‘Liverpool is our religion,’ says Madrid, who serves as a timely reminder of football’s communal spirit.

Some supporters were able to witness their club in action for the first time since the epidemic during Tuesday night’s Champions League match against Atletico Madrid.

“I’ve changed jobs, houses, wives, cars, clothing, and hairstyles. But my affection for Liverpool will never alter.”

As he delivers the deadly phrase, Jesus ‘Jess’ Gil smiles, but he isn’t kidding.

We’re at Madrid’s Plaza Mayor, right in the center of the city. The weather is bright, and there is plenty of beer to go around. Liverpool has arrived in the city. At the Wanda Metropolitano, they will play Atletico Madrid in the Champions

That’s a significant event in Jesus’ life. “The largest!” he exclaims, before explaining to Goal why he and his buddies spent most of Monday travelling 400 kilometers from Bilbao to Madrid.

He boldly declares, “We are the Basque Reds.” “From Bilbao to Donostia-San Sebastian, and everywhere in between, we support Liverpool.” And soon we found out Liverpool was going to Madrid, we knew we had to go!”

Jesus was born and raised in Bilbao, although he has supported Liverpool since 1983, when Joe Fagan’s side came to San Mames in the old European Cup second round.

It appears that he isn’t the only one. As he introduces the Basque Reds, Jesus, their secretary, chuckles.

He says, “We’re all obsessed.” “This is our existence.” He calls out to his friend, Antonio, across the table, to demonstrate his point correctly.

“Tomorrow is his wife’s birthday!” Jesus smiles. “To say apologize, he had to buy her a large seafood feast, like a banquet!”

Antonio returns the smile. “I’m not sure whether it’ll be enough!” he says, his palms up.

Gorka, the group’s youngest member, will be seeing his first Liverpool game in person. He hails from Bilbao, much like Jesus. He works as a steward for a Spanish fifth-tier team, but has been a Reds fan since he was ten years old.

He says, “I used to play a lot of FIFA, and Liverpool had Fernando Torres, so…”

This is an unique day for all 54 members of the Basque Reds, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see their heroes and, perhaps, start up where they left off when Covid-19 altered everything for everyone.

“The last game I saw was Atletico Madrid [in February 2020],” Jesus says.

“Every season, Liverpool gives our club with six home matches, which we attempt to distribute among our members.”

“But, of course, the epidemic struck, and we were unable to go at all.” We’ve been missing it!”

He’s not the only one who thinks this way. Goal had caught up with Jackie Willcox, the secretary of the Madrid Reds, who are headquartered out of the renowned Triskel Tavern tavern, around a mile or so from Plaza Mayor, the night before.

She admitted beforehand, “I’m nervous.” “Being in a crowd again makes me nervous, especially with what’s going on with case numbers in the UK right now.”

“At the same time, I’m really looking forward to seeing the Reds.” It feels like we’re coming to the end of a circle, when we can all start moving forward.”

Jackie, like Jesus, Gorka, and the rest, claims that Liverpool has taken up as much of her time and attention as anything else. She, on the other hand, would not have it any other way.

“Everyone’s life only has place for one genuine love,” she explains. “I’m frequently asked, ‘Who do you favor in Spain?’ But I’ve always been a Liverpool fan.

“When I was two years old, my father took me to my first game.” Jimmy Case was my initial hero, but Patrik Berger is my all-time favorite…”

The ‘initial’ members of the Madrid Reds were five. Every game now draws a crowd of 40 people, including Spaniards, English ex-pats, Scandinavians, and others.

“We call it our tiny Cavern Club,” Jackie adds, referring to the famous Liverpool venue where The Beatles first performed in the 1960s.

“The owner is a Leeds supporter, yet she is wonderful with us.” She answers the phone and refers people to us if they need us, and we have a noticeboard up in there. It’s a proper neighborhood.”

In the case of Liverpool, the word “community” is crucial. Few clubs are as international as the Reds, despite the cliche.

Goal is chatting with fans from Bilbao, San Sebastian, and Madrid, but we’ll also see fans from Boston, South Africa, Dublin, and Hong Kong during the game on Tuesday night. Official supporters clubs may be found all across the world, from Romania to Rwanda, and pretty much everywhere in between.

Jesus replies, “I often say that Liverpool is as close to religion as you can get.” ‘It’s not about football; it’s about family.’ That’s the way things are. Even though I’ve only known you for ten minutes, you’re already one of us!”

Jackie recalls the scenes from the 2019 Champions League final, when Liverpool visited Madrid.

She explains, “We hired out a nightclub and threw a celebration for admirers.” “Because nightclubs in this part of the world don’t open until late, it was an easy sale to the owners: ‘Do you want to open at 6 o’clock and sell a ton of beer before your night starts?’

