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Something it is and something it was

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Everyone's starting to settle into the away locker room, stripping out of damp dirty kit and holding intently onto the lingering sounds of Liverpool song traveling down the tunnel. The number of away fans is small but the voices are more than loud enough. Adam is nearly naked on his way to the showers when he pauses and squints, tilting slightly forward and focusing on something.

"Alright, Ads?"

Daniel asks, whipping a towel at him and grinning madly when Adam turns back and frowns in response.

"Thought I heard something from the toilets. You seen Jord?"

Ibe pops up with vibrant intensity and raises his hand for a split second until Daniel gently pats his shoulder and leads him back down to a seat on the bench.

"He means Hendo, bruv."

"How do you know. Felt good to be wanted, like. For the first time in a while." Jordon laughs and Daniel shoves him, nearly doubling over.

"Drama! No, we've not seen him. Why you looking then? Probably chatting with the gaffer."

"Can't celebrate without him, can we."

"You've got the right idea, Ads. Know for a fact Nate's packing bevs, ain't he? We'll have a proper celebration."

Nate shushes Daniel and looks around before unzipping his gym bag and giving the lads a small peek of the bulk of brown paper bags packed snugly between the pieces of his club sweatsuit. Clyno with the hookup, Origi says and sends the rest of the lads into whistles and pats of encouragement for Nate.

"But you can't be loud about it. Kloppo's still cross with me about bringing it last week. Made me promise I wouldn't again. And that wasn't away at Old Trafford, like."

"Seems like more of a reason to do it than not, being here."

And everyone looks over to the far corner locker space in disbelief because it's Milner that's said that with a mischievous grin. The boys take that as permission to officially lose their shit and Mama starts the song. Steve Gerrard Gerrard, he'll pass the ball forty yards, he's big and he's fucking hard, Steve Gerrard Gerrard! Firmino looks on with amazement, bobbing his head along to the song he doesn't know about someone he feels like he knows well even though they've shared very few words. He's also not sure why the United fans sing it, so he asks Phil in his ear, as it's almost impossible to speak normally at this point with the echoing voices and slapping on tile dancing feet.

"The words are bad. They have change words."

But Firmino is treated to quite a show as an answer, as Lovren has taken on the role of a United fan and Kolo the role of a Liverpool fan and they are shouting the different versions of the song at each other, circling round one another as the other lads cheer Kolo on. Kolo eventually jumps onto Lovren and they both clumsily fall to the ground, Lovren pinned beneath until he admits defeat in the name of good Saint Stevie himself.

"Steve Gerrard Gerrard did what?"

Phil touches Bobby's arm gently and just shakes his head no. "Não é importante. I will tell later."

Adam comes back into the dressing room, still only in a towel, hair still dry.

"This is before the drink? Muppets."

"And you've been where exactly, dad? Off shagging mum? Come to tell us off for being loud?"

Daniel laughs and gets a fist bump from Joe before a muffled groan comes from the toilets and everyone falls a little more silent.

"Just come to ask for help. Hendo's in there chucking his guts up."

"He's what?"

A cacophony of Jord! Hendo mate! Alright? Suck it up, lad! Oi, that's rude, Daniel. No one asked you, Migs breaks out and Adam looks increasingly cross, groaning when Nate pulls a effervescent bottle of champagne out of his bag and asks you think he'd want some bubbles? with a cheeky grin.

"No, you wankers."

And Adam disappears again, reappearing minutes later with a pale, clammy Jordan hoisted up to his side, the black kit and the bright lighting making Jordan look positively ghostly. James gets up to give Jordan a place to sit and hands him his water bottle. Jordan thanks him gently as his head lolls a bit and suddenly everyone feels a bit guilty for celebrating. Adam sits protectively at his feet.

"I'm okay. Feeling a bit better now. Yeah, give me a touch of it, Nate."

At Jordan's approval, the joyous, raucous noise starts up again. Nate pulls out three more bottles and hands them out to uncork and pass around, one of the bottles spewing and soaking young Brad Smith in the process but he grins as it drips down his face and onto his kit and the floor. He gets many claps on the back as he takes a few massive mouthfuls and passes the bottle to the equally as young Danny Ward.

"But you've got to waterfall it, Hendo, don't touch it with your mouth. Not trying to contract your disease, lad. Love you and all but. No."

"Not sure you should be celebrating at all, Nate. You had a shocker. Whoring out penalties to Martial like that."

"Oi! It was one penalty, not penalties. And in case you've forgotten, I won the penalty last leg for Studge's goal. Taking the fucking piss."

They dissolve into hysterical laughter for a few moments until Emre stands up, double fisting with two of the bottles, already missing large fractions of their contents, and raises them high.

"We will toast! First toast to Mama, man of the match!"

Mama stands and bows dramatically to a cheering group, receiving a bottle from Benteke and taking a gratuitous sip. Emre clinks his two bottles together and takes sips from both.

"Second to Dejan, who is a new man on the pitch!"

Lovren smiles and nods, holding his hands up bashfully as Nate grabs his shoulders and shakes. Get a move on, Emre! Adam yells with a smile and Emre says okay, okay.

"To Phil, our little magician. To Jordan, for playing even when he is ill and being our captain. To Adam, for taking the challenge from Schweinsteiger so he could be carded."

There's an evil glint in Emre's eyes and everyone cheers, Firmino adding scheiß auf ihn!

"And finally to you, Bobby, for taking Fellaini's elbows."

They all yell cheers! and rapidly finish off the bottles, singing as they change, shower off, and pack to leave, the mood electric and high. Klopp has a lot of press to do before they go and so everyone takes their time, stays in the shower until it goes cold, fills up the giant bath in the toilets and takes turns jumping in. They've absolutely flooded the place but they insist that's what the drains are for, and it's a bathroom. The floors could use the wash.

It's fun until Klopp comes in to round everyone up and no one is ready, save Jordan and Adam, and Klopp maintains his serious face until his eyes meet James', who is fresh out of attempting to drown Nate and Jordon in the tub, donning nothing but sopping wet kit socks. They both burst into laughter.

"James. We will not have our talk until you put on at least underwear."

As James does so, everyone gathers around and Klopp pulls them all together into a tight huddle, everyone smelling of steam, shampoo, sweat, and champagne.

"For this season since I have joined you in October, we have been old Liverpool with new manager. United did win the double on us in the Premier League, yes. But I learn that this is the first time we meet United in Europe. And we have won like we wanted it. It is something I am very proud of. The proudest I have been here. This is our new Liverpool. It's not mine. It's ours."

The group squeezes together tightly and falls silent. Klopp ruffles Jordan's hair right to his left and tells the team to head to the buses. Klopp waits behind for Jordan and they walk out of the dressing room and to the bus lot together, Klopp's arm around his neck.

"Jordan. I have a feeling. We will draw my team. Dortmund."

Jordan laughs and wraps his arm around Klopp's back.

"That's how draws tend to go for us, boss. Never really go our way."

"But that's the way I like it. No fun in taking the easy way out. It'll be good to play them even if it makes us look like shit. We can learn from it. But we can win, too."

Jordan watches the Europa League draw the next morning with Adam and cackles when Liverpool indeed draw Dortmund.

"I cannot fucking believe we got the toughest draw. Why've you got that look on your face, Jord."

But Jordan can't manage a coherent response. He pulls his phone out and messages Klopp. You fucker.