John Arne Riise: You'll Never Walk Alone
Three minutes and forty seconds into the four minutes of injury time at the end of the match, Anfield erupted into the chorus of You'll Never Walk Alone. Up one to nil on Chelsea and with mere seconds left on the ref's watch, Liverpool looked set to head to Stamford Bridge next week with the upper hand.
The commentator had just finished saying "Liverpool have taken what appears to be the first step in the direction of Moscow here", as the clock showed 94:01. And at the moment, Chelsea's Kalou crossed the ball towards Pepe Reina's keep.
In front of the goal lurked Nicholas Anelka and Didier Drogba, defended by Martin Skrtel and John Arne Riise. The ball curved towards Riise, who was positioned in front of Anelka. Riise ducked down towards the ball and attempted to head it back in the direction of Kalou.
Then, the unthinkable happened. The ball ricocheted off Riise's head and past Pepe Reina into the goal, leveling the score. All Pepe could do was stand there.
The Kop was quieted. Chelsea fans erupted.
Riise lay face down for a moment, then picked himself up. It had happened so quickly. The situation was surreal. It was hard to believe it actually happened until it was confirmed by the look on Riise's face. He began walking towards midfield and looked up to the supporters.
But before the TV commentators had had a chance to analyze the scene, the true spirit of Liverpool came forth. At 94 minutes and 33 seconds, Anfield again began to sing You'll Never Walk Alone. It wasn't as loud as it had been 20 seconds before, but it was there.
And that is why I love Liverpool. There was disappointment. There were sinking hearts. But there were no boos. Only hope in their hearts.
As we look ahead to rematch Chelsea, I want to commend the fans, the players and especially John Arne Riise.
To those on the pitch: you played with heart. I appreciate the support that Gerrard, Carra and Kuyt have voiced for Riise.
To other supporters: this is the moment where we must truly live by the spirit of Liverpool. This is the moment where we show that we are actually about what we sing that we are.
To John Arne Riise: with two prolific goal scorers in your area, you defended with heart, taking a dive to keep the ball safe in the final seconds. It could have happened to anyone. We are there with you…
You'll Never Walk Alone.
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