“There are a few local boys in a band among the Madrid Reds. So, for the night, we renamed them ‘The Fabinho Four,’ and they performed for us, which was fantastic.

“Just for people to watch the game on TV, we could have sold out the Triskel ten or twenty times over for the final.” People came from all around the world to see us.”

They included, of course, Jesus and his entourage, who stopped by on their way to the stadium.

He responds, “I spent 500 Euros for my ticket.” “It was the most wonderful day of my life!” We had to leave at 5 a.m. in a bus with 60 people to return to Bilbao. We had quite a few Scousers with us, which was wonderful. “It was a day I will never forget.”

It was during the epidemic, for Jackie, that the need of supporters’ groups became clear. With Spain, and particularly Madrid, being under severe lockdown for much of last year, those ties, that sense of community, were crucial.

She explains, “It kept everyone linked.” “We couldn’t leave the house for nearly three months.” It was only once a day for basic shopping. People joked that they were getting dogs so they could take them for a stroll!

“It was difficult to go through that as a Brit living overseas, away from my own family, especially while witnessing what was going on back home.” You knew individuals who were sick, and you were worried not just about yourself, but also about your friends and family.

“During the lockdown, the supports group was really crucial. We held a lot of Zoom meetings, and the WhatsApp group was constantly active. We kept an eye out for each other.

“We accomplished a lot. We performed some work with The Anfield Wrap, and Jose Enrique joined us for a Q&A. He was incredible. He was particularly significant since he speaks so effectively about mental health and the challenges he’s had as a result of his condition and his decision to retire from football.

“I believe that having someone like him speak up benefited those who were dealing with their mental health during the lockdown.”

Last June, Jackie recalls the day Liverpool’s Premier League title triumph was confirmed.

“I dialed my father’s number,” she says. “I’ve always gone to Anfield with him, and we were both crying over the phone.”

“Do you think we’ll ever be able to go to a match together again?” he said, and it crushed my heart. I sincerely hope we will be able to do so. I haven’t visited Liverpool since the epidemic, but I plan to go so before the holidays.

“I’m a big fan of European football.” Every Liverpool supporter is aware of this. But, above all, I want us to win the league again so that everyone can enjoy it properly and collectively.

“That is Liverpool, and that is what Liverpool is all about.”

Jesus concurs.

He adds, soon before leaving for the Wanda, “Big things are coming, I can sense it.”

A text arrives a few hours later, following the Reds’ thrilling 3-2 victory. It reads, “Ohhhhhh yeahhhhh!” “It’s great to see you again!”

Who could possibly disagree with that?

Cristiano Ronaldo, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and Manchester United answer to the criticism with yet another stunning comeback against Atalanta.

Manchester United has been chastised for their lack of identity in recent weeks, but if there’s one thing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign is known for, it’s pulling off unexpected victories when the odds are stacked against them.

When it comes to ‘get out of jail free cards, the Norwegian must keep a stash on hand in case things go rough. When you have Cristiano Ronaldo on your team, though, there’s always the chance that a loss may be transformed into a win.

After last weekend’s dreadful 4-2 defeat at Leicester, both he and his manager were under intense scrutiny, but it was the Portugal international who popped up with a trademark header in the 81st minute to complete the kind of dramatic comeback that those who have been coming to Old Trafford for years have grown accustomed to seeing.

As he went off at the end of this enthralling 3-2 triumph against Atalanta, the 36-year-old fist-pumped the air towards the Stretford End, cutting a very different figure than the one that proceeded down the tunnel at half-time.

United have been handed a lifeline in the Champions League after appearing to be doomed for at least 45 minutes.

They spent much of the evening at the bottom of Group F, but by the conclusion, they had risen to the top. Still, it’s a result that hides the flaws, much like the thrilling triumph over Villarreal a few weeks ago.

United played better against Gian Piero Gasperini’s side and generated enough opportunities to win – they had 22 shots to Atalanta’s 13 – but it was another performance that raised further concerns about Solskjaer’s squad.

To begin with, how can a side with a set-piece specialist routinely surrender from dead-ball situations? It’s perplexing.

Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire, and David de Gea were all to blame as Merih Demiral headed home a corner after being much too easily opened up for Mario Pasalic’s close-range opener from a Davide Zappacosta cut-back.

Before the game, Marcus Rashford spoke about the need to get back to fundamentals, but it appears that they don’t even know how to defend set-pieces.

United, on the other hand, earned the three points that finally came their way.

As they walked off the ground at halftime with a scattering of whistles, their heads appeared to have completely fallen as they fell behind 2-0 against perhaps their toughest opponents in Group F.

