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Loft Style Bedroom At the end of the game, the eleven salute the ten thousand and are saluted; each one side of the same coin. Hammer fans work themselves to the bone during the week, and on the week-end meet with ten thousand people who live the way they do to watch eleven people play the way they do. Football, as I’ve already said, is a reflection of life: fans flock to teams that manifest their own way of life. Once kings, the team – and its fans – now needed a new miracle. It was at these moments that the second part of Liverpool’s identity began to emerge: they were built on miracles, yes, but now they were kings. Not only did they get their miracle: they got what is now regarded as one of the great miracles in soccer history. 10 minutes later I got a notification on my phone. None of that made it any less special to me when Dejan Lovren scored the winner in the 91st minute of the game, 13 minutes after Mamadou Sakho had leveled the score. It was a truly special moment that, looking back, marked the start of a new era for Liverpool. Unfortunately, it has more or less devolved into the organizational manifestation of a pat on the back, fought for by big teams from big leagues who almost did enough to succeed.

The owners don’t care how much money they spend, as long as it brings more money back in. Liverpool 2-3 Dortmund. They’d gotten one back. So far, the best analogy I’ve come up with is watching a loved one embark on a lifelong project that you always have a front-row seat for. Hollywood actor, that changes your ability to project a persona. In a curious way that actually has strengthened their team identity because, as any Hollywood star will tell you, success changes things. My sister, herself a fan of West Ham United, tells friends the story of the first time she watched a game by talking about the way the team played. Some began to wonder if it was worth hoping in that way anymore. All any Liverpool fan can say is, ‘Even Shankly would’ve been proud of this’. The best of them would’ve died on the field that game; not for money – not even to win – but so they could face God and tell Him they died in a West Ham kit.

It comes out at the last gasp, in the final moment, when even hardened Hammers would bow their heads and say ‘It’s over.’ Liverpool’s identity is hope, and more. It’s their identity. And the fans? West Ham fans don’t care if they win games, they just want them to play with spirit; Liverpool fans don’t care how much spirit their players have, they just want them to win. The media doesn’t care how the players look and act, they just want them to sell. Cue October 8th, 2015, when a bearded German with an exuberance and passion that were endearing but somewhat unnerving – he was once described as a ‘Teutonic Care Bear’ – announced that he would help Liverpool change doubt into belief. Liverpool is built on miracles. That very year, Jurgen Klopp brought miracles back to Anfield. New signing Mo Salah combined with forwards Bobby Firmino and Sadio Mane to form a devastating attack force, and Liverpool stood ready to take back their throne.

Liverpool was sent, humiliated and furious, back to square one. The one thing that Shankly’s boys never did was overcome a staggering deficit on a monumental night. Maintain a safe distance, though, as they’ll be likely to smash the first thing they come into contact with. The miracle sparked real hope for the first time in years. They then played a truly spectacular double against Italian side Roma that ended 7-6 in Liverpool’s favor over two legs, before facing Real Madrid in the Champions League final. If you aren’t a sports fan, you probably half-wonder how people could get so incredibly worked up over a few men or women chasing, throwing, hitting, or kicking a ball. It had been 11 years since the miracle; over three decades since they’d been kings. By the night of the 25th of May, 2005, it had been 15 years since Liverpool won the league and almost two decades since they had truly competed on a European scale.