Thursday 23 May 2019

Magic and miracles from those mighty Merseyside marvels


Liverpool's Mohamed Salah, Jurgen Klopp and Virgil van Dijk celebrate in front of their fans
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah, Jurgen Klopp and Virgil van Dijk celebrate in front of their fans
Darragh McManus

Darragh McManus

One of the great things about sport is that it leaves open the possibility of magic. Life is generally disappointing, and for most sports fans, their calling is equally so; but every now and then, something truly remarkable happens.

So it was at Anfield this week, as Liverpool pulled off the great escape to out do all others, overturning a 3-0 deficit and turfing mighty Barcelona out of the Champions League.

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Off the Ball (Newstalk, Mon-Fri 7pm) described it as "the Mersey miracle", and for once that second word didn't feel like the usual sports-media hyperbole. Presenter Eoin Sheahan added: "It wasn't a dream, Liverpool fans - it really did happen", while regular pundit Kenny Cunningham admitted he was "still smiling this morning, so God knows what way die-hard Liverpool fans are feeling".

John Murray's sports news on Morning Ireland (Radio 1, Mon-Fri 7am) went straight to the source - George Hamilton's TV coverage: "Fairy tales do come true." Co-commentator Jim Beglin - himself a former LFC great - chimed in that this was "extraordinary… one of the greatest nights in Liverpool's history".

They finished with, as Murray put it, "The Kop in full voice", singing 'You'll Never Walk Alone'. "The morning after belongs to Liverpool," he added, though the cup itself doesn't yet. But with nights like this, actual trophies can feel almost irrelevant.

Ryan Tubridy (Radio 1, Mon-Fri 9am) spoke to Laura Keogh, a post-doctoral candidate currently working in Mexico City, through University of Oxford, "looking at how we can feed the world without destroying it".

The EU, she told us, is importing crops grown in Brazil which are responsible for "one football pitch per hour" of rainforest being destroyed. She's studying the work of indigenous Amazonian peoples - "some of the best defenders of this habitat" - and trying to figure out "the best way of supporting them".

They also spoke about climate change, which may be catastrophic not just to flora and fauna but humanity itself. Laura reckons there might be food riots by 2040; Ryan described that scenario as like something out of science-fiction, but the evidence suggests this is a very real threat. However, Laura added, it's not inevitable - but only if we wake up and take remedial action now.

BBC Radio 4, meanwhile, had two very interesting documentaries which seemed to prove just how small and interconnected our planet now is.

The Food Programme (Sun 12.32pm) looked at bananas: the world's most popular fruit, apparently - something I didn't know.

Meanwhile From Our Own Correspondent (Sat 11.30am) examined life in "the most crowded city in the world" - Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia, where the harsh climate is forcing migration from the steppes.

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