John Gibbons: Red machine can roll all the way to Kiev

All aboard for the Champions League final! At least that's how it feels around Liverpool for John Gibbons, and he is not complaining...


Sometimes the wait between big games can be agonising, but this game seems to have raced around. It feels like we’ve only just cleaned the streets and sobered up after Man City and Roma are in town.

What a joy to be alive it is.

Roma arrive with everyone unsure quite how good they are. They are 18 points off the top of Serie A, yet Liverpool are 19 points off the top of the Premier League and we’ve all decided we’re the best team in the world.

Like Liverpool, they’ve just turned over a side they weren’t supposed to in the last round. Like Liverpool, they might not qualify for the Champions League next season, but, like Liverpool, they also feel they have a great chance of winning this one.

Score your Champions League bets on

They last turned up at Anfield in the early 2000s, and undoubtedly haven’t got the superstars of that team – names like Totti and Batistuta were on their shirts back then – but they do have a brilliant goalkeeper, Edin Dzeko and a load of lads who look like they’d rob your dinner money.

We’ll certainly have to be at our best, or close to it, if we don’t want to become the latest in an impressive list of Roman conquests this season. Look at the teams they have beaten and not conceded a goal to at home. It can’t all be a fluke.

Liverpool were certainly not at their best on Saturday. While throwing a lead away with second string players and a few first teamers unsure quite how hard they should try isn’t a disaster, we could have still done without it.

For a start, it doesn’t fill you with confidence if we get one or two more injuries before the second leg, and you also wouldn’t be delighted about making wholesale changes in the intervening league game to rest star players.

But I can’t imagine the lads who start on Tuesday will give that game a second thought when they cross the touchline.

They probably won’t be able to hear themselves think anyway, such will be the noise from a set of fans who weren’t expecting this cup run, and certainly aren’t going to take it for granted now it’s here.

Instead, the problem is some supporters might get a bit worked up again and start throwing objects about in busy streets.

The club are trying to discourage this as best they can. The manager and other officials have gone on record to anyone who will listen about the positives of getting excited and the negatives of getting a bit too excited.

It can basically be summarised as:

Cheering and shouting = good

Setting fire to stuff and smashing up a bus = bad

I mean, it seems fairly basic stuff, but we all need a reminder of right and wrong sometimes, don’t we? Hopefully everyone listens anyway. It will be rubbish defending the Champions League next season in an empty ground.

And yes that is getting ahead of ourselves, but there is huge amounts of that on Merseyside too.

For every sensible person saying how tough it will be for Liverpool still to win a sixth European Cup, there are ten booking overnight trains from Warsaw to Kiev and getting custom suits made shaped like the European Cup.

OK, maybe that last one is just me, but cautious thinking went out the window a long time ago. It’s not really how we roll round these parts.

Eleven lads on the pitch, including the newly crowned PFA Player of the Year, and 50-odd thousand in the ground will all have complete belief in Liverpool’s ability to take Roma apart this week and do the same in Italy the week after.

We’ll let the other two teams fight it out for the privilege of being beaten by us in the final. And yes, we’re cocky, arrogant and annoyingly confident bordering on delusional, but you wouldn’t bet against it now, would you?

Score your Champions League bets on

What do you think?