Last week I went along to Anfield to witness the Capital One Cup third round tie between Liverpool FC and Middlesborough FC, now I’m sure most of you are aware that the football business is no longer focused around the sport being played but mainly the money made from it, as ticket prices seem to be rapidly increasing with no remorse shown for those who may not be able to afford to see their team play for several reasons, but I managed to grab a young adult ticket for this fixture for just £13.50 as an under 21, so keep your eye out for cup matches as they can offer a good chance for you to watch your team at a fraction of the League prices.
As a life-long reds’ fan I take any opportunity I can to head to Anfield, bank balance permitting, and what a night I picked to go. Liverpool started strong with an early goal for debutant Jordan Rossiter, just 17 years old, picking out the back of the net to put the home side in front after just 10 minutes. Middlesborough battled hard however and equalised later on with a great goal from a set piece to take the Premier League side to extra time. A dominant extra-time performance gifted Suso a fantastic opportunity, to which he converted well to send Anfield wild as it went 2-1, the reds were heading for a win until with just a minute of Extra time left, when a careless penalty was gifted to the visitors who had no trouble slotting past, and taking it to a penalty shootout.
I have never witnessed a live penalty shoot-out before, so a mixture of emotions came over me. Seeing them on the TV is tense enough, I watched the Champions League Final when Liverpool won in Istanbul, I remember the fear in me that night. But penalties against a lower league side? Let’s do this, I thought.
Simon Mignolet saved the first of Middlesborough’s attempts, putting us in good stead for the rest of the penalties, Raheem Sterling stepped up to take the penalty that could take us to the next round of the cup, adrenaline pumping through the bodies of thousands inside Anfield as one of our prolific and up-coming young goal scorers stepped up to the penalty spot…only to miss. It’s fair to say the faces surrounding me and my own face painted a picture of sheer horror as the penalty taking was forced to continue.
As the penalties carried on being taken, and carried on being scored, I could feel my heart missing a few beats to say the least, although I’m not sure if that was the nervous feeling from the on-going penalty shootout or the fact time was dragging on and I could potentially miss my last train home, it was probably the latter!
I then witnessed something even more extraordinary, not only did the penalties go down to Keepers having their turn, but players then had to start taking second penalties! Eventually one team prevailed, Albert Adomah fired his attempt wide, meaning Liverpool were through winning 14-13 on Penalties with a total of 30 taken.
Round Three of the League Cup and the sighs of relief could be heard for miles around, who knows what the rest of the season will hold?