Whatever was stated in the dressing room, on the other hand, did wonderfully.

Bruno Fernandes embodies United’s current up-and-down form in many ways. His first-half performance was awful, a shadow of what he is capable of, but he engineered United’s thrilling comeback, assisting Rashford and Maguire on goals.

His second assist may have been lucky, as his cross found Maguire at the back post, but his first was brilliant.

Fernandes delivered a wonderfully timed, defence-splitting pass that was clinically completed by Rashford, who had previously been wasteful, scoring seven goals in his past seven Champions League group-stage games.

It propelled United to three unexpected victories, and when Solskjaer talks about United DNA, these are the kinds of performances he’s referring to ones that are full of passion and tenacity. But, after making life so tough for themselves, how frequently can they keep turning things around?

Atalanta played in a style that fitted United’s forward approach, in that they allowed their hosts the space they needed to generate opportunities. Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday will undoubtedly be a bigger task than this. It’s difficult to envision Jurgen Klopp’s team giving them that much time and space.

“I appreciate all the hype,” United great Paul Scholes remarked later on BT Sport, “but that first half I simply didn’t like it, and I believe the first half put me off the second.” They’d be out of sight if they were playing a better team. The first half was nerve-wracking. It didn’t appear like a team; it lacked togetherness, which was a concerning indication.

“Is it possible for them to play Liverpool like that? Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever Is it possible to play Manchester City like that? Is it possible for you to play a top Champions League team like that? I don’t want to be a downer, but I was really concerned about the first half.”

Scholes’ fears are genuine, but the ecstasy that followed the final whistle at Old Trafford was a pleasant relief for both the fans and the players, as well as their under-fire manager.

Solskjaer has requested a response from his players. This wasn’t quite what he was looking for, but it’s a start. They clearly don’t lack tenacity, but whether that will be enough to see them through the tougher games ahead remains to be seen.

Ranking Mohamed Salah & Liverpool’s all-time top scorers

When it comes to the Reds’ all-time most effective front men, where does the Egypt great rank?

#10 Mohamad Salah

Salah moved into Liverpool’s top ten earlier this season, scoring in a 3-3 draw away at Brentford for the Reds.

He now has 131 goals in all competitions for the Merseyside giants, however, he’s maintained his goalscoring form since then and seems certain to break into the top nine before the end of the season.

#9 Harry Chambers

Forward was a key member of the Reds’ teams that won consecutive league titles in 1922 and 1923.

Due to the outbreak of World War One, he was only able to make his debut four years after registering for Liverpool, and he would have scored many more than his 151 goals if it hadn’t been for the battle.

#8 Michael Owen

Owen, a one-time wunderkind, spent seven seasons at Anfield after bursting into the scene in the 1997-98 season.

Until transferring to Real Madrid in 2004, he terrorized Premier League defenses on a continuous basis, hamstrings allowing.

He returned to the Premier League with Newcastle United, then Manchester United, and Stoke City, but he never regained the form that saw him score 158 goals for Liverpool.

#7 Kenny Dalglish

The cunning striker, arguably Liverpool’s greatest ever icon, served the club with distinction both as a player and as a manager.

During his time with the Reds, he scored 172 goals, which placed him sixth in the overall rankings, and he won six league crowns and three European Cups.

Regarded to this day, Dalglish is known as ‘King Kenny’ at Anfield.

#6 Robbie Fowler

Fowler, a force of nature for Liverpool in the mid-90s, was a star of the Premier League’s early years and is still the division’s seventh-highest goalscorer.

His goal-scoring prowess earned him the moniker God during his first spell with the Reds, which lasted from 1993 until 2001.

He scored 183 goals throughout his tenure on Merseyside

#5 Steven Gerald

Gerrard, a 17-year veteran of Liverpool’s first team, scored an incredible 186 goals from midfield, putting him among the Premier League’s all-time leading scorers.

#4 Billy Liddell

During his 23-year stint with the Reds, Wideman Liddell was so important to the team’s cause in the 1940s and 1950s that the team was dubbed ‘Liddellpool.’

Despite being predominantly recognized as a left-winger, he led Liverpool in scoring for eight consecutive seasons in the 1950s and was a league champion in 1947.

Salah will have his work cut out for him if he wants to match Liddell’s 228 goals.

Although he failed to bring the Premier League championship back to Anfield, his efforts to the Champions League success in 2005 and the FA Cup triumph in 2006 will be remembered.

#3 Gordon Hodgson

South African striker who receives far less credit than he deserves for his spectacular goalscoring for Liverpool.

He’s fourth in the all-time Football League goalscoring records, and he’s represented both his nation and England’s Three Lions during stints with Aston Villa and Leeds United.

