They didn't have any pictures, not that you'll need reminding what it looked like.
And what Liverpool found was that testicular fortitude that I could only wish for in last night's preview. They had ample opportunity to chuck it today. Twice falling behind, facing yet another keeper who seemed determined to repel them as if he were armed with Gandalf's staff (though it's a bit easier to handle a world class goalkeeping performance from an actual world class keeper for once), and up against such attacking array that they could have been put to the sword at any time.
It's a thing they have when facing one of Europe's bigger clubs, where all that doubt and frustration they display when facing a team they "should" beat just never appears. I guess Liverpool are just better at being the underdog right now. That's a problem for another day. Right now, it feels pretty damn good.
And now we have a Final to look forward to, the first since Athens. A first trip to the new Wembley, and a first trip to that hovel of a London neighborhood since before I and probably a lot of you started supporting the club. It's almost assured that Final will be harder than it has to be. That's also the Liverpool way. But that doesn't mean I'm not immensely looking forward to it.
-Craig Bellamy has been deployed on a wing for so long I was about to forget he ever was a striker. And even after all this time he's still a better forward than he is a wing, at least for one night. I forgot how he had a huge hand in turning Newcastle into a Champions League club, or the way he was terrorizing people from both spots when first joining City. I'm glad I got a reminder. Liverpool couldn't trust the leaden feet of Dirk Kuyt to harry the City defense, and even with Savic they're kind of built to withstand a battering ram that is even a fully functional Andy Carroll. But the combo of brains, movement, and tenacity that Bellamy put forth today has no answer. It's just a shame that his knees and age only let that kind of performance out of the box every so often. Certainly could use it Saturday. I get the feeling Dalglish may try and get it again anyway.
-A goal from open play. What a country!
-While some are roasting Charlie Adam for a couple mistakes, including the two that led to Nigel De Jong's ICBM from 25 yards, I think we all just have to accept that's what we're going to get from him. And it would have faded into oblivion had De Jong not come up with a shot that I'm wiling to wager he won't replicate for at least a few years, if not ever again.
-I spend a lot of time airing my grievances with Dirk Kuyt that it probably feels like a celebration of Festivus whenever I talk about him, But he always has a part to play in a big game, if only because he seems so determined to do so.
-The penalty. Soft at best. While Micah Richards's arms were away from his body, I don't know where else they were supposed to go. Is he supposed to lunge into a block with his hands behind his back? Seems like a great way to bounce your face off the turf. There are arguments on both sides, and Liverpool were probably lucky. And while I don't believe that these things even out over time or whatever other cliche, I will say it feels like Liverpool were due some luck.
-That second goal from City felt like a heartbreaker, because A) Agger had been so strong all game, as had the Liverpool defense, and he fell asleep to Dzeko behind him and B) despite his goal and one pass to Johnson, I am still of the opinion that Dzeko is a clown.
-I guess if Gerrard is going to have to curb his attacking instincts because he's really the only candidate to shore up the back end of the midfield, I'll have to live with it. If Henderson or Shelvey or Adam can pick up the attacking slack, I'll feel better.
-I think I could watch Kenny Dalglish celebrate Liverpool goals for a few consecutive hours.
-Downing was much more active today than he's been, but he really needs to take a few MPH off his shooting attempts, if not his crosses. He's had a few chances that he tries to tear a hole in the time/space continuum with, and if he would just go for placing on target he would have more than one goal by now. Still, if he can create that many crossing opportunities for himself on Saturday when I'm pretty certain Carroll will start, I think there will be tangible results.
-Sure felt like Jose Enrique's best match of the season, which is quite the statement.
So...same again on Saturday?