The supporters cheered and yelled and stood on walls and shinned up lamp-posts and found whatever vantage point they could. On the coach, the players watched and wondered at the fervour they had unleashed. Smoke from flares turned the world red. Brendan Rodgers, the manager at that time, filmed some of the scenes out of his window. He still has the footage on his mobile phone.
Those days are coming again. That fervour is building again. We all know how it ended in 2014, we all remember Steven Gerrard’s slip, but when Liverpool smashed five goals past Arsenal at Anfield on Saturday night, they moved nine points clear at the top of the Premier League and their dreams of paradise rediscovered could be suppressed no longer.
There is still a long, long way to go and Manchester City, who Liverpool play at the Etihad on Thursday night, are far too good for anyone to pretend that the title race is going to be anything other than a hell of a fight. Liverpool have fallen away before, as their detractors will continue to remind them in the weeks and months ahead.
But there is a curious feeling that things are going Liverpool’s way. Before the game, the stadium announcer read out with relish the news of Tottenham’s defeat by Wolves at Wembley and Liverpool and Arsenal fans alike filled Anfield with cheers. Liverpool have not played at their fluent best many times this season and yet they remain unbeaten.
Liverpool have momentum at their back and emotion filling their sails and Jurgen Klopp’s energy surging through them and history beckoning them towards their first title for 29 years: every team that has been six points clear at the top of the Premier League at the turn of the year has gone on to lift the trophy.
MATCH FACTS AND STATS
Liverpool (4-2-3-1): Alisson 7; Alexander-Arnold 7, Lovren 7.5, Van Dijk 7.5, Robertson 8 (Clyne 83 6); Wijnaldum 7 (Lallana 78 6), Fabinho 7; Shaqiri 7.5, Firmino 8.5, Mane 7 (Henderson 62 6); Salah 8.
Subs not used: Keita, Sturridge, Mignolet, Origi.
Manager: Jurgen Klopp 8
Goals: Firmino 14, 16, 62. Mane 32, Salah 45+2.
Arsenal (3:4:3): Leno 6; Lichtsteiner 6, Sokratis 5, Mustafi 4 (Koscielny 46 5); Maitland-Niles 7.5, Torreira 4, Xhaka 4, Kolasinac 4 (Guendouzi 80 5); Ramsey 6, Aubameyang 5 (Lacazette 71 5), Iwobi 7.
Subs not used: Cech, Elneny, Willock, Saka.
Manager: Unai Emery 6
Goal: Maitland-Niles 11
Referee: Michael Oliver 7