when I eventually leave, unfortunately return to a coach for me instead of city center bars – otherwise I was stranded outside Madrid.
A 31-hour trip back to Liverpool followed so unfortunately, we did not return for the parades but we watched them on our phones and took everything.
Seeing more than 750,000 people lining the city streets really hit home what this team has achieved and to what extent it has come since Klopp’s first game in 2015.
When the Reds return, Everton are away in their first game. What do you expect? Is the slot straight out of gear?
It’s very different, but ultimately, I think the quality of the players is rising.
I am still a Bundesliga fan so I have watched it a lot since its return and it has reached very high standards in difficult circumstances.
There was talk about the lack of home wins and the success of the away teams so far in Germany after the restart but not so many results that I was really surprised. Not yet.
Of course, having no fans inside the ground will make it easier for many players and coaches and even for those of us watching home games.
We are accustomed to the crowd almost dictating the games and I think having no majority will be a bigger issue for relegation teams than for the teams in the top half who are fighting for European qualification.
As for the game itself, I expect Liverpool to win and move within a step of history, unless Arsenal help us on Wednesday at the Etihad.
Liverpool’s record in the derby speaks for itself and the whole team wants to bring it to the Blues after being 0-0 at Goodison last season when you could argue the opening point in the title race.
Two wins and make history. That would be my message before the restart. Plain and simple but effective.
Most of the team picks themselves, but in the midfield is where Jurgen Klopp has the most options and has the potential to make the most changes. Who is the current best trio?
Jordan Henderson and Fabinho were my two favorites when I picked my best Liverpool midfield three. They provide an incredible balance and dictate the midfield moving forward to cause the final third.
Like Andy Robertson, he used a little bit of time to get used to the swing of things, not all of the signs were running on the ground.
Since then, prior to his injury this season, he has been truly unique and rightly referred to as one of the best defensive midfielder in the world.
Landing Luis Suarez in Anfield last season was one of the best I’ve seen. I do not understand why this is a yellow card.
The greatest compliment I can pay Henderson is how much he missed even during his brief absence throughout February and March.
Henderson has developed into such a key figure for Liverpool in so many ways and he has to be the first selected midfielder three, not just because he is wearing an armband.
His leadership and determination inspire those around him. He’s not Steven Gerrard but he won’t be. He’s Jordan Henderson and he’s finally getting the praise he deserves.
As for my third choice, it’s very difficult to choose and I think it depends more on the opponent. I’m a big, big fan of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, especially when he collects the ball and explodes with purpose.
Gini Wijnaldum is a big-game player, at least in his performance as a sub against Barcelona. He is strong in terms of sitting on the ball and looking for pockets of space. Hope he agrees to a new deal soon as he has given more to this side.
Then there’s James Milner. Mr. Will agree You know what you can get from him. Hard work, professionalism and a cool head from 12 yards.
There are also the likes of Naby Keita and Adam Lallana that I have never mentioned and it highlights just how big Liverpool are in the midfield.
Timo Werner will continue to be linked with a transfer move. Jadon Sancho scored a hat-hat this weekend. Who would you like to visit in Liverpool, if any, in the summer?
The problem for me in Liverpool in the times when it comes to transfers is that you are looking for a very specific type of player – one that has the quality to start games when needed but admittedly they are not the first to choose each week.
There are of course more serious problems with football and life in general but I think that can sometimes be an issue when it comes to signing players who have performed well enough for Liverpool.
I’m a big fan of Werner. I was not convinced when I saw him in Stuttgart as a kid but he has been amazing for RB Leipzig ever since joining them and he will obviously miss the opportunity to come to Anfield even if it means a place on the bench at times.
He is more than just a striker. He is not tired, he creates opportunities for his teammates and is super cool in front of goal.
As for Jadon Sancho, maybe not a team in the world would not pick him up. He is brilliant and will definitely make any team in the world good. It is also a natural talent.
The problem with Sancho, however, is that he will likely only be available for a huge transfer fee and a huge salary. He will be a fantastic fit for Liverpool but I just can’t see it.
I wish Liverpool could get some reinforcement attacks for next season, especially if AFCON takes place. Losing Mane and Salah in the winter for a major part of the season would obviously be a huge blow.
It’s a big ask for the likes of Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones to go up in a month or so even though we saw what they could do when placed in the first team.
Klopp’s decision not to spend the big summer has been justified by Liverpool’s performances especially in the league so far, but I think recruitment for next season is a huge help given that it can be it becomes more congress than ever before.
The final few weeks of the season may be an opportunity for some players to step up. Who needs to impress the greatest?
There are few players I have ever watched in a Liverpool shirt that I would like to see succeed than Naby Keita.
I was so excited to watch him for Leipzig a few years ago and when the deal was announced to sign him. Watching him pick a lot of injuries is very frustrating, often when he suggests a decent running form too.
He has something that Liverpool need at the moment when the teams that sit in the backfield are falling and the pressure is on and I think Klopp knows it.
That’s one of the best features of Klopp’s management style. He doesn’t give up on players when he knows they have what it takes and he’s ready to be patient with Keita.
Takumi Minamino is another I think I need to impress even though he admits he doesn’t have much of a chance yet.
He is a player who needs to be patient with Liverpool compared to Liverpool to be patient with him but hopefully, he will get a few minutes after securing the title and we will all see.
Any other business?
I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone the best in these strange and difficult times.
We all waited three months for the sport, especially football, to come back when it was safe and it looked like it was set to return in just two weeks. I can’t wait and I’m sure neither will you.
Our health is the most important thing but the thirty year wait is almost over.
Stay safe with everyone.