Dan Ghorbal, our Champions Journalist fan reporter, prefers to dwell on the majesty of the occasion last night, rather than defeat at the hands of Real Madrid
The beauty of a European night at Anfield is the simplicity of it: the walk to the ground, the pre-match anticipation, the sudden flurry of action. Real Madrid were the latest to visit and the feeling was no different.
My dad and I enjoyed our usual routine of having a pint in the pub to kick off the night, with a feeling of excitement apparent among the Liverpool faithful. We were sitting there with complete strangers, all aligned with the same passion and desire. The air of anxiety grew bigger with every passing step closer to the ground, as I ran through all the possible outcomes in my head. The unpredictability of European nights is what makes the feeling so sweet.
Chants of ‘Oh Campeone!’ dominated the streets of Anfield as we queued for indulgent Scouse pies from Homebaked. A group of Real Madrid fans walked past in high spirits waving flags around, sparking more chants from the Liverpool fans outside the pub. The mutual respect, allied to a burning desire to have the last laugh, is what creates such a special atmosphere.
Once the pies were consumed, we entered the Kenny Dalglish Stand full of optimism. Ring of Fire reverberated around the ground, unlocking memories of great European occasions I’ve previously experienced. With my seat being close to the corner of the Kop, seeing young lads gather to help prepare the flags was brilliant to see. That unity in creating such an iconic atmosphere is what drives us forward.
Glancing around the stadium, watching modern greats such as Mohamed Salah, Luka Modrić and Karim Benzema reminded me of how privileged I am to experience some of the most incredible players in action. The famous Spion Kop was ready to explode from the moment the fans were in the ground, and did so when we raced into a two-goal lead. More chants of Ring of Fire; the whirring scarves made for a brilliant sight. What followed was a masterclass from the European champions, a reminder of their prowess on the biggest stage.
I’ve been fortunate enough to see some brilliant games; you’ve got to have some bad ones to make the good ones sweeter. And on reflection, it’s worth remembering that there is nothing quite like the build-up to a European night at Anfield; that excitement, history, atmosphere and routine can’t be beaten. World-class sides will come and win on their day but no matter what, you can’t take away from the sheer presence of the night.