Whoever said that a European night at Anfield is overrated? (Swaz, I’m looking at you). Well I for one can confirm that 15 hours after kick-off I’m still awake and buzzing from the mystical experience I soaked up during Benfica’s 3-3 draw with Liverpool last night. Anfield was not everything I expected – it was everything I expected and then 100 times more. The Benfica fans, yes, we were great – even the home fans were surprised about that. But this isn’t about us.
From the most passionate and courteous fans, who offered me countless “bevs” at the sight of my Benfica top, to the mysterious yet wonderful Scouse pie at half-time, my matchday experience was unrivalled. The You’ll Never Walk alone chant? You better believe it! Those fans would walk with their players all the way down to League 2 if they had to.
After a thrilling draw, the night ended at The Albert pub, a stone’s throw away from Bill Shankly’s statue. There I sang and celebrated with the Liverpool fans into the early hours of the morning while wearing my Benfica shirt. I’m still humming to Bobby Firmino No9 as I type.
It would have been the perfect night, were it not for the sad news of the passing of a Liverpool fan prior to the game. I’m sure I speak for all Benfica fans when I offer my deepest condolences.