FTK Rant: I’ll take a point at Anfield any day!

I was utterly astonished to read Vic Crescit’s blog yesterday which held the  assertion that the feeling in the Gooner blogosphere was “No trophies until 2015 then” in reaction to the signing of Arsene Wenger’s contract extension. I am even more frustrated when I hear of Gooners complaining about the loss of two points against ten men at Anfield on Sunday and how this performance was” same old same old.” At least JimC has redressed the balance this morning.  Now there may a few of you out there who do not recall the great Liverpool teams of the late seventies/early eighties. Names like Ian Rush, Kevin Keegan, Kenny Daglish and Stevie Heighway were the torment of Arsenal defences, only to be replaced by the likes of Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen in the nineties. Those of us lucky enough to have been to Anfield and experienced the cauldron of emotion after having stood outside the gates of remembrance for the Hillsborough fallen, will hopefully agree and understand why a visit to Anfield is like no other away fixture. But let me explain further…
The  City of Liverpool exudes class, from the statutes that adorn the pavements to the proud Cathedral. The streets in and around Anfield are working class terraces, almost all to a man showing some kind of allegiance to the cause, from a car sticker to a fluttering red flag with resplendent Liver bird and it’s long neck holding a proud crested head aloft. Every where one goes near the centre of Liverpool one gets a sense of the people belonging to the faith that was enshrined by arch disciple Bill Shankly. The colours are worn with fierce emotions from grandmother to babe in arms. One cannot help thinking that this is more than support for a football club, it is a culture, nay a way of life. It seems to have replaced the secular religion which shows a schizophrenicism between prostestants and Catholics, yet irrespective of the brand of religion all Liverpool fans are united within that  holiest of chapels which is  the Kop at Anfield.
Hearing the pre-match anthem makes the hairs stand up upon the backs of your arms, your neck; seeing  the red and white tidal wave of scarves serves to add to these moments of respectful worship. They have a cause and their cause is the pride of their football team with its inspiring heritage and woe betide anyone in a red shirt that fails to give of their all. It was within that den of lions which the youth of Jack Wilshere, the rawness of Marouane Chamakh and Laurent Koscienly found themselves waiting to be devoured. Yet they did not buckle, they did not give a yard, they were pulled this way and that, they were assaulted by flying two footed tackles and shirts being held. Yet not even the mighty  Steven Gerrard could defeat them.
Apart from the error that lead to the N’gog’s goal, Wilshere was magnificent and played like a young wizard whose lexicon of spells showed no end. Samir Nasri tormented their back four with the ball glued to his feet with mesmerising patterns worthy of a whirling flamenco dancer. Yes ok at the end we got lucky due to a goalkeeping error, but Championships are often won or lost with the amount of luck that the team exploits. When one observes  that epic struggle in terms of respective honours, even more sense should dawn upon Arsenal’s critics. Yes this was a Champions League side versus a Europa league side in terms of last seasons’ results, but look at the bigger picture Liverpool boast 18 league Championships to Arsenal’s 13, Five European Cups to our zero. Passionate unequivocating fans to some of our spoilt moaning minnies… You want a new Keeper? Just be patient! Because Arsene will deliver.
The local desire for a win at Anfield was palpable from the programme sellers to the PA announcer. Here was a gauntlet being thrown down for the rest of Premiership  consumption. They wanted to show their resurrected spirit like a Phoenix that doesn’t rise but  bursts from its own ashes like a minor explosion. Here was their opportunity to say that we are as good as Arsenal if not better!  I argue that any other top four team who would have been paired on this day of all days against Liverpool would have had to face this onslaught.  So this was no ordinary first day fixture for our young guns, this was indeed a baptism of red fire. A team on one side that had not won the league for five seasons against  another that had had not won the same prize for 10 seasons. On one side a manager that had been at the helm for fourteen years against a team that were playing for their careers with a manager that might not be there in 14 weeks time after the next takeover is finalised. Yes the performance of our team at times lacked venom and efficiency, but we never gave up. We took our fight to Liverpool until the end and we recovered when all around had written us off. The result was better than last year, and when faced with that kind of fanatic desire and humbling history,  I’ll take a point at Anfield any day…

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