We must take some of the gloss off the magnificent display of The Reds at home to Manchester City at a rapturous Anfield with their 3-0 demolition of the soon to be EPL champions.
Back in 1985 at The Heysel Stadium in Brussels, 29th May to be exact, we had a tragedy with 39 fans killed and 600 injured as Liverpool fans attacked their Juventus counterparts an hour before kick-off at a sub par stadium. The match was played and Juve won 1-0 with captain Michel Platini collecting the trophy inside the stadium.
As a result ALL English clubs were banned from European competition for 5 years, and Liverpool for 3 more, reduced by two years. 14 Liverpool fans were found guilty of manslaughter and jailed for 3 years.. In the following seasons many English clubs who would normally have taken part in UEFA competitions were denied that opportunity. Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham, West Ham, Sheffield Wednesday, Oxford United, Southampton, Everton, Derby County, Luton Town,Wimbledon, Norwich City and of course Liverpool. The England national team was not punished.
The idiotic attack on the visiting Man City coach 90 minutes before kick off was well publicised in advance and the police published the route of both teams coaches. Flares, glass bottles and other projectiles hit the Sky Blues vehicle so badly that it was unfit for the return journey and a replacement was sent for. I hope that there was sufficent CCTV to identify and punish the hooligans, Two police officers were injured and dads scattered with their children and went home.
How did this shocking attack affect the players and coaches inside the bus? Hard to tell, but they had no shots on goal and the last time that happened was 526 days ago in a League Cup tie with Manchester United,who they play on Saturday. The Reds under Jurgen Klopp were awesome and 3-0 after 31 minutes of the first helf. As usual on a European night at Anfield the atmosphere inside was electric with singing, chanting, banners and flags.
Who do you single out? Well, all of those wearing red. Trent Alexander Arnold, Mo Salah, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Roberto Flamini, Sade Mane, Jordan Henderson, Andrew Richardson.... ..A slight groin injury to Salah meant that he was substituted early but hopes to be ready for next Tuesday's second leg at The Etihad. The streets around Anfield are narrow while the opposite surrounding City's home stadium with underground parking for the teams and officials.
Barcelona 4-1 v Roma in Camp Nou..including 2 own goals by the Italians, Bayern Munich 2-1 away to Sevilla and Real Madrid 3-Juventus in Torino. After opening the scoring in the third minute Cristiano Ronaldo has now scored in 10 straight European ties but it was his second, a way of the ground overhead bicycle kick past Gianluig Buffon after 64 minutes that set social media on fire world wide. Thats 25 goals in the last 14 for club and country !
Last week I wrote about the gun carrying President of PAOK in Thesalonika in Northen Greece. This week it was Olympiakos of Piraes, the port city outside Athens that attracted the headlines. They play in the 35,000 capacity Karaiskakis Stadium, originally opened in 1896. They are used to success with 44 titles including the last 7 in the Greek Super League. After a 1-1 tie away to 10th place Levadaiacos the President had had enough. Evangels Marinakis, who also owns Nottingham Forest, sent the whole squad on holiday.
Now in 3rd place with four matches to go he fined the squad £350,000 about 400,000 Euros and will bring in players fom the u20 squad to finish the season. "I , and the rest of the fans have tolerated you long enough". At least there are plenty of high speed and slow ferry boats from the port all over the Greek islands to choose from for their enforced vacation. Three seasons ago he fined the squad 500,000 Euros. Greek football problems persist.