With 241 goals, he is the third most scorer for Liverpool.

#2 Roger Hunt

Sir Roger was a skilled striker who scored more league goals for Liverpool than any other player. He died on September 27, 2021.

With the Reds, he won two league titles and played in all six of England’s World Cup games in 1966, on route to their first triumph.

For the Merseysiders, Hunt scored 285 goals in all competitions.

#1 Ian Rush

Rush, who scored a total of 346 goals for Liverpool over two spells on Merseyside, is at the top of the list.

After joining from Chester City in 1980, he won four league titles in his first season, and then added another after returning from a brief and unhappy time with Juventus in Italy.

Despite Salah’s prolific goal-scoring, it is doubtful that he will ever challenge Rush for the top place.

Salah’s hunger is praised by Liverpool’s Alisson following a world-record-breaking performance

Mohamed Salah’s record-breaking performance in Liverpool’s 3-2 Champions League triumph against Atletico Madrid was praised by Alisson.

Salah created history on Tuesday by becoming the first Liverpool player to score in nine consecutive games, helping the Reds to a thrilling triumph against 10-man Atletico Madrid.

In the Group B match, Atletico Madrid’s two-goal Antoine Griezmann was sent off, while a late penalty was controversially rejected.

Salah converted a penalty with 12 minutes remaining to give Liverpool a five-point lead in the group after opening the scoring in the eighth minute and Naby Keita made it 2-0 five minutes later.

Salah has now become Liverpool’s all-time leading scorer in the Champions League, with 31 goals and a 90 percent penalty-conversion rate in all competitions, while Alisson hailed the in-form Egyptian star.

During his post-match press conference, Alisson remarked, “I’m extremely delighted for him, he’s a wonderful player.”

“He’s always demonstrating on the field, scoring very great goals, not just simple goals.”

But he also contributes significantly to the squad, not just by scoring but also by assisting in the defensive phase and by playing for the team.

“He’s a hungry striker, a hungry player.”                                                  

I’m overjoyed for him.

I’m hoping he keeps it up.”

Liverpool defeated Atletico Madrid for the first time in the Champions League (D2 L2), snapping a five-game losing streak against Spanish teams in the competition (D1 L4).

Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp’s side leads 2-0 after just 13 minutes, marking the first time Atletico Madrid has ever gone two goals down in a Champions League encounter.

It was, however, the first time Liverpool had scored and surrendered two or more goals in the first half of a Champions League match.

“I feel the boss is a virtuoso when it comes to saying the correct words at the right time,” Alisson said of Klopp.

“I believe he reintroduced us to the game in the locker room, and our mentality altered a little bit in the second half.”

When you are up 2-0 and then surrender a goal, you know it will be difficult.

“When we arrived here, we knew it wouldn’t be easy to play against Atletico, and the game proved that to us and to everyone else who watched the game.”

So, while I’m pleased that we were able to score the third goal, avoid conceding, and have greater control over situations, there is still room for improvement when we have one person more on the field.

You must create more opportunities, but as I previously stated, this is difficult when the bus is parked in front of the goal.

We’re pleased with the three points.”

If Manchester City is to sell Raheem Sterling

If Manchester City is to sell Raheem Sterling, they will demand a minimum of £67 million from Barcelona.

If Manchester City is to sell Raheem Sterling, they will demand a minimum of £67 million from Barcelona.

The winger’s contract at the Etihad expires in June 2023 and a recent spell out of the City starting XI has led to speculation over his potential departure.

As a result, cash-strapped Barca is thought to be monitoring the 26-year-old’s situation closely — but Marca’s claim regarding a high fee will come as a hammer blow.

City has no need to trade Sterling on the cheap, with manager Pep Guardiola recently declaring that he wants Sterling to stay and battle for his spot.

However, with the likes of Phil Foden, Gabriel Jesus, Riyad Mahrez, Jack Grealish, and the injured Ferran Torres all vying for the same offensive spots, it’s obvious why he’d prefer a move.

After a disappointing start to the season, Barca sees Sterling as a player who can inject some much-needed star quality into their ranks.

Boss

With the team lying seventh in LaLiga and having opened their Champions League campaign with back-to-back 3-0 defeats, Ronald Koeman’s job at the Camp Nou is in peril.

In January, it appears that additions are unavoidable, and it is thought that a cost-cutting summer has created some financial wriggle space.

However, £67 million remains out of their reach, and if a deal is to be reached before next summer, discussions will have to go exceptionally well.

Meanwhile, less expensive alternatives might take precedence, with ex-academy graduate Dani Olmo another forward on the shortlist.

Even his estimated price tag of £42 million is likely to be a stumbling barrier in the current market.