There was a tired players episode of table football, the ball bouncing off one player or another but close to the Aston Villa goal. A fair-haired striker without his Alice Band today is in a space on the edge of the box as the ball comes to him. One touch and across the advancing goalkeeper Friedel, the ball travels along the turf and crosses the line just inside the goalpost. 1-0 to Liverpool. The final whistle. O'Neill is on his knees. Benitez in his box does a few tries at confident twitches as if he knew what was going to happen all along.
The long yawn was stifled. Torres ('Towers' in Spanish) provided the moment that made it all worthwhile.